Mexico, Chiapas


April 24 – May 6, 2016

Chiapas is the Southern Mexican Sate bordering Guatemala. Mountains, Rainforests, Mayan Archeological sites, Indigenous Culture, Waterfalls, Rivers with clear blue water, Lakes, Canyons, colonial towns… Chiapas has it all if you appreciate nature and culture!


El Aguacero (downpour)

Our first stop in Chiapas was the Centro Ecoturistico Cascada El Aguacero. Once again, we arrived at the end of the day when the visitors were leaving and we camped in the parking lot, and had the place almost to ourselves the next day. This waterfall is one of our favorite site we visited in all of Mexico. Well worth the 724 steps you have to climb down into the canyon.



Every member of this nice Mexican Family had a look inside our XPCamper. They lined up and went in one by one. They were just curious and could not believe we had a bathroom and running water! They were so friendly, we managed to have somewhat of a conversation in our broken Spanish. They came from the nearby town of Tuxtla Gutierrez to spend a nice Sunday with their family. When it was time to leave they all piled up in the back of two pickup trucks!
We could not believe our eyes. These pictures don’t do justice to the exquisite beauty of this site!
After the heat of the Pacific Coast this was very refreshing!
It was so hard to leave this place!
It was luxuriant with green plants and flowers overgrowing the rocks between the falls!
Just around the corner was this natural shower!


Who needs a traditional shower when you have this?


I think they are looking at each other?
Going back up the 724 stairs!!! We were so hot by the time we got back to the camper, but were saved by just a 2 minute walk to a small cave with a nice cold swimming whole.

Sumidero Canyon – National Park

The guide books recommended this attraction on the way to San Cristobal de Las Casas, so we left the waterfalls early in the morning to get a 2 hour boat ride on the Grijalva River. It was a hot and hazy day and we were not to impressed by the site but it was still something interesting to see.


The lanchas (boats)
The bridge is also a site for bungee jumping!
Crocodile on the shores!
The sides of the canyon are 1 km high in some areas!
Our captain is showing us the Coat of Arms of the State of Chiapas that was inspired by the Sumidero canyon.


When we left the Canyon it was 112F (44C) by the time we arrived in San Cristobal de la Casas it was 74F (23C). Only 37 miles (60 km) away. It’s crazy how altitude makes a difference. San Cristobal altitude: 7,200 ft (2,200m).

San Cristobal de Las Casas

“Set in a gorgeous highland valley surrounded by pine forest, the colonial city of San Cristóbal has been a popular travelers’ destination for decades. It’s a pleasure to explore San Cristóbal’s cobbled streets and markets, soaking up the unique ambience and the wonderfully clear highland light. This medium-sized city also boasts a comfortable blend of city and countryside, with restored century-old houses giving way to grazing animals and fields of corn.
Surrounded by dozens of traditional Tzotzil and Tzeltal villages, San Cristóbal is at the heart of one of the most deeply rooted indigenous areas in Mexico. A great base for local and regional exploration, it’s a place where ancient customs coexist with modern luxuries.
The city is a hot spot for sympathizers (and some opponents) of the Zapatista rebels, and a central location for organizations working with Chiapas’ indigenous people . In addition to a solid tourist infrastructure and a dynamic population of artsy and politically progressive foreigners and Mexicans, San Cristóbal also has a great selection of accommodations and a cosmopolitan array of cafes, bars and restaurants.

Excerpt From: Lonely Planet. “Lonely Planet Mexico.”

The colonial city of San Cristobal de Las Casas
Indigenous and tourists share the cobble stone streets!
A night out on the town!
Love the braids with the colorful ribbons!


Every time we went to town we would see this little chihuahua with different outfits and necklaces!
It’s always nice to stay in one place for a little bit and make friends! Carolina (Colombia), Me, Gael and Maude (France). 3 months later I saw Carolina in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala and we became real good friends! Such a small world.
The campground (Rancho San Nicolas) had a nice communal gazebo with a fireplace! We had a pizza party with other Overlanders. Matt, Saskia and their 2 boys from Moxie Trek.
Matt and Saskia have mastered the art of making Pizza on the grill!
Guy is keeping the fire going under the kids watchful eyes!
We met this nice couple from New Zealand, Mark & Sheila in a VW Westfalia. They were driving from Uruguay to New York in six months! Some overlanders are a lot faster than we are; we spent six months in Mexico alone! Everyone travels at their own pace.

On the road!

Small bags of chips and cookies are sold everywhere along the roads, but most of the time you also have the options of fresh fruits!
Corn drying on the road!
The road between San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque is known for having roadblocks set up by locals protesting against different political issues. Sure enough we went through 4 of them before we settled for the night in Agua Azul. We had to pay 300 pesos for the first one, the second had planks with nails and they were asking for a voluntary donation to help pay for the medical treatment of a local boy, the third was 100 pesos and the last one was 40 pesos, we don’t even know for what.
Knowing about the roadblocks we had decided to travel with Pete and Natasha from Here Until There for security reasons and we’re glad we did! The whole experience was very stressful because you could feel the agressivity from the protesters! It was the first and only time we felt uneasy in Mexico.

