Clearly, I am a little behind on updates. As you can see from Kiel’s post, we made our way south from our failed attempt at Copper Canyon, hitting Mazatlan, San Blas, Sayulita, Puerto Vallarta, La Manzanilla (not to be confused with Manzanillo, which is just south) and Barra de Navidad. I thought I would throw in some more information and pictures since I am sure we will eventually convince some of you reading this to make the trip.
More like Mazat-lame. Gotta say I was not really a big fan of this area. It was basically just overrun with tourism to the point where it lost any sort of Mexican vibe. We stayed two nights and I’m still not sure why. Also, it should be noted that when I went to the Immigration Office to get my tourist card squared away, the woman working basically told me that her boss would only do it for $1,000 pesos, even though the cost of the card and the penalty was much less.
According to her, the boss of each Immigration Office is allowed to charge whatever they want in addition to the actual cost. I guess this happens often in Mazatlan so this is a good money maker for them. Plus, she said it would take a week! I decided to take my chances without the card until we got to Guadalajara.
San Blas was a great way to forget about our Copper Canyon failure and get out of the spring break/tourist areas. The town was quiet and the beach was even quieter, minus Kiel’s nuptials to a minor. For three days I did nothing but read a book (Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes) and a random selection of Playboys provided by my friend Troy. I swear I was reading them just for the articles! Also, I was getting bit incessantly by sand flies, especially at night. This was really the only drawback to the beach.
After a few days in San Blas we packed up and headed to Sayulita. We had heard that it was a chill little town right on the coast that had some good waves. I’m not so sure I would describe it that way. The town was awesome, and totally alive, but it was unbelievable packed with people from all over. The beach was really rocky and there were a ton of people surfing, so it wasn’t the best place to jump in and relearn the little I know about surfing. We subsequently talked to a couple of other people who passed through recently and all of them said it was not that busy, so maybe we just hit it on a particular weekend when a lot of people were in town. I would certainly still recommend going, just plan ahead for where you are going to stay as there are not that many camping options.
Another town like Mazatlan. PV is pretty huge and the malecon can be fun, but you have to be ready to party like its 1999. We thought about hitting one of the clubs, but they were just too much. As Kiel mentioned, we went to this bar with live music, called Bebotero Company (528 Paseo Diaz Ordaz). It appeared to be mostly locals and the band played some good music that got the crowd going. Beers were cheap enough, 6 for $200 pesos. And there was an awesome picture of Diego Maradona as a fat cherub – which is basically what he is anyway. A fat cherub with a coke problem and lots of gold jewelry. Also, right before you get onto the malecon is a taco place with a 5 for $35 pesos deal (1055 Avenida Mexico). And they are safe.
On the last day before we were heading out of town we stopped at a taco shop to fill up for the road. As I was sitting there, somewhat out of it after a night out, about to scarf down my tacos, the woman next to me pushes this bowl of salsa over to me and tells me it is great for tacos. And she is saying this with a smile on her face. And her friend is laughing under her breath. Obviously she means well and wouldn’t be trying to play a joke on me, right? So I slather the salsa on one of my tacos and dig in. Her and her friend start dying laughing, my eyes start to tear up and I’m now regretting not getting a refresco. I was punked by a middle aged Mexican woman. Good riddens to PV.
Cheap beach camping, a cool little town. Can’t beat it, right? Unless there is a crocodile preserve across the dirt road protected by a fence that looks like this and you are sleeping in a tent.
Needless to say, my first night was a little sleepless. That may have been helped along because the book I was reading as I was going to sleep was ending with an intense scene in the Vietnamese jungle where this young kid is out on a night patrol and while walking through the dark his partner’s head is bit off by a tiger. So my imagination runs wild with scenes of a crocodile (think Lake Placid, the movie) leaping (can crocodiles leap?) through my tent to crush my cranium to small pieces, while Kiel watches in the relative security of the Astro. Why does my imagination run wild like this in the middle of the night when it is completely unnecessary, but never when I was at work and needed to come up with some solution to a unique problem? Anyway, the taco truck that is parked where the paved road begins leaving the camping area, and also right across from the entrance to the crocodile preserve, has great fish burgers for like $60 pesos. Also, there is no ATM in this town.
Barra de Navidad
Not much to add here, except the place we ate was called The Office and the burger was pretty awesome. So were the quesadillas. Also, Kiel ate about six pastries in the space of a day.