MEXICO (Estados Unidos Mexicanos)

(Officially; United Mexico States)


PART 2. 14 BLOGS, Pictures & Gallery



Capital city: Mexico City

Population: 130 million

Currency: Peso

Km travelled: TBA

Days in: TBA

Languages: Spanish,


Many think Mexico is part of Central America. (like us) but it is country of southern North of America and the third largest country in Latin America after Argentina and Brazil. Mexican society is divided by wealth and poverty, with little middle class wedged between the rich and poor. (minimum wages have just been raised to 6USD per 9-hour day) Mexico has 32 states and the 10th most populous country in the world. Since 2007 over 130000 people have died due to drug related conflicts. However, this has not stopped tourism with over 39 million visitors every year.  Mexico despite the challenges it faces as a developing country, Mexico is one of the chief economic and political forces in Latin America. It has a dynamic industrial base, vast mineral resources, a wide-ranging service sector, and the world’s largest population of Spanish speakers. Mexico City the capital, is one of the most populous cities and metropolitan areas in the world. More than half of the Mexican people live in the centre of the country, whereas vast areas of the arid north and the tropical south are sparsely settled.


Info websites


 Mexico has a fascinating history going back thousands of years through the Mayan, Aztec and Olmec cultures that have left Mexico with a rich heritage of stunning archaeological sites. And some of the most famous beach resort cities in the world, Cancun, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Playa Del Carmen, and Cozumel.


Mexico’s most populated city with a staggering 24 million residents! Mexico City is a dizzying blend of culture and tradition. Near Mexico City where we view the huge Sun and Moon pyramids at Teotihuacan. Must do visits Coyoacan, Xochimilco, Historic centre and many museums

OAXACA & SAN CRISTOBAL                                                                                      Discover the cultural ancestry of the Zapotec people and spend time in the rarefied climes of San Cristobal de la Casas and the magnificent Sumidoro Canyon. San Cristobal de las Casas and explore this lovely city in a guided tour. With winding cobblestone streets and colonial Spanish architecture, San Cristobal maintains a lovely old-world feel mixed with strong indigenous roots.


the stunning jungle ruins of, with its dramatic Mayan step pyramid architecture and Chichen Itza, recently declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.


The world-famous beach resort of Cancun located in Quintana Roo. located at the azure blue Caribbean, soft white sandy beaches (coral sand) and crystal-clear waters. Must do visits, Temple of the scorpion, Xel – Ha aquarium and Secret river.


Merida, “The White City”,

Visit Uxmal (meaning “built three times”), listed as World Heritage, is considered one of the Maya cities that is most representative of the Puuc style,


one of the largest and most prominent Maya cities. Nowadays, Chichen Itza is undoubtedly the best-preserved Maya site on the Yucatan peninsula. Recently declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Close by is the sinkhole of Ik-Kil which is arguably one of the most beautiful cenotes in Mexico.


The most northern and western states in Mexico. It is the world’s second-longest peninsula, just over 1200km long, highlights include Espiritu Santo, Cabo Pulmo, San Ignacio, Todos Santos, Loreto, Tijuana, Lands end and Bahia Conception


A perfect culture and Caribbean combo, Tulum has a sleepy, bohemian feel, Mayan people still live here and fishermen still fish. But the word is that developers are moving in. Lest hope Akumal and Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, get spared?


Palm-lined Pacific shores, dolphins playing, fiesta of food stalls, superb seafood, beach massages. Amazing place according to others


Worldwide a well know city, unfortunately it has been announced it also is the second most dangerous city in the Americana’s. But it has natural beauty environment, golden sand, tropical weather, warm sea water and a huge nightlife. Most famous are the cliff divers jumping of the 35-meter rock.


Because of its vast size and topographic diversity, Mexico has a wide array of climatic conditions. More than half of the country lies south of the Tropic of Cancer. In this area ocean air are the main sources of precipitation, which is heaviest from May through August. Tropical hurricanes, spawned in oceans on both sides of the country, are common in the coastal lowland areas from August through October. Northern Mexico is dominated by the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, and arid and semiarid conditions predominate over much of the Mexican Plateau.

Mexico City

Winter; 8 degrees at night to 25 degrees during the day

Summer; 15 degrees at night to 30 degrees during the day

Rainfall; June to October


Winter; 20 degrees at night to 26 degrees during the day

Summer 25 degrees at night to 35 degrees during the day

Rainfall; June to October


Winter 20 degrees at night to 28 degrees during the day.

Summer 25 degrees at night to 35 degrees during the day

Rainfall; June & Sept till Oct




Rainfall; June to October


Winter 15 degrees at night to 25 degrees during the day

Summer 20 degrees at night to 35 degrees during the day

Rainfall; June to September

Cabo San Lucas

Winter; 15 degrees at night to 25 degrees during the day

Summer; 20 degrees at night to 34 degrees during the day

Rainfall; Aug to October




Winter; 2 degrees at night to 20 degrees during the day

Summer; 20 degrees at night to 35 degrees during the day

Rainfall; June to September


Winter; 22 degrees at night to 30 degrees during the day

Summer; 25 degrees at night to 35 degrees during the day

Rainfall; June and Aug to October





Mexico City to Cancun. Part 1

Feb 12, 2012, we said goodbye to South America, after 3 amazing years with lots of scenery and culture.

Central America is our next destination to explore but due to our truck being Right Hand Drive we had to give Panama and Costa Rica a miss hence we shipped to Vera Cruz in Mexico. Despite the many negative reports regarding break inns we were lucky and the motorhome arrived undamaged. Inefficiency in Vera cruz was the major issue but after 8 days we collected our truck.

10 minutes to Mexico City

Our first stop was Mexico City (officially known as Ciudad de México) the most populous city in North America. (I always thought Mexico was part of Central America) What a difference a day makes, no more beeping horns and well-organized traffic. Mexico City lies in a large valley in the high plateaus in the centre of Mexico and is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes that reach elevations of over 5,000 meters. Mexico City is located at an altitude of 2,240 meters.

Its location in the valley, which has no natural drainage outlet for the waters that flow from the mountainsides, makes the city vulnerable to flooding. Drainage was engineered using canals and tunnels starting in the 17th century. Mexico City primarily rests on what was Lake Texcoco.

Seismic activity is frequent there. Lake Texcoco was drained starting from the 17th century. Although none of the lake waters remain, the city rests on the lake bed’s heavily saturated clay. This soft base is collapsing due to the over-extraction of groundwater. Since the beginning of the 20th century the city has sunk as much as nine meters in some areas.

22 million people call Mexico City home, and this makes it the second largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere and the largest Spanish speaking city in the world. We were surprised to hear that over 700000 US citizens live in Mexico City and a large population of Canadians.

Mexico was a surprise city for us and we loved the atmosphere and the sights such as the Historic centre, floating gardens of Xochimilco, Plaza de la Constitution, Templo Mayor, The Markets; Central de Abasto, Tepito (sells everything and occupies over 20 city blocks) just to name a few.

Just north of town are the famous Teotihuacán Pyramids. Teotihuacan means, the place where gods were created. It is a mysterious area, dominated by the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon and the central Avenue of the Dead.

The city (settled as early as 400BC) had been abandoned for centuries. Teotihuacan’s origins, history, and culture largely remain a mystery. Our 4 days in Mexico City were not enough hence a second visit will happen once we explore the Southern and Northern Part of Mexico in 2021. We were expected in Veracruz where our ship with truck arrived. Veracruz also known as Heroica Veracruz is a major port city located on the Gulf of Mexico (and one of the most inefficient ones we have been dealing with in 16 years of overlanding and 8 RoRo shipments to date).

All up it took 8 days to clear the vehicle. Only once did we meet customs who inspected the truck for narcotics, the rest was all about paperwork. AMAZING. But we did enjoy the carnival in Veracruz and the food.

Veracruz has a blend of cultures, mostly indigenous, ethnic Spanish, and Afro-Cuban. The influence of these three is best seen in the food and music of the area, which has strong Hispanic, Caribbean, and African influences.

Veracruz mainly caters for locals and is not a popular tourist destination as many other resort areas in Mexico. The cultural centre of the city is its main plaza, officially named Plaza de las Armas but commonly called the Zocalo.

