OAXACA, MEXICO by JEEP

October 25 to November 11, 2001

 

Text and Photos Copyright ©2001 Mark E. Halliday

 

EL TAJIN

VERACRUZ

TUXTEPEC

OAXACA - DAY OF THE DEAD

MONTE ALBAN

HIERVE del AGUA

SAN JOSE del PACIFICO - PUERTO ANGEL

PUERTO ESCONDIDO

CUERNAVACA

 

 

In 1980 I bought my first new car, a Jeep CJ-7. I still own it 21 years later.

It has a reworked transmission and engine, but only 115,000 miles.

For some years it has been parked in Austin, barely moving.

I was ready for a trip to Oaxaca, but awaited a companion.

Jack McCulley could go along, provided we start with a concert in San Antonio!

 

THURSDAY OCTOBER 25 - AUSTIN to SAN ANTONIO

We went to the 'TOOL' concert, staying overnight at a motel.

 

FRIDAY OCTOBER 26 - SAN ANTONIO to SAN FERNANDO, TAMAULIPAS

We head for the border crossing at McAllen/Reynosa.

It took about two hours and $30 for the standard 6-month temporary vehicle import permit.

I had already bought 6 months Mexican Insurance for $160 from Sanborns.

We drove south until just after dark, staying overnight in a small town, San Fernando.

 

SATURDAY OCTOBER 27 - SAN FERNANDO to PAPANTLA

 

South of San Fernando, the rolling country was open and green.

There was almost no traffic on the back roads we chose.

Crossing the Tropic of Cancer, we start the tropical adventure.

It rained on the way into Tampico,

so the "bikini top" went on the jeep for awhile.

 

 

We arrived in Tampico about midday.

No problem finding some pesos via ATM.

The route to Vera Cruz crosses this modern bridge near the river mouth.

Those numbers on the windshield:

the odometer reading at each fill up, as the gas gauge did not work.....

After Tampico, we were waved through a military checkpoint.

The road now had some rough spots, with lots of truck traffic.

 

We were near Papantla, just after dark, when it started raining.

We ran into the nearest motel.

 

 

 

EL TAJIN Archeological Site

 

SUNDAY OCTOBER 28 - PAPANTLA to VERACRUZ

 

El Tajin has had a makeover, with a new parking area and visitor center.

 

Palace of the Niches, where it was raining.

(It was raining here 4 years ago also:)

This made it difficult to enjoy the site for long.

 

 

 

We were cold and wet,

and stopped for lunch in Papantla.

 

We found the best meal of the trip:

a delicious spicy seafood soup.

 

 

 

 

 

VERACRUZ

 

The road passed along the Gulf of Mexico, with rough surf pounding the shore.

We made a quick stop at Old Veracruz (Antigua), where Cortez burned his ships.

We stayed at the Hotel Colonial in Veracruz.

The central plaza was being reconstructed, and the vendors are really annoying.

We ate shrimp and watched World Series baseball that night.

 

 

 

 

MONDAY OCTOBER 29 - VERACRUZ to TUXTEPEC

 

The old Spanish fort at San Juan Ulua is a museum, therefore closed on Monday!

We drive along the Veracruz hotel zone, and join the toll road ("Cuota") to Puebla.

The "Cuota" are 4-lane divided highways; the safe but expensive way to travel.

 

 

TUXTEPEC

 

We left the Cuota; the road to Tuxtepec was just fine.

However, we were surprised to pass this sign.

I thought we were further south by now.......

 

 

 

Modelo Brewing has "Modelorama" shops,

usually near the local distributor.

 

I liked Negra Modelo.

Jack's choice is Bohemia.

 

 

Tuxtepec is located along the Papaloapan River

in very eastern Oaxaca state;

the second largest Oaxacan city.

 

We found a nice hotel for $20.

Secure parking, and balcony with river view.

 

 

 

TUESDAY OCTOBER 30 - TUXTEPEC to OAXACA CITY

 

We woke up early for a long day of mountain driving.

Breakfast: coffee and orange juice.

 

After an hour driving along the river,

we start climbing up into the Sierra.

 

 

 

We came around a corner, and were blocked by a truck.

It was never clear how the truck was stuck here....

 

We were able to sneak around the right side

after checking out the ditch.

 

 

 

Watch for

Falling Rock

Going over the highest part

of the Sierra de Oaxaca,

we were freezing cold

in the fog and wind.

 

 

 

 

 

OAXACA CITY

 

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 31 -

Day-of-Dead sculptures

in front of central cathedral

Oaxaca zocalo.

