May 10, 2009, 2:52 PM
Post #1 of 3
I will report on three alternatives here as time permits.
Driving From San Cristóbal de Las Casas to Lake Chapala
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SAN CRISTÓBAL TO LAKE CHAPALA VIA VERACRUZ STATE, MEXICO CITY AND MICHOACAN
This is the most direct route from the Chiapas Highlands to Lake Chapala (Lakeside). Between 1,400 and 1,500 kilometers. About 19 hours driving time over mostly good toll roads. This route takes you from San Cristóbal through Tuxtla Gutierrez and then by Minatitlan, the area known generally as The Tuxtlas (Santiago Tuxtla, San Andres Tuxtla and Lake Catemaco - a very wothwhile side trip off of the cuota perhaps for lunch at the lake), the beautiful valley along the urban corridor from Córdoba through Fortin de Las Flores to Orizaba and then up the mountain to the high Puebla plain and through Mexico City toward (but skirting)Toluca, Atlacomulco, Lake Cuitzeo, Ocotlan and then on into the Chapala area.
We usually stay overnight at Fortin de Las Flores at the Las Magnolias B&B because we take along our dogs and the B&B has a fine rustic cabin we stay in but there are some very nice hotels in Orizaba we like as well including a colonial style Holiday Inn right in the center of town surrounded by lots of good restaurants. Driving time from San Cristóbal to Fortin - about seven hours if no diversions. If one does not have dogs, one can drive on to Puebla and that splits the drive into two equadistant legs. If one goes on to Puebla, we recommend staying at either the new Holiday Inn or Fiesta Inn on the freeway that skirts the city since it is quite a long drive from the freeway to central Puebla and one can stay on the freeway and take a taxi into centro for dinner saving about 30 minutes of driving time altogether.
While it´s a long drive, one can make it from Fortin or Orizaba the next day in about 12 hours including the normally one hour drive through Mexico City from Ixtapaluca on the east to Santa Fe on the west. Some hints about driving through Mexico City:
* If it´s a week day, make sure you can drive in the city on that day and be cautious about driving on a Saturday as some Saturdays are not allowed. Remember that you cannot drive through the city with out-of-state plates before 11:00AM on any day except Sunday so if you stay in Puebla, don´t even think of driving through Mexico City before 11:00AM unless it´s a Sunday.
* Avoid the perifericos if you can (DF cops love to fish for out-of-state suckers out there) and drive through the ample boulevards that will take you through the heart of town. Roughly speaking, you will enter the city along Calzado Ignacio Zaragosa to Rio de La Piedad to Viaducto to Miguel Aleman to Avenida Constituyentes to the Mexico City-Toluca Cuota at Santa Fe - a striking and modern suburb with splendid and architecturally unique high rises and with many fine restaurants and high-end department stores and exclusive residential areas. Once you see the Santa Fe toll booth you are out of the megalopolis and on your way to Michoacan.
(This post was edited by Hound Dog on May 10, 2009, 5:08 PM)