Thursday, February 28, 2013

Anton Lizardo

Anton Lizardo, Veracruz is just south of Veracruz, Veracruz.   The campground is run down, almost abandoned.   There were two other RV's here when we arrived, one gentleman from New Jersey who has been there for 4 months, and 3 young men on their way to Argentina.    The campground has plenty of room for a couple of dozen or more RV's, so it looked very empty indeed.    The owner hadn't been around for a while, so when the 3 guys pulled out early yesterday morning, they ended up having 2 nights free.   We weren't as lucky, the owner showed up before nightfall, so we had to pay for our 2 days stay.  200 pesos a night.    He tried to get us to pay for the people who left as well, but Gerry just laughed at him.

With so few campers we were able to get a site with a view of Gulf of Mexico.   

As far as the eye could see in  both directions the beach was full of drift wood.   We walked 3 kilometers down the beach and only saw one hotel cleaning up the debris in front of their property.    The sand is almost black and was very disconcerting to me.       

The winds were high, making the sounds of the waves become a lullaby for me.   I fell asleep at 8:30 p.m. and slept right through the night.    Hmmm, not taking my Sprycel might have had something to do with that as well.   My drugs interrupt my sleep, so last night I decided to switch to taking them in the morning instead of the night to see if that improves things. 

This is the entrance/exit to the El Rey campgrounds.   There are sites all along both sides complete with electricity, water and sewers.   

The whole area is one big sand dune and the winds were high.     I felt dirty after just a short walk around the campground.    Veracruz used to be a big tourist area, but the resorts and hotels all seemed run down.  Nevertheless, there is obviously a lot of money in Veracruz.   There were a lot of new cars, new homes, shopping plazas and a World Trade Center.    We paid more for our laundry in this area than we have ever paid before @ 15 pesos per kilo.   We paid higher transaction fees and got a lower exchange rate at the ATM here than anywhere before.   3000 pesos cost $250.00.   When we bought groceries at the Chedraui, the prices were easily 50% higher than anywhere else we have been in Mexico and the building was high end. There were huge flat screen television sets depicting the departments.   One in particular was quite impressive, above the fresh fish they were showing reefs and fish a scuba diver or snorkeler would die for!   We felt like we weren't even in Mexico at all.   

We left Anton Lizardo this morning even though we are both still needing some rest time.   We just didn't like it there.   We pulled into The Trailer Park Neptuno on the Emerald Coast around noon today and even though no one is here, and it is rainy and cold, we are very pleased with the campground, we might stay a couple of nights.   The only problem here is we are on the edge of the Telcel signal for internet, so it keeps cutting out, and is extremely slow at best.  However, the Emerald Coast is another blog, for another day.      


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Agua Dulce - La Venta

Agua Dulce  appeared to be not much more than a stop on the way home.   The campground is ok, but they ask too much money for it.    They initially asked for 300 pesos, we were going to leave so they dropped it down to 250 pesos.      We decided to stay, not because 250 pesos was a good price, but because we really didn't want to drive any further.   We were both very tired and our bodies need a rest.    

   The last update on the Rolling Homes website was from John Kobak a couple of years ago.   He had said they were charging 250 pesos, water was not working in the bathrooms, the electricity was only available for a few sites and there was an alligator in the pool. 
The bathrooms are now working with hot water, there are still only a few outlets for electricity,  and the alligator is no longer in the swimming pool.   The swimming pool is full of very dirty water, and I think they are using it for a water hole for the cows that roam freely in and around the campground.

It is however more than just a stop on the way home.   The nearby town of La Venta houses an Olmec archaeological site of the same name that is well worth the trip.  It is thought that the big hill here is the first major pyramid ever built in the Americas.   Much of the site has been destroyed to to oil extraction in the 60's.  To see more pictures you can look at my facebook album here:

  Walking through the field I was uneasy thinking of snakes,so I was on top alert.  Sure enough I saw one!  Is that a coral snake?

I don't know what kind of bird this is, but they had us entertained for some time.   They were either bringing back food, or bringing back materials for the nests.   It was very hard to tell.   The tree had dozens of nests hanging from it.  

Friday, February 22, 2013



This part of Chiapas is in the foothills of the mountains.   I love the way they plant their crops up the side of the hills.

Mountain cows in Chiapas.  

The Mexican State of Chiapas is on our list to revisit another year.   In order for us to see everything we really would need to stay a couple of weeks so we could rest for a day or two in between hikes.

   The howler monkeys are awesome!  The birds are beautiful, the rainforest is  spectacular, the landscape and waterfalls are breathtaking, and the ruins are amazing.   It is crazy hot though. thankfully the Mayabell campsite has electric hook ups for air conditioning.

