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Yucatan and Chiapas — San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

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San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

Where I stayed
<divclass=”” style=”padding-bottom:7px”> Rossco Backpackers Hostel San Cristobal de las Casas

SAN CRISTOBAL DE
LAS CASAS, MEXICO

8th February 2013

N16° 44.564′ W92° 38.370’

The run back up the Southern Highway from Placencia was speedy and uneventful. That is until we had briefly headed west and driven along the Hummingbird Highway before rejoining the northern part of the Southern Highway (you are of course still with us here????). Because then the
Southern “Highway” turned to dirt, and none too brilliant to drive on either. At least it had no traffic and we rattled along it at a heady 30, sometimes 40 kms/hr, through mainly flat semi forest. It took us a couple of hours therefore to cover the 60 or so kms and get back onto the tar on the Western Highway that runs from Belmopan, the capital, to Belize City on the coast and then on up to the northern border with Mexico. One can stay on the tar and rather drive via Belmopan but this totals about 100 kms and would probably take as long.

Apart from this roughish dirt route and the odd speed bump Belize roads are pretty good and there is little heavy traffic to contend with. It’s fun passing through the settlements with their quaint little houses, usually of timber and invariably painted in eye catching and very Caribbean colours.

The weather was kind if a little cloudy as we headed north, but the slightly lower temperature and humidity as compared with further south was welcome.

You may wonder why we didn’t head for one or more of the Cayes (or small islands) that lie off the Caribbean coast in Belize. With their known attractions of white sandy beaches, dazzling blue water, palm trees, world class diving, snorkelling and fishing it was indeed tempting to lock Jambo up somewhere on the mainland for a few days and catch one of the island hopping flights that crisscross the region or hop on a lancha (launch) to get out there. But it’s not a cheap option
obviously. We had done something similar when we sailed from Cartagena in Colombia to the San Blas Islands whilst shipping the car over by sea to Panama, did some snorkelling and had fun on the islands we landed on. So we gave the Belize Cayes a miss, but I still hoped to get in some more snorkelling off the mainland coast before we got into chillier climes and had to pack the masks and fins away.

With this in mind we didn’t drive straight to the Mexican border near Chetumal but had a look at the maps and the two GPSs and noted the “interesting looking” road that branches off the Northern Highway at Orange Walk and heads sort of north and east to the coast to end at Sarteneja. We also spotted a possible overnight place near Sarteneja called Backpackers Paradise. So we turned off the highway at an imposing circle and immediately found ourselves on a deteriorating dirt road which slowed us down again to in places no more than 20 kms/hr. It had probably once (perhaps in British Honduras days before 1981) been quite a pretty tarred road. Today it is a horror with the underlying rock foundation poking through along the bit that runs through the sugar cane fields
and which is frequented by massive and pretty worn out looking trucks and tractor drawn trailers that carry huge hauls of the cane back towards the main highway and spilling plenty of it along the way. So we hammered our way along this dirt track, further along it having to dodge big potholes which if one had hit them at anything more than 40 kms/hr would have done some damage to the car.

Just outside Sarteneja 2 hours later we came to Backpackers Paradise, took one look at it and got back in the car. A slow drive around the village including a stop on the waterfront at the local tour guides office convinced us that the best plan was to camp outside the village on the beach. That’s what we did and it was great with Jambo’s front wheels just 2 metres from the waters of the
Caribbean and a stunning sunset to round off the day. Naturally, the hardships of the day’s travel are soon worn smooth as the evening Cuba Libre takes effect and we slept soundly with just the lap of the wavelets washing onto our little piece of beach. Next morning I was in for a surprise when hoping for a swim I stepped into the water at the edge of the beach and sank into about half a
metre of yellow mud! All along the beach it was the same and perhaps explained why the water clarity was so poor: definitely no snorkelling there.

