Mazatlan, ready for stage four
I have arrived on mainland of Mexico after taking an overnight ferry from La Paz.
I had three relaxing days in La Paz. Had a hotel in downtown “malecon” (beach boardwalk) in middle of a touristy area.
Some years back the town was known for pearling, though now expect tourism plays a much bigger role.
On Christmas Day, I cycled 17km north to the ferry terminal north of town. I was several hours early, but figured I could hang out at the terminal as easily as in La Paz. I had already bought my tickets (1200 pesos ~= $60 + 200 pesos for the bicycle ~= $10) online and had stopped by the ferry office in La Paz earlier to pay for my bicycle.
The boarding time was 6pm for an 8pm departure. Through the afternoon more people arrived including two french cyclists.
Boarding was an easy process. They first let all passengers go without luggage. Next they called folks with luggage. We cyclists got on end of the line, though at some point they waved us forward. There supposedly was an airport type scanner to check the luggage but once they figured a bicycle and all bags wouldn’t go easily, they waved us past.
There are two layers of vehicles in the ferry, with mostly large trucks below and passenger automobiles and motorcycles below. I don’t think they were full. There were two main passenger decks. The lower “B” deck had the large “salon” lounges and many cabins. The upper “A” deck had a few more cabins but also a large restaurant/eating area.
We found a spot along the side to place my bike and I took the key panniers with me. Once inside, there was a choice. For those who didn’t have a cabin, were directed to the “salon”, passenger lounges. Apparently, large airline type seats and then TV screens playing movies all night long.
I had splurged for a cabin (990 pesos ~= $50) which was very nice. It had two beds below and also two beds above that could fold down. I had it all to myself. Also in my little cabin was a toilet and shower. Overall a nice place and had a good nights sleep.
In the evening before we left, a cafeteria-style restaurant served a meal that was also included in the fare. After that back to the cabin and asleep. I could barely feel the boat rocking back and forth a bit.
I found a few more of these green spots. This time next to the lifeboats. So do believe these are some form of more universal symbol for “assembly point”. Surprised I hadn’t seen more of them in the US before.
The ferry arrived around 10:30am, but it was an hour later before I was off the boat. Now time to get my bearings and find way to hotel I had reserved. Without too much trouble, I cycled through the small streets of the old town and found myself on the main road along the malecon.
Mazetlan has a number of miles of sandy beaches with hotels and restaurants along the way. Overall a nice place to arrive, though I’ll be eager to get on the road again.
The next phase is phase 4 and covers the rest of Mexico. Plan is to follow the coast to town of Tepic and then go inland and up the highlands via Guadalajara. This also seems to be the most common route in cycling journals I’ve read. After that, plan to skirt around Mexico City to Puebla.
After Puebla, there is a fork in the road with one of two possible endpoints: Tapachula on the Pacific near Guatamala border or Chetumal on the Caribbean near the Belize border. I haven’t completely decided which of these two end points I will shoot for, but have some time before finalizing.
Reflecting back on Phase 3 (Baja), this all went at least as easily as I expected. The road is narrow, but I knew that. Otherwise, many places to stay and enough places to get food and water along the way. Baja was windy, but otherwise dry and sunny. One other thing I find nice is I’ve likely passed my shortest day. From Prudhoe Bay (continuous sunshine) to San Diego, the days kept getting shorter and by time I left after Thanksgiving the day was only 10 hours and 12 minutes long. I’ve already got 30 minutes more daylight coming from being further south including crossing into the tropics (San Diego now 10 hours even).
Now on to see a bit more of Mexico!