Driving our Motorhome in the State of Nayarit, Mexico
Moving On 1
Spending another Winter in wonderful Mexico
Follow along with our adventures in Jennie the RV and Willie the Jeep
Things we've done and places we've been on this trip - Mexico 2009
Aticama and San Blas
We left Mazatlan and drove a little less than 200 miles south to Aticama. Again we took the toll road MX15D. Most of this part is fairly new and looking back at my records I see the toll has really gone up - in the newest section from about 130 Pesos three years ago to 438Pesos now - but unlike then now the entire road is done. As always it was an interesting drive.
Have to laugh -a few miles out of any half way good sized town you pass a bunch of motels along the highway - “no tell motels” we are told. The “macho man” is alive and well - his wife is married he is not.
Along the highway we passed the street sweepers and painters. They now wear reflective uniforms so you can see them. But some are still cutting back the brush with machetes. And this stretch of the road has emergency telephones every so many kilometers - solar powered no less.
Lots of farming going on in this area. Mango orchards, corn, tomatoes, tobacco and agave. And where the land is still wild the vegetation is really pretty this year. Very green with lots of different flowering trees and vines.
Even the good roads have topes every once in a while and at each tope the vendors were set up sell tamales de camaron (shrimp tamales) and camaron seco (dried shrimp.)
Got off Mexico15D and took the same road we were on almost exactly 32 years ago into San Blas [also drove it in the car three years ago.] Since 30 years ago there are more little villages - with topes and people selling cut up fresh fruit at all of them. And lots more farming - mangos, bananas and sugar cane.
Turned off just before San Blas and headed south towards the beach at Aticama. We’re staying at Playa Amor RV Park. Barely 15amp electricity, water and sewer for about US$13 a day. Bill says the showers are cold water only. In the week we were there the electricity went off at least once a day. The parking is on grass and the landscaping is pretty. We’re facing the ocean but not on it. There is a big sea wall and lots of rocks between us and the water. Found out that there used to be a beach there but came a big hurricane and no more beach. But it is a pretty sight. The owner says if we want to run the air conditioning it is another 50 pesos a day - lovely. So out came the fan and the windows are kept open. Most of the day there is a nice breeze. It's also right on a busy highway with lots of traffic 24/7. And it seemed like half of that traffic was vehicles with loud speakers touting everything from fresh fish to gas.
After settling in we drove back to San Blas to go to the central market to get lettuce and tomatoes. Also to find an ATM - found a bank easily enough right on the road in. The streets in San Blas are mostly all one-way - and two or three in a row will be going the same direction - so by the time you finally find one going the way you want to go you forgot where you wanted to go. Ended up twice going the wrong way without realizing it. Some of the streets are marked with arrows telling the directions - others you have to guess about. Finally found a place to park walked to the market and found that it was already closed! But did find a produce store - right across the street from where we had parked. When buying from the local little markets we ALWAYS wash the produce with a sanitizer available in most big markets. Just a few drops to a sink full of water then let the produce soak a bit. Then make sure it is dry and we’re all set.
While in San Blas we went into the Municipal Building right off the Plaza where the church is. It had a couple of really nice murals of Huichol history in it.
Then on the way back to the RV park we stopped and bought banana bread. This area is famous for it. And it is delicious.
For those of you who read Ms. Tioga and George’s blog this is where he usually hangs out but right now he is traveling further south. The town itself isn't too big. There are several restaurants selling dried fish and lobsters. They always seemed to be busy. We bought pollo asado (grilled chicken) on evening and it was very good. The girl that sold it to us cut it up with a big meat cleaver. Impressive.
Another day there was a festival of some sorts in town. Free food at the church - the line was around the block. In the plaza there were school children dancing a native dance. All were dressed in costume - including some of the real little ones.
One day while there I overhead some people talking about a road up the hills to the coffee plantations. Thought it would be a neat trip so talked The Driver into going. First off I wasn’t really sure of the directions - Just “past La Palma.” Okay we found the road to La Palma right off the San Blas highway - it went in the right direction. “Turn here,” I said. We turned and passed a warehouse for bananas. Several men were loading them into big trucks. Then through La Palma.