And it was here we spent most nights. It is occupied from morning to night with people playing dominos, selling food, cigars, etc. playing music, dancing, and other activities. It is more crowded in the evening, when roving musicians play music and people dance. After 2 days south of Veracruz getting our truck sorted, we left for the Yucatan area. Our first stop was Villahermosa which means beautiful village and is the capital city of the Mexican state Tabasco.

Our overnight stop was at the large swimming pool just before the town centre. Obviously, we had heard of snowbirds and US travellers in huge motorhomes. But after 16 years of travel I would never expect to drive into a parking lot of a swimming pool and meet 21 huge motorhomes with half of them towing small cars behind them! Not sure if we scared them but it took till around 5.30PM before they came out of their airconditioned motorhomes, they told us it was so hot?!?!? I thought this is why you come to Mexico? Anyway, a great night and we listened to all the dangers Mexico had and that we should not travel alone or camp in the bush. Next morning, we were charged 35USD for one night!!!!! The snowbirds told me this was cheap and most important safe?!?!? We started to wonder if you are that scared why would visit Mexico?

Our next destination was Calakmul ruins recognized by UNESCO as cultural Heritage. However, after the news we received from Australia plus the fact we were told the border with Belize could close we decided to bush camp near Calakmul and continue to Chetumal. We set up camp a few days later in Chetumal and by this time it became clear that the news we were following from the USA was not what the rest of the world was reporting and when the Australian Government urged everyone to come home while it was still possible we started to realize that the news given to the US people was not necessary correct.

Our first priority was to get the TIP for the scooter cancelled (Quintana Roo is a TIP free state). We made this a day out not just to cancel the TIP but also to explore Chetumal on the scooter. Chetumal means place of red wood and it has around 170000 inhabitants. The city is situated on the western side of Chetumal Bay and is the main trading gateway between Mexico and Belize just 15km south of the city. Because of its location on the Caribbean coastline, it is vulnerable to cyclones and cyclone Dean and Janet both Category 5 cyclones made landfall in Chetumal in 1955 and 2007. (Cyclones are called Hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere).

We loved our campsite in Chetumal and love this city far away from the Cancun tourist trap. Our few days in Chetumal became 8 days and lots of exploring on the scooter. During our stay we did not visit the lake of the seven colours and Bacalar, but we will visit this amazing part during our next visit. Internet became now important as we were looking for an earlier flight back home. By now it became clear airlines were reducing flights but both Mexico and the USA were still in a very relaxed mood advising citizens, they had it all under control!!! As we were waiting to get an earlier flight home, we enjoyed our journey north, beach hopping towards Cancun.

On the way we passed by Tulum the site of a pre-Colombian Mayan walled city. The city was crowded with tourists and it made us wonder if we also should stay in Mexico? Next, we met up with Martin and Paula Ex overlanders who now call Mexico home. Martin helped us with some issues we had (melted fuses) after plugging into the power supply while on a powered campsite. We could park in their garden in Playa Del Carmen. At the time in Australia all bars, restaurants and coffee shops had to close, playgrounds, sporting events etc. were called off, foreign tourists where no longer allowed into Australia and cruise ships were no longer allowed to dock.

However, in both Tulum & Playa del Carmen life went on as normal with thousands of tourists and parties every night. Like Tulum it was 20 years since we had visited this area and Playa del Carmen has recently undergone extremely rapid development with new luxury residential condominium buildings, restaurants, boutiques, and entertainment venues. Tourist activity in Playa del Carmen centres on Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue, which stretches from Calle 1 Norte to Calle 40. A pedestrian walkway located just one or two blocks inland from the beach, Fifth Avenue is lined with hundreds of shops, bars, and restaurants. There are many small boutique hotels on and just off Fifth Avenue and on the beach.

Nothing reminded me of the originally small fishing town. Our next stop was Cancun, a tourist mecca for Americans and largely overpriced. Cancun consist of 2 areas: the downtown area and the Hotel zone. In 2004 we spent a week in Cancun but during this recent visit we did not recognize the city, lots of development, overpriced cafes and bars, the undeveloped lagoon areas now all under development. In short is has nothing to do with the Mexico we experienced while driving from Veracruz to Chetumal. Another area of concern are the violent acts related to drug trafficking between 2013 and 2018. Peaking in 2018 with in the month of January (Height of the tourist season) 33 murders in just one month and a continuing wave of violence and murders the following months. Most have occurred in the urban nucleus, and there have been various violent episodes with firearms in the so-called “Zona Hotelera” Maybe the above and incredible cost for food, accommodation and beverages and not being the Mexico people look for while travelling had something to do with a decrease in tourism in both 2019 and 2020 (before the Corona crisis).

We parked our truck around 30km East of Cancun and 23 km from the airport. Lucky, we found a flight out of Cancun to return home but were surprised to arrive at both Cancun and Dallas airport in the USA that it was life as normal without any checking. (this was March 23) the rest is now history and it now shows they left all by far too late. While we arrived in Australia, we were required to spend 2 weeks at home in Self Isolation.

Let’s hope this corona virus is going to go away soon and we can travel again. Our plan is to be back in Mexico Mid-August to explore Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.  Stay safe and till next time once we arrive back in Mexico again

Oct 30, and we are ready to start Mexico Part 2.

Catching up with friends who live in Playa Del Carmen

Already December and back on the road for the last 5 weeks. Travelling from Australia to the USA with just 22 people onboard was amazing 9 in business, 9 in economy and 4 in premium economy. Arriving in the USA was remarkably interesting, despite the huge amount of Corona cases we never were checked. Next our flight to Cancun (full flight) no checks. Landing in Cancun was interesting during a huge storm. Our motorhome survived 2 hurricanes and except from a ripped apart tarp all good. First stop was Playa Del Carmen where we caught up with friends, got ourselves set up, did shopping etc and started our trip. Cancun is known as the USA playground and really it has nothing to do with Mexico. It is expensive and overrated. At the hotel strip, you will see hundreds of different fast-food joints such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Burger King. Apart from the island tourist zone, a major confusion for many is that Mexico uses the $ sign for pesos, and shady street vendors occasionally ‘forget’ to mention this to tourists when taking their money. Cancun (Hotel Zone) is an island, joined to the mainland by bridges at each end. The Mexican residential section of the city, the downtown part of which is known as “El Centro”, follows a master plan that consists of “supermanzanas (superblocks), giant trapezoids with a central, open, non-residential area cut in by u-shaped residential streets.

The city is on the Caribbean and is one of Mexico’s easternmost points. Playa del Carmen in the heart of the Riviera Maya, was once a fishing village known as Xaman Há; Nowadays it is a cosmopolitan beach town with lodging and entertainment options. Due to Corona, no cruise ships, no thousands of tourists, hence beaches with different shades of blue and fine white sand all empty.

No need to find a secluded beach this time. Great beaches surrounded by incredible coconut palms; others have the reef just a few steps away, so the waves are gentle, and others have the great fortune of having a freshwater body nearby, such as a cenote or lagoon. Next stop Paamul Once simply a trailer park on a beautiful stretch of white sand beach, Paamul is now a little beachfront community. It now has become a RV heaven for US and Canadians willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money for parking their motorhomes and spending most of the day inside with the air conditioner running overtime? /!?!

Having great memories of Chetumal near the Belize border we decided to return enjoying one of the best campsites so far in Mexico and South America. While staying at the campsite we copped the aftermath of Hurricane Iota which devastated Belize, Honduras and Guatemala (Category 4). We were lucky only to receive the rain (500mm in 3 days).

With Belize borders closed for at least another month we decided to skip Belize and make our way slowly to Guatemala.

First stop was Calakmul. Despite an email asking if Calakmul was open (other overlanders told us it would open this week) and the official website stating it was open, upon arrival it was closed?!?!? The email they never responded to (normal in Mexico) At the gate we were told that roadworks were happening, and the road was closed till further notice. It also included tree pruning. Disappointed but hey that is life and as an overlander you cannot be lucky all the time.

One of the main reasons for our visit was the fact that the Mayan site of Calakmul in the state of Campeche is basically untouched by tourism, also impressive is the location in the middle of the rainforest, away from any civilisation. We decided to bush camp in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve near the main gate and enjoy the howling monkeys and other wildlife.  At least we had that feeling and it helped.

