Lesson learned. Do not, and I repeat, do not, rent an apartment prior to arriving in town. Our three months in Puerto Vallarta was wonderful.. until it wasn’t. So much of our time was great; We got a lot of work done, writing for me and the launch of Jim’s first amazon product. We had visitors in the form of Jim’s parents and friends Dave and Anne. We swam and practiced yoga nearly daily. We enjoyed an extended time in one of our favorite cities in the world.
The heat and humidity of a Vallarta summer was challenging, especially for Aspen. But what became our biggest hurdle over time was the central urban location. The noise. Oh, the noise. I have previously mentioned the symphony of Mexico, but this was different. What started out as delightful became tedious over time. The food booths set up immediately outside of our apartment drew crowds until nearly 2am every single night. The pirate ships firework and cannon fire show went on every single night. Almost every night back up beepers blared at around 1am as delivery trucks dropped goods at the XOXO on the corner. The urban noise was a constant.
With great glee, we headed out of town in our tiny home just one day after Dave and Anne headed for home, with Lake Chapala in our sights. Roca Azul proved a disappointment. The weather was lovely, the full time residents friendly, but the park, like so many we’ve seen, either was once great or could be great.. but just isn’t. The staff was very pleasant, although seemed ill-informed, advising us of several facts that proved to be inaccurate. Although “on the lake” it isn’t really, with no access to the lake from the campground. The bathrooms were rarely clean and, at 300 pesos a night, it proved to be far more expensive than the facilities warranted.
However, our three nights there proved wonderful. The quiet, oh the blessed quiet! Even with a group camping for the weekend, from 10pm to 7am the only sounds were of the nature around us. Sunday night our neighbors, Bob and Patty, invited us to town for people watching in the square, street tacos, and a live band. A truly delightful evening, and bringing us closer to the traditional Mexico we love.
But, Roca Azul was not what we were looking for, and so we hit the road once again to head to the Parque Adventura La Ceja. Not a campground, this parasailing point, high above Lake Chapala, offers cabanas for rent and a few grassy spots for campers to set up for the night. Clean bathrooms, hot showers, amazing views, and absolute peace and quiet. We slept like babies.
We toured the pueblo magico town of Tapalpa. We visited the pueblo magico town of Mazamitla. We got stuck in Cotija, having inadvertently gone the wrong way down a one-way lane with no escape but the way we had come. A knocked off awning cover was the only lasting result of this misadventure, but a slow drive out of town, mirrors pulled in and whispering past electric poles and parked cars frayed our nerves. In one five hour drive, driving a mere 68 miles, we negotiated winding roads, crappy roads, winding and crappy roads, potholes the size of a VW bug, approximately 1000 topes, cows, cowboys, horses and a torrential rain storm.
That road brought us to the village of Angahuan and the tourist center for the Volcano Paricutin. Nestled into the trees, with a midst rising over the volcano, we toasted a successful end to a very long travel day. Once again the only campers there. Once again going to sleep with only the sounds of nature around us.
For the last five nights, we have taken up residency at the Villa Patzcuaro RV Park, in yes, yet another pueblo magico. The magic towns of Mexico continue to enchant and Patzcuaro may just be one of our favorites.
Tomorrow we drag ourselves away from this paradise to once again hit the road. More stories will come of the adventures of this past week, but for now we’ll just appreciate the silence.