Mexican Independence Day doesn’t honor the anniversary of a written document, but rather one speech by one man.
In 1810 a priest named Miguel Hidalgo is believed to have made “El Grito de la Independencia” (the cry of independence) at his church in Dolores, a town located in the north-central part of the state of Guanajuato.
Modern history is kinder to Hidalgo than his contemporaries. Spanish surrogates executed him before his vision could be realized. Now, Mexico celebrates its freedom from colonial rule every Sept. 16, recognized as the day of his speech.
Though the historic details differ substantially from July 4, 1776, in the United States, Independence Day has a familiar feel south of the border. It’s all one big party — before, during and after the holiday.
Travel to Mexico this fall — there are many bargains to be had with pampering, fantastic food and a mix of indoor/outdoor fun that make for a memorable vacation.
Here are four destinations to consider:
The central market is full of tourist-friendly festivities. Local specialty foods can be sampled at the many booths specially set up for the occasion. The scenic views are especially beautiful this time of year.
The Mayan Palace at Vidanta Acapulco features the Brio Spa, which offers their unique “Tequila massage” — an innovative 80-minute full body massage that gently exfoliates through an infusion made from sea salt, essential oils and tequila.
Have lunch at La Casa de Tere, a hole in the wall famous for pozole. This celebratory dish is made from traditional hominy broth, pork or chicken, chile peppers and vegetables, and is served with delicious tostadas. Rates from $ 254/night. For reservations visit vidanta.com
In the port city of Campeche, people unite in the Moch-Couho plaza, which sits adjacent to a government palace. On Sept. 15 the state’s governor joins with thousands of guests at the plaza to celebrate El Grito de la Independencia. A fireworks spectacle and video mapping show follow, then give way to singing and dancing.
There’s also a religious festival honoring the Cristo Negro on Sept. 14. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel and see all the action from the sky.
Los Hornos, Acapulco
(1996-98 AccuSoft Inc., All right/Adina Tovy/Robert Harding)
If you can’t get to Campeche until after Independence Day, there’s still plenty to see and do. Hacienda Puerta Campeche displays a collection of restored 17th-century historical houses. Discover the beauty of the collection, as well this colonial hotel, then meander through their unique pool where secret alcoves and open windows offer views of the outside. Rates from $ 220/night. For reservations visit puertacampeche.com
Cancun, always a fun-filled destination — think: spring break — transforms into one great fiesta as people fill the streets ready to party, dance and watch the fantastic firework display.
The Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun is hosting a festive event at its award-winning LaJoya Restaurant in celebration of Mexican Independence Day. The vibrant venue will serve traditional specialties such as chiles en nogada, a dish representative of the national flag, and broadcast a live showing of the Independence Day Ceremony from Mexico City. Lively entertainment including mariachis and musical trios are also included in the event, priced at $ 50 per person. Resort rates from $ 250/night in September.
The Grand Oasis Cancun will host a Mexican Kermasse (block party). DJ and go-go dancers headline the nighttime celebration (Fiesta de Independencia) at its beach club. Spectacular fireworks light up the night sky. Rates from $ 227/night. For reservations visit: oasishotels.com
The festivities begin on September 15 with a morning salute of the flag and events taking place in the main plaza. The traditional grito (cry ushering in the festivities) takes place here before midnight, followed by fireworks and a rockin’ street party for the family. The following day, a civic parade is held featuring military and local school bands participating.
At the Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta All-Inclusive & Spa, an experienced staff raises the bar for its Independence Day festivities with an elaborate Mexican celebration. The day includes a wonderful ballet and mariachi performances, a large buffet of delicious traditional delicacies, and spectacular fireworks.
To enhance the fun of this year’s celebration, all staff will be adorned in traditional dress known as charro and china poblana. Rates from $ 214/night. For reservations visit: fiestamericana.com.
Carla Conway is a freelance writer, playwright and former comic book writer, credited with writing and contributing to Transformers, Gobots, G.I. Joe, Firestorm, My Little Pony and many others in comics and animation.
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