Exploring Latin America 🇦🇷 🇧🇴 🇨🇱 🇨🇴 🇪🇨 🇲🇽 🇵🇪 🇺🇾

Category: Mexico

Popocatepetl and Iztaccíhuatl

I had one condition for going to Mexico and that was that Angela had to climb a mountain with me. We didn’t climb a mountain, instead we climbed the third highest volcano in Mexico, Izataccíhuatl at 5230 metres. We didn’t make it to the summit but reaching 4500 metres before turning back. With stunning views across the Valley of Mexico you can’t be disappointed.

We did this as a day hike, on the way we meant many people who had come the day before, hiked to the refugio and stayed there over night. They told us that you needed proper climbing equipment to summit. I don’t know if that is true but if you want to go all the way to the top I recommend taking the correct equipment. Otherwise if you want to do a day hike and go as far as you can then it’s possible as a normal hike. You can certainly get as far as the refugio without any ice climbing.

I couldn’t find much information online in English so decided to go to the town of Amecameca, which is my favourite town in terms of pronunciation. I had found a few hotels on maps.me, another favourite trick of mine, especially when you are unable to find anything on Hostel World or Booking, and we took a risk by just showing up. The Hotel San Carlos had plenty of rooms so we took one and then set you to explore the market. It’s pretty basic but does have steaming hot water which is all you really need.

Amecameca is a pretty small town. There is a market in the main square and a fair few stores, restaurants and food stalls in the streets that surround it. You can easily find chicken but don’t go too late or it will all be closed. We had some various form of tacos and soup in the main market. Angela was looking for something specific which I forget now and I just went along with her order. This did mean they brought out unlimited tortillas and were a little surprised that I didn’t eat many.

There isn’t much else to do so we spent the afternoon figuring out the plan for the hike and watching Netflix. Be warned as it gets really cold at night and as with everywhere else in Latin America there is no central heating. So wrap up!

We were told there was a collectivo at 7am on the corner of Calle Del Rusario and Avenue Hidalgo. It leaves every hour depending on if it’s full. We woke early and found supplies in a few shops. At 6:45am no one was on the corner and I started to worry. Angela took us though the market so she could find some breakfast. You could tell that we didn’t need to be in a hurry as even the street dogs were still asleep.

After grabbing some food we headed back to the corner around 7:10 and a small group of people had arrived. The bus showed up a few minutes later and by 7:30 we were on our way. It took nearly an hour to get to the visitors centre and we were dropped off in the car park of the visitors centre which was closed and there was no one around. There were a few people taking photos of the volcanos so we joined them doing this and asked a couple for directions. We could see the way and Maps.me had a trail to follow. Some of the blogs said that you can try and get a lift to the campsite with a car heading up the track but it was impossible to do this as the gate was locked and no one was going that way. So we started our hike at this point, around 3500 metres and walked towards Izataccíhuatl. Popocatépetl, pictured below. is the more famous of the two and the active one so don’t head there as it’s erupted twice so far in 2019.

After around an hour we started to see Izataccíhuatl which seemed really far off at this stage but we were getting closer. One thing I love about this hike is how much and how quickly the scenery changes as you increase in altitude.

It stayed clear all day so we were able to get some beautiful shots across the valley.

Eventually you start to leave the trees behind and the open grasslands appear.

It was a beautiful clear day which was great. Despite having been used to high altitude in 2018 I’d been at seas level for 6 weeks and I found this hike quite punishing, especially as we went over 4000 metres. It was probably a little silly to go that high without acclimatising properly first, and I’d pay for that later in the day, but nothing was going to get in the way of me and this mountain. Each step was painful and a battle which only increases the further we went

The whole valley is just beautiful and gives a unique view of Mexico City. One thing you can see below is the pollution which must hang over every major city in the world. But aside from that this hike gives you the unique perspective of being able to look down over the entire landscape. Most mountains of this height the rest of the earth surrounding is at a similar altitude but here you can see all the way down to 2500.

And some amazing shots of the volcano behind the radar station.

We stopped close to here to have lunch number one. The one thing I love about hiking is the amount of calories you burn so it’s a constant battle to top them all up again.

Just over this hill and around the corner was the camp. We later found out that many people make their way here in the afternoon and climb the following morning. There is also a refugio up the volcano but we didn’t make it that far. From this point it gets much steeper, higher and harder to breath so our progress dramatically slowed.