We returned back along the rough road to the Northern Highway and, after a stop for a much needed car wash where we drank a beer and ate our lunch whilst the Hong Kong Chinese cleaning crew (!) did their thing we headed for the Mexican border. The Belize side was quick and easy, the Mexican one long and tedious, at one point waiting for one official to stamp a huge pile of bus
passenger passports before getting ours done. Then we were told we had to lodge a US $400 bond with customs to get our import permit for the car. This seemed excessive and we were told by the girl at the permit counter to try speaking to a senior official to see if we could get this waived seeing as we had our carnet which they recognized but do not accept for temporary vehicle imports. They
flatly refused point blank to stamp the entry section of the carnet for our peace of mind (the first country on our trip to do so). It took ages to get hold of the right official and then to be told after waiting around for over an hour that we must still pay the $400 and no, we will not stamp the carnet was infuriating . One can pay the bond on a credit card and except for the $48 dollars extra one must pay for the actual document they will credit the $400 back onto one’s card when exiting the country with the car. It’s a daft system and time Mexico took a leaf out of the books of other countries who either accept the carnet or issue a TIP with little or minimum cost and no lodging of
bonds. We also spent a lot of time looking for a place to buy third party insurance which we believed is obligatory in Mexico. We couldn’t find one at the border, although one office said yes they could arrange it for $190 for 2 months, then changed their minds and said they wouldn’t issue it for a Land Rover!! Even dafter. So we were forced to drive very cautiously from the border to the city of Chetumal, our next overnight stop, without any 3rd Party cover in the hope we would find an insurance company there who would issue us with the necessary document. On arriving at the campsite in Calderitas just outside Chetumal we learnt from some German overlanders there who were heading south that one could buy both comprehensive and third party cover on line from a Californian company named Lewis &amp; Lewis and for a better price than the unhelpful people at the border. Lewis &amp; Lewis issue either 3rd Party Liability only policies or full comprehensive under their on line trading name of MexicanAutoInsurance. We purchased 90 days 3rd Party only cover up to an increased liability of USD 500,000 for $175.63 premium paid with my credit card and had the document back from them almost immediately. Compare this with the USD 190 they wanted at the border for 60 days cover. The e-mail address to contact Lewis &amp; Lewis is info@mexicanautoinsurance.com. Their website is www.mexicanautoinsurance.com and their US phone number is 310 399 0800. Then to rub salt into the wound we are now pretty sure that 3rd Party insurance in Mexico is after all not obligatory! That said, I think it would be unwise to drive here without such cover (unfortunately our Dutch based broker’s policy does not cover Mexico). Maybe this explains why so far no one in Mexico has asked us to produce any proof of insurance…..

After 2 nights at the Yax-Ha Resort (N18 33.665 W88 14.922) just outside Chetumal which offers nice facilities to overlanders, and a brief supermarket stop (we hadn’t taken a chance on bringing in much in the way of food etc across the border into Mexico), we headed up the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Tulum lies a bit to the south of the popular tourist resort city of Cancun, the latter not being on our planned itinerary. Tulum is also a bit touristy but less so than Cancn and seems to have a more
laid back feel to it. It also boasts some Maya ruins right on the coast which are a definite drawcard, but we felt after Tikal and Yaxha in Guatemala we had for the time being “done ruins” (or were temporarily maybe “ruined”!) so didn’t include them on our visit to Tulum. We camped just the one night there at the local fishermen’s cooperative site just back from the beach called the Co-op de
Prod. Pesquera (N20 12.365 W87 26.000) tucked under the trees about 150 metres from the beach. As they were busy rebuilding their showers we ended up standing in drains blocked with cement under a cold stream of water looking up at the rickety bits of timber propping up the heavy concrete roof and wondering if an earth tremor would bring it all crashing down! It wasn’t a great stop over. The weather was cruddy with a completely overcast sky and plenty of wind which put
paid to my hopes of some snorkelling on the reef just off the beach. On a nicer day and with the facilities all up and running it could be a much better bet for overlanders.

As I mentioned earlier we intentionally gave Cancun a miss and took the road out of Tulum NW that would join up with the MEX 180 road heading west from Valladolid. In fact there are two MEX 180s – the MEX 180D is a toll road and from all accounts not worth the very high tolls levied to drive along it unless one is in a hell of a hurry. The old road, the MEX 180, runs more or less parallel to it and is in good shape and little used and runs through mainly green, forested countryside.

Much of this region is littered with underground sink holes and caverns called cenotes in Spanish, usually filled with fresh water and popular places to visit. This being so many of these cenotes have
been made accessible to the public, entry fees are charged and very often facilities such as a restaurant, parking, changing rooms etc are laid on too.Two of the most popular cenotes near Valladolid are the ones on the road about 6 kms SW out of Valladolid to Dzitnup and named respectively Cenote Samula and Cenote X-Keken. Both are big sink holes in which one can swim, the former involving a climb down a short sloping tunnel into a huge cave the floor of which is flooded to several metres in depth with fresh water that runs through it as part of a lengthy underground river system. We parked Jambo up above and Diana bravely took her swimming costume and swam in the water in Samula, the big pool lit by eerie underwater and above water lighting. I had assumed, as it turned out wrongly, that the water would be freezing as the guide books all intimated and so gave a swim a miss. But Diana found the water temperature to in fact be quite warm and she much enjoyed her dip. Oddly, only a handful of other visitors were there.

