Best of Mexican and Central American Balnearios

Van camping.

  A popular institution in Mexico and Central America, balnearios, or thermal springs, range from undeveloped pools to fancy spa resorts to elaborate water parks that are packed with screaming kids on the weekends but make ideal camp spots during off hours. Many balnearios feature attached hotels, bungalows, or camp areas. Not all balnearios allow camping, but many will allow you to camp (for a fee) even if camping is not on their main menu. El Codo just sent me […]

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Road Notes–Nayarit/Sinaloa

Rich stares longingly at painted bottle of Pacifico.

The libre from Tepic to Mazatlan is unusually good. Driving through Culiacan was as awful as I remembered. Next time we will bite the bullet and take the cuota bypass. For some reason the “libre” from Culiacan to Los Mochis charges occasional 20 peso tolls. After our night at the Bel Mar in Mazatlan, we hit the road, hoping to make it to Alamos in time to camp for the night. However, the sun started to drop over Los Mochis. […]

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Best of Mexico in Pictures: Mazatlan

Rich in parking lot of Hotel Bel Mar.

       Rich in parking lot of Hotel Belmar                                                    Mazatlan, Mexico I wrote a long post about my poetic and undying love for the Hotel Belmar, located at Paseo Olas Altas 166 Sur, in the old part of Mazatlan. Unfortunately, I somehow lost it. So pictures will  have to suffice for the moment. Let me just say that if you like quirky, creepy, old, cheap hotels, this is your place. Supposedly Mazatlan’s oldest hotel, the place weeps fading grandeur. Our room […]

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New Oaxaca Campground

Camp hosts at Santa María Del Tule campground in Oaxaca.

Today I received exciting news of a new camp option in the Oaxaca area: Overlander Oasis is located in pretty Santa María Del Tule, about ten minutes east of Oaxaca City on Highway 190. Unfortunately, I did not get word of this place while we were in Oaxaca, so I was not able to check it out. But it looks nice. The small park is run by a Canadian couple and features 3-4 camp spots for vehicles, as well as […]

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Best of Mexico in Pictures: Hierve el Agua

Mineral formations at hierve el agua, warm pools in Oaxaca.

editor’s note: Gina’s pictures are from our expedition to Hierve el Agua, part of an action packed day wherein we visited the ruins of Mitla and the mineral springs pictured below, as well as several mezcal distilleries. Hierve el Agua is located about 70 k east of Oaxaca, past Mitla. You will pay a nominal “road upkeep fee” to the local ejido, as well as a 20 peso entry fee (per person) to the actual site. Once there, you can […]

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In Search of the Oaxaca Trailer Park

Downtown Oaxaca, Mexico

“I think go left here,” Churpa said, so I quickly pulled Miss Louisiane into the left lane in front of a little blue Vocho that honked as it then changed lanes and zipped past us on the right. In Mexico, you have to make your moves without hesitation or you’ll never make them at all. “I can’t go left. It’s one way.” I said as we approached the intersection. “Then go right,” she replied, as the right lane filled with […]

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Camping and Accommodations in Oaxaca

A van parked in a hotel courtyard in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Oaxaca –Accommodations and Camping We arrived in town just after sunset and embarked on a monumental wild goose chase for the Oaxaca Trailer park. I’d looked it up online, but the last known reference was from 2009, and the author seemed doubtful as to whether the place would exist as a camping spot much longer. We couldn’t find it, and after much teeth gnashing we headed downtown in search of a cheap hotel. We ended up staying at El Atrio, […]

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Saints in the City

Emo kids carry statues of San Judas de Tadeo, or St. Jude

I am sitting on a rock hard bed at the Hotel Isabel, in a high-ceilinged room with pink and grey walls. I first came to the Isabel when I was only 23, and I still put up with the rock hard beds because the hotel is clean and has just the right mix of actual beauty (twenty-foot-high ceilings in this room), crazy Mexican aesthetics (a gorgeous Colonial lobby painted bright orange and bright blue; pastel furniture that’s straight out of […]

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La Noche de los Mariachis

When Churpa and I walked into the bar at the Hotel Isabel, the only available seating was at a table in the corner. The bar itself was fully occupied by Mexican businessmen nursing Cuba Libres; their ties loosened with their tongues and their coats slung across the backs of their chairs. Hearty pats on the back and deep, raucous laughter made me regret not practicing more Spanish in the three years since my last visit to Mexico. Churpa’s grin at […]

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Road Notes: Janos, Gomez Palacio Bypass, and Chihuahua Libre Highways

Driving from Ciudad Jimenez.

If, on the off chance, you are looking for a hotel room in Janos, Chihuahua, the “RR” hotel is clean and friendly, though extremely funky and rudimentary. For 180 pesos a night for two (14.60 USD) a night, you can’t complain… I concede defeat…El Codo is correct…The coffee at the OXXO mini marts is not bad…I think his exact word was “good”. I’m sticking with “not bad”, but it’s definitely better than gas station coffee in the U.S. I try […]

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