After three weeks of driving, we have made it as far south as we are going to get (+/- 100km) on the Pacific Coast. Going into this trip, we knew that this section would be fast, hard, and hot… umm… let’s say difficult. We’ve been through this area before, five years ago – again in May, but instead of spending three weeks on this section we did it in around eight days.
Here are a couple of screenshots of the map and vehicle stats. Interestingly, diesel is more expensive here than in the states. I thought it would be about the same difference, but in the other direction. So about $1US more than my estimate.
To get the difficulties and bummers out of the way:
- It’s bloody hot here on the coast. Once we got to the Palm Desert east of Los Angeles, the temps have remained in the upper 90’s and low 100’s. The further south we got, the more humidity was laid upon us. This is May, after all. My inverter took a dump a week or so ago and that made driving without air conditioning tiresome. The inverter has been fixed – I derped it, so now I am running in the low 80’s on the road. Not too bad if you consider the bus is like a terrarium. I have the windows covered to prevent the heat from coming in.
- The bugs suck – literally. 100’s of bits on the arms and legs. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t put ointment on.
- For me… from the border to Puerto Vallarta, is not why I like Mexico. But from here east and south (the highlands), is just in front of us. I’m not a desert kind of person, or tropical costal type of person – in the heat of summer. I like the mountains – and I can see them from here.
Now for the good…
We have so far visited three Pueblos Mágicos. Madalena de Kino in the far north of Sonora, El Rosario in Sinaloa, and Mexcaltitán in Nayarit. They are all unique in their own way, but from my limited exposure to them, leave me wondering about the Pueblos Mágicos program. I have visited many other Pueblos Mágicos, and many were awe inspiring at the architecture, culture, gastronomy, etc. These three were interesting, but didn’t wow.
Magdalena de Kino
Magdalena de Kino was founded in the 1680’s by Father Kino as part of the Spanish missions, similar to that we see in California and Argentina. To go along with this, mission architecture is all over the town. The people revere Kino and the altruistic nature he took to his role as a missionary.
El Rosario is a mining/quarry town. The town was build by the proceeds from the quarry, and due to monsoons, the oldest of the quarry pits filled up and the town made parks out of the resulting lakes. The town is also famous for a local musician who took the spirit and music of Mexico and introduced it to the world – Lola Beltrán.
Mexcaltitán is also known as the Mexican Venice. It is built on a man-made island in the middle of mangrove swamps. It’s an oval of only 400m across at its widest spot. Legend has is that it is from here that the náhuatl people started a pilgrimage to and the founding of the great city of Tenochtitlan – today the City of Mexico. It is said that the eagle and snake of the Mexican flag came from this town.
San Blas was a jumping off place for Mexcaltitán. It was a nice little town with a sorted market of handicrafts. We spent a couple of nights there, hanging on the beach, wandering around town, and going to Mexcaltitán. They have a wildlife sanctuary there where the have alligators lounging next to the side of the road – with a fence between them and the viewing area. The fence only goes a few feet, so the could have just waddled, drug, lunged, or whatever they do on land to move, around the fence and to the tasty, tender tourists.
Lo de Marcos and the Riviera Nayarit
Lo de Marcos, while not a Pueblo Mágico, is a nice beach town. Due to its location on the Riviera Nayarit, it has been gentrified by American and Canadian tourists. Many stores cater to the tourists and have US prices. The owner of a local wine shop – only the second I have seen in my travels throughout Mexico, does not speak Spanish. I went in to ask where there was an ATM and he asked me to speak in English – it would be easier for him.
Lo de Marcos has many (more than four) RV parks. All but one were closed. The one that is open is charging four times the going rate. Granted, it’s a nice fancy resort type of place, but still… I have spent the last two days sitting on the beach, by the pool, wandering around town, and yes… working.
From here on out, we will be heading up into the mountains eastbound. We have driven 2250 miles so far in three weeks. For the next leg, we will be traveling about 1000 miles in 7-8 weeks. So we will slow down quite a bit, but this is the real exciting point. This is what we came here for – culture, archeology, gastronomy, natural wonders, etc.
Stay tuned for the excitement…