Driving through Mexico – part 3

I finally have Internet access again so will bring my posts of our trip up to date. Our grand Mexican adventure continues. We have now driven more than 2000 miles in Mexico and are on our way home.

Geoff made a comment on my last post asking about where the pictures are. The answers is that pictures have been a problem. I am using a borrowed Apple PowerBook G4 on this trip and I am not very proficient using Apples. I have managed to upload my pictures to the PowerBook from my camera but when I try to use Typepad to insert them into a blog entry TypePad just hangs. I assume that it is a problem with how TypePad works with Safari. I think I’ll try to load the picture to Flickr next and if that doesn’t work I’ll just wait until I get home to load them.

Anyway I’ll continue now with my journal of the trip

Day 11 – January 6 – in Manzanillo Mexico

We had lunch at Juanitos. Our list of restaurants says that it is a favorite of locals and tourists since the 70s and they have Internet access. The food was good and we went back later to use their wireless. The charge was $1 for an hour of use. My last posting was from Juanitos.

During the afternoon we wandered around downtown Manzanillo. According to the Lonely Planet Mexico Guide Book, the Manzanillo port is the largest in Mexico. We saw several ships being loaded and unloaded and walked along the shops beyond the port on the waterfront town square.

Day 12 – January 7 – from Manzanillo to Puerto Vallarta and back- about 347 miles total 2894 miles

Today we drove to the Puerto Vallarta airport and back to drop of Vicky’s friend. Manzanillo has an airport but all the planes were full when Duke booked the flight for Vicky’s friend to fly back to school. We had lunch near the airport but other than that didn’t spend any time in the town. From the car Puerto Vallarta is as different from Manzanillo as night and day. They are both in beautiful settings and to me Puerto Vallarta is more dramatic but it is also 100% more touristy and Americanized. In Puerto Vallarta we saw KFC, Burger King, Dominos, Hooters and Chucky Cheese none of which are in Manzanillo. There were also several high rise hotels unlike Manzanillo. Basically Manzanillo is smaller, sleepier, and much more to my liking.

Day 13 – January 8 – in Manzanillo Mexico

Another lazy relaxing day. We went back to Tacos Sonrisa to eat lunch and then drove around the luxury houses and hotels on the point. But other than that we just walked on the beach, read and relaxed. This place really is paradise.

Day 14 – January 9 – in Manzanillo Mexico

This is our last day here. We went for a swim in the ocean and then had a lazy lunch at the Oasis restaurant on the beach. For dinner we went back to Margaritas which is built right over the beach and had another wonderful dinner.

Day 15 – January 10 – Manzanillo to Ocotlan, Jalisco, Mexico – today 290 miles, total 3184 miles

Today we drove back to Ocotlan where Duke’s girls stayed before we arrived. They left a bunch of stuff there. As I said before it is a beautiful drive. There were lots of fruit stands selling mainly watermelon, coconuts and bags of salt. We bought some cocos helados – cold coconuts – The guy chopped the top off the coconuts with a machete and put a straw in so we could drink the juice. When the juice was finished he opened the coconut and used a special rounded knife to take the edible coconut out and put it in a baggie. We took it with us and ate it in the car. Yum! One of the girls’ relatives uses the phrase taking coconuts to Colima to describe taking something to where there is already lots of it.

It was cloudy when we drove to Manzanillo but on the way back we had a great view of two volcanoes west of the road, Volcan de Fuego and Volcan Nevado de Colima. Volcan de Fuego is Mexico’s most active volcano. it was cool to see the steam coming from the top of it.

I think I mentioned the canyons that we drove through on the way down. I copied some of the statistics from the billboards beside the bridges and deep cuts of the new road. Apparently the road shortened the trip from Guadalajara to Colima from 2 hours and 52 minutes to 1 hour and 23 minutes. One of the viaducts was 80 meters high on one end. An amazing road.

Day 16 – January 11 – Ocotlan to Guadalajara and back, today about 80 miles, total 3264 miles

Today we went shopping at the enormous outside market in Tonala in a suburb of Guadaljara, bought some souvenirs and then drove into the center of Guadalajara to see the museums and cathedral. It is an impressive city. But the smog and horrible traffic definitely take away from the enjoyment.

Day 17 – January 12 Ocotlan to Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico – Today 105 miles – total 3369 miles

We dropped Duke’s girls at the Guadalajaro, airport for their trip home and then drove to Tequila which is just north west of Guadalajara. The tour of the Jose Cuervo Tequila distillery was excellent. We got to see the agave being put into the ovens and then taste some before it was crushed and distilled. The building is old and beautiful and the whole place is fascinating. I loved the town of Tequila. After dinner we sat in the town square in front of the church and people watched. There was a stand with a bubble machine selling toys and blowing bubbles and we watched as the girls for a quincenara assembled to go in for the mass.

Day 18 – January 13 Tequila to Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico – Today 415 miles – total 3784 miles

A long drive today but good roads. We are staying at the same Microtel in Culiacan that we stayed at on the way down. We also ate at the same Italian restaurant as we did on New Year’s Eve. The restaurant is in a shopping mall. On the way down the mall was closed. But tonight it was very busy. We sat and people watched after dinner just as we have in some of the town squares in other towns. I guess this mall is the modern Mexican town square. The mall which included our restaurant had a casino with slot machines, a sports book and a big Keno hall. The mall also had a Honda dealer and a big movie multiplex. What a contrast from last night. But there were still lots of couples and families strolling by.


Author: marionvermazen

I am a traveler, hiker, avid reader, Sun alumnus, computer geek, Spanish and French language student, knitter and genealogist. I am retired after working for almost 30 years in the Computer Industry. I live in Reno, Nevada with my husband Duke.

4 thoughts on “Driving through Mexico – part 3”

  1. I just found your post. My husband and I are investigating places to retire. We like La Saldita outside of Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa but it’s pretty dusty and hot. La Saldita is a surf break. The next wonderful surf break is supposed to be Sayulita north of PUerto Vallarta. I know it’s touristy htere so am interested in checking out Colima. How long did it take you to drive to Puerto Vallarta from Manzanillo? Where to you recommend that we stay in Manzanillo area? It doesn’t have to be in town. We’ll probably want to stay in Tecoman as it’s closer to the surf break there.I’d appreciate all suggestions. We’re going either in October or Late March, early April


  2. Hello
    I was reading your blog. My husband and I are in the process of creating a road trip itinerary and timeline sheet. I was a little concerned about driving through Mexico but your blog has put me at ease. Which direction did you start from. We are coming from norhtern Canada. How did you arrive at which places to stop at or was it just chance?
    Thanks Peggy


  3. Peggy,
    We entered Mexico just south of Tucson. For most of our stops my husband had made reservations or at least had an idea of where he wanted to stop. For a few places especially on our way home we just winged it which worked fine. I think I mentioned that my husband speaks excellent Spanish which made a big difference but We probably would have been fine with out it. If you will be coming through Reno email me and we can plan to get together for a meal or at least for coffee.


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