Zacatecas became just a lovely memory as we headed towards the coast. Baja was beckoning but first, we simply needed to get down the mountain. Winter in Mexico’s highlands is cold. In spite of its reputation as a country of sunshine and beaches the colonial hill towns of Central Mexico drop to freezing during the winter months and we were craving needed sun and sand between our toes. But first, we needed to brave the Espinazo del Diablo.
We left our stunning lakeside retreat at Lagos de Colon and headed for San Cristobal for Christmas. New Years called for new plans, but we had fallen in love with this city on the way south, and heading north found her no less magical. That is other than the fireworks Christmas Eve that went on for nearly seven hours straight.
We just can’t seem to leave Mexico! Yes, Lake Atitlan Guatemala was extraordinary. As in we are talking of possibly settling there at some point. However, Mexico drew us back north, not done with us yet!
As we worked our way back to Baja many of our campground choices are those we have already enjoyed but still listed along with a few new additions.
Lagos de Colon~
Stunning. After a long day climbing out of Lake Atitlan we endured a challenging border crossing and arrived at some of the most lovely water we had ever seen. Endless pools in varying shades of blue and amazing 40MX a night price tag made everything okay. Back in our beloved Mexico.
Enter reverse-culture shock, as alive and well as ever. We are familiar, of course, having previously endured it. But it prevails. Even knowing what it will be like. Even having previous experience with this strange idea. Even feeling prepared. It’s here. The feeling of being in a foreign land even though we are “at home”. Thats right, we are back in the land of flushing toilet paper.
Life at Lake Atitlan involves a lot of great food. Life in San Marcos la Laguna involves a lot of vegetables. This is not a problem for us as we eat vegetarian at least half of the time. However, after months of street tacos, vegetables and chicken being our main diet we were ready for more. The village of San Juan la Laguna, easily one of our favorites, proved more than capable of delivering.
Today I sit in Los Barriles, Baja, Mexico. Exactly where I sat 1 year ago today. It is no new news that our compass appears not just broken but totally deranged, leading us back here and not south to Central America where we were sure you would find us about now. There have been a lot of memorable moments and lessons learned from these last 426 days on the road~ not the least of which is that life is uncertain.
We knew that when we headed out for a life on the road that we wanted to spend time volunteering in the places we explored. We had done a variety of volunteer work back in Oregon from Habitat to Humanity to Fences for Fidos to cooking for the families at the Ronald McDonald House. Volunteering abroad is not much different, and our time with the Guatemala Housing Alliance one of our favorite memories of Lake Atitlan.
It has been nearly 14 months since we crossed the border south into Mexico. Nearly 14 months of fascinating history, delicious food, gorgeous countryside, and friendly people. Nearly 14 months and thousands of miles covering all of Baja and the vast majority of the mainland. During our time there, we have been disheartened again and again with the negative media regarding this most beloved destination. The myths of Mexico as highlighted in the media are profound.