Jan 302012
 

One of the tricky parts of continuous travel is that with every new day comes a new place to research.  Always a new town with a brand new list of must see items.  Guide books are obviously a good starting point, but seldom do they give you what we consider the “good stuff”.  The stuff the locals know:  how to avoid the traps, where to get an authentic yet cheap meal, or how to avoid the crowds and get off the beaten track.  When we were in Oaxaca I visited a few outfitters not with the intention of purchasing services but only in the hopes of gathering information.  I hit the jackpot when I met Eric, a native Oaxacan who was kind enough to spend over an hour giving me the goods.  I left with a laundry list of enticing places to see and things to do.  If not for him we may not have stopped in San Jose Del Pacifico, nor would we have been likely to stop in Chiapas de Corzo to take a tour of Canyon Sumidero.  When we arrived in Chipas de Corzo we quickly realized we had lucked out again in that we had coincidentally arrived during their week long annual fiesta.  And if there’s only one thing we’ve learned about travelling through Mexico it is to never pass up an opportunity to fiesta.

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Jan 252012
 

After over a month of city-hopping, we were more than ready to hit the famed Oaxacan countryside.  The mist covered mountains in this region are dotted with dozens of indigenous villages, most of which are only accessible via remote dirt roads you won’t find on any map.  We had our sights set on a small village by the name of San Jose del Pacifico, a three hour drive south on the region’s only highway.  The windy mountain road provided ample mountain vistas and opportunities for viewing indigenous life.  Continue reading »

Jan 202012
 

After travelling through Northern and Central Mexico, entering the state of Oaxaca was like entering a whole new country.  We began seeing signs of a culture different than any we had previously experienced.  Oaxaca marked our entry into Zapatec country.  No experience better encompassed the most notable differences than a walk through the city market.  The produce stands carry a number of new and strange items, the tortillas have doubled in size and are fried and stuffed with an assortment of delicious fillings and amidst the hum of the market we overheard languages that were neither English nor Spanish.  The metropolis acts as a magnet drawing in all of the regional specialties that left Jill and I overwhelmed with new foods to try and shops to peruse.      Continue reading »

Jan 152012
 

In an effort to combat some pretty severe air pollution, Mexico City implemented “Hoy No Circula” in the late 1980s.  The law translates literally as, “Today, it does not circulate” and is meant to prevent at least 20% of cars from driving on or around the city each day of the week.  The last digit of your license plate determines your day of no driving.  Luckily, we had heard of these rules in advance and planned our time in the area accordingly. Continue reading »

Jan 102012
 

Our introduction to Mexico City was both hectic and stressful.  Despite our lack of a real map, we optimistically (read: stupidly) attempted to drive around the city to our campsite in the north with only a couple hours of daylight ahead of us.  Distance-wise, this was not an unreasonable goal – the drive amounted to only about 80 km, or 50 miles.  But we’re stubborn and as such, we avoid the toll roads as much as possible.  In this case, that meant driving through the center of countless small towns on the outskirts of what is arguably the largest city in the world.  It took us FIVE hours.  Continue reading »

Jan 072012
 

My US centric perspective left me surprised by the fact that, although Whitney may be the tallest mountain in the lower 48, Mexico owns a number of peaks that supersede 15,000 ft.  One of those peaks is Toluca Volcano in the state of Mexico,  which happened to be along our route to Mexico City.  The mountain has good signage from highway 134, which for Mexico is rare.  Heading south down highway 10 a dirt road will split off to the left leading to a toll.  It was 40 pesos for our camioneta (van), 20 for autos.  After the gate the road begins its long ascent up a winding road.  The road to the trail head is 17 km long from highway 10 and can be a bit rough at times.  That being said, we saw a number of vehicles with little clearance making their way up.  When we reached the parking lot, the air was crisp and cool, snow was scattered on the ground and a heavy fog was moving briskly by, a far cry from the sandy beaches of the Pacific. Continue reading »

Jan 032012
 

Deciding which places to visit and which to skip is one of the hardest things about traveling for an extended period of time.  You will undoubtedly have less time than you plan for and you simply cannot see everything.  While much of our trip is spontaneous, deciding one night where we hope to end up the next, we also have a mental list of  “must-sees” along the way.  For me, witnessing the Monarch butterfly migration in Mexico, one of the most impressive migrations in the animal kingdom, was on the top of this list.    Continue reading »

Hiking Santa Cruz in Guanajuato

 Mexico  Comments Off on Hiking Santa Cruz in Guanajuato
Jan 012012
 

Disclaimer:  This post is to assist fellow travelers who wish to hike to the summit of Santa Cruz on the outskirts of Guanajuato.  If you are not of this category this post will provide little entertainment.

 

Every morning spent in Guanajuato began as we watched the sun crest over Santa Cruz.   Being the highest peak within the town’s vicinity we could only imagine the view one must have looking down on the valley floor.  Continue reading »