We did a fair bit of research but nothing you can do when the website states it is open when it is not. (At this stage Nov 28, 2020 no date has been set for the reopening. Please note the Calakmul ruins pictures are not ours.  Next day we left disappointed not to have seen Calakmul but looked forward to our next destination Palenque. According to others, located in the poorest part of Mexico. (Chiapas) Perhaps Mexico’s most breath-taking archaeological park. nestled on a thickly wooded ridge is the ancient Mayan city of Palenque only a few kilometres away from the city centre right in the rainforest.

The architecture is impressive, surrounded by lush tropical forest and jungle, this site has a mystical atmosphere. This time we choose to stay in a hotel garden close to the entrance, a great place with the surrounding forest home to a huge variety of wildlife, such as the colourful toucan and monkeys, including howling monkeys. The hotel we stayed was called Maya Bell, great owners, great staff. Once you enter the archaeological park take note, everything you see was built without the benefit of metal tools, the horse, or the wheel.

This place was purely created by human labour. Today, excavations are on-going to uncover more mysteries about the ancient civilizations of the Maya. Part of the site was closed off as work to uncover the hidden treasures, reclaimed by nature over centuries of disuse, continues. Only a small number of the estimated 500+ buildings across the site have been excavated. The most attractive ruin is the Temple of Inscriptions.

This is the first structure you will see as you climb the hill up to the old city. Due to torrential rain places we could visit were now also restricted. It should be noted that due to Corona restrictions only 600 people maximum per day are allowed in the park. Our visit was on a Monday and just 20 people were around. For us an amazing experience and for us one of the great benefits while travelling during Corona. Till next time when we visit Guatemala

Part 3. Exploring Chiapas travelling from Guatamala Border to the Oaxaca 


We are back in Mexico after 9 weeks in Guatemala, we entered Mexico from La Melissa. The State of Chiapas is the most southern state in Mexico, the poorest in Mexico and the state with the largest indigenous population. The mountains in Chiapas are scenic with a diverse landscape subject to altitude. The highest peak is volcano Tacana at 4080 meters. Just past the border the first stop planned was Lagunas de Montebello National park. These lakes are known for their varying colours  of green and blue that glisten in the sunlight. But misty weather made us change our mind and we continued further North into Chiapas.

We were advised not to drive into San Cristobal, but a wrong turn got us into town and very narrow streets in the outskirts of San Cristobal it became very narrow and with mirrors in we still managed to hit a few roofs (OOPS) the width of some streets looked more like India-Nepal and Pakistan. After we found our camp spot it was time to explore San Cristobal de las Casas. San Cristobal de las Casas is the fourth largest city in the state of Chiapas. (pop 200.000.00) the city is mainly populated by indigenous people, cobblestoned streets and pastel dwellings in this mountain setting adds to San Cristobal’s charm and atmosphere. However, the nights are cold (down to 2 degrees while we were here) at an altitude of just under 2280 meters days are okay but nights are cold. It is easy to walk around the city and visit most of the highlights. However, we took a taxi to visit the viewpoints, of San Cristobal de las Casas! Iglesia de Guadalupe and Iglesia de San Cristobal. ( the viewpoints were disappointing. In town we visited the Temple Santo Domingo with its pink facade. This historic church and former convent dating back to the 1700s is arguably the most beautiful church in San Cristobal de las Casas. (if the sun is in the right position) unfortunately during our visit the town’s central Cathedral, which overlooks the main plaza (zocala) in the centre of town was closed for renovations. This Cathedral dates back more than two centuries and is the site of Pope Francis’s visit in February 2016. Another must do is to walk along the many pedestrian-friendly streets and simply soak in in the atmosphere the main pedestrian thoroughfare is Real de Guadalupe. This pedestrian only area is the main tourist part of town and lined with many restaurants, cafes, and bars. San Cristobal is a great place for people watching and observing street vendors. We left San Cristobal de las Casas and drove the 50 kilometres to the Sumidero Canyon, we parked our truck at the boat docks on the Grijalva River from here we took a 2-hour boat tour through the impressive and extremely beautiful Sumidero Canyon. As we travelled deeper into the canyon the canyon walls seem to grow higher and higher. Eventually, those canyon walls will tower nearly a kilometre in height above us. Sumidero Canyon, or Cañon del Sumidero, is part of Parque Nacional Cañon del Sumidero, a national park covering 50,000 acres. It is one of the most visited places in Chiapas and the canyon is even on the Chiapas flag! Sumidero Canyon is about the same age as the Grand Canyon and was formed by the Grijalva River carving through the landscape. Unlike the Grand Canyon, Sumidero Canyon just 12 kilometres long. On the end is the Chicoasen hydroelectric dam, which opened in 1981, and today is one of the most important of electric power in Mexico. We did spot some crocodiles and spider monkeys on the way in. It is true most tourist visit Mexico for the beaches, but it has so much more to offer. It is true the beaches are beautiful near the Cancun-Playa Del Carmen areas. However, exploring Mexico overland visiting remote areas such as Chiapas is and places like San Cristóbal de las casas, Sumidero Canyon, Palenque, chiflon waterfalls are just some must do destinations. 


Oaxaca Beaches in the South West of Mexico for a few weeks of R&R


Our last stop in Chiapas was in Arriaga where we stayed overnight. From here, we crossed the border into the state of Oaxaca, from where we travelled to Salina Cruz on the Pacific coast, following the coast North on highway 200. Oaxaca has a coastline of just over 500km. First stop was Huatulco National Park (Bahia’s de Huatulco) This area has lots of bird and wildlife including armadillos, white tailed deer, pelicans, hawks, dolphins, turtles, black iguana and snakes, and whales can be seen from the beach at special times of the year.

We came here to explore the many beaches and bays. Nestled in the blue waters are 36 beaches with creamy white sand. The four main parts of Huatulco are Taugolunda, Santa Cruz, Chahue and La Crucecita where we did our shopping at the Chedraui.

To fully get a taste of the area and appreciate the stunning beauty you must get away from the developed areas of Huatulco. One of these out-of-the-way places that is a must to visit is San Agustin Bay. San Agustin is a sleepy little village nestled along the hillside dropping into the bay. The houses and restaurants are rustic buildings made of wood with palm covered palapas to offer shade. It is the home to around 200 people (all seem to be related) making their living from fishing or providing services to the tourists. We were told that electricity is relatively new in town and so is the internet and running water. San Agustín Bay is home to two lovely beaches, with soft white sand. San Agustin is not crowded and the main reason it is not crowded is that it is about 19 km down a dirt track to get to the village. For us it was a perfect place to relax and instead of 1 week we stayed 2 weeks

Puerto Angel is a traditional Mexican fishing village on the Oaxaca coast. The town beach is a good port, so you will see boats docked all around. It is a small fishing port of exceptional rustic beauty and is located in a picturesque bay with steep cliffs bordering the small cove. For us it was a nice village to visit but due to its commercial nature it did not appeal to us to stay overnight. Playa Panteón and Playa Estacahuite we did not visit but we are told they are nicer beaches.

Zipolite Beach (our favourite) just a few kilometres North of Puerto Angel has sand which is gold coloured and a moderate slope. The water is crystal clear with green and blue hues, and warm. In the local (Nahuatl) language it means the Beach of the Dead because of the dangerous ocean currents. It is not located in a bay, but it has a perfect beach of approx. 3 kilometres long and at least 80 meters wide and is guarded on both ends by big cliffs. It’s picturesque and a beautiful place to watch the sunset. We were told Zipolite is a nudist beach and yes it has a “clothing optional ” beach, although there were only a few naked people around during our visit. The beach is lined with great restaurants & bars. Just of the beach is a great cobbled street also lined with shops and restaurants/bars. Our intended stay of a few days became 7 days in Zipolite.

Next stop was San Agustinillo a very small village just before Mazunte. It is much smaller than Mazunte, and has an even more relaxed and quiet vibe. There are lots of cove beaches in the San Agustinillo bay.

