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December 21, 2011

So we’d arrived on the Mexican mainland – in Sonora no less. This is what the US government has to say about Mazatlan in 2011 –

“In the last year, the city of Mazatlan has experienced a level of violence, primarily confrontations between TCOs, not seen before. In 2010 there were over 300 narcotics-related murders within the city, compared to fewer than 100 in 2009. “

We drove from the dock through the city to the Zona Dorada (the main tourist area) and the Mar Rosa RV Park. Our guide book had told us that this campground was usually completely full in the winter. When we got to Mar Rosa it was mostly empty with only a scattering of RV’s. The US economy coupled with the perception of danger has decimated the US visitors to Mexico.

When we settled into the Park we walked outside the gates and caught a bus into the centre  of town. This was our first proper Mexican city and we jumped off next to the city market. We spent the next couple of hours exploring the centre of the city and then walked back along the seafront to the Zona Dorada.  We underestimated how far it was and ended up walking about 10km in flip flops, not a great idea!


While in town we decided to buy a couple of ribbons in a haberdashery to secure the mosquito net over the bed in the Beast. They had the craziest, labour intensive system. You went to a counter for them to measure the ribbons and they wrote up a receipt. Then you went to the cash desk to pay. After that back to the first desk to have your receipt verified. You’d think that would be it but no – you then had to go to a third desk to actually pick up your purchase – which the person from the first desk had delivered there after checking your receipt.

Once back at the RV park we sat on the beach to watch the sunset before retiring to the Beast for the night.

So we’d survived our first day in a Mainland town – hadn’t seen anything dodgy and hadn’t even been robbed. Maybe Mexico isn’t like its press after all!

The next day we jumped in the Beast and started our Southward travel down the Mex 15D towards Tepic. In Mexico there are two types of roads – the free (libre)  and the toll (quota) roads. So there are two Mex 15’s . One goes through every town on route and includes topes in the built up bits to slow you down – the toll road meanwhile is two lanes each way and doesn’t hold you up – except for the major disadvantage which is the cost. You pay by number of axles so we have been paying the same rate as a car which is great. However it works out at around USD8 per 50 miles which is pretty expensive.

At the end of a 4 hour drive we arrived in San Blas – a small coastal town. We stayed at the El Chaco Restaruant and Campground. On first glance this place looks idyllic with a gorgeous looking pool with a fountain, shaded by palm trees, however on closer inspection the sun loungers were all dirty and broken, there was algae in the pool and hundreds of ants on the side – and most importantly at sunset clouds of mosquitos descended on the area. So a little disappointed we decided to only stay the one night.

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