A Travellerspoint blog

Mazatlan to Puerto Escondidos 1200 miles


View Austin Texas to Argentina on hayden111's travel map.

Check out www.haydencarlyonphotography.com for more photos from the trip.

After a couple of very relaxing days at the beach in Mazatlan I made the 8 hour drive to Puerto Vallarta. With the winding mountains roads of Durango behind me the drive along the pacific coast was a breeze. Vallarta was as touristy as I expected but after a week on the road by myself it was nice to be among the majority for a change and to meet some fellow travelers.

Alex was meant to meet me in Vallarta but the Mexican embassy in Guatemala wouldn't give him a visa.... long story. So unless Alex could jump the border and enter Mexico illegally, it looked like I would be driving across the rest of Mexico by myself and we would have to meet somewhere in Guatemala. I was already dreading crossing the Guatemalan border, as it is notorious for being the most corrupt and bureaucratic border crossing in the whole of Central and South America. And to do it alone without knowing any Spanish would definitely make things interesting.

Luckily enough I met a Lithuanian hitchhiker while I was in Puerto Vallarta and convinced her to drive down the coast with me and into Guatemala. It would be nice to finally have someone to travel with and share the experience with. As wonderful as it is to be out on the open road just cruising through the little towns and along the beaches, it is much better to have someone to enjoy it with. We hit the road early on Saturday morning and stopped at Baha de Navidad, a beautiful undeveloped, crescent shaped beach about 6 hours south of Vallarta. We spent the afternoon on the beach and the night trying our luck with the local street burritos.

View from the pacific coast highway in Mexico
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The next stop was Playa Azul, which sounded like a nice place to spend a day or two. It wasn't as beautiful as the name suggested but with the local fair/circus in full swing when we arrived, it made for an entertaining evening. Merry-go-rounds, cock fights, drinking, dancing and donkey rides, I cant think of a better way to spend a Monday night. I had never seen a cock fight before so that was certainly an interesting experience. Five rosters pecking the crap out of each other in a small ring, surrounded be hundreds of old Mexican men betting money and cheering for their birds. Thank fully they don't fight to the death, only until they fall over from exhaustion and the winning chicken sits on the losers head.

A random beach that we stopped at on our way to Acapulco
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After deciding that one night in Playa Azul would be enough, we got up early the next morning and made the short drive to Acapulco. Driving in Acapulco is an absolute nightmare. With thousands of cars, buses, trucks and taxis racing around the windy, bumpy streets trying to kill each other, it was by far the most chaotic city I had ever driven in. I knew it was meant to be a crazy city but it was too much, we decided to turn around and drive to a small beach side town 10 km north.

After getting lost for around 30 minutes we finally found our way out of the city, but not before the local police spotted an opportunity to rip off the gringos. Apparently I didn't indicate when I changed lanes and 3 Mexican motorbike police pounced on me. I don't think I have ever seen a person use there indicator in Mexico. I dont even think the cars here come with functioning indicators. Anyway in his broken English, "pay fine now $200, tomorrow police station we go now ok", the crooked policeman explained that I could go to the police station and pay a fine or give him a bribe and go. After realizing that arguing wasn't going to deter the money hungry morons, I reluctantly gave them $20 and we were on our way again. It is true what they say, the police are definitely the biggest crooks in Mexico.

Although Pier Del a Questa is only 10km outside of Aculpolco it is very chilled, and a nice place to spend a few days. With huge waves, a handful of decent restaurants and great weather it is definitely a nice spot.

After a couple of days in Del a Questa we drove to the beautiful beach town of Puerto Escondido. The 8 hour drive turned into a 10 hour ordeal with well over 200 speed bumps and some of the biggest potholes I have ever seen. Some of the holes were so big that the locals had thrown full size car tires in them. Not to mention the all the random animals that would run across the road. We nearly hit a massive bull as we came around one corner.

It was all worth it, definitely the nicest place we had seen so far. A real surf town with beautiful big waves crashing day and night. Great food and a great place to spend a few days. It was the weekend again and the locals were celebrating the day of the dead ( Mexican Halloween) so it was a really cool atmosphere.