I've uploaded pictures of the howler monkeys into facebook.   You can see them here:


We stayed five nights at the Mayabell and it was not long enough to see everything.   The first day we arrived in the afternoon and just chilled while watching the monkeys in the trees about 50 feet from Myrtle.    Mayabell charges 180 pesos a night.   I don't think we have received better value for our money anywhere in Mexico.   They have hot showers with decent washrooms, a restaurant on site with a nightly live band, electricity, water and dump at each site, rain forest all around and many sightseeing opportunities.

The second day we went to the Palenque ruins, 3 hours in the morning a two hour break, then three hours in the afternoon and we felt if we had the time, we could have gone back for another day of exploring.  
 You can see more pictures of the ruins here:

Cascadas de Agua Azul

Misol Ha

Day three we went to the Cascadas de Agua Azul and Misol Ha waterfall.   The hike along the trail beside Agua Azul was about 2 kilometers each way.     
You can see more Agua Azul pictures here:

Misol Ha pictures here: won't catch me swimming in water with these babies!  

The fourth day we bit off more than we could chew and tried to see two ruins, Bonampak and Yaxchilan.   We only managed to fit in about 3/4 of Yaxchilan, and didn't see Bonampak at all.  To get to the Yaxchilin Ruins you have to go by boat along the Usumacinta River.   Guatamala on one side, Mexico on the other, crocodiles in the river...all adds to the experience of Yaxchilan Ruins.   Highly recommended.

For more pictures of the Yaxchilin Ruins :

The fifth day we took it easy.  Gerry's inevitable migraine set in on the way back from Yaxchilin Ruins, my back and knees are seizing up, we both overdid it.   The cost of seeing great beauty is great suffering, and it was worth every moment of payment!     We went for a short walk around the surrounding area of the campgrounds and a short drive to see a waterfall/swimming hole we had driven past on our way back from Yaxchilan.   Neither of us had anything left in us to further explore the area, so we have put it on our list to come back another year when we can spend two or three weeks in Chiapas.  

It is time to start homeward bound Turtling on Down the Road.   Next stop Agua Dulce.   



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Campeche - Ecovillas Kin Ha & RV

Church's book points to Kin Ha Aquatica as one of the three campgrounds in Campeche.   It is closed and across the street from the Ecovillas Kin Ha.   They seem to be the same owners.    Strangely there is water in the pool across the street and quite a few workers, but they sent us to the Ecovilla's Kin Ha.   There is a small pool which was very refreshing.   The cost is 250 pesos per night and it has electricity and water.   You have to dump across the street at the old campground. 

In 1686 the government built a wall around Campeche to stop the constant barrage of attacks by buccaneers and pirates.   We had to find a laudromat, so we decided to take a tour of Campeche.

It is nice to be away from the high prices of the Mayan Riviera.   The laundry costs 7 pesos per kilo here,  which is close to half the price we have been paying for the last 3 months.   For twice the price you can put a rush on it.   We had 10 kilos of laundry done in 5 hours for 140 pesos.      

On the way back from our tour we stopped to pick up a cooked chicken.   For 90 pesos we got 1 1/2 fully cooked chickens, coleslaw (very hot), peppers, taco shells, salsa and a macaroni salad.   We have more than half leftover after we both ate our fill.   Delicious!   

Monday, February 18, 2013

Kinich Kak Mo - Izamal, Yucatan

Wow, crazy...I only blog 4 times in 2 weeks, then suddenly I have time to blog twice in one day!

We don't want to leave the Yucatan until after the kids fly away, and we didn't want to hang around Chichen Itza, so we headed an hour west to a little town called Izamal.    Izamal is about another hour east of Merida.
It's a strange little town, all painted yellow to impress the pope when he visited in 1993, and built atop an ancient Mayan city. 

  The church is actually built on top of a Mayan Temple. 

"  In 1552 The Roman Catholic Church decided to put an end to the use of the Izamal Pyramid being a shrine to the Mayan Gods, Itzamma and Ix Chel, who were Gods of healing. This was because the Mayans were worshiping their own Gods and it greatly upset the ruling Catholic Authorities.

So they simply destroyed almost all of this great pyramid of Kinich Kak Mo and used the blocks from the pyramid to build a monastery in Izamal and from there they could impose their religion upon the people. "

More on Izamal:

200 meters long, by 180 meters wide, 34 meters high!

It surprises me that the site has not been fully excavated, nor restored.   It is the very center of the town,  and the little bit of tourism they get is obviously a main source of income. 

You can see the church easily from the 2nd and 3rd levels.

The wind was crazy strong at the top.

All the houses and shops throughout town are yellow.

The church.

The custodian is pointing out the foundations of the Mayan Temple ruins to me. 

No respect.