But the views are beautiful and here you can see the path we climbed up.

At this point is the first resting place and there are amazing views across the valley. From here it gets much steeper.

I made a lizard friend.

This is a second natural stopping place. It was a real fight to get this high and was around 4600 metres. I was really feeling the altitude but I wanted to push on. Here the vegetation had seeded to rock and we could see snow.

At this point there were lots of hikers coming back down. We chatted to them as they came last and they had all been to the top. I had never expected to reach that height and had only come to see how far I would get. Forever curious I wanted to see the point where they were all coming from so I left Angela with my bag and trotted off and I was glad I had. The views were stunning.

Before we headed back down we took some obligatory photos to prove we had been there.

On the way back I quickly realised that I had pushed myself too far. What begins with a headache quickly turns into a throbbing pain and a feeling of sickness. The only thing to do is to go down and each step back was more painful than on the way up. Fun when you have to hike at least 10km. Although I still stopped to take photos.

The moon was up and Angela called the driver when we reached the visitors centre. I was in agony and it was getting cold so we sat inside. I don’t know about the busses back but we were told they went every hour or so. Maybe check in the centre which was now open. It was about 4pm and I was really happy to get into the car.

By the time we arrived at Amecameca I was feeling much better. We grabbed our bags and headed back to Mexico City where we had a much deserved pizza. You can read about it all in the Mexico City post. After this I headed back to the UK.

Mexico City

We had an early flight from Puerto Escondido to Mexico City. Angela and I took a taxi and met her family at the airport. I was tired and a little lost when Lorenzo kindly called out to me and invited me to sit next to him when I had lost everyone at the gate. We had booked tickets at different time so were sat apart on the plane but the flight was just over an hour. I took the opportunity to admire the mountains.

We said our goodbyes to Angela’s family at the airport in Mexico City as they were staying with her brother for a few days. Angela and I went to stay with one of Angela’s friends who just happened to be the daughter of the Colombian photographer Leo Matiz. She wasn’t there during our stay but her driver collected us from the airport. In a continuation of my ridiculous life for the first time Angela and I first “lived together” it was in a 6 million dollar house complete with 24 security, a maid, cook and driver. The house was huge and set up to be turned into a gallery space if needed. There are lots of photos hanging on the white walls and we finally had a bathroom with an actual door.

We settled in and after a few hours of resting Angela took me into the centre of Mexico City. Angela had lived here previously for several years before moving to Canada. We found some glasses for Angela after she admitted that she was practically blind without them grabbed some food, which was one of the cheesiest toasties I’ve ever had. We spent time looking around the shops, tried not to buy more of the food that was on offer and walked around the main square. I discovered the annoying men playing the musical boxes everywhere and Angela was happy to discover that I found them annoying as she did.

After lunch we decided to catch a movie and went on a long walk to the cinema passing many different districts. It’s a good way to explore cities, just choose an area and try to walk there. Although this did back fire for me in Lima, but now I know where not to go.

I don’t know why but I really enjoy going to the cinema in other countries, even if the films are in English. It was daily late when we finished but we were still full from the huge lunch so decided to head back “home” on the metro. There is a really good metro in Mexico City and it’s well connected but it does take time to get anywhere but that is mostly because Mexico City is huge. 28 million people live there so it’s going to take a while to get around.

The next day we visited Ciudad de Teotihuacan which are about 40km from Mexico City. It’s around an hour on the bus which you can catch from Terminal Central de Norte every half hour. We didn’t book anything in advance but you might want to in peak season. Also my advice would be to go early to beat the crowds. It wasn’t too busy when I arrived but I was a little sad not to be able to get shots of the pyramids without people in them. My usual trick of waiting until everyone had left didn’t work as there was a steam of people quite rightly climbing them. The ancient city was huge and hot and it’s amazing to see it was built. We don’t really have anything like this in the UK and it felt bigger than both Machu Picchu and Choquequierao the Inca cities in Peru.

There are two main temples, the bigger is The Temple of the Sun and the smaller is Temple of the Moon. Take your time to explore and my advice would be to bring some food. There are tonnes of sellers all over and restaurants are around outside the complex but they are all ultra touristy and expensive.