Agua Azul

After a very stressful drive we were happy to arrive at this incredibly beautiful cascading river with turquoise water! The natural beauty of this site is just unbelievable but the surroundings was a bit overwhelming with all the vendors constantly hassling you and the questionable security. We swam for a while, walked around and found a place in the parking lot to spend the night. We were happy to meet another couple of Overlanders from France who also camped there.



From Agua Azul we drove to another Natural site called Misol-Ha. It was less spectacular then Agua Azul but so much more peaceful.


Swimming in the river surrounded by lush jungle was quite an experience!
They rent these cute little cabana by the river. We only stayed a few hours and continued on to Palenque.


The Archaeological Site of Palenque is one of the most outstanding Classic site of the Maya area, known for its exceptional and well conserved architectural and cultural remains. It was at its height between AD 500 and 700. We perticularly liked it because of the setting, you can walk on a nice path through a lush Jungle.


Indiana Jones is ready for action!


A suspended bridge in the path in the Jungle.
We also visited the Palenque Museum where more than 234 artifacts are on display.


At the Maya Bell Hotel and Campground we met Marc & Saskia a British couple of Overlanders from Dream Drive Repeat traveling in a classic Mercedes Hymer RV. We got to know them better 3 months later in Guatemala and have become great friends.
It was so hot and humid that we spent most of our days in the pool.
We stayed in our camper but these charming cottages were available for rent.


Even the bathrooms were attractive with this lush tropical landscape!
Just to hot for a Temazcal a traditional Mexican Sauna! 

Next, MEXICO, Yucatan Peninsula … stay tuned!

Mexico, Oaxaca


April 16 – 24, 2016

Oaxaca is a Mexican State located in the Southwest. It is becoming more and more popular with travelers because of the many great attractions it offers. Indigenous cultures, colonial towns, archeological and natural sites, savory cuisine, vibrant arts & craft scene, history, Spanish and cooking schools, great beaches with world renowned surf spots…and Mezcal.

City of Oaxaca

Our first stop after the state of Puebla was the City of Oaxaca. We had big expectations but the heat was taking a toll on us. We visited the historic part of the city and decided to continue our journey…

The old building of the Teatro Macedonio Alcala built in 1903, now home of the Oaxaca Symphony Orchestra.
University Benito Juarez. A public University founded in 1827 as the Oaxaca Institute of Arts and Sciences.
The Cathedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion located in the Zocalo (Central Plaza)
Colorful hotel near the Central Market and the Zocalo
The Mexican cuisine of Oaxaca has been praised by many food experts. The variety of spices available at the Central market was impressive!
A lot of the arts and craft sold all over Mexico are made in Oaxaca.

Santa Maria del Tule

We camped in Santa Maria del Tule, a small town just outside of the city of Oaxaca. It’s claim to fame is a 2,000 year old Montezuma cypress tree known as the Tule Tree, which is one of the oldest, largest and widest trees in the world! It also has a beautiful central Plaza with manicured  lawn.

Town hall and the famous tree next to the church.
Beautiful clean promenade


Arbol del Tule (Tule Tree). 2,000 years old!

Overlander Oasis

The real reason Overlanders come to Santa Maria del Tule is for the Overlander Oasis. It is kind of an iconic place to stay where you meet other travelers and the owners are very hospitable and helpful. Calvin has a well equipped workshop and can help with any kind of work you need done on your rig or find someone than wil.

Canadians Calvin and Leanne owners of the Overlander Oasis, move to Oaxaca in 2008 after exploring 30 of the 31 Mexican States in their converted 1957 Greyhound bus.
They bought and remodeled this building previously occupied by a restaurant. Made a few modifications to move in the bus now used as their bedroom. Pretty cool space!!!
View from our camper rear window of the backyard and casita available for rent.
Spag and balls on the menu tonight!
Guy, Amy and Hugo their classic Land Rover Defender in true British fashion! We first met them here at Overlander Oasis and again in Chiapas, Yucatan and Belize. We share great memories with this wonderful couple of BLOKES!
This aventurous German couple Bea a and Helmut have been riding their motorcycles all over the world on five continents for the last five years. You can follow their trip on their blog at Time to Ride
Like many Europeans traveling the Americas (Pan-American Highway) they started their journey in South America and are riding North to Alaska. They have the photo of one of their friends (bottom left on the center box) who died before he could fulfilled his dream of riding his motorbike in America.

