Our days in Escondido have come to an end and it’s time to head down coast towards Huatulco to rendezvous with Jenns parents. We grabbed a few more photos of playa Zicatela near Escondido and met up with Eduardo and Marcos for breakfast to say adios before we rolled out.
It was a short drive to playa Zipolite where we will hold up for five or six days until Jenns parents arrive.
Zipolite is known as a nude beach and many exhibitionists take part in the free it all spirit. Guess we may aswell too.
Playa Zipolite is a very picturesque beach with great views from the rocks above or from the beaches many other places to relax.
We laze around in the afternoons on the beach and I’m even more happy when this guy shows up.
Our new casa is $18.00/night and includes a kitchen so we are happy to be back cooking for ourselves.
We enjoy cooking and the opportunity to dine by candlelight is always a treat.
Our room has a “unique” shower setup with the shower head directly in the middle of the bathroom, no curtain to separate the shower from the sink or toilet and certainly brings true meaning to the phrase “shit,shave,shower”
The prices continue to drop as we keep moving south and playa zipolite is easy on the budget. Local dishes and tasty dinners can be bought from $1.50 to $6.00 or $7.00
There are many camping areas and budget hotels along the beach and it seems all sorts of people come her to escape the winter months of the north. Playa Zipolite has a very relaxed feel to it and along with being very cheap (five nights hotel room for $91.00 including kitchen) it is a place that Jenn and I could see ourselves revisiting again to escape the norths winters. We met a fellow canadian couple named David and Eva and David lives down here all winter long comfortably on $1,000 pr/mth. Hard to beat the beach life in paradise on the cheap.
Pictures of quiet downtown Zipolite but don’t be fooled at night the tables and chairs come out and the restaurant scene is full of life.
As I was typing this two people were rescued from the ocean by the lifeguards. The ocean here has a strong current and can quickly pull swimmers out past the breaks. We only splash around in the surf as swimming any further out is not recommended and very dangerous. Ok bye for now, I’m off for my swim.
We are wrapping up our days in Zipolite, a place that Jenn and I both enjoyed very much. We said goodbye to our new friends David and Eva over drinks before heading out for dinner on our last night.
We enjoyed the dinner entertainment performed by the local circus school students just down the road from Zipolite.
It was damn hot when we left Zipolite in the morning and at 35 degrees celsius putting on the riding gear was near torture. Fortunately we only had a short ride one hour ride to Huatulco and found the hotel/resort Castillo where we met Jenns parents.
We arrived a bit before Jenns family and waited for them to arrive a little later that afternoon. Of course when the finally arrived everybody was happy to see each other after being away for over six months now.
Upon unloading the gear from the bike I noticed a large spray of oil along the frame and motor so I have an issue to solve while we rest up in Huatuclo. I have cleaned the oil from the bike and put a wrench to every nut and bolt in hopes that it is just a loose bolt somewhere around the engine or equivalent. After running the bike around the parking lot for twenty minutes or so I did not see any additional oil leaking but a proper test ride is needed to confirm the problem solved and I only hope we get that lucky. Stay tuned!
We wandered on down to the beach so the family could dip their toes in the ocean.
Hotel Costillo is nothing like I have experienced in all-inclusive hotels before. The Hotel was very small with very few guests and small buffet offerings at meal times. However, it was very clean and full of great staff and friendly guests.
The small hotel bar took a beating most nights with all the thirsty guests vying to get their monies worth.
Throughout the week the hotel put on a “Mexican” theme night with local music, dancers and food choices.
The following day the gang headed out for a huge day of shopping while I went on the hunt for synthetic oil for the bike as it also requires an oil change along with solving my current oil leak. It only took two stops before I found synthetic Yamalube and at around Canadian par prices of $16.00/litre.
Jenns family had a great day wandering around the downtown Huatulco and I will let Jenn share her tales from the day as I enjoyed a few hours people watching in the centro while they shopped.
My family got a first hand lesson on jewelry shopping in Mexico. If the jeweller isn’t serving tequila then there isn’t going to be a sale!
We where fortunate enough to meet a local bar server named George. After a few shots of very light flavoured tequila he pulled out the tequila that would put dragons to shame and make a lazy eye see straight again.