And it wouldn’t be Latin America unless there were cute dogos everywhere.

And there is proof that we made it to the top. I can’t remember how many steps there are but it’s a steep climb so be careful.

I took us into the local town to try and find some empanadas and of course there was nothing to be found. Tourists don’t normally come to this part but I was happy to see a local town even if I wasn’t given the change to buy some empanadas.

We found a restaurant and had some tacos which were not great. They seems a little annoyed that we declined their overpriced full lunch menu but I was glad to get my coca-cola fix for the day. Afterwards we headed back to the city to prepare for the next day. We met Angelas middle brother for a quick drink as he was leaving Mexico to move back to Colombia before having an early night ahead of the hike.

Obviously all i’d been going on about was hiking and we looked at a couple of places but the obvious was Popocatepetl, which is a hugely active volcano so you can’t actually hike it but you can go to the volcano next door, Iztaccíhuatl. We took a two day trip and I’ve separated this into the next blog.

On the Saturday we had some life admin things to take care of. We went shopping to buy presents for Angela’s nephew whose birthday was the next day. After we went and visited her uncle who lives in the city and after we found an Argentine Restaurant. I wanted everything on the menu but Angela persuaded me to be more restrained. But the steak was delicious and I was very excited to be there.

That night we went to meet some of Angela’s friends. Angela stuck to the tequilas and I had a variety of cocktails. It was fun but didn’t seem the place to dance. Angela and I wondered around looking for a club but couldn’t find anywhere which in hindsight was probably the safest option for us both. The next day we were a little tired and hungover. It was Angela’s nephews birthday so we stopped off for a quick breakfast to sober up. I mean look at this. It’s what is considered breakfast. I ate half and we took the rest to go.

On the way to Cuernavaca city, where Angela’s older brother lives we stopped to get some ice cream in Tepoztlan. There is a shop where it’s possible to buy hundreds of different flavours. After we headed to the children’s birthday party. I was there to meet Angela’s extended family. Luckily for me I had brought my camera and could play the role of camera man. There was a bouncy castle which I went into and all the kids attacked me at the same time and I got to experience a real Mexican piñata. I took a tone of photos but I don’t think this is the place to share them.

We headed back to Mexico City in the evening with Lorenzo in toe and put him to bed. The next day we went to visit the Children’s museum which was great fun. Sadly for us it was a special day and the place was packed with school groups but Lorenzo held his own and was a little upset that he was too short to go on some of the rides. I was impressed that he took great care to look at things and I tried to explain how the mechanics of some of the exhibits worked. He was interested even if he didn’t understand what I was saying. I even scared the staff by crawling through a tunnel first so he was happy to follow me.

We headed to a Chinese buffet lunch before we went to get pizza and popcorn for movie night. Lorenzo was particularly sad when we got a tiny pack of microwave popcorn not understanding how it worked as he saw bigger boxes. We fixed that when we got home so he saw the packet get bigger and bigger. To be fair there were bigger boxes on the shelf. We watched a movie with the pizza and had an early night.

The next day we headed to Mexico zoo. Walking through the giant park we spotted a squirrel.

There were a lot of animals in the zoo. It was a little sad to see them living in small enclosures but this is better than tiny cages.

I wanted guacamole as I’d not had any in Mexico so we went to a local place and had Mexican food for lunch. After Lorenzo and I got out haircuts and were rewarded with ice cream. We went to visit Angela’s aunt and Lorenzo decided to stay the night so he could play with the dogs and Angela and I went to share a final night in Mexico where we went out for sushi. We tried to find a few bars afterwards but Mexico City didn’t seem alive tonight so we headed back. Actually we struggled to find dancing in the city. Maybe they don’t dance? We still had a decent supply of rum so we had a few more glasses when we got home.

We spent the next day trying to fix my phone, getting me a new pair of glasses and had a final lunch of chicken wings before collecting Lorenzo. I packed while Lorenzo tried to hide all of my clothes. He climbed into the washing basket which was upside down and hoovered them up when he thought I wasn’t looking. The driver gave us both a ride to the airport. We said our goodbyes and I went through the gates to board a nearly empty plane.

I was emotional and tired landing in London. Brad has kindly picked up the keys for me and I spent the next few days moving into the flat before starting work the next week. And then it was the simple task of working out how to get back.

