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Newsletter No1 - October 2019

We are very proud to launch our first newsletter where we intend to keep you informed of relevant news about Design by DMS and the Cultural and Religious Travel in Mexico.

About Design by DMS

From the moment you consider Mexico your destination, you can count on us for each of your needs. The fact that we have spent more than 40 years in the industry designing tailored group tourism programs for our customers speaks of the quality of our service, which is based on our intimate knowledge of the country and strong industry expertise that helps us ensure the best service anywhere in the nation.

 

We are a company specialized in Destinations as they relate to Special Interest Group Travel - Cultural and Religious. We work groups of minimum 15 people and over and have extensive knowledge of the entire Mexican Republic. We specialize in cultural tours with specific interests: Catholic Tours, Architecture, Archaeology, Folklore, Arts & Craft, Foodie Tours, Comunities, Ecology, Trade Missions, etc.

In short, wherever there is a specific interest, that is our specialty. With this knowledge, we are happy to propose tailor-made itineraries according to the specific needs of each of our clients. 

 

TRADITIONS OF MEXICO​

The Day of the Dead Tradition takes place on November  the 1st and 2nd of November

The Day of the Dead, also known as Night of the Dead, is one of the most important festivities and with more tradition that takes place in our country. On this holiday, Mexicans remember and honor their deceased loved ones. It's not a gloomy or morbid occasion, rather it is a festive and colorful holiday celebrating the lives of those who have passed on. 

The origins of the day of the dead date back to long before the Spanish conquest, but today it's a fussion of Mexican culture with the European.

With the arrival of the Spaniards also arrives the Christianity that introduces to the celebration and to the alteres images of saints, crosses and some fruits that did not exist in America. According to the Catholic calendar, the first day of November is dedicated to All Saints and day two to the faithful deceased. According to the people's belief, the first is dedicated to the "small dead", those who died as children, and the second to the deceased in adulthood.

The festival in antiquity was commemorated the ninth month of the Aztec solar calendar, and was held for almost two months. The festivities were presided over by the goddess Mictecacíhuatl, known as the "Lady of Death", currently related to "La Catrina". The festivities were dedicated to the celebration of the lives of deceased relatives, celebrating first the children and then the adults.

The offering that is mounted on an altar of different levels, the first two days of November, constitutes a homage to the deceased who visits to the relatives at this time. It is composed, among other things, of the typical bread of the dead, the pumpkin in sweet of strikeout and dishes of the Mexican cuisine that in life were of the pleasure of the deceased. Ornaments are also used as the characteristics of marigolds flowers, chopped paper, candles, sugar skulls and copal incense.

​The importance of the Day of the Dead in Mexico makes cities, towns and houses full of altars dedicated to the deceased who return these days to live with their relatives who are still alive. However, there are places that are distinguished by keeping this tradition so full of mysticism very vivid. Such is the case of Pátzcuaro, the magical town of Michoacán, which is located 30 minutes from the city of Morelia, where the most important and representative celebration takes place in Janitzio, one of the islands, and the largest, of Lake Pátzcuaro. This celebration attracts visitors from all over the world. In addition to religious offerings and rituals, there are exhibitions, concerts, displays, workshops, cultural tours and gastronomic exhibits.

​The beauty and magic that surrounds the Day of the Dead have made this tradition recognized by UNESCO as an intangible Cultural heritage of humanity since November 2003.

​Mexico City has not been spared to this tradition and since the year 2016 celebrates it with a parade that summons a multitude of people and is held in the heart of the city, in addition to a great offering and the realization of artistic and cultural activities. This time Mexico City has decided to dedicate the parade, which indicates the beginning of the festivity, as well as the offering of the Zócalo to all those migrants who in their transit to other lands have lost their lives, in the same way to all those groups of migrants who have  come to this city through the time to enrich it and make it a real refuge city. This festivity will take place from October 24th to November 4th. An excellent opportunity to participate in this unique tradition!