Back on MEX 180 we continued on westwards to the old city of Merida, a definite “must see” place in this part of Mexico. Considered as the cultural capital of the Yucatan it was largely built from
stone that came from much older, nearby Maya pyramids and is often called La Ciudad Blanca or white city after the white limestone originally cut and dressed by those amazing Maya builders. Founded in 1542 its architecture is quite French looking and it certainly contains some beautiful buildings, especially around its main plaza. Up until the Second World War its main revenue earner was henequen, a fibre used in the production of rope. Unfortunately, the onset of the use of man made fibres such as nylon and terylene killed this industry off completely. At about this time Merida started to become a very wealthy city populated by rich haciendados or estate owners who built some very grandiose mansions around the city limits. Still today Merida remains intellectually superior and boasts a truly cosmopolitan feel having attracted settlers from many other parts of Mexico and abroad.

We ended up staying in a truly funky place, the Hotel Trinidad Galleria (N20 58.381 W89 37.318), one of two hotels owned by a local businessman. The Galleria claims it is both hotel and museum; in fact it can accurately be termed an art gallery too as it contains a truly amazing collection of bric a brac, every corner and every square inch of the sizeable building stuffed with items collected by the owner over many years. Most of it is what one can only call funky or eccentric but somehow it works, and offering en suite rooms, good off street parking, wi-fi and a big pool for just 350 Pesos a night (under USD 30 or about 255 Rands) including a simple breakfast is very good value. It is also well situated just minutes from the plazas in the centre of town where there is much to see and do.

We enjoyed a walking tour laid on by volunteers at the city’s tourism office which took in all the interesting old buildings and churches in and around the Plaza Grande along with much of Merida’s history, we had some excellent meals there, some pretty good ice cream, and greatly enjoyed spending two days in the city.

Whilst there we e-mailed an application off to the United States EPA to obtain an Exemption Letter which would allow us to bring Jambo into the US. This is required where a vehicle does not meet current emission or safety standards and is being imported in one of several categories of which importation by a bona fide tourist for up to 12 months is one. Having sent it off we received a reply back asking for an original (not digital) signature on the bottom of the letter. So not having either a printer or scanner with us we had to go through the whole rigmarole again of typing up the letter on the laptop, this time without a digital signature, copying the file to a USB stick, taking it to a copy shop, printing out the filed letter, signing it, scanning it with the signature, copying the new file back to the stick and onto the laptop before e-mailing it off again to the EPA! The fact that the entire letter and signature had as a result become a digital file seemed to have evaded them….. We hope we get the exemption letter OK as without it we may find a problem crossing into the US. Fingers crossed. But the guys at the EPA did tell me way back before we departed South Africa at the start of the trip that we should have no problem getting it.

On the question of Jambo’s earlier coolant leak it seems (for now at least) that the leak is no more. Weird. I think it was a case of a significant air lock in the system when the LR guys at Transequipos
in Guatemala City refitted the repaired radiator and refilled the system. It must have taken some time to work its way out whilst needing the minor but no less worrying top ups that I had to administer for some days afterwards. Again, we hold thumbs….

Otherwise with some 35,000 kms covered since leaving Buenos Aires in Argentina nearly a year ago Jambo is going like a bomb. Unlike our first trip up to Norway when we couldn’t hold 6th gear on
any sort of slope or even into a light wind Jambo now belts along and I have to continually go easy on the throttle to stay within Mexico’s speed limits. As for off road ability this version of the Defender has to be the best yet and can only be described by that oft overused term “AWESOME”!

A “must do” whilst in Mexico – land of inexpensive and easily obtained drugs – is for me to track down a further supply of my blood pressure tablets as my stocks are dwindling and I have no
intention of paying an inflated price for them in the USA. Should be easily done here as it was in south America where not even a copy of my doctor’s prescription was asked for.

