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.
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.
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.
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!!
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!
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.