Costa Careyes General Information
With an area of close to 1.2 million square miles, the country of Mexico holds a spectrum of geographical characteristics, and in traveling its expanse, one can quickly move from vast, arid deserts to steaming, tropical jungles, from lush, fauna and flora-rich wetlands to towering, glacier-capped mountains, from rugged, wind-swept coastlines to glistening, white-sanded and sun-washed beaches.
Mexico is bordered by the United States to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and south (with the Sea of Cortez, or Gulf of Cailfornia to the north-west between the mainland and the Baja California peninsula), the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean to the east, and Belize and Guatemala to the south and south-east. Mexico's border with the United States measures over 3,300 kms.
The Sierra Madre Oriental and Sierra Madre Occidental (Eastern and Western mountain ranges) run slightly inland along each coastline and define a central high plateau area in much of the country. The climate and vegetation on either side of these ranges can be quite distinct. There are many volcanic peaks in Mexico, the highest being Orizaba, at 5,639 meters or 18,500 feet, Popocatepetl, at 5,452 meters or 17,888 feet, and Ixtaccihuatl (the Sleeping Lady) at 5,286 meters or 17,343 feet, all located in the central area of the country. Active volcanoes include the mentioned Popocatepetl and the Nevado de Colima in the west-coast state of Colima.
Mexico over the centuries has been home to a great many mesoamerican cultural groups and influences, the major ones being the Olmecs, Mayans, Zapotecs, Toltecs, Aztecs and Mixtecs. Much of these ancient cultures were destroyed by the conquest and colonization by the Spaniards in the 1500's, nevertheless, the final result is a people and customs which form a rich ethnic and cultural tapestry, along with a wealth of archaeological relics and architectural marvels that span the ages.
The central-western state of Jalisco, Mexico is bounded by the states of Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, Colima and Michoacan, with a Pacific coastline extension of some 280 kms. Run through by the western Sierra Madres, the state boasts of a variety of climates from the cool, snow-topped Nevado de Colima at 4,330 mts, to the moderate high central plains to the often steamy tropical jungles along the coast.
Jalisco's indigenous population consists principally of Huicholes, Coras and Tepehuanes who, for the most part, still conserve their native languages and colorful dress. Jalisco's capital is the buzzing metropolis of Guadalajara - a mix of colonial splendor and modernity. Others of its largest cities include Puerto Vallarta on Banderas Bay, the city of Tequila at the heart of Jalisco's tequila producing region, Ciudad Guzmán, Lagos de Moreno, San Juan de los Lagos and Tlaquepaque and Zapopan which form part of the greater Guadalajara metropolitan area.