June 10, 2012
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Page 3 Travel and Travel Buddies
Place of the Frogs”
is an amazing city; literally a labyrinth of tiny colonial
streets leading into tunnels underground in the belly of the
city. Colorful small houses and grand colonial buildings dot the
urban landscape and center around a plethora of tiny treed
squares that pop out throughout the city.
Mild summers, cool winters
variation: Warmer in the summer, cooler and dryer in the Winter
season: May to October
Money – Banks and ATMs
Airport – Leon
Season – Mid December to Mid March especially Christmas and
Semana Santa, July and August are busy with Mexican vacationers.
Semana Santa – Week
Festival in mid-October.
Medical – Numerous
Tourism and agriculture
means “Mountainous Place of the Frogs” in the Purépecha
regional dialect. Some of the nomadic tribes worshipped the
spirit of the frog and settled in this area where a mountain
appeared in a frog-like shape. Situated in a basin of the Sierra
de Guanajuato range, the area was flooded constantly from the
Guanajuato River that overflowed from 3 kms beneath the earth.
Various indigenous bands inhabited the area prior to the arrival
of the Spanish; the Otomi, the Nahua, the Guamares and the
Purépecha. They settled along the river and as the population
increased, homes and settlements expanded up into the hills
following the path of the river.
To read more click here
"Place from which the
The Shopping Mecca of
Tonalá is known
throughout the country for its lively Thursday and Sunday
pottery and glass, Tonalá also has treasures to trash. You can
find it all here in Tonalá.
glass blowing demonstrations. The market has a plethora of hand
made glass for sale.
Population - 374,258
in the city, 408,729 in the municipality
Location – Located in
central Mexico on the east side of the Guadalajara metropolitan
Elevation – 1540
Statues for your every need;
of Guadalupe, Christ, to
any one of a
number of Saints
was founded by the Zapotec Indians who intermarried with the
Toltec and other Indian tribes. They spoke their own indigenous
language mixed with Nahuatl.
Click here to read more
To The Riviera Nayarit:
There Is Life After The
sights, and golden
beaches lined with
A few kilometers
from Puerto Vallarta, in Western
Mexico, the Riviera Nayarit
region is expanding rapidly.
Hotels are being built,
renovated, expanded…and this is
the case of the Occidental Grand
Nuevo Vallarta Hotel, where we
stayed and which has invested
$14 million into renovations, in
response to clients’ growing
expectations when it comes to
the quality of all-inclusives.
Tucked in between
the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra
Madre Occidental, the Riviera
Nayarit stretches over 300
kilometers to the north of
Puerto Vallarta. It is the
southern part of the region (in
the Bahia de Banderas
municipality) that has seen the
strongest growth in the hotel
industry. Between 2007 and 2012,
the number of rooms has risen
from 10,000 to 12,500, an
increase of 25%.
Click here to read the entire story
From Facebook On The Road in Mexico
Dorothy Bell makes recommendations on Facebook for those that want to
fast track Nogales to PV
Nogales to PV -
Zipping Down the Coast
We don’t like to
do this. Normally we like to smell the roses.
However if you are quickly zipping down to PV or
Riviera Nayarit, I suggest the following:
1) Have all your
papers and correct documents ready for immigration
and vehicle permits.
2) Get your
insurance online. Get a quote from us
We offer great quality insurance at a reasonable
price. You can buy it just before you leave.
3) Buy a Guia Roji
Road atlas before you cross over the border. It is
the best map for Mexico.
4) Have pesos for
the trip down. You need gas, tolls, hotel and food,
5) Have a cooler
on hand so you can buy drinks and snacks for travel.
While we love eating in restaurants along the way,
but if you do not know the town or city you could
spend a lot of time searching for a restaurant. It
will also take up valuable daylight time to get
served. You will want to have a breakfast and lunch
for your first day and purchase breakfast and lunch
for day 2 in Navojoa or Mochis.
6) Be ready to
cross the border early. Take the truck crossing -
Mariposa crossing – as it is easy - takes RVs and
has way less confusing traffic. It is open at 6 am.
