It wasn't necessarily a very long travel day but we had to get ourselves around Tecoman and then up around Colima. Because we had never been on this route before we didn't know what to expect.
I have about 80 photos coming your way here so may as well get comfortable. I took a lot of shots of the ride up and then I took a ton of our destination. And where was that? Well, obviously not much of a secret now - Tapalpa. It never was a secret we were just excited about visiting another Pueblo Magico and as far as we could tell - none of our other Mexican traveling friends have been there.
I was going to separate the pictures in two posts but decided to put them all in one - after all - it was one lllllllooooooonnnnnngggggg day for us.
We'll start up just out of San Juan de Alima - south of Tecoman.
Sorry for the glare, yup the sun is still rising. I wanted to show the banana plantations - lots and lots of bananas grown in this area.
Goodbye to the sate of Michoacan (we've sure enjoyed visiting) - Helloooo Colima.
More banana plantations - or are they called orchards?
And why oh why did I take a picture of a kid pushing a cart on the side of the road? Well, because we should all be giving him credit. This boy, too small to ride the bicycle, is pushing a cart full of empty gasoline cans - headed to the Pemex of course. Once there, I'm assuming he will fill them and push them back again - it looked to be quite the distance he was covering also. I won't say what I was thinking about the kids back in Canada or the USA.
Traveling through one of the small towns along the way. Can't believe how full they fill these trucks!
Just thought I would add these pictures for others on the road around Tecoman. On the southern end this is your signal to exit to the right. Look for the dancing dogs - I read. Sure enough - there they were.
So thankful that many Mexican cities have bypass routes. This one is very quite and easy - only one tope to scare the sh_t out of you. We would have missed it for sure if we hadn't had a few cars ahead of us at that point. One tope - just out in the middle of nowhere - grrrrrrr.
The end of the bypass is marked by this large sculpture. We took a right and very quickly took the next right signed for Colima.
Pretty smooth sailing heading north.
Easy to get confused down here .... is it winter? summer? spring?
Our fist sighting of the Volcan de Colima or Volcan de Fuego. Thankfully the highway passes Colima on it's east side with very little congestion.
A better photo of the Volcano with what appears to be Colima's welcome statue.
And - another one! We watched the Volcano for quite a while because the road sort of circles it. Very neat to see.
Although there is a libre (free road) we decided to take the cuota. An expensive one at $120 pesos - especially since we got off well before Guadalajara.
A very scenic drive and VERY happy to be back in the mountains - ahhhh - dry air.
'Oh - you mean I'm NOT supposed to pass on a solid line?' !!!!!!!!!
Well, you could probably have seen this coming. All the other vehicles ahead of us were able to pass this very slow moving vehicle. Trouble was that they road was very narrow and very winding - poor little Caballito just doesn't have it in him to pass that fast.
After a far amount of distance - and a few choice words from Derek, we were finally able to make our move. But not before being the cause (2nd cause) of a huge build up of vehicles.
Thought you like to see the cockpit while we are driving. In case I haven't mentioned - Cassia rides in behind Derek - watching Mexico go by in reverse.
The area around Ciudad Guzman is very nice - obviously cattle country.
Between these to pictures we left the 54D and headed to Sayula. We were to go past this town by about 12 kms to our next turn.
Derek and I had a good laugh over this one. C.R.A.Z.Y.
Sure enough - left to Tapalpa. Or should I say left UP to Tapalpa.
UP, UP, UP. THIS was the steepest and windiest road to date! Good thing is was quiet and only 32 kms to go.
Amazing views were offered along the way but most on Derek's side. This was the only time I was able to get a good view and somewhat of a good shot of the landscape below.
Finally up at the top - the area just south of Tapalpa. From the large billboards we figured out that these are new - natural environment - family neighbourhoods. No doubt geared for Guadalajarians.
Just go straight - I said to Derek.
Ahhhh - a pine forest.
We HAD arrived!
Here is our route map for the day - I think it took about five hours - although we did stop for lunch along the way.
Before I present all of my photos of this fine town I thought I would mention what brought us to Tapalpa. Well, that one is easy - it's a Pueblo Magico and we have figured out that we tend to like these places. But we wouldn't have EVEN known about this place if this hadn't happened
While we were sitting at El Manglar in Zihuatanejo, Gillian brought this magazine to us - she was done and thought we'd be interested. Boy was I ever! Looking through the book I had decided NEVER to leave Mexico with all the great shots of places around the country!
And then I happened upon this article about Tapalpa. The pictures couldn't be beat - and Chocolate?! Chocolate makers?!!!!
Pretty neat brick Church as well. Nice that they included a map. As I was trying to figure out where this place was I realized we'd be going right by it - well SORT OF right by it. Then I read this article and I was sure we were going.
'Hey, Derek - want to go off track a bit for a Pueblo Magico?'
Our first shot of arriving into the main center. We had stopped just before to get gas. Now we were trying to figure out how to get to the plaza. When in doubt - always just keep your eyes glued on the Church - it's in the plaza. We circled around a bit and found a street to park on - in the shade for the animals.
The one thing I should mention is that it turns out that this isn't a town for an RV -- guess that's why I haven't seen any of our friends make the trip. For an RV it's a park on the outskirts and take you toad in kind of place. So glad we have a van in this instance.
So - we parked and walked. Only a few blocks to the plaza. A nice lantern along the way.
And neat sidewalks.
One the arcades adjacent to the plaza.
I thought this store looked pretty neat - all nicely displayed. Imagine they have just about everything here.
And the brick Church!
Temple San Antonio dated 1650.
If there was a nieve guy around we'd find him! Actually Cassia spotted him from across the plaza and ran to him - I wished I'd taken a picture of THAT. Pretty interesting mode of transport he has.
The chocolate shop - but closed - sadly ......
We continued our stroll along the streets around the plaza.....
This was a fairly fancy restaurant that Cassia and I went and had a look at.
Then we found THE shop with all the good stuff - local preserves and such AND the chocolate.
We were quite restrained and only left with some a piece of chocolate and hot chocolate.
We returned an hour or so later to find some dinner. The plan was to have an early dinner - 4:30 pm and then head out to find the RV Park.
The view of the plaza from the upstairs patio of the restaurant.
We chose the restaurant on the front cover of the magazine, some for the view but they had a large menu. Problem was that when we went to order they didn't have many of the items we had ordered. So, we ended up just having drinks there and cutting our loses. We had seen another restaurant on our way and decided to go there instead.
The view from our patio table.
Looking towards the plaza.
A very sick and tired little girl there.
I took a little movie while we were there - mainly to catch some of the music. The table beside us looked to be some young hipsters from the city. Guess I should have warned Derek that I was making it.
There is only one RV Park at Tapalpa and it is actually out of town - on a ranch. I had sent an email off to the owners a few weeks ago about our planned visit but hadn't heard back. So, we decided to head out there anyway using the directions from Church's book.
I'll leave off here - this was the turn into the RV Park - it was just up ahead.
Or was it?
TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: With a quick google search I was able to find one blogger that has been to Tapalpa. It's always nice to see other's pictures - Jim & Carole have provided much more historical info then I have so if you are interested head on over there.