Ahhhh, Mexico! I’ve missed you so much since our wonderful visit to Baja last year. What a jewel of a country. But before I get to the good stuff here’s a brief summation of our route to the Riviera Maya on the Caribbean coast. We used Bill Bell’s “On the Road in Mexico” comprehensive guides and I highly recommend them. Also their Facebook Group is a wealth of information!
It took us 3 days to reach our chosen border crossing at Laredo, Texas from Southern CA. We crossed the border early on New Year’s Day when everybody was still sleeping then traveled south on the 57D bypassing Monterrey and Saltillo on toll roads, what the Mexicans call cuota roads. They can be a little pricey but worth every cent.
We stopped the first night in Matehuala and stayed at the La Palmas Midway Inn and RV Park, a well known respite for all travelers driving south. Because of rain we did not detour to San Miguel de Allende as planned instead continuing onto the beautiful Arco Norte cuota bypassing Mexico City and stopped in the beautiful city of Puebla the second night. The roads were good but because of rain we did encounter quite a few accidents.
From Puebla we headed east on the 50D, catching the 45D south and overnighted at a Pemex station just outside Acayucan. This is SOP for RV travelers when there are no RV parks nearby. Pemex is the Mexican state owned petroleum company and their gas stations are considered public property. Most have guards and are usually very safe.
We pushed on to Escarcega where we camped at the Campestre Restaurant in the jungle overlooking a beautiful lake. For the price of a good but cheap meal you are welcomed to park overnight. I loved the peacocks and though it was still raining at least it was finally warm!
On our fifth day in Mexico we arrived at our destination just south of Playa Del Carmen having traveled some 3000 miles. It was time for some serious decompression!
There are only a few RV parks along this beautiful coast, the most popular being Paa Mul RV Park just south of Playa Del Carmen. It’s located right on the water with a nice open air restaurant and a seaside swimming pool. There are around a 100 full hook up sites, though the waterfront spots are occupied by annual renters who have built elaborate palapas over and around their RV’s.
Since my humans have flown to the eco chic town of Tulum for years they knew the area well and opted to stay in a secret location. I would tell you where but then I would have to kill you. And I don’t want to do that!
I’m just going to let the pictures speak for themselves.
Okay… I’ll say a few words. Bliss bliss bliss!
My human loves to hunt bonefish. Though not edible they are very fiesty; it’s like catching a trout on steroids!
I quickly settled into the beach life like a pro, making lots of Mexican friends and soaking up the local culture. Here are some of my homies. Together we perfected the art of… just chilling!
Our secret little spot!
Oh, and I made some other friends too.
Even stormy days were beautiful.
Even though the beach in Tulum has no electricity there are scores of little palapa-style hotels and restaurants run by solar and wind power. It’s grown tremendously in the last 5 years but hasn’t lost it’s charm, for me at least.
The Mayan ruins right on the Caribbean in Tulum are spectacular.
We spent a weekend in a beautiful but very rustic palapa in Tulum and boy was it fantastic!
I could get used to living here!
Here are some interesting infrared pictures of the same spot from a previous visit to Tulum during a tropical storm.
Playa Del Carmen used to be a sleepy little fishing village, but no more. There’s been rapid development in the last few years but the building restrictions limit structures to no more than 4 stories. Well, since it’s Mexico… maybe 5 stories. It’s a very popular international tourist destination with tons of boutique shops, chi chi hotels and fabulous restaurants. It’s here that you can catch the ferry to Cozumel.
This mermaid sculpture in “Playa” is a great example of the fabulous public art throughout Mexico.
No! I don’t want to leave here, ever!!
I did NOT want to leave, but after 4 months it was time to explore more of this beautiful country.
Stay tuned for Part II of “South Of The Border” where we visit the village of Majahual just a few miles from Belize, the best (IMO) Mayan Ruins in Palenque, the great pyramids of Teotihuacan, some aqua waterfalls, and the charming bohemian town of Sayulita.
Before I sign off I want to address the safety concerns about Mexico. We traveled some 5000 miles in the interior of the country and did not have one negative experience. That is not to say others haven’t been so lucky. You can certainly be in the wrong place at the wrong time, just like anywhere. But on the whole I found it to be a lot safer than Los Angeles where I lived for years.
hey great to see your pictures and blog. We too miss our secret little spot. Hope to be back next year. meanwhile we are back in beautiful Marthas vineyard,soaking up the sun.
Thanks! MV sounds wonderful!! Hope to see you next season! xo
Ginger, you are welcome to camp with me on the Pacific Coast at http://www.RanchoSolyMar.com. My owners have the only solar powered hookups for a campground in the world (they think). I personally hate showers, but the humans love the hot water when they bathe. Before I came along my human Madre used to live in Vineyard Haven on Look & Spring street. She says the ranch is much better for dogs where we can chase the chickens, tease the goats, wrestle the donkeys and run after the horses. Great beach here if you’re into it, mostly I wrestle with my amigos there. Buen Camino!
Hola Chanchito! I will check out your website, I would love to meet you and your amigos and do some chillaxin on the beach!
What a fantastic campground, I commend you! Everybody should go to http://www.RanchoSolyMar.com ASAP!
OK, I have to go there soon. Love this post and your photos are beautiful. My human and I love Mexico but have not considered taking the AS there due to the safety concerns. However you have given me hope anew. Thank you and will look forward to your future posts.
Hola amigo! You should absolutely do it! We had the time of our lives. You can message me om my Facebook page with any questions you might have.
We’ve been camping all over Mexico for the last 8 years and never, never had any problem. Well once. The park we planned to stay at was closed and it was after dark so we decided to just pull off the road and spend the night. An hour later a truck with military guys knocked on the door to find out what we were up to and then left. Just back to sleep and the police showed up, they were concerned for our safety and suggested we move into town. We pulled into the Cathedral’s parking lot and the police said “not a good spot”. So we ended up on the town square. Early morning we woke up to find we camped right where they set up the market for the day, so funny. People we super friendly and smiling as we rolled ou sleepy eyed. This is what I LOVE ABOUT MEXICO, everyone is so laid back!
We do try not to travel after dark, we normally camp where there are legit parks, restaurants that offer camping or where we see other folks set up. As long as you are not participating in drug buying/selling or looking for someone’s marijuna field I sincerely believe you are as safe or safer than in the US/Canada. We spent all last summer camping from Maine to Nova Scotia across the National Parks to Tahoe CA in our 1956 Airstream Caravanner ending up at Burning Man in the dessert. Many camping miles under our axle so if you are interested in info on camping in Mexico, I am happy to share what I know.
Thank you for your comment, Holly! I totally agree, the people are so friendly and incredibly helpful!! I hope my readers take you up on your offer of help and advice, it’s such a shame that Mexico has such a bad reputation when it comes to tourist safety. I too believe as you do that if you are not in the drug business or buy drugs, it’s as safe, if not safer, than the US and Canada.
Thanks for sharing! Nice timing! So enjoyed feeling like I just took a vacation looking at the pictures. Interesting comparison to LA. Was wondering about the safety. Beautiful! I’ll be in an “ahhhh” frame of mind for the day.
I wanna go…….beautiful, inspiring blog update………again.
Great to see you are back to blogging. It made Peggy & I start thinking about our winter plans. Maybe we will cross paths again.
Thanks you two, we hope so too! xo