Dolphin Boat Tour and The Laguna de Manialtepec, Puerto Escondido

When I went to view my apartment in London I met Kassuas who said if I did one thing in Puerto Escondido then I needed to take a boat trip to see the dolphins. He showed me videos of scores of dolphins jumping out of the water. Initially sceptical, as I’ve been on a tonne of boat trips promising wildlife, but then started doing some research and it seemed that there were lots of people backing up his story. We opted to go with Roberts Eco Tours, who were not able to do a trip so put us in contact with Omar’s Sports Fishing. We had an amazing time with Omar’s but I think it you go for either company it will be good. It cost 500 pesos each which is around £20.

Our guides spoke good English and were conscious about the wildlife. They kept their distance from the whales and also took their own route so we were ofrecen the first boat to see the wild life before the other boats came and scared them away.

A taxi arrived around 6:30 AM and were greeted by our guides. Within a few minutes we were in the boat, with life jackets and touring the harbour as the sun rose.

When I was back in the UK I brought an new zoom lens and I was excited to try it out. I loved snapping things like these dogs playing on the beach.

You can see how this area has so much wildlife. It’s only recently that this area has become more populated by humans and i wondered if this is how all the beaches in England once looked.

I particularly like the fisherman working and the surfers playing. And yes the water is warm.

After a quick tour of the main bay and a talk we headed out closer to the beach where we released the titles and straight away saw some whales. We were one of the first on the scene but soon a small amada arrived.

I was really happy with this set of photos. The whales disappeared each time they came up for breath and we were not sure where they had gone. They kept coming up for air. Then we were told that they were right underneath us and this happened.

I never thought I’d get up so close to whales and it was so exciting to see them. The boats all left one by one and we were alone and then headed out away from shore.

There was movement and we realised that we were surrounded by dolphins.

They were playing and then started to see them jump out of the water.

We were the only boat around and followed them for some time. A few people jumped in to get a closer look but I was happy taking photos.

We then saw a turtle approach. He seem the just be chilling as he swam past.

And then we found more dolphins.

These next shots are my favourites. Everyone jumped in the water and there were a few boats around at the time so the dolphins ran away, and then I saw a splash in the distance and got these on full zoom.

Another turtle came to hang out.

We saw a bird seemingly walking on the water but realised he was resting on a dead turtle. We pulled some plastic out of the water and then soon after saw a sea snake. I know snakes can swim but I didn’t know you would find them so far off shore.

There was then a short tour of the other beaches and we were given so much information. If you are coming to Puerto Escondido is really recommend doing this on your first day. It’s 3 hours and out is in such a good mood and the guides were full of recommendations and information about the town.

After we stayed on the beach eating a full lunch and beers around 11am. The afternoon is lost to me now but I think we just relaxed on various beaches until it was time for our next adventure of the day.

The Laguna de Manialtepec

There is a lake to the north of the city which is teeming with wildlife and you can go during the day and take boat tours to see all of the birds. You can also go at night and see a very different effect. There is bacteria in the lake which’s glows in the dark when unsettled. We paid 300 pesos, which felt like a lot after we had paid 500 for the boat tour in the morning. I can’t remember which company we booked with but I feel that your experience wouldn’t change much.

We were picked up late and the van was already full and we drove about 30 minutes to the lake. Here there was a chance to change, although no changing rooms offered. I realised at this point that brining my camera had been futile. It was pitch black and I wouldn’t capture anything. Actually it caused me more worry than anything as although I had a dry bag there was so much water on the boat that I spent most of the time worrying about it.

We split into groups and Angela and I ended up with some Mexicans and soon we were racing across the lake on a speed boat. Life jackets again provided. It took another half hour to get across the lake, sadly we had cloud cover but I can imagine with a new moon and lots of stars it will be stunning. Our guide drove the boat in circles to make the water glow, parked up and gave instructions in Spanish. He then proceeded to spend the rest of the time playing on his phone.

Angela jumped in first and I joined her shortest after and as you moved the water glowed. This was fun and the water was warm but the it became boring after a few minutes. I actually started to find it a little scary but maybe that is just me. Out of everything we did I found this the least exciting. Maybe visit the lake in the day but it was a lot of effort and money for not much payoff. We were in the lake for around an hour when we left by boat, a quick change and drove back to town.

