It’s not exactly literature but we generally try to have a “story idea” when we do a post. The objective is to make it a little more interesting than just reciting where we’ve been and what we’ve done – which we could simply do via Facebook. However, we’ve determined that every once in a while, especially when it’s been as crazy busy as April, we’re going to have to do an update just to let everyone know we’re still alive and still sailing.
Our last post was based on our trip south from La Cruz to beautiful Barra Navidad, which believe it or not was in March! Since then, we did a two-week land based journey to Palenque to see the ruins and Mexico City to see our friends Diane and Julio, and then had a one-week visit from our friend Meg from Toronto.
Our travel plans had us flying to Mexico City for one-night then doing a 13-hour overnight bus drive (yes bus drive!!) to Palenque for 3 nights then another bus drive back to Mexico City to spend a week with our friends Diane and Julio, who live there.
The first day/night in Mexico City, we hit all the tourist spots around the Zocalo, including Palacio Nacional, where Diego Rivera’s famous mural on Mexico’s history resides, and the Catedral Metropolitana, the largest church in Latin America. The most interesting thing, however, was that our first night in Mexico City was the first time we hadn’t slept on the boat since leaving Los Angeles back in September 2013. In fact, May 9 marks our one year anniversary of living on the boat!
After our initial taste of Mexico City, it was off the Palenque, a small village in the south that features some of most impressive Mayan ruins in the country. Not only are the ruins in excellent condition but they are in the middle of the jungle, which provides a spectacular setting. We’re not sure that these pictures do them justice but, in short, even with a 13-hour bus drive each way these ruins were definitely worth the trip.
Other highlights from Palenque included our “hotel”, Margarita and Ed’s, which was part of a colony in the middle of the jungle that offered accommodation ranging from tents to huts to our “luxury” room. It also had a restaurant/bar with live music every night and great, inexpensive food. Besides the ruins and the hotel, we also visited the waterfalls at Agua Azul and Misol-Ha.
Then, it was back to Mexico City to what we have to say was the most unexpected and pleasant surprise of our entire stay in Mexico so far. To put it in perspective, Diane and Julio live in a beautiful home in an area called Polanco, which is one of the most upscale areas in the city. It’s walking distance to Chapultepec Park (Mexico’s Central Park) and virtually all the major museums, including the Museo Nacional de Anthropologia, Museo de Arte Moderno and Museo Nacional de Historia – all of which we visited. It also has more restaurants, cafes and bars than Hollywood and just as many upscale shops as Beverly Hills.
We also visited the Mayan ruins at Teotihuacan, just outside Mexico City, which is the largest pre-Hispanic site in the country. They were impressive due to the sheer scale of the site which at one time was spread over 23 square kilometers and had a population of 150,000. But, they were set amongst a very large expanse of flat, open and dry land – a complete contrast to jungle of Palenque.
In other words, Mexico City has wonderful architecture, history and culture, along with lots of bars and restaurants so if you ever get a chance to visit don’t be dissuaded by the warnings. Be smart but definitely go. And, if you do, stay in Polanco – preferably with Diane and Julio..:-)
This brings us back to La Cruz and Puerto Vallarta and Meg’s escape from what we’ve been told is one of the worst winters ever – at least in the northeast. Fortunately for us, Meg is an avid traveler who has stayed on our boat(s) with us in the Bahamas and Baltimore during our first sabbatical, Miami when we lived there and a couple of vacations to Los Angeles when we lived there. So, planning was easy. Give her good company, good food and good wine, and the rest is easy. We hit La Cruz then Paradise Village for a few days by the pool and some gourmet meals by Chef Audrey, sailed to Yelapa and finished off her week with one of the best dinners we’ve ever had in Mexico at a little Italian restaurant in the “Romantic Zone” of Puerto Vallarta.
Meg’s visit was a great end to a busy month and to our four-month stay in La Cruz as it’s about time to start heading north to the Sea of Cortez, where we’ll spend the summer. And, with that in mind, here’s a link to a video montage put together by our friend Graeme who was here in February. It’s a little long (11 mins) so make sure you have time and a fast connection but to us its worth viewing as it summarizes many of our experiences in La Cruz, Puerto Vallarta and on Bandaras Bay.