 

​Sources: Adapted from an article of www.morelianas.com and http://data.cultura.cdmx.gob.mx/celebraciondemuertos/  October 2018 

MEXICAN CUISINE

From Mexico to the World​

Mexican cuisine consists of a set of dishes that are characteristic of the richness of flavors, aromas and ancestry of its origin. The Mexican gastronomy is made up of various dishes in which the richness that has accumulated during the time is reflected: from the pre-Hispanic period, to the colonial and even the contemporary one, it is that, although our cuisine is continually reinvented, something of Our native people remain dormant in it.

Mexican cuisine has its origin in the pre-Hispanic period.

 

At this time, a series of dishes were created that had as main base: corn, beans, tomatoes, chili and nopal. These were complemented with herbs of smell, meats of animals.

They also included vanilla, tomatillos, avocado, guava, papaya, pot, mamey, pineapple, jicama, pumpkin, sweet potato, peanuts, achiote, Huitlacoche, Turkey and fish. For the second decade of the 16th century, the Spanish invasion also meant the arrival of a large variety of animals, such as cattle, hens, goats, sheep and pigs. And not only that, for rice, wheat, oats, olive oil, wine, almonds, parsley and many spices that merged with culture and eventually became part of the indigenous cuisine.

However, we should not confuse this as a complete merger, because the Spaniards did not alter Mexican food, but they brought ingredients that only exchanged their potential. The Mexican cuisine that developed through this exchange is complex and one of the reasons why it is one of the biggest Cuisines of the world.

The gastronomic heritage of the Aztec cuisine has become one of the most powerful attractions for internal and external tourism; There is no part of the world where there is no Mexican restaurant and Mexico is ranked par excellence as one of the first culinary destinations on the planet.

According to the Ranking of the World's Best 50 Restaurants of 2019, 2 Restarants of Mexico City are in that select group as "Pujol"  and in the Ranking of the best 50 Restaurants in Latin America, 6 Restaurants of Mexico City , 2 from Guadalajara and 1 from Monterrey are listed at that level. 

Many of these destinations are recognized because they have been responsible for promoting the art of authentic traditional Mexican cuisine, including the states of Oaxaca, Puebla or Yucatán. and other also essential on the country, such as Nayarit, Colima, Los Cabos, Chiapas and  Mexico City.

For this reason, since the year 2010, Mexican gastronomy was declared an intangible Cultural heritage of humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Thanks to this,Mexican cuisine is considered a crucial element of national identity due to its history, creativity, diversity and international transcendence.

​The Mexican gastronomy is without a doubt, an unparalleled attraction to the palate that, not only shows a historical continuity, but it enjoys an important role as an element of identity for the Mexican people, it rests on products originating in their land and presumes of a high creativity in their cuisine, who over the centuries have been perfecting their technique maintaining the essence of traditional cuisine.

From traditional cuisine to the new mexican gastronomy, Mexico is a great place for Foodie Tours and you don't have to miss that opportunity!

Sources: Adapted from an article by: ASPIC/School of gastronomy of the CDMX, note by Carlos Dragonné, Stefany Cisneros and Forbes Mexico, https://www.theworlds50best.com 2019

Mexico City is the destination to visit in 2019 according to National Geographic

The attributes of the Mexican capital

​Every corner of our country is a proof that we are in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and Mexico City witnesses this, recently becoming recognized by the National Geographic publication as the number 1 city to visit in 2019 , standing out in a list of 28 cities around the world.

 

For the publication, "Mexico City has with it the original flavors, where corn is king", thus highlights the capital of the country and justifies why it should be visited this 2019.

It seems that this is the engine of the charm of a city as dynamic as Mexico City, where in one place we will find the best gastronomy, the most representative historical monuments of national history, museums, first-class shows and other activities with more than 22 million people in constant motion.

The new treatment of traditional local flavors, as well as those of indigenous maize heritage, are the gastronomic focus that every tourist should know according to the section of the National Geographic publication, where it stands outto recognized places that have given a new vision to maize, such as 'Pujol' with its tamales and roasted corns; it also lists the organic tortillerías Cintli and Masala y Maíz, of which the fusion of culinary traditions stands out.

