Western Mexico: a Traveller's Treasury2001 Paperback – Feb 1 2001
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"A Traveler's Treasury" is an apt subtitle for this guidebook to the Western Mexico that lies beyond tourist cities like Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara. Burton has good credentials--a geographer who's lived in Mexico for 17 years, he's done a lot of back-road traveling in search of hidden Mexico. He's also fond of history, geology, archeology, and ecology, so each of the places covered in this personal and idiosyncratic collection of favorites is exceedingly well described. Take the Island of Mezcala, the "scene of a glorious episode in Mexican history." Burton gives a lengthy history of the significance of the place in Mexico's fight for independence, as well as the nearly-extinct local delicacy whitefish, then points to the best bird watching in the area and suggests a hike for the adventurous, none of which you'll find in the typical travel guide. Burton knows where to find a golf course with a panoramic view in the Riviera communities around Lake Chapala and where to soothe those aching after-exercise muscles in a warm thermal pool. He can tell you where you can still mine for gold, enter a chili cook-off (no beans allowed), see folkloric spectacles like the Dance of the Old Men, and discover the sort of small villages which "refuse to give up their secrets to travelers in a hurry." His eclectic list of day and overnight excursions includes historical and archeological sites, artistic colonies, lakeside communities, coastal resorts, Indian villages, and ecological wonders. In the latter category are the nesting grounds of monarch butterflies and the Manantlan Biosphere Reserve. Not covered by most guidebooks, Manantlan is an ecotourist wonderland. The cloud forest is home to an astonishing variety of flora and fauna and is so remote it can only be reached by four-wheel drive vehicle or mule, depending on the weather. Burton does assume that you are traveling by car; if you're not you'll have to research other transportation options elsewhere. That quibble aside, like the places it describes, this guidebook is truly a gem. --Lesley Reed
"A must in the library of every Mexican or foreigner with intellectual curiosity about Mexico" -- Rosamaria Casas in Ojo del Lago
"A sensitive, amusing, clearly written book, filled with interesting facts about history, geography and folklore" -- TravelMexico
"In Mexico, if you want to know what you're seeing, what it means ... you need this book" -- Mexico File (July 1998)