Next stop Mazunte. Mazunte owes its name to a blue crab that was once very numerous in the area. The beach stretches for over 1 kilometre of perfect golden sand and there are many restaurants and bars. There are also pizzerias and small restaurants serving Italian, Argentine and Japanese food. In Mazunte you have a hill called Punta Cometa at a strategic location, and it allows you from this location to watch both the sunrise and the sunset. Mazunte also hosts the Mexican turtle centre but during our visit it was closed. This Mexican village appears to be full of long term US and Canadian residents. We never made it to Puerto Escondido due to the great atmosphere in this area.

Till next time when we travel inland crossing the Sierra Madra enroute to Oaxaca City via San Jose del Pacifico, famous for its wild mushrooms (particularly of the magic variety)

PART 5. Oaxaca to Mexico City


Travelling in Guatemala and Mexico was simple and hassle free. Covid restrictions were taken serious, temperature checking and washing your hands were mandatory when entering buildings & shops and even local busses and tuk tuks. Mouth covers were mandatory and when crossing international borders, a Covid test was required.

The 6 months travel went extremely fast; in fact, a little too fast, the last few weeks we spent in Oaxaca City in the southern part of Mexico. Oaxaca is a city full of colonial buildings, culture, and archaeological sites. The one we visited was Monte Alban a prehistoric city that was the ancient capital city of the Zapotecs. At the time 35000 people lived in Monte Alban. During the many trips to the city, we enjoyed the Plaza de la Constitution, (Zocalo), the many markets and in particular the Mercado 20 Novembre with its BBQ section (MEAT LOVERS PARADISE)

Our camp spot was just out of town in the town ship of Santa Maria del Tule. This is where you find according to others the widest tree in the world. (Arbol del Tule) The pictures of the tree are not ours as the tree was fenced off due to Covid 19. However, the measurements we are given are as follows: Just 35 meters high, a girth of 36 meter and a diameter of 12 meters at 1.5 meter above ground level. However, to us it looked that 2 trees fused together.

Once we had our flights confirmed it was time to leave for Mexico City to park our truck, organize another Covid test, explore beautiful Mexico City and the flight to the USA (Los Angeles). After another Covid test we spent 3 days exploring Hollywood, Beverley hills and LA.

Our return flight to Australia from Los Angeles was a non-stop flight to Darwin and was less than 60% full (where are all those 37000 Australians so desperate to come home?!?!) 2 weeks in quarantine (Howard Springs) was by far not as bad as people make it out to be. Great staff, great food, and good accommodation. In all it was very well organized.

We are now enjoying our home and our beautiful village Palm Cove located just off the Great Barrier Reef.

PART 6. Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende 


After a long flight from Europe, we arrived early evening in Mexico City, the most populous city in Northern America with over 22 million people living in the greater Mexico area. This makes Mexico City the sixth largest metropolitan area in the world and the second largest in the western hemisphere after San Paolo in Brazil. If possible, try and avoid peak hour driving in Mexico City however even outside peak hour the traffic congested. We are told drivers in Mexico City spend 66% of their time stuck in traffic outside peak hours. If not used to this, the number of cars can be overwhelming, and you could end up stressed and frustrated. Word of advice when in Mexico do not use your blinkers and wait for someone to let you change lanes. (They will not) just squeeze in. Even their efficient and extensive subway system is overcrowded. It has 12 lines with more than 240 subway stations, but just too many people. Mexico City is the densely populated, high-altitude capital of Mexico. It is known for its Templo Mayor, the baroque Cathedral Metropolitana de México and the Palacio Nacional, all of these are situated in and around the Plaza de la Constitución, the massive main square also known as the Zócalo. One of the largest urban centres in the world, Mexico City overflows with life, traffic, and great food. You will find street vendors and world-class fine dining on the same block. Residents are known as “chilangos,” and while the roots of that nickname have been scrutinized, many locals carry it with pride. It is like a badge that Mexicans can endure anything. Located at 2240 meters we needed a few days to get used to the higher altitude. Mexico City is in the Valley of Mexico and is called the Trans Mexican Volcanic Belt. This valley has no natural drainage outlet for the waters that flow from the mountainsides, making the city vulnerable to flooding and earthquakes are frequent.

Tepotzotlán it is located 40 km north of Mexico City. This is where we stored our truck. In the centre, Plaza Hidalgo has the National Viceroyalty Museum, Plaza de las Artesanias is a covered market for handicrafts. To the northwest, towering 18th-century aqueduct Arcos del Sitio has sweeping countryside views. After our regular truck service, it was off and enjoy Central Mexico.

First stop Gruttas Tolantongo with its warm turquoise water a few hours North of Mexico City Tolantongo is a large site, consisting of four distinct natural areas: the pools, the river, the tunnel, and of course, the cave. The waters at Tolantongo are natural and free flowing but the pools themselves are manmade. (The pictures are not ours)

San Miguel de Allende is a city in the state of Guanajuato, and one of the main tourist destinations in Central Mexico Today, (Read Tourist trap) an old section of the town is part of a proclaimed World Heritage Site, attracting thousands of tourists and new residents from abroad every year. In fact, lots of US and Canadian expats (and financial refugees) who live here permanent. We are told Expats could be nearly 15 % of the town’s population. This has resulted in extremely soaring prices not just food but also house rent. The locals are not always happy with those expats as it increases rent and house prices. We are told that struggling locals which appears to be 48% of the population is in moderate or extreme” poverty?

Below some of the 2020 statistics from google

  • 63% of the population over the age of 15 has only a middle school education or less
  • 8% of residents do not have access to sewage systems (that is 14,400 people without a toilet)

11.42% of homes do not have access to healthcare

  • 14.72% of homes do not have a refrigerator
  • 8% illiteracy rate in people over the age of 15

San Miguel de Allende, a colonial-era city in Mexico’s central highlands, is known for its baroque Spanish architecture, thriving arts scene and cultural festivals. We love the cobblestone steep roads, colonial architecture, and colourful streets full of art and glamour this makes San Miguel a unique place to visit in Mexico. what we liked the most about San Miguel de Allende were its colourful streets. The ones we liked best were Calle Aldama and El Chorro

There is an endless selection of restaurants and cafés, and the city comes to life after dark. Evenings are filled with live music, rooftop cocktails, therefore it was nominated as one of the most enchanting towns in the world in 2021. Not sure if I would agree. While it certainly has its local flair, the city also felt like a downright tourist trap. The city’s central Jardin Allende with its mariachi bands comes to live late afternoon and is a must do when in San Miquel de Allende. Come night-time, the Jardin is bustling with people and the roof top bars are overflowing.

Of all the hot springs around San Miguel de Allende La Gruta the most attractive four hot springs and a cave They differ in temperature and ambiance and surrounded by lush vegetation. The Gruta, a man-made cavern said to be the source of the hot spring water. To get there, you will first need to weave your way through a narrow stone tunnel filled with clear blue hot spring waters. The tunnel leads to a domed-shaped grotto, where you can stand under the natural hot spring shower as water flows from a sprout in the roof. As this is the source of the spring, it can be quite hot and steamy here. Below 5 minute compilation Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

PART 6. San Miguel de Allende to Guanajuato


Time to leave San Miguel de Allende, not sure what to think of this town. It is very historical, it is pretty, but it has become a tourist trap. Enroute to Guanajuato our next stop was Dolores Hidalgo a town also with an important historical heritage that is present in its streets and squares. it is the birthplace of the composer of popular music in Mexico José Alfredo Jiménez. The town is also known for its handicraft called majolica ceramics.

Guanajuato is a city in central Mexico. Originally a mining town and the mines were so rich that the city was once one of the largest producers of silver in the world. Guanajuato and its mines became a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988

Guanajuato is in a narrow valley, which makes its streets narrow and winding. Most are alleys that cars cannot pass through, and some are long sets of stairs up the mountainsides. Many of the city’s thoroughfares are partially or fully underground. The historic centre has numerous small plazas and colonial-era mansions, churches, and civil constructions built using pink or green sandstone. The city historic centre and the adjacent mines were proclaimed a world heritage site by UNESCO 1988. Above town you’ll see one monument, El Pípila, standing tall. Dedicated to an independence hero, the 25m statue offers the best view in town. Guanajuato is a university city and serves approximately 30,000 students at the high school, bachelor’s, and graduate levels. The students are known to have roving parties in the narrow streets and alleys with live musicians. It is called Callejoneadas.

