2000 miles in 8 days! Leaving Baja for Tulum

2000 miles in 8 days! Leaving Baja for Tulum

We had a few last days of Baja calm in the city of La Paz before crossing the Sea of Cortez to the mainland, on a cargo ship (Hanna’s second, our first 🙂 ).  We were off to meet the siblings in Tulum, on the Yucatan Peninsula, for a couple of weeks of more traditional holiday-type action.

Waiting to load, La Paz - Mazatlan Ferry, Baja California
Waiting to load, La Paz – Mazatlan Ferry, Baja California
Hanna on deck. La Paz - Mazatlan Ferry
Hanna on deck. La Paz – Mazatlan Ferry
Our home for the night, La Paz - Mazatlan Ferry
Our home for the night, La Paz – Mazatlan Ferry

 

Mark is going to write a more detailed post on the La Paz-Mazatlan ferry crossing, as it was an adventure in itself and we want to give practical details for anyone else who wants to do it too.

We drove off the ferry in Mazatlan ready for a mad dash across the whole width of Mexico.  First, a quick stop in Mazatlan to find wifi and check the progress of the steering box we were having sent out from England.

Mazatlan was lovely, but swarming with police pickup trucks full of heavily armed policemen.  The state where Mazatlan is, Sinaloa, is one of the most dangerous states in Mexico at the moment, due to heavy drug cartel presence.  Mazatlan itself is safe because it’s so heavily policed, but it was a bit weird after the low key-ness of Baja.

Arriving at Mazatlan on the ferry
Arriving at Mazatlan on the ferry

From Mazatlan we set off for Tepic, a few hours away.  Hanna started overheating on the steep mainland hills.  Aaargh!  The plague that is the overheating!!  We managed to limp as far as Tepic that first day, and then spent the whole of the next day trying to get an auxiliary fan to fit to the outside of the radiator.  What was supposed to be one night turned into 2 nights so Mark could fit the fan.

Next stop Guadalajara, where we met some locals that our friend Simon introduced us to through Facebook.  We had such a great time there that I’m going to dedicate a whole post to these new friends and Guadalajara soon.

Our amazing new friends, Marie-Fred, Cuauhtemoc & Santiago
Our wonderful new Guadalajara friends, Marie-Fred, Cuauhtemoc & Santiago

After another few unexpected days in Guadalajara trying to sort out ANOTHER mechanical issue (gearbox leakage) we finally set off again on our epic 8-hours-a-day 5 day driving blast across Mexico.  We decided to use the toll roads and only drove during daylight hours, as advised by everyone.

We were pretty nervous because we’d be driving through another of the most notoriously dangerous Mexican states and staying in petrol stations along the way.  Luckily the toll roads felt totally safe.  Despite paying around £250 for the privilege of driving across Mexico on them, they have been THE WORST roads we’ve traveled.  We weren’t scared by any of the Mexicans we met, but we were certainly scared by the state of the toll roads!!

Camping in a lorry stop on the way across Mexico
Camping in a lorry stop on the way across Mexico

Luckily the amazing tyres we had put on in Canada did brilliantly.  Hanna’s suspension survived, and so did we.  We couldn’t believe it when we got to the last of the toll roads in the Yucatan only to discover the free roads were perfectly good!

So, with our nerves shredded, we arrived at the endless white sand beach at Tulum for two weeks of gorgeous time with Ben, Emily and Nic.  It was so great to see people we love.  They reminded us that the UK is cold and wet and that what we are doing is amazing, even if it is a bit of a slog at times. We had been thinking alot about whether we wanted to carry on doing the trip, mostly because of the stress of Hanna’s dodgy mechanics, but Nic helped put things in perspective when she said, “You’re basically having back-to-back holidays of a lifetime”.  And that is so true!

Cocktails on the beach, Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Cocktails on the beach, Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Hanging out at Hanna's
Hanging out at Hanna’s
Outdoor drinks table
Outdoor drinks table
Tunes and our mascot, Poco, given to us by our dearly loved Bristol neighbors (you know who you are!). Poco has shed his hat and gloves and now wears a sombrero. Thinking I need to make him some shorts!!
Tunes and our mascot, Poco, given to us by our dearly loved Bristol neighbors (you know who you are!). Poco has shed his hat and gloves and now wears a sombrero. Thinking I need to make him some shorts!!

After the sand, sea and sun of Tulum, we headed across the peninsula, experimenting with a slower pace of travel, to the most beautiful cenotes and the ancient Mayan Ruin of Chichen Itza.

4 Responses

  1. M
    | Reply

    So loving getting your news out here in the Pampas where internet is a very sporadic luxury. Just had Dad and Miranda to stay for 3 days which was lovely. Heaps of love

    • Saskia
      | Reply

      More posts coming soon, Mum! xxx

  2. Fred and Elisabeth
    | Reply

    Hello Sakia and Mark
    We have been on the road now for 19 moths,one year in the States and Canada. On the moment we are in Mexico now allready for nine months but our plan was only to be five weeks in Mexico. We loving the country,the people,the history and the culture. We had no problems at all. We mostly camped but also stayed in hotels or with New Mexican friends in there houses. We are travelling with a 1957 Mercedes and a tent trailer.
    Take care and maybe we will meet you on the road.

    • Saskia
      | Reply

      Hi Fred and Elisabeth!

      Sorry it’s taken us so long to respond to your comment. It’s lovely to hear from you 🙂 We are in Chiapas at the moment, on our way to San Cristobal de las Casas next week. It is so easy to spend more time than planned in Mexico! We have given up on making time-related plans, and we are enjoying the slower pace much more.

      We have had lots of mechanical issues through the whole journey, and we have now realised that is part of the trip for us – mending our vehicle. I hope yours is doing better than ours, even though it is older 🙂

      Take care of yourselves too and we hope to see you on the road at some point.

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