With a successful ferry crossing behind us we spend one night in Mazatlan and then start working our way down the coast.
It is immediately apparent we are not on the Baja anymore as the desert has turned to jungle and the extreme heat is now mixed with thick tropical humidity.
We zip down the toll road 15D heading south and our mainland Mexico journey has begun.
Toll roads in Mexico are safe, fast and generally in really good shape. They are also expensive. We are definitely going to need to mix in some dangerous, slow, bumpy “libre” roads here and there along the way.
Negotiating a grocery purchase.
Right off the bat we are under a bit of a time crunch as Sam needs to be in Mexico City by the middle of the month for the Adele concert so after a brief stay in the San Blas area we roll into a town we are quite familiar with from past vacations, Sayulita.
Sayulita was once a small quiet fishing and surfing village but has grown into a very popular vacation destination that on weekends and holidays pushes it’s capacity as Mexicans and foreigners hit the beach and the town square to party.
It is always good fun though and we thought a few days here would be a great way to ease ourselves into mainland Mexico.
One of our favorite Sayulita pastimes is a beach and jungle hike to the nearby town of San Poncho.
Unfortunately since our last visit the jungle seems to have taken back the path and we lost Sam.
Once she was located we decided to give up on our trek and head back to enjoy Sayulita's great street food.
While waiting for our chicken to cook...
...We have a taco and grow a Mexican mustache.
...and then we dig up a basket of turtles.
...and set them free.
Female turtles return to the exact place of their birth to lay their eggs. The eggs incubate for up to 2 months at which time the baby turtles hatch from their eggs and head for the sea.
Only about 1 in 1,000 turtles will make it to adulthood.
Campamento Tortuguero Sayulita protects the eggs from poaching and wildlife to give the turtles the greatest opportunity for survival.
With a few more towns to hit on our list before we get to Mexico City we say goodbye to Sayulita and the coast and start our trek inland.
First stop…the town of Tequila, the birthplace of you guessed it…tequila which is made from the blue agave plant native to the surrounding area.
From Tequila we make our way to the second largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara (population approximately 5 million) home of the Torta Ahogada (The Drowned Sandwich).
But first, we check into an AirBnB and secure the cruiser.
The Torta Ahogada might be my favorite meal of the trip so far;
Pork carnitas on a crusty roll, doused with spicy salsa and then drowned in a milder (marinara style) tomato sauce, served with raw onions in a bowl with a spoon to make sure you get every last drop.
Drowned Tortas are found all over Guadalajara and no one agrees who makes the best.
We opted for Tortas Ahogadas Enrique el Viejo (The old)
Not to be confused with the sneak Tortas Ahogadas Enrique who opened 3 doors down to try and capitalize on Enrique "the old’s" fame.
Fairly certain we found the best drowned torta in town.
We even went back the next day to reconfirm.
Back while we were having a beer in a cantina in the town of Tequila we were joined by a Mexican family from Guadalajara who had just come off a Tequila tasting tour.
Needless to say we hit it off right away and they insisted that when we get to Guadalajara they would show us the sites.
So after a day of exploring the streets of Guadalajara on our own we were picked up by Mayela and her family and taken to the neighborhood / suburb of Tlaquepaque.
Tlaquepaque is a municipality full of artisans, shops, cantinas with plenty of mariachis and of course street food.
Jumbo Churros going in the hot oil.
Just add a little sugar or maybe chocolate (or Nutella) and it's ready to eat.
We had a great evening with our new friends and can’t thank them enough for their hospitality.
From Guadalajara we continue to climb towards Mexico City and pull in to the Colonial town of Patzucuaro.
At approximately 7,000 feet above sea level we have long left the sweltering temperatures of the beach behind us.
We tuck into a great little RV park just on the outskirts of the town. It's perfect.
Patzucauro has been designated a Pueblo Magico and one of 100 Historic World Treasure Cities by the United Nations.
The doctor is in!
Drive thru beer store.
With its red adobe walled buildings, cobblestoned streets, old school cafes and an amazing local food market we really enjoyed it and would love to spend some more time here.
…but we can’t. We have to go see Adele.
From Patzcuaro we make the final push to Mexico City.
Mexico City is one of our favorite cities in the world and having spent a bit of time there in the past we knew we didn’t want any part of driving our great big fat pick up truck/camper combo through the streets of the Mexican Capital.
Instead we head for the town of San Juan de Teotihuacan and the Teotihuacan Trailer Park where we can store the rig and take the 45 minute public bus into Mexico City.
These two idiots are going to guard our truck while we are gone.
San Juan de Teotihuacan is the town closest (within walking distance) to the archeological site of Teotihuacan or City of the Gods.
Before visiting the ancient pyramids we headed into Mexico City but we’ll cover Teotihuacan first as Mexico city will have its own post later.
Dating back to 150 BC Teotihuacan is an enormous site. One of the largest ancient cities in the world it is said to have spread out 20 sq km and at its peak housed as many as 150,000 people.
It is dominated by two huge pyramids...
....Temple of the Sun
….and the Temple of the Moon.
Back in town, it's time for dinner.
Boiled pig parts carnitas.
...and the food tour continues.