The main street into the city, called Belaunzarán, now runs for three km underground and follows the original course of the river. Most streets in Guanajuato are paved with square cut stone, with only a limited number that are passable to cars. Definitely not designed for our truck. Because of the extremely hilly terrain, only one main road enters and another one leaves the Town.

The Bright buildings, twisting alleyways and tree-lined streets make this mountain town a much nicer town than San Miquel de Allende.

For us the town had 4 highlights 1. The nice coble stone streets. 2. The colourful houses. 3. The underground tunnels. 4. Mummies Museum

The most famous alley is the Callejón del Beso (Alley of the Kiss) located in a neighbourhood that dates to the 18th century, it is only 168 cm wide in places with balconies that nearly touch each other. Juárez Street is one of the few through streets on the surface. Lots of shops and restaurants, the other through streets of town are either partially or fully underground, following the old drainage ditches and tunnels dug during colonial times. Most streets and alleys of the Guanajuato are filled with mostly colonial era buildings, restaurants, bars, cafes with outdoor seating on small plazas and live music. (Mariachi’s) Most of these plazas are in front of or to the side of the many churches.

The Guanajuato underground tunnels are a network of cobblestone roads that help lead traffic away from the city centre. These tunnels have different layer crossroads and underground junctions. The tunnels are used for traffic which is heading in an eastward’s direction. The westward direction passes through the centre of Guanajuato. All the tunnels have footpaths and bus stops. Today, there’s a whole network of roads through the mountains surrounding the city and sometimes there are tunnels going right under homes and businesses, coming out on the other side of a hill. Stone staircases lead down from street level into the underground tunnels offering locals an alternative to the labyrinth of alleyways that snake through the historic centre of Guanajuato.

During our stay there were no events in the tunnels while we were in town. We are told the most chance of this happening if you arrive when the Cervantino Festival runs close to the day of the dead. But we are told information about these events in the Guanajuato tunnels never seem to happen until the weekend they’re happening.

We are not into museums BUT after visiting the Cairo Museum (mummies) in Egypt during our overland around the world tour we decided that the Mummies of Guanajuato had to be included. The museum on the side of the municipal cemetery in the Tepetapa neighbourhood is a must. The collection contains 111 mummies, mostly women, with some men and about 20 children, but only 59 of these are on display. It is considered the largest collection of mummies in the Western Hemisphere The first of the documented mummies, which has been on display in one form or another since the 1870s, is that of a French doctor named Remigio Leroy.

Guanajuato Funicular the Guanajuato funicular removes the pain and effort to reach the statue of El Pipila and the best viewpoint over Guanajuato. The recently installed funicular climbs one of the steepest hills, that surround Guanajuato, at a 30° angle and the demanding walk is completed in less than a minute. The ride up does provide good views of central Guanajuato but the views from El Pipila are better.

Unfortunately, we did something we have never done in 19 years of overlanding we booked ahead. Having now well and truly arrived in US and Canadian RV territory we were told we need to book ahead as most parks are full of permanents or semi permanent US and Canadians. Should not have booked and stayed longer.

Guanajuato has a lively vibe and is the type of place you like to spend a week or longer. And I wish we did. Carlos from Bugamville RV park, many thanks for showing us your amazing town and driving us down the very steep narrow alleys in your vehicle. Your knowledge was incredible.

PART 7.  Lake Chapala 


Jocotepec and Chapala, are picturesque Mexican colonial towns on the northern shoreline of Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest lake, situated in the mountains about an hour’s drive from Guadalajara and a six-hour drive northwest of Mexico City.

Ajijic, has been a magnet for foreign residents, particularly retired Americans and Canadians who enjoy a comfortable (cheap) retirement here. In fact, it may as well be the US or Canada because during our visit to Ajijic we heard more English than Spanish. Cost of food and beverage is high and instead of Mariachi on the main plaza we found a rock band from the US playing music. (Not why I would like to come and live in Mexico), But the town does cater for the international tourists, with hotels, B & Bs and restaurants galore.

JOCOTEPEC was the town we enjoyed most as it was the most Mexican, and full of Mexican life and lots of music, we were lucky to witness one of the many street parades. The local plaza was a superb place to people watch and to get involved in the fun. Its streets are narrow, paved with cobblestones. Most homes are behind stone or brick walls. The surrounding area is full of farms growing raspberries and corn and chayote. Other industries include custom made tiles, wood, and Iron furniture and like the tiles all custom made. The Malecon has magnificent views over the lake and mountains. Due to very few tourists in the town of Jocotepec you see only a few vendors and restaurants, and this gives a real Mexican feel. There is also free camping in the carpark of the Malecon. We also stayed at Roca Azul (desperate for a swim) but not sure what to think of it as the park is 90% full of huge motorhomes who do not seem to move. BUT it has a great pool and a warm thermal pool.

CHAPALA is the largest town on the shores of Lake Chapala. It is the weekend escape for the people of Guadalajara. The yearly Mardi Gras is the biggest in Mexico we are told the carnival the week before is an absolute must to visit

The Malecon in Chapala has a scenic pier but is super busy on weekends with lots of entertainment and people watching from many of the food stalls, restaurants, and Ice cream places. Lovely stalls selling their handicraft, and coconuts. Mariachi everywhere. We had a great lunch with live Mexican music lakeside in front of the Chapala sign. Unfortunately, we missed the flying dancers, but enjoyed the Mariachi.

LAKE CHAPALA is nestled in a valley at around 1500 meters in the middle of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Lake Chapala is Mexico’s largest freshwater lake. Located at an altitude of just over 1500 meters, the lake is around 80KM long and 12.5 km wide. Average dept of the lake is just 7 meters and it has 3 islands Los Alacranes, Mezcala and Isla Menor. All accessible from Chapala and one possible from Jocotopec. It is hard to work out who to believe. But listening to the locals the lakes pollution is a real concern to the locals. They tell us the chemicals and detergents flowing into the lake is destroying the lake which is full of algae, and weeds. Whoever is right or wrong Lake Chapala is dirty. It smells, there is lots of algae, garbage along the edges.

The scenery around Lake Chapala is nice but if I had to move out of the US or Canada for a cheaper retirement, I would much more prefer Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.

PART 8. Lake Chapala to Tequila 


We are now in Jalisco State officially the Free and Sovereign State of Jalisco. and its capital and largest city is Guadalajara. It is in Western Mexico and is bordered by six states. Many of the characteristic of Mexican culture, are originally from Jalisco, such as mariachi, ranchera music, and Tequila. Guadalajara is the 10th largest city in Latin America and the second most populous metropolitan area in Mexico. (Population 7 million) There are also large numbers of US and Canadians living in the State of Jalisco mainly around Lake Chapala, Guadalajara, and Puerto Vallarta.

The state of Jalisco is one of Mexico’s top producers of beef and pork, from livestock raised in the highlands. But also, a major supplier of corn, wheat, and beans in the uplands and sugarcane, cotton, rice, and tobacco in the warmer districts.

Only 70 km west of the capital Guadalajara is the town of Tequila. By not taking the toll road you pass through little villages, and all seem to survive on the Agave cactus for the beverage tequila. This road is also called La Ruta and in Tequila we were told over 150 distilleries are along this route. This part of Mexico will show you Agave Cactus fields as far as the eye can see.

Santiago de Tequila, or simply known as Tequila has a population of just over 26000. Mexico is known worldwide for 3 things, Corona, Tequila, and Taco’s so this town is a must visit when in Mexico.

There is no better place to learn about tequila than this traditional distilled drink in Tequila. In 2006 Tequila became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The best place to sample Tequila is in the local Cantina at the main plaza. Here we learned that the locals drink Tequila 2 ways. They order a quality tequila and sip on it to taste the amazing flavour, or they drink a batanga which is a mixed drink of tequila, lime, and Coca-Cola. (We loved this drink)

We also learned that tequila can only legally produced in the Tequila country of Mexico? Wasn’t this the case with champagne too? only from the Champagne region of France?

Unfortunately, we missed the nightly blessing from the priest who rings the bells 3 times and directs the holy cross towards all 4 cardinal points. But had tequila instead.