 

 

 

 

 

We stayed at the Hotel Principal

for the next four nights

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theresa

Hotel Principal receptionist

 

 

 

 

 

Day of the Dead

Decorated Graves

 

 

 

 

 

 

This family may stay at the graveside all night.

 

 

 

 

 

Day of the Dead Bread

Ocotlan Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 1 - DIA del MUERTOS

 

All-souls day

"Gigantes" dancing in the street near the cathedral

 

 

 

 

 

MONTE ALBAN

 

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 2 -

Monte Alban

view from South Platform to the Northwest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Central Plaza

 

 

 

 

 

Storm moves in over Oaxaca City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEOTITLAN and HIERVE del AGUA

 

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 3 -

Rug-shopping in Teotitlan was fun.

The big red rug with diamonds is 2 by 3 meters, $400.

 

As we left one shop, a tourist busload arrived from Oaxaca.

They watched a video about weaving.

 

 

 

 

I try to decide what size rug I would buy for my condo.

 

I liked this 3 by 4-meter carpet.

At $1600-2000, I don't know if the price is OK.

 

 

 

HIERVE del AGUA (Boiling Water)

 

About one hour beyond Mitla, on a scenic winding road:

Hierve del Agua mineral springs is a fun day trip.

 

A trail about 2 miles long

circles the springs area.

 

 

 

 

Natural swimming pools.

 

 

 

 

 

Active mineral spring flows over edge.

 

 

Creating this impressive

formation below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long columns of rock

deposited by the spring.

 

 

 

Another flowstone deposit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 4 - OAXACA to SAN JOSE del PACIFICO

 

Jack took the overnight luxury bus to Mexico City,

for the Sunday Aeromar flight to San Antonio this morning.

 

I had breakfast with Ted and Norah Lindberg,

friends of my aunt and uncle in Cuernavaca.

 

The Canadian couple are spending their fourth winter in Oaxaca.

Ted is a mask collector, you can see his web site.

 

 

 

 

SAN JOSE del PACIFICO - PUERTO ANGEL

 

 

After four hours of driving,

we arrive at San Jose del Pacifico.

 

It is too late to continue to the coast,

so we stay overnight.

 

 

 

The cabins cost $5 - $20 per night.

 

with a view all the way

to the Pacific Ocean on a clear morning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

MONDAY NOVEMBER 5 - PACIFICO to PUERTO ANGEL

 

Rest spot on the way

from Pacifico to Puerto Angel

 

 

 

Augustinillo Beach,

between Zipolite and Mazunte

 

 

 

 

Augustinillo Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running a fishing boat at full speed,

to park it high on the beach.

 

 

 

I would choose a motel based on the parking situation !

This place was OK, although not behind a locked gate.

 

 

Simple room

for $7 per night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PUERTO ESCONDIDO

 

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 7 -

I drive to Huatulco in the morning, and look around.

It was a ghost town, with almost no tourists.

Club Med has been closed for a year, and this is the low season anyway.

I didn't see much of interest, so headed north to Puerto Escondido.

I stayed one night here and enjoyed watching the surfers.

Spiderman Surfer

 

 

 

 

The Mexican "Pipeline"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 9 - ESCONDIDO to ACAPULCO

 

A four hour drive to Acapulco.

Pleasant coastal scenery and two military checkpoints.

Arriving in Acapulco at dusk, I followed the signs for the "TUNEL - CUOTA"

This girl asked for $6, that seemed an expensive tunnel....

I asked her: is the Tunel worth this price?

She laughed and laughed and said NO, it was better to use the old road...

......and the nice new tunnel was almost empty.

 

 

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 9 - ACAPULCO to CUERNAVACA

 

On the Toll Road

from Acapulco to Cuernavaca.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bug Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CUERNAVACA

 

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 10 -

Enjoyed shopping at Sam's club with my Aunt !

 

The Noche Buena Christmas beer just arrived.

 

 

Aunt Anita prepared a wonderful

Huachinanago estilo Veracruzano.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fernando and Anita's place in Cuernavaca.

I covered the jeep with a blue tarp.

I will come back December 16th.

 

 

 

 

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 11 - CUERNAVACA to AUSTIN

 

The 5 AM "Pullman de Morelos" bus went nonstop Cuernavaca to Mexico City airport for $10.

 

7 am check-in for AEROMAR flight to San Antonio.

The 50 passenger ATR Turboprop stops at San Luis Potosi.

I had to return my Mexico tourist card, and was stamped out.

There were only 5 passengers on the entire airplane!

 

 

 

 

Text and Photos Copyright ©2001 Mark E. Halliday