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Mexico - the land of spicy food and tortillas, hot sunny beaches, and ancient Aztec ruins hidden in deep overgrown jungle, where every man over the age of 20 owns a donkey and rides around in a tattered poncho and giant sombrero. Or so some people believe.

But what not many people know about Mexico is that it's possible to go mountaineering there as well, on a chain of volcanoes dotting the central plateau for 100km from Mexico City to Orizaba, shortly before the land drops away to the east coast.

It's not your average mountaineering holiday. You can stuff yourself with a three course dinner down a smart restaurant before jumping in a 4WD vehicle and driving up to 4000m to begin your climb. The mountains are few and far between, with a great sense of space at the summit, and views to the far horizon. A not a donkey or sombrero in sight ...

Volcanic Activity is Mark Horrell's travel diary from just such an adventure, and will appeal to climbers and anyone else looking to see an alternative side to Mexico. It includes many of the author's photographs from his trip.

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