After a pleasant crossing of the Sea of Cortez we found ourselfs in Mazatlán. Trying to navigate five cars together through the streets of Mazatlán would have been a bit too much for us, so we decided to drive to Escuinapa too stock up on food. From Escuinapa we drove south on a peninsula to Teacapán. On the peninsula it was a lot of farming activity and in the early morning the fields were buzzing with workers.
Looking at the map and doing a bit of planning for our travel in Mexico, we realized this would be our time to see the Mexican Pacific coast , so our drive continued south along the coast. Driving from Teacapan to Tepic was our first meeting with the Mexican toll roads. First we paid 170 pesos, and we thought it was affordable for the distance to Tepic (about 140 km), but then the second and later the third toll booth came along... In the end we paid 300 pesos (about 25 usd) and we thought it was pretty expensive. (I have no idea if most Mexicans can afford to pay this amount for driving on a good road). From Tepic to Sayulita we were back on the normal road that was winding around and over small hills going down from about 1000 meters (3000 feet) above sea level to the coast. Driving behind a big, slow truck for a while, we got some firsthand experience with macho Mexican driving, and it is no wonder people die in car accidents in this country. With the time you save and the lower risk for meeting a crazy kamikaze driver around a curve, it could definitely be worth paying for the toll road.
Happy to be alive we got to Sayulita, found a place to camp, and had a walk on the beach, and a swim in the Pacific Ocean. A little later when we were about to cook dinner, we heard music and a parade not too far away. Dinner was postponed, and we run over to have a look. It turned out to be a parade for Virgin of Guadalupe . Following the parade we ended up on the town plaza, and there we saw food stalls and a stage.
After dinner we went back to the plaza for crêpe with chocolate, banana and Kaluha for dessert.
A thirteen person band entered the stage and started playing. The band kept us literally entertained for the rest of the evening as it was hard to get any sleep in our tent/cars until they stopped the music at 3 o`clock at night. Still it was great and fun to see the celebrations for Guadalupe with children running around, teenagers dancing, and elders sitting on every bench and corner chatting and having a good evening.
Further south along the pacific coast we stopped for a night at San Patricio-Melaque, Rey del Pascuales, had two nights in Playa Palma Sola, and now we spending our third night at Maruatha Beach.
The Michoacan coast is really beautiful, and the people we have met so far have been really sweet. Driving through all these nice places, were restaurants and palapas has been built for tourists on the beaches, it is kind of sad to see that we almost have every place to ourselves, even if it is getting close to the peak season. I feel sorry for the locals that have invested in tourism, and then the tourists do not come as they are too afraid to travel to Mexico because they only hear the bad stories. Still, we do of course know that not everything is all good in Mexico. We have just decided to turn around and drive back up the coast a little before heading inland, to avoid the south east of Michoacan and the area around Morelia because of recent drug related violence.
But some of the creatures that profit from the empty beaches are the turtles that got more space and peace to come up on the beach to lay their eggs. Here on Maruatha Beach we found a guy running a hatchery for turtle eggs. After 45 days the eggs will hatch and tiny baby turtles in a fenced area are collected, and they are all release in the evening. When all are released together, it is less likely that the baby turtles are eaten by birds on their way to the sea. People can give a small donation and help to bring the turtles to the sea just before sunset. When we were there, about 180 baby turtles got into the sea after fighting their way into the big waves. It was amazing to see these small creatures making their way into the Pacific Ocean to start their life. Compared to all the dangers the baby turtle’s face, I might think humans have a better chance off survival even when we drive on Mexican roads.