And then it happened, out came the Scorpion tequila, which we were told is a medical cure for anything and everything!!! ummhmm right!
While having a couple shots of the “local medicine” George brought out roasted crickets for our sampling pleasure.
We all dove in except granny and found them to be very dry with a bitter taste.
After our afternoon of tequila sampling, oops I mean “shopping” we stumbled into a textile shop… literally, where local weavers were hard at work.
We where very fortunate to see this process as few artisans continue to weave in the traditional methods using a loom. The quality of work is excellent… atleast I think I remember that it was :)
The following day we took the family out to fish from shore off the rock bluff. They seen first hand that even thought the ocean is full of fish it is not always easy to catch them.
No fish for us today but one of us did leave with crabs.
It wasn’t a complete bust tho as we enjoyed watching these two guys snorkeling and spear fishing for octopus and starfish.
Saturday I decided tear into the bike and get a better look to see exactly where the oil is leaking from. I needed to remove the fairings, battery box and airbox to get a better look. I discovered the valve cover gasket had blown and 1.5 inches of the gasket was sticking out around the valve cover. It was a bit of a shock to see the gasket blown as I had just had it replaced in Louisiana before we left the USA only 6,000km ago. The closest BMW dealership is over seven hours away in Oaxaca city and I am considering using gasket goop to seal it up and limping on towards Guatemala city over 900km away to the next BMW dealership.
I quickly sent out a few emails to my friend Eduardo in Puerto Escondido who knows the BMW dealer in Oaxaca city well asking if he might be able to assist me in ordering a new gasket.
If Eduardo is successful in locating a gasket for me in Oaxaca I will have it shipped to Escondido and return to Escondido by truck with the bike to have the gasket replaced there. One hour and a half hours away instead of seven hours to Oaxaca city.
Eduardo has been a gods send for us and has now managed to order us in the necessary gasket for the repair. The Mexican people are so very eager to help those in need and Eduardo has become a true friend and one we can not thank enough! Now off I go looking for a truck to haul us back to Escondido.
After a week full of laughter and great times we said our goodbyes and seen the family off. Next for us was loading Blanco into the back of a hired truck to haul him back to Puerto Escondido to patiently await a new valve cover gasket that should arrive in the next 7-10 days. A painful $108.00cdn dollars was the best deal I found for an open air conditioned truck ride back to Escondido for Jenn, Blanco and I.
Two hours later we arrived at our old but new destination and it was time to figure out how to unload the heavy ass beast from the truck. A couple grunts and four guys put Blanco back on pavement.
We have settled back into the cabanas at hotel Acali but the price has gone up! The big two week holiday of Semana Santa which is a two week celebration of Easter here in Mexico is about to begin this weekend and the beach here in Escondido is already much, much busier then two weeks ago. We hope we can continue to find accommodations here but as I’ve been told they may start jacking the price even further as the locals all flood in towards the beaches over the next two week holiday. We will wait here for the gasket to arrive in approximately 7-10 days time.
So I have been spending much of the last four days in this position.
I have been having fevers, extreme back aches, headaches, sore eyeballs, cold chills and dizzy spells over the past four days. These symptoms lead me to believe that I may have caught the dengue fever, atleast that’s what ol’e doc internet told me after I looked up my current symptoms online. I have also spoken to my friend Eduardo about my symptoms and he too believes I have the dengue fever and that rest, fluids and long soaks in the pool to keep my fever down should have me back to good health in about one week. The dengue fever is transmitted through mosquito bites from one infected person onto the next to be infected victim . After being bit the virus lays dormant usually between 4 to 10 days meaning I was possibly bitten as far back as when we were in Zipolete and the symptoms just begin to show themselves now.
We try our best at night to cover up but even then we usually wake up in the morning to a few fresh bites.
Basically aside form napping twice a day and lounging in the pool between naps it’s been a big hurry up and wait kinda week for the gasket to arrive which I’m told should land here in Escondido somewhere around Thursday of this week. Jenn and I do wander down to the beach for the beautiful sunsets that happen here every night and over the last couple of days the ocean has been bucking around very hard with waves easily upwards of twenty plus feet high.
