If I’m being honest, Mazatlan has never been our favorite city. It is widely popular and does offer long, stunning beaches, but for a variety of reasons, we have never embraced this Pacific coastal town.
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.
I craned my neck, searching for one last glimpse of Lake Atitlan, perhaps the most magical places I had ever been. Luckily, the drive out of the lake was greatly improved from our entry nearly three months earlier and soon my sights were focused on making the border.
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.