On the Sunday we got up early and walked along the beach watching the surfers practice. Angela wanted fish tacos for breakfast so she took me to the most amazing place and at 10 am we had fish tacos and a beer. I could have eaten these all week.

We had been told by the German guy from the hostel that it was possible to buy a day pass to the fancy hotels. On the beach the boat trip the day before they had recomendad visiting Playa Coral. So we headed off in that direction but couldn’t quite find the entrance and ended up in the beach next door. We decided to grab some cocktails and sat in hammocks deciding what to do with our lives. In the next couple of hours we decided that I was going to move to Colombia for a few months before moving to Buenos Aires at the end of the year. There we go life sorted in one short afternoon. It was a really nice and romantic relaxing day and we stayed until it was dark.

The next day it was time for me to meet Lorenzo and have lunch with Angela’s her family. I finally found out how amazing at cooking Angela was, she made seafood pasta, and afterwards we spent our final afternoon on the beach, watched the sun set and made sand castles with Lorenzo. Then I’d was time to pack our things as we were flying to Mexico City the next morning.

Puerto Escondido and Cascada la Reforma

I remember leaving Bogotá with a sense of confusion. I said goodbye to Angela and I got into my last taxi in South America, well Uber. It was particularly strange because now I had made it and I suppose I was expecting more of a send off. In hindsight I’d never had one during my entire journey, it was generally a series of taxis to airports and bus stations as the people in any one place I’d met had moved on or had jobs to go to, and I moved to the next place alone not quite sure what would happen in the next place that I arrived. But this was different. I had known about this flight for a long time and, well I don’t know, I just expected it to be more dramatic rather than saying goodbye on the street in front of a copy shop. But the life in Bogotá continued as did life in London and in all the other places I had visited. I’m not really sure how else I felt now looking back on it. I had achieved everything I had set you to. I felt more confident. I felt alive and I felt as if I was definitely coming back. I also felt I had something to explore with Angela but I wasn’t sure what would happen at this time. So for me it was more hasta luego than adiós.

I remember the taxi took an age to get to the airport and on the way I found my flight was delayed. I grabbed a burger at the airport that I didn’t want or need and waited in the immigration line where English speaking gringos annoyed me. It sounded strange to my ears now and US accents were especially harsh. The flight was long, boring and uneventful. In London my bags arrived quickly and I was lucky to be greeted by Tyler who was there to drive me to where I was staying on the other side of town. It was lovely to see him but I didn’t even know where to begin. But he was also concentrating on driving. London was cold, dark and modern. I had missed a whole day of daylight so I was a little confused.

I was welcomed by Colin, Lily and Camilla and a few hours later Dave came home and we stayed up talking into the night. I saw all my clothes and nearly cried, I think that was the best part. I had been tired of wearing the same things for a year and liking back in it, as I do with many things I did last year I can’t actually believe that I did just wear them day after day after day. The worst was yet to come. I woke up on the Sunday feeling like the whole trip had been a dream. Here I was in the same bed in the same room and it was almost like it had never happened. Lots of people gave me advice about returning from travelling but no one told me about the shock I would personally feel. Not just a culture shock but the shock of being back in your old life. I don’t want to sound ungrateful as the people around me were lovely but I think the first two weeks back were perhaps the hardest part of 2018. I was lucky to have Angela video calling me and we probably spoke for about 4 hours a day.

The first week I reconnected with friends and I had agreed to move all of my things out of the house within the week. Dave was expecting a baby, who was born in February and is very cute, and quite rightly needed some space. However if you do come back from a long trip my advice would be to pack up everything before you go so when you do arrive you can spend time readjusting. It might be different if you have somewhere to stay or a job to return to or anything. But at this moment I had nothing, well that’s not true I had a room for the week another for the next week and then an open invitation to live at my parents. So I actually had a lot! But packing up was hard. At one point I thought I would throw it all away but the sanity pro-veiled and I put most of it in storage before moving to Jessicas across town. The lowest point was when I went to get the tube on the Monday morning and saw all the zombies. It didn’t feel like Christmas in London it felt dead and I was surrounded by people on the train who were not living life. It was then I knew I had to leave, less than 48 hours after returning. I hope this doesn’t sound too depressing as I had a lovely welcome back party on the Friday night and was happy to see everyone.