For more go to the
complete article on Page 3 Travel and Travel Buddies
You must drive
through here and at KM 21 you will have to present
your documents and get your permits. The army bank,
Banacerito is open 24 hours a day to process vehicle
When in doubt, drive on the “D” roads or toll roads.
Stay on HWY 15 or 15D.
Once you have left
the Immigration office you will bypass Magdalena,
then drive through Santa Ana where you will continue
down highway 15 towards Hermosillo. Hermosillo is
277 kms from Nogales.
There is some
construction in Hermosillo so watch carefully and
head towards Guaymas and HWY 15 and 15D.
When you approach
San Carlos/Guayamas continue and take the bypass
toll around the cities. San Carlos/Guaymas is a good
place to stop if you have difficulties or need
something desparately. It takes about an hour to
enter and then exit to purchase something so move on
and bypass if at all possible.
Continue 132 more kms to CD Obregon. There is a
Walmart to the right just as you enter the city
where you can get supplies (ie sandwich fixings)
beverages, and use the ATM if needed. We suggest you
stock up for a breakfast and lunch for the following
You must drive through CD Obregon. It is not too
congested but be cautious as there is a turn.
Continue to Navojoa. This is a congested town. If
you are driving an RV or big truck you must watch
carefully for a detour to the left for truck
traffic. Make your way through the small city. At
the other end there is a large supermarket that you
can purchase stuff or load up with supplies.
Continue to Los Mochis. You will cross a state
border and usually at borders there will be a
Continue to Los Mochis. Many of our readers
recommend the Zar Hotel – right on the Highway.
Apparently they have a good restaurant for your
dinner.They do NOT take pets.
If you have an RV
there is an RV Park – such as it is – to the right
as you enter town.
This trip will
likely have taken 11 hours – nearly 500 miles or so
after you left immigration. Rest as tomorrow you are
getting up early.
your breakfast in your cooler. Also lunch as there
is No supermarkets enroute that will be open until
Get up early.
It is often foggy in this farming area and there is
often tractors and farm equipment just south of
Drive Hwy 15
through farmland etc and prepare to turn to HWY 15D
just before Ciullican. Get on the toll and zip down
Be cautious. Mazatlan is having some construction so
there may be detours. Head for Tepic and Puerto
Vallarta. You will pass supermarkets for supplies
Head south and stay on the toll highway towards
Tepic. Do not pass go.
Once you have
crossed the state line into Nayarit there is a
choice. Stay on the Highway to Tepic OR head towards
San Blas and take a different route. I suggest that
if you have a car – take the San Blas route. If you
have an RV and are driving from July to December,
take the Tepic Route. (The San Blas Route gets
overgrown after rainy season and can scratch your
If you go through the San Blas Route, take the Hwy
54 towards San Blas but turn off when you see the
signs for PV. Head towards Las Varas.
(If you take the
Tepic route drive straight to the city and then turn
when signed to go to Puerto Vallarta. Beware that
RV’s and trucks must drive in the laterals when you
see them. Laterals are the slow frontage roads on
some city streets.
The stretch of
Highway from Tepic to Compostela to Las Varas is
windy and narrow and sometimes steep.. There are not
many places to pull over.
From las Varas to
PV is easy peasey. You will be passing through town
after town, pueblo after pueblo of the Riviera
Nayarit. Like pearls on a necklace, each one is
beautiful and distinctive. Drive carefully and
From Los Mochis to
PV will take another 10 or 11 hours.
If you are
interested in breaking this up so you have one other
stop we suggest driving day one to Navajoa. Stay in
the Best Western (it does Take Pets.) If an RV stay
in San Carlos. Day two drive to Mazatlan. Day 3 to
If you want a much much more detailed set of
Puerto Vallarta Malecon
Wooden Masks: Historical Beauty
© Tara A. Spears
traditional folk art is a true celebration of rich color and vibrant
beauty. Each of Mexico’s 31 states offers unique talented artists
producing a seemingly limitless collection of stunning and whimsical
hand crafted art. Of all the different art forms, the hand carved wooden
masks best reflect the Mexican culture and pride of the indigenous
people. Carved wooden masks that portray the devil, ancient deities,
jungle animals, or immortalize deceased individuals were regularly used
in religious and cultural dances, as well as during war. The left photo
is an example of a Mayan ceremonial mask. Mayan masks had a wide variety
of uses, and the importance of the masks dictated how intricate the
designs on various masks were. The abundant availability of carved masks
at the tiaguis-open markets- make these a great collector’s item.