So we wait until the gasket arrives and we rest up a bunch in the mean time. Oh ya blog side note, I became for the very first time an uncle on Friday as my brother David and his wife Laura had their first baby. Jenn and I are very excited to be uncle and auntie vagabond. Everyone say hello to this adorable little rascal named Maxwell.
Hope I sleep as peaceful as this little guy tonight.. Buenos noches all.
Hi guys, sorry for the long delay between posts but we have been very busy doing NOTHING. On a positive note I think I managed to shake the dengue fever and I am feeling much better lately. We are still waiting on the motorcycle parts to arrive from Oaxaca city. The part that was originally going to arrive last Wednesday is now expecting to arrive here this Thursday or Friday so we are here in Escondido another week it appears. Fortunately for us we like Escondido and the friends we have made here make the waiting alot easier to take. Like I said we haven’t done much so here is last weeks “excitement” report.
We attended Syndels birthday party on Wednesday night along with Syndels family and friends we all had a great time together. His mom and aunt cooked many delicious local quesadilla like treats locally called tlayudas (Tlay-u-das). The home made tortillas are stuffed full of local Oaxaca cheese along with onions and steak and are very tasty.
Syndel received some nice birthday presents from his family and friends and he showed true appreciation for the gifts and his family that attended his party.
And then the tradition of writing out your birthday wish and setting it free into the heavens for it to be granted.
Most other evenings we spend enjoying a cold beer together watching the sunset and people watching on the beach.
Many locals work the beaches bring food and drinks to the thirsty and the hungry. Believe me I would not last one day pushing these heavy carts along the soft sand of the beaches, it is very hard work and the hot sun above makes it more then just a “stroll on the beach” for these hard working peoples.
It was an extremely busy weekend here at playa zicatela as the mexican people all come to the beach for their Easter holidays. I wish we had gotten more pictures of the chaos that took place over the weekend with thousands of local peoples enjoying the beaches during the day and then many of the younger peoples enjoying the parties at night. Most nights the parties and the music continued until sunrise and the local party animals were up and back at the beers and festivities before lunch the following day, they sure like to party! The ear plugs we have came in very handy over the last four or five nights for sleeping that’s forsure.
The people have all left as of yesterday and finally we have got our cabana back to a reasonable rice of $36.00 per night instead of the $54.00 a night we had been paying over the last two weeks during the holiday season. We will chill out until Friday then our amigo Eduardo has offered me the use of his shop to do the motorcycle repair. As it seems to appear getting motorcycle parts in mexico takes time. Over all no complaints but we both agree that it is time to move on and see more of Mexico so hopefully by Sunday we will be heading south on two wheels again, hopefully!
It’s wrench turning time! After two and a half weeks the gasket has arrived from Mexico city. Eduardos amigo brought it down here to Escondido today so I spent the day tearing into the bike.
I guesstimated the repair including a new oil change to take around three hours but after six solid hours of wrenching and sweating in the mexican heat the job was finished. As with any job being performed the first time I was a bit nervous and took extra time and caution to not botch it up but in the end the gasket replacement went fairly smooth and to my surprise there were no left over nuts, bolts or pieces when I had Blanco all back together so that was a good sign!
A proper test drive is on the to do list before we push out later this weekend for the open road south. We have a nice list of sights to see as we make our way towards Guatemala so hopefully we will finally have some better stories and photos to share with you all again very soon. I expect we should be crossing into Guatemala in around ten days or so and we are looking forward to the new experiences Guatemala has in store for us. Volcanos, ruins, lakes, culture and beaches are all a plenty in Guatemala and we are excited to see them! For the next few days we will continue to relax here in Escondido as it is very, very easy to do!!
We spent Sunday night chomping down on tasty burgers and enjoyed our last sunset in Escondido. We have made plans to hit the road monday morning first thing to beat the heat.
spending three weeks in Escondido was very easy to do. The food was great and we made many new friends here but it is also time to push on. We had planed to leave Monday morning but our new friends decided that a going away party was due and somehow two goodbye beers turned into a 5am finish. Operating a motorbike at 7:30am Monday morning was down right impossible as was practically anything else Monday so shamefully we spent another day in Escondido and I nursed my fat foggy head all day.