The second week is also a blur, it was less stressfully and I was happy to start the Spanish lessons. I remember waking into the giant Tesco in Woolwich one freezing morning and finding everything so weird, empty and cold. I kept shooting videos for Angela. Maybe it was being back, maybe it was just Woolwich or maybe it was Christmas. Who knows? Things got much better when I was offered a temp job by my old boss and it was at this point I decided to go to Mexico. It had been on the cards since I first met Angela. Actually maybe before. I think she mentioned it in text and I remember thinking, well if I have to look for a job I might as well do it on a beach in Mexico, this was before I met her! Now I wanted to see her again to see what was there and I wanted to see how much I missed Latin America so it seemed like a perfect option.

So I spent that week hanging out with Sherman, playing on my PS4, hanging with Stanley, readjusting, learning Spanish and meeting up with friends. On the Sunday I packed my things drove across London twice, did some of the worst parking I’ve ever done and drive back to the Isle of Wight to see my Family for Christmas. The next two weeks were a blur. I thought I’d get lots done, photo editing and all sorts but in reality I was barely able to finish off the blog posts. My Mum says I was fatigued but I think it’s party because whenever I went into my room they found an excuse to disturb me every five minutes. Also I spent a lot of time calling Angela. I suppose that was time well spent 🙂

And then New Year hit and I realised I was leaving. I had thought I’d be with my parents for a couple of months but it turned out to be a few weeks. In one day I found a place in London to rent for 4 months which covered my BAFTA contract. I left on the Thursday to see it in London and met with Brad, went up to Yorkshire for the weekend to visit Ben and go on some walks and then on the Monday I was back in London, visiting my storage I packed for Mexico, stopped off in Central London to sign my contract and then took the Piccadilly line to Heathrow and another overnight flight.

I was excited and exhausted and not looking forward to flying. Despite having sorted my sleeping problem I found that I’ve not conquered sleeping on planes. I also had a 12 hour layover in Mexico City until my flight to Puerto Escondido where Angela would be waiting for me. But I landed, passed immigration, thought my bag had been lost but found it, exited the arrivals to find Wings and I felt like I’d just come home, despite having never been in Mexico before. The next hours were painful to say the least but I don’t want to complain as I feel I’ve done that enough already. Mexico City does, however, have the most chaotic airport in the world so kudos to that. But soon I was on another flight leaving the city and I got to see my surroundings in day light.

The airport at Puerto Escondido was small, so you got off on the tarmac and walked to the terminal. It was hot and I was overdressed, so made a mistake by taking off my coat which I went on to lose somewhere in the next hour never to be seen again. The baggage took an age to come out but as the airport was so small I spotted Angela waiting for me. Which was great as I’m terrible with faces and was worried I’d screw that up. We reunited through the door before the security guard told her to wait until I had passed through. Jumped on a bus to our “hotel”. She had brought some rum, coke and packed for the beach. We arrived around 5pm I’d guess in time to see the most beautiful sun set I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness, sadly I didn’t have my camera, went to eat fish tacos and went back to the hotel where I had some much needed sleep. All I’m gonna say is I’d always been told that you will know when you know and I knew right there on that beach before the sun went down.

The next morning we headed out for breakfast. Angela had already been in town a week so I let her take the lead and we found a breakfast place beside the road. She hadn’t been there before but it was delicious. I was quickly discovering that Mexican food was spicy, flavoursome, nothing like we have in the UK and involved a lot of corn tortillas. We walked around the area for the morning and then headed to the beach to relax and this is what I saw on the way.

Puerto Escondido is a beach lovers and surfers paradise. There are long stretches of sandy beach, killer waves, clear waters, lots of restaurants, a gringo community and lots of fresh sea food.

Angela has booked us a cheap “hotel” via Airbnb. Cheap is the operative word as the “private bathroom” had a shower curtain separating it from the bedroom. But the thing with us is we can make do with anywhere and anything. The location is not important it’s the company and I think my selective photos make it look nice.

On the way back from breakfast a man went past us on a motorcycle and a dog ran out from somewhere and we saw him break hard and face plant the road. I didn’t really see what happened and my first thought was to just look away before my senses took hold. Not speaking Spanish and not having a phone line I was unsure as what to do. The dog ran off and I helped get the bike up as others attended to the man. He didn’t look too badly hurt thankfully it it could easily have been so bad. Lots of other people arrived to assist so Angela and I moved on.

