After our exciting journey through the Copper Canyon, we made a few stops in cities inland and then headed back towards the warm coast for warmth and relaxing!
Our first stop after Copper Canyon was the town of Hidalgo del Parral. The town was built around the mining industry in the region and had a lot of beautiful buildings. There aren’t too many tourists around Parral, but we think that added to the charm of the town. First place we went to was the old mine on the hill above the city. We had wanted to take a tour, but we would have to wait a while for the guide and she spoke only Spanish and that really fast. So we headed into town and toured the Palacio Alvarado. It was owned by the Alvarado family, who owned the local mine. It was an ornate and beautiful house, and we learned a bit about the town history here too.
The next day was cold and rainy – perfect day for a long drive! So off we headed towards Durango. Durango is a beautiful colonial town. A lot of Hollywood westerns have been filmed in the area and the historical old town has gorgeous architecture and museums. We enjoyed walking around town, taking in the sights and visiting the mining museum here. Durango’s economy is also based on mining.
After a couple weeks in the highlands, we wanted some warm weather again and decided to head to the Pacific coast. We took our first toll road out of Durango towards Mazatlan. After the bumpy potholed and off-road adventures of the previous week, the toll roads felt like a dream! Well maintained, and lots of Bridges and tunnels. The longest felt a bit like Gotthard back home – you head in one side with clouds and rain, come out the other side to sun and warm temps!
Our first night back on the coast was spent south of Mazatlan on an undeveloped beach. We checked with some locals if it was OK to spend the night, and they told us yes – but better yet we should stay a week. The evening on the beach was magical. Beautiful sunset and dolphins jumping and riding the waves! After a wonderful evening and night, we left late morning and came across one of the locals again gathering coconuts from his field. Our Spanish is not good at all, but he was very patient and spoke slowly, so we we’re able to chat over fresh coconut water. Delicious! Nothing like the bottled stuff from the store.
We passed through a couple of beautiful villages on our way South, and spent two nights on the coast north of San Blas and two south of San Blas. We saw more dolphins, enjoyed walks on the beach and soaked up the sun. We stopped at a crocodile park near San Blas, too – not sure why, but tons of crocodiles hang out on this one spot just beyond the fence at a small parking lot.
We continued on through beautiful jungle roads, stopping for bananas and pineapples at local fruit stands, and found ourselves at a small RV park about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. The closer to PV you get, the more developed and more gringoized it gets. After spending Christmas at the very nice but very Canadian RV park, we decided it was time to head up off the coast and explore the inland.