La Rojeña is Jose Cuervo’s flagship distillery and not only the oldest in Latin America in also produces 33% of the worlds Tequila. It is right in the middle of the city and across the road from the central square. Having sold Jose Cuervo over the bar for many years it was a must do visit. Tasting their premium tequila Reserva de la Familia was amazing.

We learned that all those years we sold Jose Cuervo in Australia we sold the type what should only be used for cocktails or mixing. Other great distilleries are La Cofradia just out of town, Casa Herradura, Casa Sauza. We did not visit La Fortaleza but are told this is located on top of the mountain in Tequila.

Tequila is made from Blue Agave; it belongs to the cactus variety. The red volcanic soils are well suited for growing the blue agave, and more than 280 million of the plants are harvested each year. Blue agaves grown in the highlands are larger and sweeter in aroma and taste. Agaves harvested in the valley region have a more herbal fragrance and flavour

We visited the Jose Cuervo distillery, here we saw the agave hearts being chopped and taken to the ovens, we saw the barrels where the tequila is aged between 1 and 8 years. The 8-year aged is for the Reserva de family while the reposado tequila is only aged for 1 year and the aged Tequila (anejo) up to 5 years.

Tequila has more to offer than agave fields, distilleries, factories, and haciendas. It has a lively centre plaza including voladores, Mexico’s flying dancers, cobblestone streets, Cantina’s, and great locals. Unfortunately, we missed the charrería rodeos and mariachi music. Charrería is Mexico’s national sport, consisting of boys and girls. (Charros and charras)

A great place to finish the day if you did not have to many tequilas at the distillery is La Capilla we are told this is the oldest cantina in Tequila.



Puerto Vallarta or Vallarta to the locals. This is a beach resort full of mostly American, Canadian, and European tourist. Puerto Vallarta is currently one of the main tourist destinations in Mexico. 95% of the tourist arrive by air or on a cruise ship, other 5% are snowbirds escaping the cold in the USA or Canada driving huge motorhomes, people like us driving overland around the world and domestic tourist driving from nearby towns inland.

Puerto Vallarta is not the Mexico we like it is very American. We were forewarned by other overlanders and our plan was to avoid Puerto Vallarta and head to the beaches north of Puerto Vallarta after leaving Tequila.

But due to Hurricane Roslyn*1 (Category 4) approaching beach camping was not a clever idea, so we headed to Puerto Vallarta for safety and shopping as the main road in could be closed for days if the hurricane would hit Puerto Vallarta.

We arrived on Thursday and the Hurricane was expected to hit on Monday so enough time to do sightseeing. Large beachfront hotels and vibrant Malecon which has become the meeting point for locals and tourist. The Malecon is dotted with sculptures, fast food restaurants, such as Mc Donald’s, Outback steakhouse, Dairy Queen, Senior frogs just to name a few, art and craft galleries, souvenir shops, bars, nightclubs, and more restaurants. All this has Puerto Vallarta earn a position among world-class beach destinations. Unfortunately we did not see a nice beach in Puerto Vallarta assuming they all in front of the hotels or either North or South of the city. The beaches in Puerto Vallarta we saw were pebble beaches where the locals stayed.

At sunset, bars, cafes, and nightclubs spread out from the Malecon and the cobbled streets of the Romantic Zone and Playa Los Muertos, to La Marina. Many live bands with the latest beats will keep you up till dawn the following morning. The ocean front gets very much alive and plenty of choice for bars with signature cocktails, drinks, and international cuisine. To cater for tourist and Americans and Canadians who live here.

Our initial plan was to park at the Walmart, but police told us due to the upcoming hurricane it was better to stay in a park as the Walmart carpark was wide and open. Hence, we arrived at Tachos Trailer Park. 500 pesos per night, plus 150 pesos per day for Wi-Fi. Around 8 RV were parked in a park which could house at least 60 or 70. Toilets were filthy and never cleaned during the days we were in the park, showers were cold, grounds were a mess, pool was green and full of algae and other floaties and the electricity was on and off. In short, a mess and a rip off.

Not a town I would recommend for overlanders except to do shopping. OUR VIEW ONLY

Till next time when we explore some amazing beaches and villages while driving North towards San Blas.

*1 As it turned out the hurricane missed us and we could not wait to leave the filthy trailer park and Puerto Vallarta, except from some wind and heavy rain we had no damage. This could not be said from some low laying areas and the suburbs of Puerto Vallarta as we discovered once the road north reopened (pictures are copied from local newspaper)

*2 included some pictures of the filthy trailer park.



The Hurricane has passed the road North reopened glad to leave Puerto Vallarta. The road along the coast winds north through the municipalities of Banderas Bay, all the way to San Blas.

This area is called the Riviera Nayarit and starts just 15 minutes North of Puerto Vallarta, the state of Riviera Nayarit is around 250km long and includes popular tourist destinations like Nuevo Vallarta, Punta Mita, Sayulita, Rincon de Guayabitos, La Penita, Chacala, all located between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre Mountain range. The area is multicultural and full of expats mainly from the US and Canada and is called GRINGO CENTRAL. During the period Nov to March the place is invaded by snowbirds escaping the cold weather in Canada and USA. Be warned the RV parks are packed with huge motor homes and 5th wheelers. Just about touching each other in overcrowded RV parks between middle of Nov and the end of March. As overlander an area I would avoid during this time.

In Jocotopec we met a great Canadian Couple Jason and Bernice who told us they had a spot organized for us in Rincon. Right on the beach, hence we decided this would be our first stop. On the way we visited Mita Point, Sayulita and lo de Marcos. Sayulita stood out due to a wide variety in restaurants from Thai to Italian, Argentinian, French, Japanese, Mexican and seafood restaurants. None of this part of the coast felt like being in Mexico.

Arriving in Rincon de Guayabitos we arrived at Paraiso del Pescado RV Park.

the park was nearly empty, but we were told as of the Middle of November it was fully booked with snowbirds. Our spot on the beach was perfect and gave us the Mexican Party feeling, many mariachi bands, thousands of Mexicans under beach umbrellas each with their own music, beach vendors selling everything from ice-creams, oysters, pizza’s, coconuts, pineapple, soft drinks, all types of seafood, souvenir sellers and Tattoo artists. This and many beach bars, at night Karaoke next door and lots of music on the beach at night. After the very friendly manager sorted out our Ferry from Mazatlán to La Paz it was time for us to leave. We are not RV Park people but the park was clean, had great staff, a nice pool and perfect location. BUT you must like 4 or 5 differnet types of music all at once, daily parties, and thousands of people on the beach. Or be a snowbird turn on the aircon and close the door and stay inside complaining about the heat outside. Ha Ha Ha.

We were very lucky to meet Jason and Bernice (Canadians from Vancouver Island) they showed us around the area and the many different and remote beaches. We had lunch at Playa Chacala, and this place is amazing and became our next stop for camping. We also visited La Penita in the evening during the day of the dead watching the parade and the party afterword’s. ( video posted)

Playa Chacala

After we left Rincon de Guayabitos, it was just 30KM north before we arrived at Playa Chacala, and it was pure heaven after noisy Rincon. Chacala is a small village with some beach restaurants and a grassy area bordering the beach. Our plan was to stay here 3 nights, but it became 7. Lucky no hook ups, or electricity hence no snowbirds and as overlanders you would love this place, weekends are a little busy but during the week Chacala is quiet and the beach empty. Amazing spot. This little village will boom in the next few years. Which is a shame, but this is called progress. Walking along the narrow streets you see many traditional homes with special façades, lots of souvenir shops and simple thatched-roof hut beach restaurants serving all kinds of seafood. Or a local bar for a cool drink.

We were hoping to meet the huicholes tribe who are known for their colourful dress, bracelets, embroidery, and plumed hats. But no luck in Chacala but we did meet some a few days later. The mangroves around Nayarit are home to birds, crocodiles, parrots, and lizards. We are told further inland in the mountains you find wild boars and jaguars

Next stop Playa las Tortugas home to one of the state’s most important turtle sanctuaries, like in Australia and other places around the world volunteers from around the world help every year. Lots of palm trees and the beautiful Pacific Ocean makes this a great place to beach camp the whole area around Punta El Custodio with its stunning and isolated beaches is a must do for every overlander. The road in is rough but possible in a 2wd with care

After another recommendation from Jason and Bernice we pulled into the Bahia de matanchén and camped next to restaurant El Chaco on playa las islitas 8 kilometres of sandy beaches became our base to explore the area around San Blas. Very quiet beach only a few people around. But we already missed our amazing previous camp spots, and we would prefer Playa las Tortugas over Bahia de Mantanchen just south of San Blas.