We spent the rest of the morning on the beach, relaxing, reading and drinking beers before I looked as if I would melt and then headed across the town on a “bus” to eat Italian food for lunch.

Afterwards we went for a walk around the beach head on a particularly fun path that you would only find in Latin America that had half fallen apart. There were gaps in the walkways which if you fell through you would end up in the seas and probably squashed against the rocks but you would also have to be unlucky or fairly stupid to fall in so do give it a go. There is a lot of wildlife to be seen and what’s the point of being her if there is no element of danger?

The path should take you around the beachhead to the next cove but it gets to a point where it’s really not a good idea to continue. So we headed to the cove overland and made a little friend along the way.

It was really tiring in the heat, do watch out for that here and make sure you carry enough water. But we found a place to chill, brought some cokes and watched the sun set.

Heading back to the hotel in the taxi the traffic was pretty bad and at one point I heard screaming. Angela told me not to look but I saw a gringo girl screaming on the side of the road. The amount of people who wear zero protection on bikes scares me. If you come off expect to lose a lot of skin. It was the second accident that day!

We arrived back at the hotel and I had a headache so lay down for a rest. Angela went to get us pizzas and I awoke when she arrived and settled in to watch a movie.

The next day we headed down the beach and went to a cafe for a giant breakfast. The first thing I need to tell you about Mexican food is that if you have only eaten Mexican good in the UK then you have never actually eaten Mexican food. The second is that the portions are huge and the third is that they apparently each two breakfasts. I don’t know how as there is so much delicious food!

After having spent a day on the beach I was feeling a little restless and wanted to do other things than just sit on the beach. I could see mountains and I wanted in! I didn’t have a concept as to how far they were away or what was there but I wanted to go hiking. So we spent a day organising. I found a waterfall and we decided to go on a boat trip to see whales and dolphins, check the post.

When Angela invited me to join her in her vacation in Mexico she said “I’ve rented an apartment in Mexico on the beach for a month, you should come join me”. What she neglected to mention is that her entire family were also going to be there! So we decided I should go and meet the parents. I wasn’t scared as I’m normally fairly good with parents, if anything I’md a little boring. I keep quiet, smile, am polite and for the least scary thing is that they don’t speak much English. Lots of people asked me if that was more scary but I realise it gives me another opportunity to keep quiet and not say something stupid. Anyways long stories short it went fine. They loved me and it’s was all great. I mean it’s me. Who wouldn’t?

Then it was time to go and release the baby turtles. Humans are bastards and as part of this people steal the turtle eggs. However humans are also great so there are conservationists who dog the eggs up once laid and re-burry them in secure locations. Each evening they give the baby turtles a helping hand, dig them out and you can pay a small fee to help release them. There are several locations along the coast and we went to the one on just to the south of the main beach.

When we arrived they were in the middle of digging out the turtles, they were really dosel and literally minutes old.

It was around 5pm and we were told to come back a little later when it was dark. Angela had done this the week before with her family and upon releasing them lots of birds came and had a lovely free meal much to the distress of the children. To get around this as the birds seemed to have realised when a free meal was available the turtles were now released after sunset.

We decided to sit on the beach and watch the sunset and Angela had a paddle while I photographed things. There were fisherman fishing from the shore and the waves were crazy strong here so it wasn’t worth going into the water. I mean, simply don’t.

The sunset was simply stunning.

Sadly after dark it was much harder to photograph the turtles and the flash was so bright I worried it might cause other problems so I only took the one photo.

When we returned to the enclosure the turtles were much more active and were trying to escape. We paid roughly £5 for a pot of four turtles which I decided to name before taking them to the starting line. They do actually have to run across the sand or they won’t know to return when they are older. So you set them down 6 metres away from the ocean and wait. You wait for them to start moving as they make their painfully slow way to the water. You spend this entire time worrying that they are going to be eaten but they don’t seem to be aware. Then when they get to the water the waves just push them back into the sand. I suppose the currents are strong but eventually they got there and disappeared.

We suddenly realised it was dark and there didn’t seem to be method of transport to get back. We had taken a taxi to get here, but there are busses along the main road. This was now two kilometres away and it was pitch black. We didn’t really have any choice other than walking up to the road. After a while you reach some houses, local shops and there are people around. It’s not as scary as you might think. We crossed the main road and waited for a bus. A few went past but eventually one stopped and we were on our way back to town.

