Mazatlan to PV
Trip Start Jan 12, 2007
29Trip End Nov 19, 2007
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We opted for the expensive toll roads ($23 US in total) on the drive from El Fuerte to Mazatlan, which we were happy about when it allowed us to basically bypass Culiacan, which apparently is home to a drug cartel or cartels and known as Little Bogata. The toll roads are 4 lanes, have no one on them, and make for easy driving
Our campsite in Mazatlan was perfectly located in that it was a 1 minute walk from the main strip, the beach and the malecon (as well as the nightclub complex that Adrienne and Kelly frequented while on vacation when they were 18). It was a bit noisy at night but we were happy to be able to park the van, fully set up our camping gear, and walk or bus everywhere. (The location was actually so good that the campsite was shutting down at the end of March so that a Costco can be erected).
We left Mazatlan on March 22, en route to Puerta Vallarta where we were scheduled to meet Kelly (the other princess from the Princess Palace) on March 30. About 2/3rds of the way between Mazatlan and PV we left the main highway, and headed west to San Blas. At this point the landscape became lush, green and tropical, a nice change after the desert and barren landscape of much of the Baja.
We stayed in San Blas for 2 nights, and then made our way further south about 3 hours to La Penita de Jaltempa, another small coastal town that is still, for the most part, not on the tourist map, although it is on the RVers map. Most of the RVers have now headed home, however, and so we were able to have a perfect spot at a campsite that was on a bluff overlooking a never ending white sand beach with virtually no one on it
Kelly arrived in PV as scheduled on March 30 and we headed an hour back up the coast to Sayulita where we had rented a casa for 5 nights. Sayulita was as advertised...a small little town right on the beach with dusty roads and authentic taco stands, but also with lots of higher-end restaurants and bars, and enough youngish tourists to make it interesting and very different from the fishing villages found further north. The casa was great, and Adrienne and I were in heaven to have Kelly's company, a blender, a pool and a bathroom that was connected to the room where we slept. We spent the last 2 nights of Kelly's trip in PV at a little hotel that was short on modern luxuries but long on charm and that had a rooftop patio bar that offered an absolutely unbeatable view of PV and the surrounding bay. Kelly, bless her heart, also motivated us to ditch the banana pancake/fish taco lifestyle for awhile and so we indulged in a couple of memorable meals at sexy, upscale eateries.
The "high" of Kelly's visit was met with a thundering low as soon as we dropped her off at the airport, but after tossing around the idea of getting a hotel for a couple of hours, we dragged ourselves to a campsite fairly close to the old town, and stayed 3 more nights in PV, before heading south once again
Highlights of the last 3 weeks or so:
~the liquado (fruit shake) stand across the street from our campsite in Mazatlan. For $2 we had massive fresh fruit smoothies, huge bowls of fresh fruit with yogurt and granola, etc.;
~surfing lessons in San Blas (from Pompi, a former Mexican long board champion) and Sayulita, although there were so many novice surfers like us in Sayulita that we couldn't find any room on the "break" to "catch the wave". I ended up aborting the surf mission early on in fear of a collision occuring and the legal implications attached. The girls, however, were successful in dodging the boaters, swimmers, and other boarders for at least a while;
~ the extra 2 hours of light at night that we now have as a result of moving into the Central Time Zone (at PV) and the start (or is it end?) of daylight savings;
~ surviving, for the most part, Semana Santa (Holy Week) when the entire Mexican population heads to the beach towns for a week of vacation, and the campsites, hotels and beaches are absolutely packed
~Kelly's visit and the re~hashing (including in "rap" form at one point) of memories from Seymour Heights elementary and Windsor's concert choir.
Lowlights of the last 3 weeks or so:
~having to convalesce from our respective illnesses in a van;
~ not having it in us to go to the club complex in Mazatlan that Adrienne and Kelly went to when they were 18;
~ the seemingly sudden turning up of the thermostat once we arrived in PV. While hot weather is not normally a low light, very hot, muggy weather and trying to sleep in a VW van tent can be a lethal combination;
-attending a 90-minute time-share presentation at the Sheraton in PV that, in actuality, lasted 4 hours (lowlight). The strong sell, however, wasn´t enough to make these 2 Canucks buckle and we managed to decline all the sell jobs (and there were plenty of them) before leaving with our stomachs full from the buffet breakfast and the promised loot bag in hand, which included a future 3-night stay at the hotel for $100 that we hope to use on the way home (highlight).