Must do’s are the formation of cliffs near the shores of San Blas, discover the navigable canals surrounded by mangroves, the El Pozo estuary, Explore La Tovara National Park by boat home to turtles and birds see the floating wood homes, occupied by some of the first settlers. and the San Cristóbal River and community crocodile sanctuary, visit the Cora community of Singayta, Playa Novillero Beach Mexico’s longest beach at around 90KM and up to nearly 500 meters wide.

PART 11. San Blas to Mazatlan

Since we are now moving North, we have left Jalisco and Nayarit*1 and have arrived in the state Sinaloa located in North-western Mexico.

Mazatlán, for us a surprise after we did not like Puerto Vallarta and the area directly North of PV. (You may as well go to Miami) Mazatlán was much more Mexican, but we immediately missed the pleasant beach of Playa Tortuga and Chacala. Mazatlán sits perched right at the mouth of the Sea of Cortez, which Jacques Cousteau named The Aquarium of the World.

The Malecon in Mazatlán is one of the longest in Latin America and has many Art Sculptures. La Continuidad de la Vida (the continuation of life) is one of the most iconic of these monuments just past the cliff diver’s rock is a sculpture of leaping dolphins overlooked by a nude couple standing on a snail. This 20-kilometre walkway takes you from the Hotel zone (we did not visit this area) on one end to the Centro Historical which is a protected area known for its pastel-coloured colonial-style buildings and leafy plazas to the other end. Too much to walk for us hence we took the Pulmonia Taxi and did the Malecon in 2 stages. Finishing in one of the beach bars for the nightly happy hours. The Malecon is always humming with activity, live performances, fishermen, and bustling restaurants.


The Pulmonia Taxi in Mazatlán is a unique open-air taxi also nicknamed pneumonia. Due to loss of business, taxi drivers argued these open taxis might give passengers a cold.

Centro Historical and Plaza Machado is the heart of the old city. Lots of historic buildings, peppered with palm trees, Plaza Machado is one of the best spots in the city for people watching and soaking up the local Mazatleco culture. Enjoy one of the outdoor cafés that ring the square and listen to the Mariachi music. The plaza dates to 1837. The narrow cobblestone streets in the old town are flanked on either side with brilliantly coloured colonial buildings, many of which date back more than 500 years.

Walking up the El Faro, was recommended but after we seen the steep climb we decided not to. (PFFFFF) the lighthouse is located on the top of the hill, and we are told the views of Mazatlán are amazing.

Another place we did not visit was Stone Island this was due to running out of time (spend too much time on the beaches in Chacala and Playa Tortuga) and the Ferry to La Paz was booked. Despite its deceptive name, Stone Island is a peninsula.

The Beaches

We were not that impressed after Chacala and Playa Tortuga but If you are really interested in exploring an untapped beach, head as far north as you can to Playa El Verde Camacho, an eco-reserve that is pristine, undeveloped, and known for its many sea turtle nests.

However so far, we would prefer the beaches in Australia and some of the remote beaches in the Yucatan around Progreso and Majahual.

We were hoping to see Whales on the Ferry from Mazatlán to La Paz but unfortunately the Ferry was delayed, and it was dark before we left the harbour. Between December and March, pods of whales’ swim through the Sea of Cortez on their way further south to give birth. Humpback whales start in Alaska, Oregon, and Canada and swim more than 3,000 miles to Mexico.




After 13 hours from Mazatlán to La Paz we arrived in the Baja California Sur. Officially it is called the Free and Sovereign State of Baja California. This is the least populated state in Mexico. But out of the 32 Mexican states it is the 9th largest in area. Baja California Sur is located to the south of the Baja California peninsula and surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez.

Disembarking in Pichilingue harbour was well organized and fast. Our first stop was La Paz for shopping and booking our tickets to Mexico City in 2 weeks. La Paz is the capital city of the Baja California Sur it is a nice town with wide streets, and it is very laid back. La Paz has a nice waterfront with lots of entertainment, bars, and restaurants. We are not city people, but the town and the surrounding mountains made it feel like a village.

Once we did our shopping and organized our flights to Mexico City, we left La Paz for the by other overlanders highly recommended Balandra beach around 30KM north of La Paz. Upon arrival we were stopped at a gate and advised that the beach was full?? 500 people are allowed on the beach in the morning 8AM till Midday and 1PM till 5PM. And no overnight camping allowed? We were also advised that on the first Sunday of the month access is only for Local residents. And to get onto the beach the fee was 60 pesos per person.

In our case arriving at 3PM that day we decided to give Balandra beach a miss and turned around and continued to Tecolote Beach.

This is the end of the road and many beach shacks supply food and beverages for the day trippers. We turned right onto the beach and found ourselves a nice spot on the beach. It was here we were told of the reason for the fees at Balandra and capacity limit by a few locals. 1. The want the beach beautiful and pristine. 2. there was a boating accident in the bay which caused an oils spill which cost a lot of money to clean up hence the fee to get to the beach. 3. We were also advised the Beach may close on Mondays for weekly clean up?

We may return to Balandra beach in April just for the day.

So far, the Baja California, El Sargento and Tecolote Beach gave us the impression of being back in in coastal Australia without the cactus plants. We were warned to expect it to be busy and noisy during the weekends when the locals arrive hence, we decided to follow the beach a long way away from the carpark and restaurants.

The weather was amazing the water was blue. Clear water, lots of colour fish made our days on the beach perfect. That is till we got hit with a storm and extremely high tide. Waking up at 4AM in the morning in knee deep water and waves crashing around us. Yes, we should have checked the weather and the tides but with no telephone reception/Data we did not. Anyway, we got out and parked closer to the restaurants in between the dunes. Our planned trip to Isla del Espiritu Santo (UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site and national park) we cancelled as the boats were full of snowbirds so hopefully most have left in April and we will visit the island with the locals.

Our next stop was the village of El Sargento, a village full of snowbirds and kit surfers packed like sardines in the beach front RV parks. We were forewarned that the Baja was overloaded with Snowbirds spending the winter in the Baja California but why they would like to camp 2FEET away from each other got me stuffed. By now we are used to huge motorhomes and fifth wheelers, but this was just unbelievable.

Just North and south of the villages of El Sargento and La Ventana are perfect white sandy beaches and clear water. But it was windy during our stay (This is why the kite surfers love it here)

It was time to return to La Paz to get ready to fly home and get our truck ready for storage, last few days we stayed at Maranatha RV Park which surprised us. We were given a large site in the rear of the park. Good power and water pressure hence a great spot to clean your vehicle do the washing and get ready to store your vehicle and fly home. Facilities were clean and staff super friendly.

We stored our vehicle at La Paz Storage just before the Airport

 PART 13 Southern Baja California


After 44 hours in the air including transfers and a 3-hour taxi ride we arrived back at our truck storage in La Paz Mexico.

Shopping, Truck service, DHL delivered our Star link and a few great happy hours with long time overlanders Branko & Ingrid and Ton & Chantal Peters we had not seen for over 13 years it was time to get out of the empty camp area (All snowbirds had disappeared)

Baja California is the second-largest peninsula in the world, Baja California is packed with stunning stretches of sand, amazing beaches and bays. Offering overlanders lots of nice bush/beach camps. Due to being sparsely populated just ten people per square kilometre it has many isolated areas for camping. Settlement is concentrated in the cities on the coast, and most people live in the larger cities on the coast. Baja California is in the top 10 regions with the lowest rainfall in the world.

Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo and La Paz are among the fastest growing resorts towns in Mexico offering lots of entertainment to mainly US, Canadian and European holiday makers. However you will find beautiful secret oases hidden in small bays, mountain tracks that lead to little ranches, secret beaches where you can snorkel or just hang out, and other small villages where the locals still live as they did in the 1960s. turtles still lay their eggs by the millions on the beach, hundreds of rays and dolphins swim close to shore, sea lions play on the sandy shores and cows still freely roam the streets in the small villages.

Our first stop was the Cape Pulmo area, located on the East Coast of the Baja California Sur. Cabo Pulmo is a UNESCO World Heritage area. The only area of hard coral reef in the Gulf of California. We are told by the marine biologist that this is the largest and most diverse coral reef in North America, which provide a haven for more than 800 species of marine life in the Sea of Cortez this why people call it The Aquarium of the World”. Cabo Pulmo is home to five of the seven endangered species of sea turtles in the world, as well as one of the largest collections of sharks, including bull sharks, tiger sharks, hammerheads, blacktips, white sharks, and humpbacks Wales per season. Amazing hidden camp spots, white beaches, dunes, and bays makes this a great overland spot to relax.

We followed the coast road south; the road is hard surface, but the corrugations make it very uncomfortable. (Felt like being back home in Australia) The scenery/views are spectacular and make up for the corrugations. 15 km before San Jose del Cabo the coast road turns inland and becomes bitumen (You can also continue straight following the coast further south)

San Jose del Cabo is the slightly more upmarket area with its luxurious new resorts. to its well-known neighbour Cabo San Lucas. San Jose del Cabo town square known as Plaza Mijares is a must see and for those who like to play golf, I am told San José is also known for its excellent golf courses.

Cabo San Lucas is located on the southernmost tip of Baja California with its sprawling golf courses and deluxe villas is visited by the who is who in show business and elite of this world. Ready to party, snorkel, play golf, drink at beachside watering holes till early in the morning or sunny themselves on the beach and visit the reef. But all this comes at a price, out of reach of most Mexicans.

Did we like Cabo San Lucas? Yes, we did we loved the entertainment, the nightlife, the happy hours with live music, the party atmosphere after the sun went down, the beaches where you are served drinks on the beach like in Europe, and it was clean. No doubt the local tourism body understands what the higher end in tourism likes and this makes Cabo San Lucas a Top Holiday Destination but not a destination we would stay as overlanders more than 2 days.

After a few days in Cabo San Lucas, enjoying the local Nightlife, Outdoor entertainment bars and restaurants it was time to leave. Driving North on the west side of the Baja California Sur, facing the Pacific it is a lot cooler than the east side facing the Gulf of California.

First stop Todos Santos arriving in authentic Todos Santos with its colonial architecture and cobblestone streets is a welcome change. Many of the original brick buildings are being transformed into hotels, art galleries, fine shops, and gourmet restaurants. At the hub, is the colourful and legendary Hotel California. We enjoy one of the specialty margaritas or the award-winning hotel California Tequila in the busy bar at the hotel or outside under the stars next to the fountain in the beer garden.

Time to return to La Paz for stage 2 of the Baja California

 PART 14 Central and Northern Baja California


The road to Loretto was easy going, Loreto is in the heart of the Baja California Sur peninsula. We decided to drive a little further north just south of Mulege and found an amazing beach with hardly any people around except 6 or 7 ocean sailors.

The serenity of this beach is notably different than other locations we have visited in Mexico. But I am told when the snowbirds arrive it is packed and noisy generators everywhere as none like the warm weather and spend most of the day inside.

Conception Bay, within the Sea of Cortez is amazing, and we should have stayed longer. This area around Bahia Conception could easy be described as the Baja Beach Hopping area. The white sand beaches of the coves and inlets, with sparkling water, shades of blue and lack of people are in my book the best I have seen during our 2 years in Mexico. I suppose being here in May/June makes a difference as the Americans and Canadians have gone home hence the beaches, coves and inlets are empty.

The sleepy town of Mulege is covered in lushness and date palms along the banks of one of the only 2 rivers in the Baja California. One other huge benefit of very few tourists around is the cost of food, and drinks much cheaper than in Cabo San Lucas or Cabo San Jose. We wished we would have stayed longer. But we have a deadline to meet to present at the Overlander Expo in Oregon.


Just of the Mex 1 about halfway Santa Rosalia and Guerrero Negro. Located in a fertile oasis in the middle of the desert formed by the San Ignacio river where date palms abound, its church is one of the most outstanding and best preserved among the old Jesuit missions. Its construction was started in 1733 by the Jesuit father Fernando Consag. This small oasis full of date palms became a nice overnight stop for us. A large spring-fed pond and small river supply water feeds the large grove lush green date palms. The San Ignacio River comes down from the Sierra de San Francisco until it flows into Laguna San Ignacio, a coastal lagoon in the Pacific Ocean . We did not visit the San Ignacio Lagoon but in season we are told it is full the Pacific Grey whale.


The town has a celebration each year to hail the annual arrival of the Grey Whales that calve in the lagoons of Baja California Sur (BCS). This festival occurs during the first half of February. Guerrero Negro was founded in 1957, when the town started to produce salt for the USA. Eventually it became the greatest salt mine in the world, with a production of seven million tons of salt per year, exported to the main centres of consumption in the Pacific basin, especially Japan, Korea, the United States, Taiwan, New Zealand, and Canada. The company employs more than a thousand employees.

Driving North from Guerrero Negro highway 1 becomes very narrow, and we wondered if the person who designed this road has ever driven a vehicle himself. Locals call it “lost mirror highway” as trucks pass each other with just centimetres to spare at high speed. Driving through the endless cactus spotted desert of Baja California made me feel being at home in Australia except for the cactus and no red sand.


San Felipe is a coastal city in in the Northern Part of the Baja facing east towards the gulf of California (Sea of Cortez). San Felipe originally was a fishing town but being so close to the USA border (2-hour drive) it is now becoming a popular tourist town. Also known for its desert racing being the home of the San Felipe 250. Interesting fact is that at low tide the water can recede as much as 2 km, reason being San Felipe is 3 meters above sea level. The seven-meter tides can expose a kilometre of ocean floor. Personally, after the Bahia Conception we were not that impressed with San Felipe. Hence after a quick visit to the Malecon we left town and decided to camp on the Colorado river at Rancho Mill, where Don has created a perfect bush setting about halfway between San Felipe and the US Border in Mexicali.


located on the outskirts of the Colorado river, Mexicali is considered a business and medical tourism pillar. Mexicali is an important centre for production in the automotive, aerospace, telecommunications, metallurgical, and health items as well as manufacturing and exporting products to many countries.

Mexicali has a desert climate, receiving on average just 70 mm rain annually. And normally this occurs over just 16 days per year. July is the hottest month of the year with an average of 42.5 degrees C during the day. In July 1995 Mexicali recorded its hottest day with 52 degrees. But temperatures around the 50-degree mark is a regular occurrence in summer.

We choose to cross Mexicali East based on what other overlanders told us. And the crossing was easy and border staff was super friendly.

Today we arrived in the land of uncle Sam, (USA) and this means only one more country (Canada) and we have completed our around the world trip. The next 2 years we will be exploring the United States.


  1. Mexico Part 1, Mexico City to Vera Cruz (truck arrives from Colombia)
  2. Mexico Part 2, Vera Cruz to Chetumal
  3. Mexico Part 3, Chiapas (under construction)
  4. Compilation South America Part 1, 2016 to 2019
  5. Compilation South America Part 2, 2019 to 2020 (Under Construction)

  1. Mexico part 1, Mexico City to Vera Cruz (truck arrives from Colombia)

2. Mexico Part 2, Vera Cruz to Chetumal

3. Mexico Part 3, Chiapas

4. Compilation South America Part 1, 2016 to 2019

4. Compilation South America Part 2, 2019 to 2020 (Under Construction)

Pictures below are from our Previous visits to Mexico 2002 and 2004


  1. Mexico Part 1, Mexico City to Vera Cruz (truck arrives from Colombia)
  2. Mexico Part 2, Vera Cruz to Chetumal
  3. Mexico Part 3, Chiapas (under construction)
  4. Compilation South America Part 1, 2016 to 2019
  5. Compilation South America Part 2, 2019 to 2020 (Under Construction)
  1. Mexico part 1, Mexico City to Vera Cruz (truck arrives from Colombia)

2. Mexico Part 2, Vera Cruz to Chetumal

3. Mexico Part 3, Chiapas

4. Compilation South America Part 1, 2016 to 2019

4. Compilation South America Part 2, 2019 to 2020 (Under Construction)