Caminos del Mezcal

In the State of Baja you have the Ruta del Vino (wine route), in Jalisco the Ruta del Tequila (Tequila route) and in the State of Oaxaca it’s the Caminos del Mezcal (Mezcal Roads). Mezcal is handcrafted by small scale producers, one village along the Caminos del Mezcal could have multiple producers and a lot of them offer tours and tastings.
Like Tequila, Mezcal is made from the agave plant. The difference is in the production technique and in the types of agave used. Tequila uses the blue agave.
The center part of the agave called pina (pineapple) is cooked in a pit in the ground.
Artisanal earthen oven where the agave hearts are cooked for three days.
They still use horses to grind the cooked agave hearts with a stone wheel.
After fermentation, distillation and aging, the Mezcal is ready for tasting!
We stopped for lunch at this beautiful restaurant and artisanal Mezcal producer.
Assorted grilled meats and vegetables served with tortillas, beens, salsas and avocado. Delishhhh!
It’s in the state of Oaxaca that we started to see more and more Tuk-Tuks or Moto-taxis (three wheels motorized rickshaws). They are all over Asia and manufactured in India. They are present in every small town in Central America and they are just the best! 
Still plowing fields the old fashioned way!


Hierve El Agua

A natural attraction in the central valley of Oaxaca, is Hierve El Agua (the water boils) one of those off-the-beaten-path travel experience! The site can get busy during the day with tour buses but we arrived later in the afternoon when everyone was leaving, we camped in the “parking lot” and had the place all to ourselves the next morning before the visitors arrived and by then we were ready to leave.

We followed the directions on our application which seems to have given us the shortest route but definitely not the “nicer” road. It was more a trail than a road but it was a good off road practice and we had some company along the way, the four legged kind of company!
Every village, no matter how small it is, always has a beautiful church. San Isidro.
When we arrived at the site we were surprised to see Matt and Saskia and their 2 kids from Moxie Trek. That’s when we realized there was another road!
We were the only two camping there that night! So quiet and because of the elevation not to hot!


Taking pictures of that incredible view!


Our only visitor!
How about a natural infinity pool!
The view of the valley bellow was just unreal!



The petrified waterfall on the side of the mountain is also pretty impressive. There is a nice hike that takes you from the pools to the top of the fall.
The mineral natural pools are said to be beneficial for the skin!

Lake Benito Juarez, Santa Maria Jalapa del Marques

We could not make it to the coast in one day and Matt and Saskia told us that they were going to overnight at the Lake Benito Juarez so we made it there as well. Another VERY HOT spot. The lake turned out to be an old quarry and even though it was hot we did not feel like swimming. We had a few cocktails with Matt, Saskia and the kids and called it a night.

The kids were having fun in the sand!
The locals come very early to go fishing.
Ready to go!
A dog in Mexico can only survive if he can adapt! This one did!

Huatulco, Pacific Coast

Our friends Pete and Natasha from Here Until There told us about this beach Paradise on the Pacific coast in the sate of Oaxaca in the Bay of San Agustin surrounded by the Huatulco National Parc, where you can camp on the beach for just a few dollars. It was absolutely gorgeous but SO HOT! Even with the sea in your backyard, we ended up staying only two nights because of the heat.
Sitting in the shade with a cold beer and swimming were the two main activities!
La Familia del Viento. We met this wonderful family of artists/nomads/puppeteers. He’s Colombian and she is German, they have been traveling for the last 10 years and now have 3 adorable little boys. They are thinking of maybe settling down in Colombia in the next year. 
What a face!
Beach rooster!


Salina Cruz

SO DAMN HOT! Two ceiling fans and two additional fans in less than 90 square feet, you would think would be sufficient to cool us off! All you can do is lay down and try to catch a breeze!

Next, MEXICO, Chiapas … stay tuned!


Mexico, Veracruz and Puebla


April 11 – 16, 2016

Casitas, Veracruz

We left Teotihuacan to go meet our friends Kevin and Dani (British/Swiss couple who have been on the road in Europe and Africa for many years) in the small coastal town of Casitas near Nautla in the State of Veracruz. We had spent time with them in Baja so it was nice to see them again and catch up on their travels. We camped a few days with them at the Hotel Coco Loco on the Emerald Coast along the Gulf of Mexico. After almost two months inland, being back on the ocean was a nice change but it also meant HEAT!

Beautiful and quiet spot on the Gulf of Mexico.
Swimming or showering were the main activities during the day!


Kevin and Dani’s dog Mali. She is a sweet heart. They rescued her from the streets in Spain and she has been traveling with them ever since.
The hotel Coco Loco offers a few camp spots for RV’s, hotel rooms and bungalow rentals!
Could not be any closer to the beach without being in the sand!
The XPCamper and Kevin and Dani’s Iveco (Italian industrial vehicle very popular in Europe as a base 4×4 vehicle for camper builds)
Getting ready for a hair cut!
That day my friend Dani gave me an under cut! I know it was incredibly hot and it looked great on her BUT WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING???

Martin the Swiss owner of the Hotel Coco Loco took us on a tour of the surrounding area. He has been living in Mexico for over 30 years so he knows the area quite well, and everybody knows him! We stopped in different villages for bananas, cheese, ice-cream, vanilla and ended the day by eating street hotdogs in the small town of San Rafael! Thanks Martin for being such a great host!

Martin, Kevin, Dani and Joe on the suspended bridge leading to the French village of Jicaltepec.
Jicaltepec was home to a French immigrant community in the early 19th Century. French surname can still be found although the French language has disappeared.
The architecture is definitely more French then Mexican!

In Jicaltepec, we visited this property where vanilla is grown. The flowers were also pretty spectacular.

We met this lovely lady who cultivates Orchids and Vanilla. Her family has been growing vanilla for four generations!


She kept these beautiful wild parrots in a cage as “company”.

Zapotitlan Salinas, Puebla

On our way to Oaxaca we had to cross the state of Puebla through some pretty steep  mountain roads.  We made a small detour to the village of Zapotitlan Salinas to spend the night at the Botanical Garden Helia Bravo located inside the Tehuacan-Cuicatlan Biosphere Reserve. It houses 200 types of cacti (plural for cactus ha! ha!) most of them endangered species and some more than 800 years old! In the desert the nights are cooler so it was a welcomed change from the heat of the coast. The area is also known for its salt production dating back to pre-Hispanic times. You can also find a multitude of road side stores selling all kinds of things made of the local Onyx and Marble.




We took a morning hike before it got to hot.


Beautiful church in the background.


More than 200 types of Cacti.


The brownish rounded structure on the right is a traditional Temazcal (Mexican Sauna).  “In ancient Mesoamerica it was used as part of a curative ceremony thought to purify the body after exertion such as after a battle or a ceremonial ball game. It was also used for healing the sick, improving health, and for women to give birth.  It is currently being recovered by all sectors of society in Mexico and Central America and is used as a cleansing of mind, body and spirit.” Source: Wikipedia.
We were the only ones there besides a German family renting one of the cabins.
Leaving the Botanical Garden, on our way to the city of Oaxaca!

Next, MEXICO, Oaxaca … stay tuned!

Mexico City and around


March 31 – April 11, 2016

After a wonderful week in San Miguel de Allende, we headed South to San Juan Teotihuacan located about an hours drive before Mexico City, to visit the Mayan Pyramids of the Sun and of the Moon. We then left our rig securely parked at the Teotihuacan Trailer Park and took the bus to Mexico City for a few days of sightseeing.

Mexico City

Mexico City is the capital of Mexico and one of the most populated city in the world with 20+ million urban inhabitants and sits at 7,380 feet (2,250 m) of elevation. A lot of people skip the City when visiting Mexico but we had heard such good things about it, that we wanted to see it for ourselves. We were not disappointed.

Where Mexico city now sits, the Aztec built the City of Tenochtitlán in 1325. It was almost completely destroyed by the Spanish Conquistadors in 1521 and Mexico City was later built over the Aztec ruins by the Spaniards. After independence from Spain was achieved, the federal district was created in 1824.

Now Mexico is a vibrant and happening city with a perfect mix of old and new. Colonial, modern and Mayan architecture, a thriving Artistic and Cultural scene, all the museums you can imagine, ancient ruins, fabulous restaurants, neighborhoods waiting to be explored …

We took the bus from Teotihuacan and got dropped off at the Metro Station. We got a couple transfers and emerged in the historic center where we spent a lot of our time walking and visiting the main attractions. We felt safe and were impressed by the ease of going from one place to another either by walking, taxi or metro. We only spent four days but could have stayed a lot longer, there is so much to see and do.

Historic Center of Mexico City
The Zocalo is the common name of the main square, Plaza de la Constitution was the ideal spot to begin our sightseeing. Every day at either 6:00 AM or 6:00 PM the Army has the ceremony of raising and lowering of the giant Mexican flag.
From our hotel room we had a great view of the Cathedral and the Zocalo (main square).
Rear view of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Assumption consecrated in 1656. It’s the largest cathedral in the Americas and is situated atop the former Aztec sacred precinct near the Templo Mayor. 
Templo Mayor (Great Temple).”Before the Spaniards demolished it, the Teocalli of Tenochtitlán covered the site where the cathedral now stands, as well as the blocks to its north and east. It wasn’t until 1978, after electricity workers happened on an 8-ton stone-disc carving of the Aztec goddess Coyolxauhqui, that the decision was taken to demolish colonial buildings and excavate the Templo Mayor.”

Excerpt From: Lonely Planet. “Lonely Planet Mexico.”


The famous murals by Mexican artist Diego Rivera inside the Palacio National
Courtyard of the Palacio National
Palacio de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum)

Edgar Degas , Ballerina 1876 and Alexander Calder, Evelyn 1970

Diego Rivera’s murals
Henri Matisse, Jazz 1947
National Museum of Anthropology houses one of the worlds largest collections of archaeological artifacts from pre-hispanic civilizations. It takes a full day just to walk around the different exhibits.





The Voladores is an ancient Mesoamerican ceremony up a 30 meter pole

Renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was born in, lived in and died in, Casa Azul (Blue House), now the Fira Kahlo museum. Probably our favorite attraction we visited in Mexico.


Frida’s studio. Wonderful light. Note the picture of her beloved Diego on her desk.
Frida’s studio. Note her wheelchair in front of the painting.
Frida’s traditional Mexican kitchen.
Photo taken from Frida’s bedroom where she had a nice view of the courtyard from her bed.
Another landmark of the historic district is the Baroque masterpiece Casa de los Azulejos (House of Tiles). Iron balconies and blue and white tiles from the nearby state of Puebla.
Now, the 18th century palace is home to the Sanborns flagship restaurant.


We stayed at the Teotihuacan Trailer Park for a total of 8 night before and after visiting Mexico City. It was the perfect location to visit the Pyramids, meet other ovrlanders and leave our rig while we visited Mexico City. The owner Mina was so accommodating and helpful. I even got some dental work (two crowns) done by her dentist/daughter and one of her dentist colleague  from the City.

Quite a line up of overland rigs. Hymer from Germany, DodgeRam/XPCamper from USA, Mercedes Sprinter Van from Portugal, Toyota Land Cruiser from Switzerland and another Mercedes Sprinter from Germany.

Marc from The Happy Richters and Joe bonding!
Marc and Connie Richter and their dogs Chilli and Pepper traveling the world in their Sprinter Van. The Happy Richters


Two Mexican Ladies traveling solo in their respective rigs. They are part of the AMAAC La Asociacion Mexicana de Acampadores (Mexican camping Association)
Fun evening with our new Mexican friends! Dutch Oven and grilling!
We met this great family from Mexico City. Angelica, Pedro, Pedro Jr. and their black lab Stark. They were our tour guides for 2 days. They took us to some of the surrounding towns, the light show at the Pyramid of Sun, made us taste all kinds of different foods and guided us through the local food market. 




We visited the Historical Cultural Center in the town of Otumba and made a quick stop in the town of Axapusco

Angie and Pedro made us taste Escamoles (Ant eggs) considered a delicacy and Jumiles (dried crispy worms) both are harvested from the Maguey (Agave) plant.

At the local market we discovered these tiny salty fresh water shrimps and Chicken Barbacoa cooked in Maguey (Agave) leaves.

The St-Laurent Family, Pascal and Veronique and their three sons Arthur, Loïc and Thierry originally from Quebec now living in Whitehorse Yukon. They took a one year sabbatical to travel in their modified school bus. Quite an inspiration!

Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon

“Teotihuacan was Mexico’s biggest ancient city and the capital of what was probably Mexico’s largest pre-Hispanic empire.The city’s grid plan was plotted in the early part of the 1st century AD, and the Pirámide del Sol was completed – over an earlier cave shrine – by AD 150. The rest of the city was developed between about AD 250 and 600. Social, environmental and economic factors hastened its decline and eventual collapse in the 8th century.”

Excerpt From: Lonely Planet. “Lonely Planet Mexico.” iBooks.


Sitting on the Pyramid of the Sun with the local pooch with the Pyramid of the Moon in the background.

View of the Avenue of the Dead and the Pyramid of the Sun from the Pyramid of the Moon.
Joe standing in front of the Pyramid of the Sun.The world’s third-largest pyramid, surpassed in size only by Egypt’s Cheops and the pyramid of Cholla. We had the place almost to ourselves, we were there at the opening before the tour groups arrive from Mexico City.


What a view from the Pyramid of the Moon!
Joe attempting to emulate Gunter a fellow Overlander and XPCamper owner who likes to do a handstand in front of landmarks. Not bad!


The light show at the Pyramid of the Sun was a great experience! Experiencia Nocturna

Next, MEXICO, Veracruz and Puebla … stay tuned!







Mexico, Guanajuato


March 20-31,2016.

Our next stop after the state of Jalisco, was the state of Guanajuato where we spent time in the town of Guanajuato (same name as the state), a brief stop in Dolores Hidalgo and a week in San Miguel de Allende where we visited a friend.


The Unesco World Heritage city of Guanajuato was founded in 1559. It was definitely one of our favorite cities in Mexico because of it’s colonial buildings, stunning plazas, brightly colored houses and the presence of Art everywhere.

The tunnel system in the center of town is quite impressive! In our research we had read that “what ever you do, don’t get into the tunnels because it’s a maze and you will never found your way out”. So what is the first thing we do? We get in a tunnel!! Thank God, our GPS led us directly to the campground through tiny tiny steep streets. Not to toot our own horn but Joe is a great driver and I am a pretty good navigator so besides the occasional arguing,screaming,wrong turns, bad directions, u-turns, application failures, backing up, we seem to always make it to our destination!

Nice campsite overlooking the colorful city of Guanajuato! Morril RV Park, 140 Mexican Pesos (approx. $8) per night. It was more a parking lot than an RV Park but it had decent bathrooms and showers, walking distance to the center of town and an incredible view
We met 3 other Overland couples. Pete and Natasha Here Until There, with their dog Malta. Chris and Jen The Globe Trol and Josh and Jenna Travel Amateurs. Had been there for a while so they gave us good info on where to go and what to see.
One of our favorite thing to do on the road is cooking and sharing meals with the people we meet. Joe and Chris had two Dutch Ovens and the Cast Iron Hibachi grill going full swing! Pulled pork and Ribs! YUMMY!
The downhill walk to the center of town! The tunnel system or underground roadway is quite impressive! They were originally constructed as a diversion for the Guanajuato River to prevent flooding.
The tunnel system or underground roadway is quite impressive! It was originally constructed as a diversion for the Guanajuato River to prevent flooding.
Art everywhere!
The University of Guanajuato is one of the oldest Universities in Latin America. It first opened in the 18th Century as a Jesuit school for children. Now with it’s 113 stairs, it has become a landmark of the city, where tourists get their picture taken.



We loved walking through Guanajuato and just getting lost in t’s tiny streets. You just never know what you will see!




Don Quixote and Sancho Panza galloping down the hill!


We visited the house/museum where the famous Mexican Artist Muralist Diego Rivera (1886-1957) was born.


The Hildago Market clock Tower.
The building housing the Hidalgo Market was suppose to be a Train Station but the Railway was never finalized. The iron work on the clock tower was design by non other than Gustave Eiffel.


Dolores Hidalgo

On our way from Guanajuato to San Miguel de Allende we stopped for lunch and a walk around the historical town of Dolores Hidalgo, Cradle of the Mexican Independence. The city was a small town known simply as Dolores until Father Miguel Hidalgo uttered his famous cry for the independence of Mexico, there in the early hours of September 16, 1810 in front this beautiful church. After Mexico achieved independence, the town was renamed Dolores Hidalgo in his honor.

San Miguel de Allende

Like the town of Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende (SMA) is a Unesco World Heritage Site. It was one of the first item on the list of places we wanted to see in Mexico. San Miguel’s main attraction is it’s well preserved historic center, filled with buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. Some say it’s the prettiest town in Mexico and we may have to agree. Walking down the cobblestone streets admiring the striking Baroque and Neo-Gothic Architecture, the warm earthy colors, stoping for cocktails on a rooftop terrace or sipping coffee in one of the many courtyards filled with plants, is what San Miguel is all about.



One of the many courtyards filled with plants.


El Jardin (Central Plaza) and the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel (church) were busy on Easter Sunday.


As early as the 1930’s, expatriates have moved to San Miguel to reinvent their lives. Now 15,000 of the city’s population of 80,000 are expatriates, roughly 70% of them are from the United States. Thanks to its somewhat remote location San Miguel has remained intimate and welcoming. With it’s vibrant Art and Cultural scene, incredible climate, great restaurants, shops, bakeries, cafés, boutique hotels, language schools, cooking and art classes, yoga, who would not want to live here? And for a fraction of the price it would cost in the US or Canada.

There is a vast choice of restaurants from the more lavish…
… to the more modest but just as delicious!
The doors in San Miguel are all different. At first, doors served as protection and declaration of status but overtime they have become a cultural symbol.
You could spend weeks walking around town admiring them.
I got a dried flower headband from a street vendor, a local tradition!
Doors and door knockers are a big deal in San Miguel, books have been written about them and countless photos have been taken.

And to make our visit even more memorable, we had our own private tour guide. My friend Louise moved to San Miguel about 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Thanks to Facebook we had reconnected just before we started our journey. I had not seen her in close to 20 years but it felt like we had seen each other the week before. She is just that kind of a person! On our first night in San Miguel, Louise invited us to her beautiful apartment in one of the historic buildings with thick stone walls. We had cocktails on her incredible rooftop terrace overlooking the famous Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel and blooming Jacaranda trees, followed by homemade Chiles Relllenos and lots of wine! Louise and I caught up while Joe was lounging and watching Tennis on TV with his new friend Coco.  Throughout the week, Louise took us along a few of her social outings around town,  introduced us to some great restaurants, let us use her washer and dryer, found a technician to repair Joe’s cell phone screen and cooked us a great pasta dinner.  Thank you Louise for your hospitality, your are still the hostess with the mostest and a wonderful friend!

My friend Louise’s amazing rooftop terrace. Rooftop terraces are another staple of San Miguel.
The Parroquia at Sunset from Louise’s terrace.


Jacaranda trees in bloom!
More rooftops from the neighborhood.
Cheers to Louise!
Joe and Coco chilling and watching the Miami Open Tennis finals!
Easter Brunch with Louise and friends! What a meal!
We stayed at the San Miguel tennis club and RV Park. 12 sites with full hookups located just a few minute walk to the main Plaza “Jardin”. The second from us was a German couple who had been there for 8 years! We were there for 7 nights and met wonderful people from all over the world. Mexicans, Swiss, Germans, Canadians, Americans, Dutch even a couple from  Lichtenstein.
I love SMA

Next, Mexico City and around … stay tuned!

Mexico, Jalisco


February 25 – March 20, 2016.

After celebrating our birthdays in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta we drove through the mountains and crossed into the state of Jalisco on February 25, 2016.

When we started planning our trip to Mexico we contacted our friend John who is originally from Scotland but has been living in Guadalajara, Mexico for more than 15 years. We had made tentative plans to visit with them during the holidays. We ended up enjoying the Baja more than anticitpated and being “Overlanders”this was becoming the norm never knowing how long or short your journey would take you.

Pinar de la Venta…3 weeks with friends

Our friends John and Andrea live in the beautiful neighborhood of Pinar de la Venta located about 25km from the center of Guadalajara. They welcomed us into their amazing house like we were family and we immediately felt at home even though we had not seen John for more than 15 years and had just met Andi. We ended up spending 3 weeks with them and their pups Oxxo and Nina.

A blast from the past. John had this picture framed in his house. Our honeymoon in 1999 on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship where John worked. So I took a picture of the picture!

We took this opportunity to have some maintenance done on the truck. We had the cracked windshield replaced and oil changed at the Dodge dealer, double layers of security film installed on all 4 windows, some guards welded to our front and rear lights…We received a part for the grey water sump pump being mailed from California by XPCamper.

But mostly we spent our days just lounging, cooking, reading, catching up on the blog, taking day trips by ourselves or with John and Andi. We love our life on the road but this was a very nice break thanks to John and Andi, we still miss Andi’s Moms brownies which she brought every week on Tuesday, to die for.

The XP found a nice resting spot under the pines of John and Andi’s house.
Oxxo is a rescued dog. He got his name from the store where he was found. Oxxo is a chain of convenience stores, the Mexican equivalent of our 7-Eleven, they are found everywhere throughout Mexico.
Nina the sweet labrador and Oxxo the mischief and coddling Weimaraner. They kept us company while John and Andi were at work.


This is where we spent most of our days. Sitting at the Equipale, handmade rustic leather furniture, crafted from tanned pigskin and cedar strips, another Mexican staple and so comfortable!
Watching hummingbirds!

Andi showed me how to make Chile Rellenos, stuffed poblano peppers, accompanied by Agua de Jamaica, hibiscus water and Requeson, kind of like Ricotta cheese. Yummy!

John is the most Mexican Scotsman we know. Every weekend he plays Futbol with two different teams and he is the only expat! It was fun to go see him play and cheer for his team. It was an hour and a half drive in the country side and we saw beautiful scenery,  horses, sugar cane fields, small villages and even lamas.


Guadalajara is the capital of the state of Jalisco and the second most populous city after Mexico City with 4,4 million people (2010) in the metropolitan area. It is the birthplace of mariachi music and tequila, but also one of the country’s industrial and business centers, sometimes referred to as Mexico’s Silicon Valley.

The historic center is dotted with colonial plazas and many beautiful buildings, we were lucky to have our own tour guides.

The Cathedral is the heart of the Centro Historico. The construction began in 1558 and was completed in 1618
Another landmark is the Teatro Degollado

On Sundays it’s nice to walk around the historic center and take in the culture. There is so much life in the plazas with street performers, souvenir vendors, food stalls … Fruits and chips are the favorite snacks. Hard choice to make sometimes.

Quinceanera dresses stores seemed to be everywhere.











The Hospicio Cabanas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is now a Cultural Institute where you can admirer the impressive frescoes painted in the 1930’s by Jose Clemente Orozco and many expositions by local and international artists.

Good times with good friends. Thanks you John and Andi for being such gracious hosts!

Tortas Toño is known to have the best Tortas Ahogadas in Guadalajara! It is a typical dish, sandwich of chopped fried pork on a baguette and drenched in a chili sauce and topped with onions, cabbage and cilantro! On Sunday morning you have to wait in line! Great for hangovers!



A suburb of Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque has narrow cobblestone streets with old mansions housing wonderful stores and galleries offering wood carvings, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, jewelry and so many neat restaurants.

If you like interior design like I do, this place is heaven! Now that we live in our truck, it was just fun window shopping. But if we ever have a house again I would seriously consider coming back here to furnish it.


There is a multitude of furniture stores offering unbelievably nice furniture and home accessories.

John and Andi in one of the incredible furniture stores.

Ok enough with the chi-chi stores time to eat some Chapulines, grasshoppers!

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The town of Tequila is located about 60 km from Guadalajara, so we decided to take a day trip with our truck, you can also take a train tour from the city. The drive through the Blue Agave fields was very scenic.





Tequila’s Cathedral. Parroquia Santiago Apóstol.



Many distilleries welcome visitors, we decided to visit the Jose Cuervo distillery, because they were the first to produce this fine beverage in 1795! Best selling tequila in the world with 35% market share!

The production of tequila is divided into seven steps: harvesting, cooking, fermentation, distillation, aging and botteling.

The heart or pina of the blue agave plant is used to make tequila after 200 plus leaves have been trimmed.



Since we’ve mostly only drank tequila in margaritas, the tasting was surprising. We tasted the Blanco unaged, Reposado aged in oak barrels from 2 to 12 months and the Anejo aged for at least one year, it becomes much darker and the flavor much smoother, it almost tasted like brandy.
Then we headed for the private cellar to taste the Reserva de la Familia extra aged (3 years in oak barrels)
Can’t drink tequila without Mariachis!


After three weeks in Guadalajara it was time to move on, but not to far, only 35 miles (55 km) away. We made it to Lake Chapala on March 16, 2016 to visit Josée’s aunt and uncle who also, like John, had been waiting for us for a while.

The town of Chapala is located on the shore of Mexico’s largest freshwater lake and is a favorite weekend and holiday destination for Tapatios, as the people of Guadalajara are known. Unfortunately the lake seems to have issues with its water levels and pollution.


The Chapala Malecon lined by blooming Jacaranda trees!


Every year thousands of American White Pelicans fly 2500 miles (4000 km) south from their normal habitats from Central Canada to enjoy western Mexico’s warm winter.

Ajijic (ah-hee-heek)

The town of Ajijic located on the north shore of Lake Chapala, about 3 miles from the town of Chapala, it is a haven for retired expats from the US and Canada. Boutiques, galleries and restaurant galore, much of the town retained its charming colonial vibe with cobblestone streets but its far from the typical Mexico. English is almost has common as Spanish and the prices are relatively high.

The area is considered to have one of the best climate in the world. Cool nights and mornings, warm afternoons and no humidity. It also benefits from good medical care at extremely reasonable costs.


Beautiful Tante Pierrette in front of one of the many murals of Ajijic.

Josée’s aunt and uncle have been coming to the area for more than 10 years and have a very busy social life. We met a few of their many friends and were able to get a glimpse at the expat lifestyle. Not sure its our thing but it was a lot of fun for a few days!

We also took the opportunity to get our teeth cleaned for a whopping 150 pesos (about $9.00 USD) and get a tire fixed and a rotation done on the truck (which Joe ended up doing himself) after they noticed our rig and tire size no biggy Joe’s tools worked better all he really wanted was their lift.

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Spending time with my aunt was such a treat, she reminds me so much of my mother who left us way to young.

Uncle Oscar is unbeatable in the kitchen. He fed us unbelievable meals the four days we spent with them. Homemade Creton with french bread, steak frites, shrimp pasta, cheeses, his own salmon mousse… and we took all our meals on their beautiful terrace lined by bougainvilleas
Lake Chapala.

Next, MEXICO, Guanajuato… stay tuned!


Mexico, Nayarit


February 12 – 25, 2016.

We left Mazatlan on February 12th, 2016 and drove along the Pacific Coast into the state of Nayarit. We stayed on the coast also called Riviera Nayarit in Santa Cruz de Miramar, Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta. Mexico has 31 States plus Mexico City’s Federal District. Nayarit is our fifth state after Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sinaloa and Chihuahua.

Santa Cruz de Miramar

Our first stop in Nayarit was the village of Santa Cruz de Miramar located on the Pacific coast just south of San Blas. We found a little slice of heaven at the Paraiso Miramar Hotel & RV Park. We stayed four nights, the first couple of days were a bit busy because it was the weekend but the last two days we had the place to our selves and enjoyed the pools, the restaurant and the incredible views of the ocean, the sunsets and the magnificent gardens throughout the property. Perfect setting to celebrate Valentine’s Day . We paid $250 Mexican pesos (about $14 USD) per night.

We find ourselves so lucky to be able to experience an ocean front “resort” in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nature and kind, discrete people and be able to sleep in our comfortable bed every night and cook our own food for $14 a night! This is why we chose this lifestyle and love it so much!


Camped under a Carambola (starfruit) tree!


On the road

From Santa Cruz we continued down the coast, stopped for lunch at a Taco Stand where they had handmade tortillas and freshly squeezed orange juice all prepared by a husband and wife team, right there on the street.  We drove through the small town of La Peñita then stopped along the road to buy some fruits and continued on to San Francisco aka San Pancho where we thought we would be camping. The town had a great artistic vibe but we did not really like the camping option so we decided to continue to Sayulita a few miles South.

Cheese and Chorizo Tacos for Josée and Birria Tacos for Joe!
La Penita


San Francisco aka San Pancho

Sayulita, beach life!

We had heard a lot about Sayulita and were afraid to find it overcrowded and touristy but the campground was located on the North Beach which is a bit more quiet and we ended up loving the vibe and stayed six nights. Free yoga classes every morning and the rest of the day was spend enjoying beach life: walking, swimming, sunbathing, watching the surfers, getting food from the vendors or just day dreaming! Everything was walking distance: the many restaurants options, arts and crafts, farmers market…






Puerto Vallarta

Next was the big Resort town of Puerto Vallarta where we celebrated our birthdays touring the city. We strolled down the Malecon (oceanfront promenade) then had an amazing lunch in an authentic, kind of upscale, Mexican Restaurant next to the Cathedral, then walked around exploring the different neighborhoods until we found a nice bar on the beach for happy hour, walked some more and had dinner in a little Italian restaurant, walked some more and finally jumped on the bus back to our campground completely exhausted but happy and full!

Just like Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon has many beautiful sculptures!
Impressive work!
Music and water!
One of PV’s landmark: the Church of our Lady of Guadalupe!
Casa Tradicional Cocina Mexicana, Puerto Vallarta. Highly recommended! The salsa and guacamole are prepared tableside and the margaritas are just devine! Perfect to celebrate our birthdays!
Lined with bougainvilleas the cobble stone streets of Old Puerto Vallarta are just beautiful!
VWs rule in Mexico!


Dinner on the beach? Los Muertos Pier in the background.


Next, MEXICO, Jalisco… stay tuned!