In its full report on Mexico City, the publication makes a solid immersion in the importance of corn to Mexican culture, its origins, its preparation and how this food has evolved to become a pillar of today's gastronomy.

 

Not only does National Geographic endorse Mexico City as the best city to visit in 2019. A few months ago the Lonely Planet guide, one of the most important in the world of tourism, also included it in its list of cities to visit this year.

Recognitions for the country's capital continue after in 2018 it was also considered the World Design Capital.

 

​Here are some reasons why you should visit Mexico City at least once in your life:

 

1.- It has a rich arts scene

The artistic side of Mexico City is very well developed. Art has been constantly on the rise for years. Currently, some of the best contemporary galleries in the city are located in the central district of Roma and, to a lesser extent, in the districts of Condesa.

But if you go further you will also be rewarded with great finds. Such as the architecture of San Miguel de Chapultepec and the former refuge of Frida Kahlo in Coyoacán. Don't forget street art either!

2.- Gastronomy is among the best in the world

Asia is considered to have the best street food in the world. But the street supply in Mexico City is not left behind. With tacos, tlacoyos and tamales, you could spend a lifetime exploring the flavors of the capital. However, don't forget the excellent gourmet restaurants. Mexico City has some of the best restaurants in the world, such as the aforementioned Pujol and Padella.

3.- It will change your opinion about Mexico

If you're from the United States or Europe, your opinion of Mexico is safe to be influenced by dangerous political rhetoric that often focuses on the northern border states of the country and the current war on drugs.However, a visit to Mexico City will change your perspective on what life is really like in the city and give you the opportunity to see how amazing it can be. While there are still dangers, as there are in any capital, the good far outweighs the bad.

4.- There are enough museums to keep you busy throughout the trip

We have mentioned art, but museums are definitely worth considering apart.  There are more than 150 of them. Mexico City is the capital with the most museums in the world. They range from the famous (such as the National Museum of Anthropology) to the most unknown (such as the Museo del Carmen, which houses real-life mummies). The truth is, you'll never get bored in Mexico City.

5.- The city is more diverse than it looks

Most people know that the center is largely dominated by the expansion of the Chapultepec Forest. But few people realize that there are actually many national parks within the boundaries of Mexico City. These will allow you to leave the crowded and unpleasant tourist route. You can walk in the Ajusco, explore the little-visited attractions in the Dedierto de los Leones or relax in Los Dinamos.

6.- You'll enjoy top-notch lodging

If you thought to come to Mexico City you had to stay in a hostel, you think wrong. Stylish hotels are growing in popularity in the Mexican capital. Driven by the tourism boom, areas such as Polanco, Roma and Condesa are full of luxury accommodation and boutique options.

There are also more distant options in Coyoacán, Santa Fe and even in the Zocalo (old historic center). That's not to say that the hostels in Mexico City are bad! In fact, some of them are excellent.

7.- Incredible archaeological sites

If you like history and want to experience it in an environment other than a museum, then Mexico City is the place for you. It is surrounded by some of the most important Aztec, Toltec and Mesoamerican ruins in the country. Like the fantastic Teotihuacán, the imposing sculptures of Tula and Hidalgo. All of these places are easily accessible and are world-renowned sites.

8.- Mexico City is an excellent starting point for other excursions

If you're not so interested in the pyramids (we doubt it), Mexico City is the perfect starting point for several day trips. You can go down to Taxco, Guerrero if what you like are the ancient colonial villages. You can also climb a mountain in the state capital of Mexico, Toluca. Another alternative is to escape to Querétaro or descend to Puebla and Cholula, the city that has a church on every corner.

Sources: Adapted from articles from:  www.forbes.com.mx,  polemon.mx and https://padondenosvamos.com/razones-visitar-ciudad-mexico

 

ARCHAEOLOGIC TOURISM

Mexico, an archaeological paradise

​In the territory that is now known as Mexico, hundreds of nations, civilizations and cultures emerged before the arrival of the Europeans. Today we have a testimony of them through the mysterious ruins of their impressive cities. A stone legacy. From the Olmecs to the Mexicans, we can know the lifestyle, social hierarchy, customs, beliefs and many more things about our ancestors thanks to the remains of their civilizations.