Some days earlier we had a message from Chris and Janet, our English fellow overlanders whom we had left in Jaco, Costa Rica some weeks back whilst their family visited them. They were somewhat surprised that we were already in Mexico. But so far as we are concerned we are getting a mite anxious over the still considerable distance through the remainder of this huge country (including some 1600 kms up the Baha Peninsula) that we must still cover before entering the States early next month. They are sure going to have to pile on the miles to make Alaska before it becomes too cold. We sure look forward to meeting up with them again somewhere en route preferably not too late in the trip. It’s worth bearing in mind that north to south Mexico measures in a straight line well over 3000 kms – about the same distance from Cape Town to the top of Lake Malawi! We did get a message from Chris and Janet a few days later to say they were back on the road and had crossed into Nicaragua and hoped to meet up with us again soon.

The weather was still holding up well. Nearer sea level around the coast we were having generally nice sunny weather, sometimes with a bit of breeze off the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico further
westwards. The temperatures were pleasant too reaching the mid 30s during the day and not at all humid. Bearing in mind that up there in the US they are having snow and sub zero temps we are still well off. But as we continue northwards there is a danger of us beating the reasonable “temperature line” as I call it and perhaps in 3 or 4 weeks’ time us coming into some really chilly
stuff.

From Merida we in general terms wanted to head towards the Pacific coast which meant actually heading in a southerly direction for a while as the historic cities of Campeche and San Cristobal were on our list of places we wanted to see and were on the route over to the Pacific side of the country.

Before these two however (and in spite of saying we were “ruined” from too many ruins!) the ancient Maya settlement at Uxmal beckoned. Lying just 75 kms or so south of Merida along very good roads there was no excuse for bypassing it. And although quite pricey to enter at 350 Pesos for the two of us (and no discounts in Mexico for non resident pensioners) it is compared to the likes of Tikal pretty imposing. Built during the so called Classic Period it is the most famous of these ancient Maya sites in the Puuc region of Mexico. The buildings are in outstanding condition
considering the ravages of time, weathering and pillaging, and interestingly the builders incorporated a complex underground water storage and distribution system. We walked around for about an hour taking in the Pyramid of the Sorcerer, oval in shape yet built on a square base, the Pelota Court (the originator or the game of tennis) and the House of the Doves, oldest of all the
structures at Uxmal. There weren’t that many visitors when we arrived early but by the time we left nearer midday the busses were packing them in.

After opening a couple of cold beers it was back in the car and continuing on southwards and westwards towards another old and reportedly attractive town – Campeche lying on the Gulf of Mexico coast.

After a brief search on arriving in Campeche later we settled on the Monkey Hostel (there being no obvious places to camp nearby other than the unappetising Samula Trailer Park well away from the
centre of town and in a private garden in the seedier end of town). Whilst the secure parking across the street from the hostel was a bonus as was the hostel’s location just off the square, the hostel itself was a big disappointment. Difficult to find and poorly signposted (it does NOT overlook
the square as Lonely Planet’s guide book suggests – where do they get this misinformation from?), it contains just one bathroom for several beds, a pokey kitchen and totally disinterested receptionists. If we rate it on the Hostel World website it’s going to get under 40%. Needless to say we only spent one night there.

The old town itself is quite compact in area yet contains some nice 18th century era buildings and is listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. It was once enclosed by fortifying walls into which the builders let two gates, one to the sea – the Puerta del Mar – and one to the hinterland – the Puerta de Tierra. Little of the walls sadly remain as much of them were razed to make way for a modern ring road. How could the city fathers do such a thing? But many of the original houses within the old walled city are still there and in fine shape too. At night they are brilliantly lit and become a fairytale sight. The plaza is where the locals gather in the evenings, some to play bingo (!) others, as we did, to listen in the evening to some excellent electronic jazz which no doubt to the disgust of the bingo
players drowned out their caller whilst playing!

After Campeche we had decided to take the route down the coast rather than inland in the direction of Ciudad del Carmen which lies at the southern end of a narrow spit of land between the Gulf of Mexico and big coastal lagoons. It was an interesting drive indeed and the spit that the road bisects is close to 100 kms long. Between the odd village the Gulf coast is virtually deserted and is the domain of the pelicans crash diving for fish. On the lagoon side one sees the standard Boston Whaler style fishing launches so popular all over south and central America with a single outboard
on the back going about their business. In the heat of mid morning we stopped for a beer by pulling off the main road and driving a short distance down a sand track to stop at the top of a small sand cliff looking out over the Gulf of Mexico. Bliss.