The road was fine until we got into the little town of La Bajada. Then it got kind of narrow. Just two tracks of cobblestone. We stopped at the far edge of town and asked if the road we were on went up the mountain to the coffee plantations. “Si, Si - adalante para arriba.” Yes, Yes, straight ahead up the hill. Okay - The Driver looked at me and told me they said keep going. Well the road began to go all right - go away. The further we went the less road there was.
Finally when we saw all the guys with the machetes out in the trees ( they were chopping bananas) we decided we’d gone far enough. By then the road was just two barely visible dirt tracks with tall grass growing in the middle and low trees that were scraping Willie’s roof - did not look like this road was used much. Or at all.
So we turned around and went back to RV. I think I should have asked for better directions.
It wasn't a total loss though as we saw a couple of different things. One was an interesting gasoline station in La Bajada. Five gallon plastic jugs filled with gasoline were sitting on a porch with a "se vende gasolina" (gas for sale) sign next to them. And then we passed a guy on a motorbike delivering fresh tortillas. He would stop at the houses, toot his whistle and the ladies would come out to buy their tortillas. Freshly made and neatly wrapped in white paper.
On a Sunday we took a drive to Santiago Ixcuintla about 40 miles north west of San Blas. There is a large settlement of Huichol Indians there and there is supposed to be a big Huichol Center for Cultural Survival there. Sounded like it would make for an interesting day trip.
It was a nice ride through the countryside. Lots of bananas and sugar cane fields here and mango orchards. In one area we noticed a lot of trees downed - roots just pulled from the ground - and lots of broken branches - the storm that hit Mazatlan a couple of weeks ago came through here with a vengeance. We used Gypsy our GPS was to find the easiest way there without going back up to the toll road. Eventually we arrived at the town - a lot of it sits up on one of the few hills in the area. Had no clue where the Center was so when we spotted the church towers we headed towards them. This is another town with all one-way streets, but they are a little better marked.
We parked right at the main plaza and set out on foot to explore. First the church - it is a pretty church, couldn’t go in as there was a funeral going on.
As we walked around the church we discovered a extraordinary mural. It was on both sides of the street - a block long and easily 15 feet high. All mosaic - large and small pieces of tiles etc. It is called Mural Nuestras Raices - Mural of our Roots. It was completed in May of 1995 (don’t know when it was started.) Magnificent. I’m including a small portion of the photos I took. Discovering this made the whole trip worthwhile.
We walked the whole length of it. Then around the block and back to the church.
Walked again through the plaza and admired the gazebo in the center. The posts holding up the roof of the gazebo are in the shape of a woman’s body. The first I’ve ever seen like that. There were a couple of Huichol women set up selling their beautiful beaded jewelry. But not as many as I expected.
We continued down a couple more blocks and came to the central market. It was so busy - could barely walk through it. Stalls selling everything from CDs and movies to chicken feet. As always the produce smelled so good. Along the street there were many, many small ( 10’ x 10’) stores selling everything from cell phones to shoes. And all were busy.
We went back to the car and set off looking for the Cultural Center - got directions three times - one person, a taxi driver, told us we were wasting our time. So off we went - driving down the busy streets. Well we’ll never know about wasting our time as we couldn’t find it. Did see a run down building with a sign out front saying “Taxi Parking for Cultural Center” but the building was shut up tight. ???
So back to Aticama we headed. Another adventure in this great country.
Road to Hills
End of our Ride
For some more pictures of Aticama and San Blas Click Here
To view some pictures of the Magnificent Mural in Santiago Ixcuintla Click Here
The road from Mexico 15Ddown the mountain into San Blas. Just a few of the curves.
Before I forget it - the price of gasoline keeps going up - three times since we’ve been here this year 09/10 - from 7.72 pesos per liter to 8.04 so dollar wise it is about the same US$2.60 per gallon. 3/10/2010