Thank god for Humberto at “The Net” next door to the hotel. Although he contributed to my foggy brain the night before he was happy to help ease my suffering with more delicious fish tacos.
Our Tuesday departure day came and we were finally on the road again.
We were back cruising the mountains looking forward to cooler temps but no such luck and at +37.5 degrees our motorcycle gear felt like a sweat suit.
We called upon the karma gods this afternoon during one of our “oh shit” moments as the gps indicated the next gas station to be 60 km away and the bike showing only 66km left in the tank. As the kilometres clicked on it wasn’t long before the bike fuel counter actually counted down from 3 to 2 to 1 to eventually read 0 kilometres of fuel left and as it was to be the gas station showed its face around the next corner. We defiantly owe a big thank you to someone upstairs for the push.
The Mexicans have taken renewable energy supplies seriously down this way and we passed kilometre after kilometre of windmills. There had to be several hundred wind turbines producing energy.
Blanco deserved a rest after his first day back on pavement in over five weeks. We pushed him hard today covering over five hundred kilometres and a solid eight hours in extreme heat had both bike and riders craving H2o. So far my valve cover gasket repair is successful, so far!
We arrived in Tuxtla the capital city of the state of Chiapas and home to over 550,000 peoples. We didn’t look very hard for a hotel as we were both tired, hot and hungry! The first hotel I looked into had a/c, king bed and breakfast included, done deal! Tomorrow we will visit the canyon Del Sumidero as it is the reason why we have stopped here on our way to San Cristobal.
Today we headed out only 15km down the road to catch a boat ride to check out the Canyon del Sumidero. The canyon was formed by a crack in the earth and the narrow canyon walls reach heights of 1000 meters at the highest point.
It is a popular tourist attraction here in Tuxtla and there were many tourists boarding boats for a ride down the river.
We seen monkeys, birds and some crocodiles hanging out along the rivers edge.
Unfortunately the river is polluted with plastic waste and even sewage coming from other tributaries above the canyon. Most of the river was beautiful but the plastic waste seemed to build up as the canyon narrowed. Aside from the unfortunate garbage that collected in the river it was a very nice day in the canyon and it felt great to be back on a boat with the breeze blowing in our hair even if it was a hot breeze of 33c+
Tomorrow we head for San Cristobal de las Casas a city that we have heard great things about. We plan to stay there a couple of days and will report back our findings. After that it is onwards to the ruins of Palenque before we cross into Guatemala around Tuesday of next week to begin another leg of the journey.
We are both excited for next week to come as we will be visiting the ruins of Palenque in Mexico and Tikal in Guatemala both of which we here are amazing sites. I’ll include below stock photos of Palenque and Tikal blatantly stolen from the interweb so you can better understand why we are very excited to visit these places… Buenos noches amigos.
Sorry for the long delay between posts but after leaving San Cristobal we found ourselves in the jungle of Palenque over the past four days with no internet service. With lots of catching up to do I’ll try and keep it short and begin with our three day stay in San Cristobal.
We left Tuxtla the day after we visited Sumidero canyon and made the quick 70km ride up into the mountains headed for San Cristobal. What we were most excited for was the slightly cooler climate we had heard about in San Cristobal and as we climbed high above 2,300 meters we were blessed with temperatures much more to our liking. 18 degrees celsius to be exact as we pulled into San Cristobal and we both were very happy to not be dripping of sweat for once.
The quiet side streets of San Cristobal
We grabbed a hotel close to the zocalo in San Cristobal and headed out to explore. What we found was a beautiful bustling city full of high end shopping boutiques selling everything from fancy clothing to local wears and many jewellery stores offering up the local gem stones of amber. We admired the stores from a distance and fortunately enough for our bank accounts neither of us are big into shopping.
I however was in the buying mode but for one thing and one thing only, a lighter much cooler (not cool like the kids down the street cool) but cooler on the brain doo. So I strolled into see this local lady and proceeded to play my best game of charades describing and implying in broken spanglish that I just wanted a little off the top and that would be enough. Through our miss communications the butcher went to work and before I could say Jalapeno I was cut back to my non wannabee hippie days and left with this much colder look…. not “cooler”
We continued to wander around the city for the next few days eating, drinking and generally being merry.
