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Mexico at Christmas

Author: Jose Claudio B R Cardoso
Date of Trip: December 2008

I bought a ticket Rio de Janeiro-Mexico City-Rio de Janeiro by AeroMexico (2600 reais). It was necessary to stop in São Paulo, since there are no direct fly from Rio to Mexico.

Arriving in Mexico I had to meet my wife, that was travelling in Sierra Madre in the state of Chihuahua. We agreed to meet in Los Mochis in the state of Sinaloa, to go then to Baja California. It was not a smart decision because the fly to Los Mochis costed 4000 pesos (c.a. 350 dolares). From Los Mochis to La Paz (capital of Baja California Sur), we take a small monomotor, 12 seats crossing the Mar de Cortez. It was fun to fly seeing the pilot just in front and all the airplanes controls.

In La Paz we rent a compact car from Hertz (for 3600 pesos and seven days. There was a lot of wonderful places like Balandra beach in La Paz, Cabo Pulmo in the road to Los Cabos, Palmira and Chileno beach in São José del Cabo and a boat trip to playa de amor in Cabo São Lucas, of which one side faces the Pacific and the other the Mar de Cortez (California Gulf). All good places for snorkeling, very clean and transparent waters. It was winter, but the water temperature was warm enough. And there is no rain in Mexico during the winter.

We have also driven to the north to Puerto Adolfo Lopes Mateos, hoping to see some whales, but it was early (they start arriving 15th January).

Passing again through La Paz to go north we were stopped by one policeman in a motorcycle. I had turned left in the crossing of two double way streets. This type of crossing does not exist in Brazil, where you must always turn right. He told us that the lights were red to turn left, well I didn´t see that and just wait for the fine. But he told us that my drive licence would be retained until the fine be paid. And as it was December, 24th, it will possible only 2 days later. Suddenly he smiled and said: “es navidad” and asked how much we had. My wife quickly offered 100 pesos and he released us. I didn´t like it but what to do in a situation like that? More north – Bahia Concepccion, too shallow waters, I didn´t like. Finally: city of Mulegê, and returning Loreto, former capital of California, a very pleasant town. There was some military controls in the road. By the way the army and navy patrols some roads and beaches assuming the role of the police.

We got a bargain in the fly from Los Cabos to Mexico City (900 pesos each!) from Aviacsa. And I paid 4000 to Los Mochis…

About hotels, we paid always between 400 to 600 pesos in all places in Mexico. No breakfast, but it costed about 140 pesos for 2 persons in some restaurant nearby. We ate eggs and American style coffee every day. One Mexican detail in beans in the breakfast. In the lunch and dinner we try to avoid too spice things, but tried some mole and chilli. Normally we asked for one dish and divided for two. The quantity of food is not so huge in an average dish as in Brazil. The prices are similar: The bill, including beverages was about 150 to 200 pesos.

Back to Mexico City, deep lessons of history in the museo de antropologia – Chapultepec and Templo maior – Zocalo. And a tour to Teotihuacan, a well preserved city that was already empty for centuries when the Mexicas took control of almost all the present Mexico, 200 years before the arriving of the Spanish. It was may be a tourist place that time as today.

From Mexico we fly to Oaxaca, capital of the state of the same name. It has a beautiful historical center and some places around (Monte Alban – a city in the top of a mountain (as Macchu Picchu in Peru) and very well preserved because it was also empty for centuries before Colombo, and covered with grass and trees. It was thriving at the same time as Teotihuacan and home of the Zapotecas. There was a lot of communication between this towns, even evidence of Zapotecas immigration in Teotihuacan.

In Oaxaca we rent a car (smaller than in La Paz – a Dodge Athos, and more expensive: 650 pesos each day). And drove to Huatulco bays c.a. 260 km south. It was better to take a fly: 7 hours in a good paved road but full of curves through the mountains. Oaxaca is 1500 meters above sea level. My wife was sick and complaning about my driving style. She required a constant speed, no brakes and if possible no curves!

Huatulco bays are clean and almost as transparent as Los Cabos. We got may be the best hotel in the trip (Hotel Oaxaca) for only 500 pesos. Best beaches for snorkeling: Entrega (Baia de Santa Cruz) and San Augustin. Also Maguey and Arrozito, that ones available by boat. Tangolunda has a lot of beautiful hotels but is not so good for snorkeling.

My wife has driven back to Oaxaca. I was not sick… may be she drives better or my stomach is stronger.

In Oaxaca we could buy 2 tickets to Mexico City by Mexicana through the web in a LAN house. 700 pesos each. And the girl from a tourism agency had offered 1200 pesos for the cheapest ones! And I bought it using my credit card. The form required a Mexican adress and I was afraid that it was reject, but no – we could fly normally.

I flight back to Rio on January 10th. My wife will be some time abroad, some time in New York.

Photos in

Regards, José Cláudio

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