Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Mexico: Marriachis, Sombreros, Tequilla and tacos!

Bienvenidos to VanBaelenGuillot in Mexico!

Currently we are already in Mexico for two weeks and we can guarantee everyone that so far we are still alive and we still have all of our belongings! By the way, the title of this is a joke: We haven't seen any of the typical Mexican stereotypes so far! Let's see in the upcoming weeks!

Having spend some time here now, we can say that it is totally different than travelling through the USA. Before everything was very organized for us and we felt very safe to leave the car behind. Here we feel that we need to do a lot of efforts to see or do something and it is very hard to do cool things on your own – you often need a guide or prepare very well. On top, we found ourselves in a busy traveling period in the USA, making it easy to talk to people, but in Mexico it is still low season as it is still too hot. Therefore we often are the only tourists around.

Anyhow, we started our trip by crossing the border via Nogales, which is a city in both the USA and Mexico. In a couple of hours we were able to get all the papers done and we were driving on the highway! We were very surprised that everything went so easy, we didn't even have to show our papers to anybody! From there we drove until Hermosillo, the first town on our route. The city had very little to offer apart from a colonial church, so we decided to continue further south to find a sleeping place. We continued to the Guaymas at the Pacific Coast. Here we found a camping which was linked to a beautiful and charming hotel, obviously we were alone. Although the city of Guaymas did not have much things to see, its surrounding cities did have nice harbors and beaches.

From here we went towards our main attraction in Northern Mexico: The Copper Canyon. After just having visited the Grand Canyon, we were quite surprised about this. The canyon here is much larger than the Grand Canyon, and it is also much more different. The rock formations are more wild and are covered with trees. To visit it we had to drive 600 km in the Sierra Madre Occidental, which took us about two days in streets with pothole, curves and holes! From Creel we try to check out the canyon, but it was very hard for us being used to travel into the USA to find our way. We took half a day to organize and to indicate what we want to see and how to get there. On top we had to organize how to get out of the canyon, as it is the home base of some drug related activities, so not all roads are considered safe. Finally we have spent several days throughout the canyon and we have really enjoyed it. It has only been a pity that there had not been many hikes for us to do. Nonetheless we have seen several waterfalls (including the second highest of Mexico) and beautiful lakes and we have mountain biked around the rims of the canyon, which provided for great views and it provided us with an inside to the local tribes still living in the canyon.

Originally we found that we had to do some effort to enter the canyon, but we were wrong! Leaving it appeared to be much more difficult. After driving on a paved road for 10 km the road suddenly stopped, we knew we had to continue for 200 km to our next stopping place via dirt roads. Now, you can have dirt roads and dirt roads. Some dirt roads are actually even better than paved roads and sometimes (like in the USA) you can drive 80 KM/H to avoid the rattling. Not in Mexico. These roads are 30 km/H max and often slower as there are so many big holes to be avoided. For our last 90 KM we thought we were completely lost, as we were seriously driving up a mountain, and there was practically no sign of a road. After climbing from 400 meters to 1.700 meters we finally crossed another car who could confirm that we were on the road to Alamos. After this exhausting but really beautiful trip we arrived in Alamos, which is a well conserved colonial town. Beautiful houses in bright colours, having gardens with beautiful flowers.

From Alamos we go towards San Blas a smaller beach town. On the way we have to make a small pitstop in Mexcaltitan, which is known to be the 'Mexican Venice'. It’s a small island village which is located in a large laguna. Very cool to spend an hour there to see how the people live on a small surface. From there we continue to San Blas (for the ones that know the group Maná - muelle de san blas, it is inspired in this village) where we enjoy the beach and the oceans with the strong waves. From here we continue to Puerto Vallarta, a super large hotel resort city. We are not very big fans of these places, so we don’t stay here for long. We did however do a nice excursion here to the Isla Marietas. This island has a crater with a beach inside which was Mireia’s first dream when preparing the trip! There we saw dolfin, a large manta, sea stars and lot of beautiful fishes.

From here we will go a bit further south, after we go back up a bit. Hopefully we can see some more colonial villages before starting to see the Mayan and Aztec  ruins and Mexico City!

Hope you enjoy the rest of the pictures! Feel free to leave some comments - which we love to read and reply!

Alex and Mireia

The church in Hermosillo, our first encounter with Mexico's colonial history

As you can see it is not very busy at this camping in Guaymas

Although the hotel was beautiful

The harbor in Guaymas' neighbor San Carlos

An isolated beach which was only accessible by climbing a bit down, finally the pacific ocean become warm (we didn't swim a single time in northern California)

This beach was full with seashells!

Our first stop going into the Sierra Madre, the cascadas de Basaseachi (260 meters high waterfall) 

Camping in Creel was also lonely and the accommodations were note really prepared to receive guests

From Creel we could go visit this Valley of the monks

The Copper Canyon is still populated by the Tarahumara who moved here 400 years ago to run away from the Spanish. They are very shy and don't trust other people. Most of them lived very poorly.

The canyon also has some therms - just what we need after a long hot day ;)

Although we fine ourselves to be the only campers we are rarely alone on the road

Next waterfalls - where we were also alone!

The views from Divisadero are spectacular so they have built some kind of an attraction park here

We took a bike ride around the canyon rims, great views!

At night we had our personal guard, 'Barbara'. We are really sad that we didn't take here with us, she was behaving very well.
Alamos! Beautiful town with a very nice main square - you could see that this city is full of Americans!

Vistas of the city from a mirador

The graveyard of Alamos was completely full full full

Look Siemen, big tractors!