Mexico has more than 2,000 registered archaeological sites in its territory; about 200 are open to the public. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the INAH (the National Institute of

Anthropology and History) has done an arduous job of recovering these ruins and turning them into archaeological areas that you can't miss out on in Mexico.

According to data from the same INAH, these are the 5 most visited archaeological zones in Mexico:

1.- Teotihuacan, Edo. Mexico. Undoubtedly the most imposing of all the ancient cities is Teotihuacan. We know very little about the mysterious civilization that built and inhabited this urban center that became home to about 200 thousand people. However, it is enough to stand in front of the Pyramid of the Sun to be captivated by the vision and the effort it represents.

 

2.- Chichen Itza, Yucatan.  The last major capital of the Maya is the main tourist attraction of the state of Yucatan and the favorite for foreigners visiting our country. The Pyramid of Kukulcán is a testament to the extensive astronomical knowledge of the Maya and the spectacle of the descent of the feathered snake during the equinox is incomparable.

 

3.- Tulum, Quintana Roo.  This city stands out for combining the fascinating architecture and visual aesthetics of the Maya with an unbeatable setting: the beaches of the Caribbean Sea. Located on top of a hill facing the sea, the original name of this place was Zamá (dawn) and was still inhabited during the early years of the colony.

 

4.- Cholula, Puebla.  Cholollan, as this city was known, experienced different cycles of prosperity and decline in pre-Hispanic times. As an important Toltec city, it became an important ally of the Mexica Empire. The Tláloc Temple, one of the largest pyramids in the world, dominates the panorama.

5.- Palenque, Chiapas.  In this ancient Mayan city in the middle of the jungle ruled some of the most famous sovereigns of this civilization. Currently, Palenque is an extensive archaeological area in Chiapas, encompassing 2.5 km2 of temples, palaces, ball courts and authentic Mayan dwellings that visitors love.

6. - Uxmal, Yucatan. Its meaning would be "The Three Times Built", which could be an allusion to several successive occupations of the site. It is one of the archaeological areas of Mayan culture whose architecture is one of the most majestic in Yucatan.  Among the most representative buildings are the Pyramid of the Soothsayer, the Quadrangle of the Nuns and the House of Pigeons.

7. - Tajin, Veracruz.  It was the ancient capital of the Totonaca culture. They reached their greatest splendor  between the 6th and 7th centuries, when its inhabitants, true masters in the art of architecture, built their main constructions among which stand out: the Pyramid of the Nests, the Niches and numerous and beautiful ball games spread across the length and breadth of the ceremonial.

8.- Monte Alban, Oaxaca. It was one of the most important cities in Mesoamerica, the ceremonial and military capital of the Zapotecos that settled in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca. At its most developed Monte Albán it had about 35,000 inhabitants, who lived mostly on the terraced slopes of the mountain dedicated to agriculture.  In it you will find temples, tombs, courtyards, the ball game courts and more.

9.- Templo Mayor, Mexico City. The site is known as the Main Temple, because in this place are the remains of what was the main building of the ancient city of Tenochtitlan. It was the center of the political and religious life of Mexican society. Many myths were remembered through rituals and offerings in each of the temples of the sacred enclosure, being a very important source for the knowledge of the Mexican religion and worldview.

10.- Tatelolco, Mexico City. The city of Tlatelolco was founded around 1337, 13 years after the founding of Mexico Tenochtitlán, by a part of the same Mexican group. Both cities built their ceremonial enclosures. The parallel history of Tlatelolco and Tenochtitlán is a clear example of the process that lived through the Mesoamerican territory shortly before the Spanish conquest, characterized by the struggles for political power between lineages and territorial expansions.

The archaeological sites of Mexico are one of the most interesting in the world. Explore Mexico's cultural richness and past! 

​Sources: www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/descubre-destinos/zonas-arqueologicas, México, un paraíso arqueológico  Paradigma Noticias – info del INAH, https://inah.gob.mx/,  www.cityexpress.com/, , http://www.yucatan.gob.mx/?p=uxmaly and visitmexico.com