Mazatlán to Oaxaca
The ferry in La Paz takes us within 12 hours to the mainland of Mexico. Before getting back on our bicycles we’re having another short break in Mazatlán to go humpback whale watching.
We’ve contacted a lot of outfitters in Baja California Sur to go on an excursion. None of them is giving any of their revenues back to nature. Onca Explorations does! That’s why we are doing a tour with them in Mazatlán.
The revenues are mainly used to save whales which are trapped in fishing nets (their main threat). The rest is given to Blue Legacy (Legado azul) to do research on whales and to protect them.
Back on track
The journey on the mainland of Mexico starts by getting on a “ferry” to go to Isla de la Piedra. The ferry turns out to be a very small boat.
This is new to us, but we manage to get everything in.
A more scenic route to see the beaches on Isla de la Piedra ends in pushing the bicycles through sandy dirt roads
The Backbone of the Devil
The route to Durango, is called the Mexico 40 and is also known as The Backbone of the Devil (Espinazo del diablo). Many curves and even more climbs in the Sierra Madre Occidental. There’s no snow up here, but temperatures drop quickly after 4 pm and especially when the sun goes down. During the day it’s 20 degrees Celsius, but it feels like 30 or even more.
We’re going through remote and almost deserted mountain towns. The climbs in combination with the heat and altitude are tough.
There aren’t many shady places, except for a bus stop once in a long while
Copala. A colourful, but sleepy town
In La Ciudad we visit Parque Natural Mexiquillo. Spanning over 52 square miles, it is one of Mexico’s most impressive virgin forests. The first thing that captures our attention is the strange rock formations shaped by hot magma that covered the entire area millions of years ago.
After a lot of climbing in the Sierra Madre Occidental there’s a short break in Durango to catch up on food and take some necessary rest.
We’re having a really nice cappuccino at O’culto Café y Brebajes. It is said to be the best coffee place
Bad dirt roads
We expected to be on a paved road, but the road from San José de Mesillas to Francisco I. Madero turns out to be a bad dirt road. The villagers made a cobble stone road which is the worst part.
We proceed slowly.
Again we are in remote and deserted places. It’s Sunday. The tienda in a little town is closed. At the last house before we leave town we ask for water.
An old lady offers us water from her well.
We will have to purify it with our filter.
To reach Zacatecas we are heading in the direction of Fresnillo. We don’t want to enter this city because it’s a major hub for drugs. The two big cartels running it are Sinaloa Los Chapos and Halisco New Generation.
For Mayan communities, the ceiba or ya'ax'che is a sacred tree that supports the sky with its branches and weaves the underworld with its roots
Zacatecas is the first real big city in Mexico’s mainland we get to see.
It’s pretty, busy and loud!
While we are having breakfast at the Acropolis Café next to the Cathedral a woman asks us if we would like to have an interview for the local newspaper NTR. Ofcourse we do!
This is like the neighborhood Anafiótika in Athens, but with more colours. It’s very touristy. You can find quiet plazas as well with beautiful trees and colourful houses.
To us this is by far the most beautiful city in Mexico.
Starting the day with a good cappuccino at Café Conquistador we walk through the colorful center.
Calle del Truco
Calle del TrucoBeso
After enjoying the earthy colors of San Miguel de Allende we end up going offroad again. There are actually 3 routes from San Miguel de Allende: via Celaya, via Querétaro or through the middle. We decide to go through the middle.
It turns out to be the worst track ever.
Ok, mud and sand not taken into account.
These cobble stone roads are driving us crazy.
The stones are sticking out way too much. It makes the road very bumpy. It goes on and on. Up and down. It’s really tiring!
The modern Mixtec are primarily farmers who practice slash-and-burn cultivation and use the hoe and digging stick or oxen and the plow
In San Jose del Rincon Ejido we see women cleaning clothes in the river
Nevado de Toluca
We go for a hike to Nevado de Toluca. It’s one of the highest (4,680 meters) volcanos in Mexico. It’s inactive and after an explosion, many years ago, two lakes were formed.
No more vegetation except for these beautiful mountain flowers
We are in Oaxaca! Wooohoooooo!
The city where we can have a long holiday.
Since day one we are in love with Oaxaca. Every corner is a surprise. Will there be a mural, church, restaurant, shop or coffee bar? The Street of Murals and Jalatlaco, the most colourful neighbourhood, are a lust for the eye.
Besides enjoying its colorful city and tasty gastronomy we take time to rest and prepare for the next stretch. New tires, some changes in our set-up, maintenance, new clothing, going to the dentist and catching up on administration.
This is the video footage of the entire trip: