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!