The Mexicans already start to prepare for the 1st of November, which is celebrated very much here, but much differently than in Europe!

On our way to the Mexican Venice - Mexcaltitan

When the water is higher the boats can enter the city

So people need bridges to cross the streets

Chihuahuas are stupid, but how cute is this one! - Claus don't take it personal ;)

From this street map you can see it is small village

Going to San Blas it becomes more tropical, the amount of mosquitos was enormous

In Puerto Vallarta we had some difficulty finding a camping, but the one we found had nice vistas

In Puerto Vallarta we can visit the Isla Marietas, where you have a beach inside a crater

Unfortunately, on the way there we saw 18 dead giant turtles which got stuck in a fishing net

And a large manta was swimming together with us! Sr.Guillot this is for you!

Taking our swimming classes we need life jackets


  1. Chihuahuas are NOT stupid.

    1. Anonymous identify yourself so we can make fun of you!

    2. Maybe they are under-cover ;-) ?

    3. or maybe it's the person who's also behind this website: http://www.chihuahuavereniging.be/!! Moehaha! Groetjes, Annelies

  2. (Moehahahahaaa :), someone's insulted :) )
    really cool pics, so much more my cup of tea. Looks well worth the visit. Ah - Dia de Los Muertos. interesting - i'll be doing a project next year on 'memento mori', so Dias de Los Muertos is a good example of this. If you find a cheap, tacky paternoster or a skull (still looking for a quite realistic skull :) ) somewhere to bring me as a souvenir I'd be interested in using it in/as a piece of jewelry! Have fun!!
    groetjes, Annelies

    1. Very cool, we´ll have a look at it! Does it need to be a real one? Does the size needs to be the size of a jewel?

      Thanks for commenting!

    2. Cool. No, not important if real or not and does not have to be real size (ideally about 6cm, but do not spend too much time looking around, but thought it would be cool to let you know in case you randomly came across it :) ) (and certainly do not spend too much money!)
      Thanks! Annelies
      PS for some real good Mariachis go to Honduras, we saw loads there :D

  3. How took the picture of the graves this time? Choya!

    1. Hahaha Choya, this time the picture winner was Alex. Maybe next time Mireia will win again!


  4. Mire! !! Alex!!!!
    Que chulo tot aixo!! Us trovem a faltar
    Family guillot mir

  5. Qualified!!! Belgium for Brazil! Chakka. Unless the captain of the Aircraft will not be too drunk your team will hopefully see Rio. Maybe you can apply as the TeamBus-Driver.

    Awesome Blog. Take care and enjoy!

    1. Finally, right!? On top, we are ranked 5th on the world ranking. Life cannot become any better ;) Maybe I can put all the players inside the jeep and bring them through the jungle to the next place... Can be fun!

      Thanks for reading the blog and for posting!
      Take care!

  6. Alex & Mireia! Still great pics, we visited Tom and Francy past weekend with Wim and had a nice time going to you're blog together. Looking at the amazing pictures en thinking about the great experiences you guys have. The picture of the crater-sea is really strange. Here is everything fine: Jessie is getting big, the baby kicks like hell, we're busy preparing the room. Have fun and keep on posting!

    1. Simon, jessie! Glad to hear from you and the baby!! We are very happy for you! Enjoy and keep us posted!
      Alex and mire

  7. Wah what a wonderful trip ! Wild wild Mexico :-) The beach inside the crater looks so unreal! Do you miss air conditioning? Haha :-D
    I wish the best for your trip, kisses from cold Quebec! See you !!

    1. Hi guillaume! Nice to hear from you :) mexico is great and we re enjoying a lot! Keep enjoying your trip! Here is hot but...we bought a ventilator, so we don't need anymore an AC ;) hahahha
      Take care, enjoy and keep us posted!

  8. Chicos! que chulo todo! Cuidado con los mosquitos asesinos! Estamos impacientes de ver el próximo post! Nosotros aquí estamos dándonos a la vida ociosa en Copacabana a orillas del Titikaka... Os va a encantar esta zona, y probablemente agradezcais el fresquete. Besazos a los dos, seguid informando!

    1. Sara! Ya voy viendo vuestras fotos y son una pasada!!! Me alegro que vuestro viaje vaya tan bien! Mexico es una pasada! Proximo blog...prontoooo
      Un beso muy fuerte y a seguir diafrutando!

  9. Per fi em deixa comentar! jajajja
    Quin viatgeet, una passada!!! Les fotos són precioses! Mooolts petoooons!!!! Enjoy!!!!!!

  10. Soc la Teia!!! jjajajajjaja

    1. Teia! La veritat es que aqui tot molt be! Gracies x llegir el blog! Que be que ja puguis comentar! Muaaa

  11. Hola Mireia,
    Soc l'avia, gracies per la postal. Desitjo que sigueu disfrutant tu i al Alex. Una abraçada.
    Records i petons de la Maria i la Laura

    1. Hola avia, que bé que ja l'hagueu rebut!
      Un petó ben fort a les 3
      Alex i Mire

  12. Hello!! Niiice pictures!!
    You can see my blog here: http://astrid-and-bruno-on-tour.blogspot.ru/2013/10/blog-post.html
    You will love Mexico!!! Well except when they try to scam you. ;o)
    Mireia, what is your private email address? (I don't like facebook)
    Take care!


    1. Bruno!! We have seen your blog! Very nice :) i will follow you! Enjoy your trip!!
      Un beso para los dos!

  13. Hello Mire,
    Thanks for the great pictures and comments - it's like I'm travelling with you ;) big kisses from brussels Priscilla