The Mayan people
inhabited the Yucatan Peninsula from 2500 BC to 1550 AD. The basic
principles of the Mayan religion were adapted from the Olmec and
Teotihuacan people, prior to the seventh century AD. The Mayans viewed
the natural world, along with all that was a part of it, as a
continuation of the sky-world above and the underworld below. The jaguar
was believed to be a gatekeeper to the afterlife. According to Jeeni
Criscenzo, “The ancient Maya had a complex pantheon of
deities whom they worshipped and offered human sacrifices. Rulers
were believed to be descendants of the gods and their blood was the
ideal sacrifice, either through personal bloodletting or the sacrifice
of captives of royal blood.” The deities are common figures on the
wooded masks, particularly the warrior masks.
The antique masks also
contain the faces of people. We know that some masks were used in
wedding ceremonies, and there were masks made to commemorate many births
and deaths. Not all Mayan masks were for such profound purposes,
however. The Mayan's also used masks for entertainment as well. The uses
of masks by the Mayan people were as varied as the style of the masks
Click here to read the
Santo Domingo Museum is filled with
the history of Oaxaca and Mexico
Click here to look inside
Internet While You Travel Mexico
Internet while you travel is not usually a problem. There is an assortment of opportunities to go online.
a) Hotels & RV Parks
Hotels in Mexico are certainly offering internet to their customers. Generally speaking any 3 star hotel and above will offer it. Unfortunately, No-tell-motels do not. They figure you are in their establishment for something other than Internet.
Destination RV Parks are likely to offer internet too. We try to list internet services when we list RV Parks. If a RV Park has upgraded and offers internet, let us know so we can tell others.
Click here to read more information
Driving In Mexico
By David Simmonds
I have driven tens-of-thousands of miles in Mexico and the worse thing I can remember happening was having a mango jump off the flatbed of an oncoming produce truck near Mazatlán, smashing out the left headlight in my old VW van and spraying mango pieces and juice from head to huarache, where I sat in the driver’s seat. I thought I’d been shot by a deranged sniper until I figured it all out. And another time I blew an engine (another VW van, naturally) in the Sonoran desert on my return trip on a 100 degree summer day when few cars were on the road (this was years ago, before toll roads), only to be rescued by a pickup truck full of missionaries who rope-towed me to the Arizona border, almost making a believer of me.
Click here to read the entire story
Customs Allowances into Mexico via Land and Air
DO NOT BRING EITHER GUNS OR DRUGS INTO MEXICO. Mucho problema! Don't try it - think about it or even toy with the idea. If caught you most likely will end up in prison for a very long time.
You are allowed to bring into Mexico:
a) 2 cartons of cigarettes or 50 cigars or a kilo of tobacco (2.2lbs)
b) 3 liters of wine or hard liquor
c) 12 rolls of film
d) a computer
e) 2 cameras - photo, movie or other
If traveling by air you are allowed a $300 customs allowance in addition to the above. If traveling by land you are only allowed $50.
Be reasonable and don't bring in quantities of anything that might look like you are planning to resell them. You really don't have to load up on food anymore as there are enough Supermercados with a good supply and variety of food.
When you cross most borders you will be asked to push a button or your car will automatically trigger one. If your light is green you will continue to pass through. If you hit a red signal your luggage and vehicle will be searched. Additionally if you look suspicious or a guard has the desire - you can be searched regardless of the light.
Customs Allowance into the US
US citizens are allowed to bring home from Mexico:
a) $800 US in purchases duty free. .
b) 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 2 kilos (4.4lbs) of tobacco
c) 1 liter of alcohol - wine or spirits
Customs Allowance into Canada
Canadian citizens are allowed to bring home:
a) after 24 hours $50 CAN in purchases duty free; after 48 hours - $300 CAN duty free; or after 7 days - $750 duty free.
b) 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 1 kilos of chewing tobacco
c) 1.5 liter of alcohol - wine or spirits
Don't forget to turn in your Car decal before leaving the country!