Fuel, from the exploration process right through to its retailing at the pumps, is owned and totally controlled in Mexico by Pemex, a government owned company. The retail price at the pumps is
heavily subsidised by the government making the cost of a litre of petrol or diesel quite competitive by world standards. We have been paying about 11 Pesos per litre for diesel or around 92 US cents which is cheaper than many other parts of the world including South Africa. It seems to be quite good quality too and reasonably low on sulphur content. There is a supposed problem though
associated with buying fuel at filling stations in Mexico, and that is crooked petrol pump jockeys at some of them who are not averse to fiddling the customer, especially gringos who are perceived as soft targets. Their tactics include failing to zero the pump properly before starting to deliver fuel, or
giving incorrect change. We have also heard of cases where the pump has been rigged by drilling holes in the impellor which drives the pump’s fuel quantity gauge resulting in less fuel being delivered than indicated on the pump! One has to be very alert to all these potential scams and ensure that the whole process is carefully watched from outside the vehicle. A locking fuel cap is
also essential to guard against both theft of fuel and other versions of fuel delivery scams by the pump attendants in some towns. Once clear of the cities and towns the distances between filling stations can be quite considerable so keeping the tanks as full as possible is wise in this huge country.

After shadowing the coast for some 350 kms it was time to turn southwards and inland to head for our next planned stop at San Cristobal de las Casas located high up in the hills about midway between the Gulf and Pacific coasts. But San Cristobal was too far away to get to in one day and we ended up stopping off for the night at a rural hacienda named La Chonita (N18 08.704 W93 15.584) some 15 kms to the south of the town of Comalcalco on the MEX 187. Eduardo and his wife, the owners of the hacienda, made us very welcome although between us we had little of the other’s language. But as usual one gets by with the little we did have until a young and charming
nephew studying to be a doctor and staying long term with his uncle and aunt arrived. He was delegated in his excellent English to show us around the farm and its intriguing version of the sauna locally called a Te Mazcal, two of which they had in the garden of the hacienda. This is very like a large igloo or pizza oven in shape, built from rock or brick and plastered, with a small opening to climb through at ground level and another even smaller one in the centre of the domed roof with an adjustable cover to control the temperature inside. In the middle of the floor inside is a hole in which to light a fire over which loose rocks are placed to build up and maintain internal heat in the Te Mazcal. One then climbs inside and “cooks” to the required temperature until “rare, medium rare or well done”! At the end of the ritual one exits the Te Mazcal and in La Chonita’s case climbs into an old bathtub near the Te Mazcal and turns on a cold shower to cool off. If this doesn’t bring on immediate cardiac arrest I don’t know what will… And no, we didn’t try it.

Eduardo’s wife made us a simple but very acceptable supper of rice and scrambled eggs after which we were plied with a couple of glasses of tequila complete with a little salt and slices of lime to enhance the taste. I have to say that tequila is in my totally unschooled view ruined by the salt and lime treatment but this is the long held, traditional Mexican way of drinking this much loved aperitif, so “when in Mexico” …. I like to think it made us sleep well in the huge bunkhouse on the hacienda that acts as a sort of dorm for backpackers. The cold shower next morning standing in the
biggest, fully tiled bath tub I have ever seen was another new experience. Before saying goodbye to Eduardo he insisted we look around his few hectares of cacao trees from whose pod seeds they make chocolate and which we guessed was their main and not very large source of income. Perhaps this was why he begged us to spread the word amongst other travellers about their very homely and interesting hacienda to boost their income through offering accommodation. It was a different but nevertheless fun experience for us and we much enjoyed the overnight stop.

Leaving La Chonita we got somewhat lost initially amongst the maze of little country backroads, one GPS saying go this way, the other perhaps not knowing where it was, until we eventually got spat out on the MEX 187 again further to the south.

Avoiding the tolled MEX 180D which branched in towards us from the west we continued trundling down the rural and scenic MEX 187 until we were forced to join the 180D where it crosses the mammoth Lago Nezahualcoyotl whose huge dam wall we had passed earlier. A seriously big sheet
of water we guess it is a supply reservoir for a large chunk of the region of Chiapas.