That night we opted for another pizza and to watch a film on the beach. It was actually cooler with the wind coming from the sea. It was really relaxing until a policeman with a huge gun came and spoke to Angela. I didn’t really understand and there was another guy in the shadows out of the light from the laptop. They chatted for a while and after they left Angela told me that they had been looking for poachers and people having sex on the beach. We were later told that the police do sometimes try to scam tourists who take to the beach at night. I don’t know how true that is as we were out there several times at night and this was the only time that we saw them, but as we had the lap top and were watching a movie it was quite clear we were doing neither so they left us alone. I expect having a native Spanish speaker also helps. We went to bed early as the next day we were going into the mountains!

Cascada la Reforma

After a some solid googling for hiking in the area I found some waterfalls called Cascada La Reforma. There were a couple of blogs with some information and a Trip Adviser review which explained how to get there. But really we were unsure. Angela said she knew where the bus stop was which scared me a little as directions are not her forte but to her credit she got us there. A bus left once an hour and it goes across the mountains to Oaxaca, I’m not sure how long the journey takes but it’s about and hour to San Pedro Mixtepec and we had just missed one so stopped to get some breakfast. I think the busses left close to the hour but I expect this changes. I can’t remember the price but it was cheap. Ask around the downtown area for the busses, if not they do go into the main bus station which is just outside of the main town and I also believe there are big busses that drive this route. I can’t find the address on the map now, so apologies.

When you approach San Pedro Mixtepec get off in the south, there is a road here that goes to a town called Reforma and there is a colectivo service that will take you all the way to Reforma. Keep checking on Maps.me, if you have Reforma selected then there is only one road that leads there so you can’t miss it.

I somehow lost my new hat on the bus and I was still reeling and sulking from my stupidity, especially as I had realised on the bus that it was missing and I should have been able to find it. Annoyingly it was nowhere to be seen and I hoped it would find a new home. I brought a coke to console myself as Angela broke open some snacks. She was really relaxed and for some stupid reason I started to doubt Latin America and thought that the colectivo would never show up. There is a little restaurant on the corner of the main road so I went there to buy more things, the lady there was very helpful and told Angela about the collectivo, when it showed up and the lady delighted in telling me.

I think 6 of us got in the car for what turned out to be a very sweaty ride, I’d guess now it was 45 minutes to 1 hour and I was squashed in next to a very sweaty man. I remember feeling his sweat through my T-shirt until I just had to live with it. Eventually all the other passengers left and the taxi driver dropped us in town. There are a number of shops here and I brought us the ridiculous hats so we didn’t get sunburnt.

From the town it’s an 2 hour walk to the waterfalls. I was quite excited about this and as we left the town a local boy joined us. He said he wanted to go to swim and I was worried that he would act as our guide and want money. He didn’t, he was a great kid. He walked with us most of the way listening to our conversation and I tried to talk to him in Spanish. When we were nearly there a car full of people passesd us and offered us a ride. We decided to finish the walk and upon arrival stayed at the small shop to rest. Angela offered the boy a drink and his face lit up as he chose the brightest soda with the most sugar.

Once rested the three of us hit the pool by the first waterfall which was freezing and the boy delighted in showing off his swimming skills, climbing up the rocks and jumping off. I was scared enough to just have a swim and the way the water circled the current was quite strong. We had been warned to watch out for this so make sure you do the same.

We followed the path and ended up at a much larger waterfall which is where the group was. There was no one else here and it was beautiful. I imagine on most days you could have the place to yourselves.

We played in the water and I did my best to cut everyone out of the photos. We left at the same time as the other group and the leader, a German man offered us a life back to town. It turned out he ran the Tower Bridge Hostel, which looked pretty cool so if you are looking for a cheap place to stay that is it! They go to the waterfalls each Friday so you can get in on that.

We all jumped in the back, including the boy, and as part of the trip they have lunch in the town at the boys house. Now we realised why he came. The food was local, spicy and delicious. We rode back to the hostel, had a couple of beers and headed back to the hoteles we had an early morning.

The next day had to get up early to go on the boat trip we went on the boat trip which I’ll cover in the next blog post.

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