And then it was time to head out and into the heat wave that consumed our next stop at Palenque.
The trip from San Cristobal to Palenque is only about 200km but with any twisty mountain road here in Mexico covering distance quickly is no easy task. With the indescribable amount of topes lining the roads and the WTF is that doing in the middle of the highway moments it usually takes much longer then expected.
We arrived in Palenque after a great day of mountain riding and checked into Hotel/Cabanas Margarita & Eds in El Panchan a quiet spot located just outside the gates of Palenque national park and smack dab in the middle of the jungle. Here there is no internet, telephone or t.v. just howler monkeys, tropical birds and an abundance of backpackers coming and going all dropping by to visit the ruins of Palenque and the surrounding jungle.
We headed over to Palenque the following day to visit the ruins and explore the jungle. At the Palenque archeological site we were told that only 5% of the ruins have been excavated and restored and the other 95% lay mostly untouched within the national parks jungle.
After visiting the Ruins we headed out for a little jungle walk to explore further.
The following day we decided escaping the heat was a must and took a short drive over to visit the local waterfalls of Misol Ha. The waterfall at Misol Ha drops 120 feet into the pool below and the swimming and exploring of the river was a perfect way to spend the afternoon.
We had panned to leave for Guatemala the following day but that night the one and only night of the entire three months in Mexico I must have eaten something terribly wrong because for three hours all I did was hug the toilet seat for dear life with action at both ends of my body making for a long night and an impossible early morning 6am start into Guatemala. We stayed put another day and made a dash for the border this morning.
We were up for one last grand adventure through the backcountry of the Mexican mountains as the gps routed us on a 35km offroad donkey trail of a track leading far back into the tiniest villages of the local Mexican Mayan communities. We passed only one truck the entire 35km as we rolled through tiny village after tiny village full of livestock, cattle drives and many, many looks of “what the hell are you people doing back here” from the locals as we waved to everyone and they curiously and cautiously waved back. We survived and they I’m sure were entertained by the sight of the two over dressed gringos wandering somewhat lost looking for the Guatemala border. It was a perfect way to end our Mexican adventure!!
We finally found what we were looking for and crossed the border 50km east of Tenosique Mx. into El Ceibo Guatemala. The border crossing was a breeze and in total I don’t think we were more then 1hr 20min. Before we had completely checked ourselves and bike out of Mexico and both bike and ourselves into Guatemala.
From the border we rode approximately two hours to the town of Santa Elena/Flores. We noticed a slight change in scenery as we proceeded along into Guatemala and it seems here there is more people living a “harder life” for lack of better wording displayed by the many small wooden houses presumably without many services. The living standards thus far into Guatemala has seemed to diminish if compared with Mexico. I cannot speak yet for the rest of the country so I do not pretend to lay claim to the entire country being stricken with poverty only just from what I seen today.
Upon arriving in Santa Elena we relyed on our trusty budget hotel booklet to steer us onto a few budget friendly hotels and after inspecting three hotels all around the $20.00 mark it was just impossible for me to stay at any of them. Usually Jenn and I are not to picky but from todays offerings it is apparent that in Mexico $20.00 goes much further in getting a slightly more “habitable” room for the night. We shopped around a little bit more and best we could come up with was a $54.00 a night room that fit our needs. I was expecting prices to decline after we hit Guatemala and that finding cheap suitable accommodations would be easier and of equal quality as found in Mexico but upon our first night in Guat. It wasn’t so. Maybe tomorrow!
You got sick again?! Buddy you never get sick, They were probably just allergies hahah. Just a little more severe down there than back home here in Fernie. :P
Met you at the Castillo in Huatulco, and have been reading about your travels. Such an amazing adventure. Stay safe, we think about you often.
Following your travels avidly! Wonderful photos from San Cristobal, as usual. Dangerous Dave and I are taking all this in and talking road trip.
So glad to hear that your Uncle Kevin was there to give you a push . I know for a fact my dad would have done this trip with you in a heart beat . I know he is there in spirit and is definately enjoying the ride . I’m so glad you mentioned him in your blog . All the best you guys .
Good to see you have the bike back together and are saving enough money on razor blades to pay for the gasket.
It actually looks pretty good on you!