Puerto Escondido at sunset
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After nearly 2 weeks on the road I was definitely used to driving on the crazy Mexican roads but looking forward to taking a break and getting to Guatemala.

Posted by hayden111 07:26 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Austin to Mazatlan 1300 miles

sunny 30 °C
View Austin Texas to Argentina on hayden111's travel map.

Check out www.haydencarlyonphotography.com for more photos from the trip.

After abandoning Alex's apartment in Austin (that was a bit of a mouthful) early on Sunday afternoon I drove to Laredo and the Border between Mexico and the US. It was nice relaxing 5 hour drive and my first chance to get to know the car that would be my home for the next 4-5 months. The straight, flat, scenically challenged roads meant that I could take advantage of the cruise control, put my feet up and and take the time to psych myself up for my first border crossing early the next morning. Laredo is a bit rough like most of the Mexican/US border towns so I found a cheap hotel, grabbed a quick bite to eat and called it a day.

The next morning I got an early start and headed to the border at around 6:30am while it was still dark. I was expecting a barrage of questions and for my car to be searched, but it was a piece of cake. It was a cold windy morning and the customs officials weren't about to leave their cozy little offices to inspect my car, so I simply filled out the necessary paper work and drove through.

Although I was planning on spending my first night in Monterey, just 3 hours south of the border I was making such good progress that i decided to push on and try to make it to Durango, another 8-10 hours away. It was an amazing drive and a great feeling to be out on the road, driving alone in uncharted territories. But after spending a painstaking hour on the local free roads avoiding countless holes, buses, dogs and people I decide to pony up the cash ($10 per 100km) and give the privately owned toll roads a try. Although the price of the toll roads can only be described as criminal, they are incredibly well maintained and super fast. With the chickens and buses out of the way I could race through through the Mexican desert at close to 100mph .

Crazy Mexican roads
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By the time the sun was about to set I had spent 12 hours on the road, covered 800kms and finally made it to Durango; a typical medium sized Mexican town in the mountains towards the west coast.

Yesterday (Tuesday) I drove through the mountains near Durango to Mazatlan. It took 6 hours at an average of 30mph through the craziest, winding roads I have ever seen. Its was a beautiful drive with massive cliffs and amazing valley's, little Mexican villages and those Joshua trees and huge cactus that you see in the movies. It was incredibly tiring though and I was lucky to make it to Mazatlan before dark. Before I set off in the morning I remember looking at the map thinking it would only take 3 hrs. I must admit I hadn't planned on driving 18 hours in my first 2 days.

Mazatlan is really beautiful and the old town where I am staying has a very chilled out feel to it. Its nice to just relax on the beach after so many days of driving. My room is over looking the beach and the sunsets here are incredible. I went and watched the cliff divers tonight. They stand up on 20 meter high cliffs at high tide and wait for a wave to come in so that they don't hit the bottom when the dive, its pretty impressive.

The beach across from my hotel in Old Town Mazatlan.
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I must admit I am pretty tired though, I know its only been 3 days but it feels a lot longer. I will head to Puerto
Vallarta to meet Alex tomorrow. I looking forward to having a travel companion finally.

So far the trip is going really well and its nice to be on the road after all the planning. Even the police haven't been an issue, I passed at least 10 on the way here and was only pulled over once in a mountain village near Durango by the local Federales. They just looked at car, asked me a few questions in broken English and let me go.

Posted by hayden111 15:34 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

One 1995 Honda Accord, Two Gringos, 20,000 miles...


View Austin Texas to Argentina on hayden111's travel map.

Check out www.haydencarlyonphotography.com for more photos from the trip.

The plan is to drive down the Pacific Coast of Mexico, through Central America to Panama.

Ship our car across the Darrien Gap to South America, then continue heading south till we reach the end of the world Tierra Del Fuego Argentina.

It sounds really simple when you sum up the trip in 2 sentences but it promises to be an incredible adventure.
Stopped for roads works somewhere in Guatemala
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Our flags
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The speedometer the day we left Austin
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For more photos from the trip check out my website at www.haydencarlyonphotography.com

Posted by hayden111 09:01 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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