From there it was a smooth if costly run – paying the average 60 Pesos for a car at the toll booths – till we joined the MEX 190 to head for the sprawling city of Tuxtla Guttierez. Just before the city boundaries we were confronted by a massive traffic jam on the freeway, trucks, busses and all stationary and seemingly going nowhere. So along with other locals in their smaller cars and pickups we headed off the freeway, in places on the wrong side of the exit and entry ramps, and started down dusty farm tracks in the hope of finding a way around the obstruction. One of our
GPSs showed most of these tracks but we also followed the general direction most of the other locals were heading. What then happened was somewhat bizarre. We followed some others to a T junction of tracks, with more behind us, where we were stopped by a group of Mexican men in their sombreros manning an open gateway across which they had strung a rope barrier. To get through the gate and proceed on our diversion we were told to pay 20 Pesos. Guessing that the gatekeepers” were more than likely an organized part of the cause of the freeway obstruction, namely a significant demonstration against something, we elected to hang onto our money and point blank refused to cough up the 20 Pesos. It was after all a public road, albeit track, and this was patently a “make a fast buck” scheme and we weren’t about to contribute to it. Ahead of us
the other vehicles had gone through (which paid up and which didn’t we weren’t too sure). Behind us was an unknown but large number of other vehicles waiting to proceed. The track was one vehicle wide and boundaried by fences so no one could pass us. In a battle of wits I switched off the engine and made it clear we were not going to cough up and would remain there all day if they refused to drop their rope and let us pass. Of course, the potential wrath of those behind us being held up as well worked in our favour, and after 15 minutes of this principled stand off the gatekeepers eventually relented, dropped their rope and let us though. We received our perhaps just desserts not much later as after regaining the freeway beyond the hold up and whooping with self-satisfied joy at finding a way around it came upon more big jams on the freeway where it passed through the centre. So again, we were forced off the tarmac onto bumpy, dusty back
streets, pushing for space amongst hundreds of other by now disgruntled drivers trying to find a way around the manmade obstructions. It took us the best part of another hour to do so and hot and bothered we finally emerged on the eastern side of Tuxtla Guttierez to push on for our planned stopover at San Cristobal de las Casas where we arrived somewhat later than intended. We never did find out what the hold up was about.

After a brief look at a campsite named Rancho san Nicholas on the eastern edge of town – and too far away from the centre to which to walk – we headed back into town to find our way to Rossco Backpackers (N16 44.564 W92 38.371). This turned out to be just about ideal. We could park
Jambo inside their garden and off the street, they had great showers, a simple but free breakfast included in the price, reasonable wifi, helpful and hard working staff who kept the whole place neat as a pin, even free DVDs to watch on a wide screen TV. And all this for 125 Pesos a head in a dorm.

After settling in we took off on foot and explored this attractive old city established by the Spaniards in 1528 to ward off the then usually hostile, indigenous locals. For a long time it was the capital of the state of Chiapas, then part of Guatemala, but lost its title in the late 1800s due to its refusal to become part of Mexico. It is still a bit of a hotbed for indigenous politicking and civil rights and as recently as 1994 was invaded by Zapatista rebels wanting to ferment unrest over this still touchy subject in this part of Mexico. That said, San Cristobal is a popular tourism destination, with its narrow cobbled streets, lovely old houses and squares, and with a mouth watering array of enticing restaurants all offering excellent value and very good Mexican fare. On the other end of the culinary
spectrum it even sports a Burger King… The town is also high up at 2100m ASL so the nights are chilly even though during our stay the days were warm and sunny with almost guaranteed clear skies.

Whilst in Sab Cristobal and shopping at the local supermarket I checked the pharmacy in the supermarket to see if they stocked my blood pressure tablets. Sure thing, so I asked for their last three boxes containing enough for the next couple of months. Then they rang up the bill which came to a staggering 1782 Pesos! I was prepared to pay this nevertheless as Mexico is supposed to be much easier than finding such drugs than in the States. But then for reasons unknown their card machine would not accept my credit card, so we gave up. Later I checked the card in an ATM and it’s working fine. Mystery.

We planned on initially staying two nights in San Cristobal, but in spite of some pressure to keep knocking up the kms towards the Baja California still a long way north, we ended up staying for
four nights taking advantage of the “4 for the price of 3 nights” special offer running at the time. It was a nice end to another chapter in our overland trip.

Next it’s the Pacific coast and that alluring strip of sand and sea called the Baha California.

 

About Panamericalandy

Starting with the original London-Sydney Marathon in 1968 driving 10,000 miles in 10 days the bug for overland travel (at a much slower pace!) bit hard. We've driven throughout much of southern and east Africa in a tD5 Defender, then changed to the recent Puma version and first drove Cape Agulhas in South Africa to North Cape, Norway in 2009/10. Now engaged on another long one from Ushuaia, Patagonia to Deadhorse, Alaska over 18 months. The two of us travel alone for much of the time but inevitably meet other overlanders along the way and much enjoy swopping stories, info, fun times and others.We live in Cape Town, South Africa. Is there a nicer city to call home?

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