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hummer

Apr 4, 2004, 8:32 PM

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South to North through Eastern Mexico

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My husband and I are planning a trip from Guanajuato to Texas in April. We are looking at the route from Tequisquiapan (HWY 120) to Hwy 85 and on.

Our interests are birds and ruins and whatever turns up. We will be driving a very small motorhome and camping along the way.

This is entirely new territory for us, even though we live full time here in Mexico. We are looking for advice and suggestions that would enhance our trip. For example, the Franciscan missions, the gardens of Edward James, Huastec markets worth visiting, natural scenic areas, camping sites, etc.

We are considering a side trip to the coast, east/north of Ciudad Victoria. Are any more preferable to others?

Any ideas would be welcome. Thank you.

Linn



Bob-in-Iowa

Apr 5, 2004, 1:09 PM

Post #2 of 14 (8935 views)

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Re: [hummer] South to North through Eastern Mexico

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Hummer-

My wife and I did pretty much exactly this trip in 2002. I have pasted some notes I contributed to other forums. The first is my comment about Tequisquiapan and a response:



(OP) My wife’s favorite small city in Mexico is Tequisquiapan, Queretaro, a charming place about equidistant from Mexico City and Guanajuato. Bougainvilleas cascade over the sidewalks, and its greenery and cypress-lined small river make it an oasis in the surrounding arid plateau. Since it caters to vacationers from Mexico City, it has some upscale shopping with stuff from around the country, but also has local crafts. We stayed at the Posada Tequisquiapan as I recall – 2 years ago it was about 300 pesos for two. Our rooms had wonderful domed brick ceilings (I hope it’s not in the earthquake zone) and the gardens were beautiful. There are a couple of similar small hotels along the same street, plus a pricey all-inclusive down by the river. It is a quiet and relaxing town, although I suppose it could become more bustling on weekends.

(Response)I just ask a friend about Tequisuipan and received two thumbs up, actually the highest praise I've ever heard from this person. She says it is beautiful, much like San Miguel de Allende but quieter, and much less expensive. Very safe but recommends you go during the week to avoid the crowds.



Re. Highway 120 to Highway 85:

Although we were headed towards Tamazunchale, S.L.P., we chose this route since it passed by several Fray Junipero Serra missions (the guy who later did Capistrano and other California missions) and, according to the Sanborn's Insurance regional guide, a very scenic route. Sanborn's was correct about the scenery - it is a breathtaking but thrilling drive that crosses arid scrub before gaining altitude and crossing the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains. As we approached the crest of the mountains, the habitat transformed from scrub to lush green valleys to mountain forests. The crest is at a little town called La Canada - clouds swirled through but it was humid oak forest, not cloud forest. A microwave tower road went on up the mountain, but we did not have time to bird it. For birding, this area merits additional investigation.

At Jalpan, we turned left on highway 69 towards Conca' where there is another Serra mission. This road briefly enters the recently designated (1997) Queretaro Sierra Gorda Biosphere. We stayed at the ex-hacienda just south of Conca' - it is now a wonderful hotel amid beautiful grounds and flowing springs. The posted price was 660 pesos for a double but we got the discount rate of 550 pesos. Trails lead short distances into tropical woodland and agricultural areas. Birds seen included Altimira Oriole, Scrub and Yellow-throated Euphonias, Tropical Parula, Gray Hawk, White-tailed Kite, Wilson's, Black-and-White, and Townsend's Warblers, Greater Pewee, Hooded Oriole, House/brown-throated Wren, Black-crested Titmouse, and Summer and Yellow-winged Tanagers. Check out Mike Delesantro's excellent post on this and nearby locations at www.geocities.com/RainForest/2240/Queretar.htm or go to Google and search for Conca birds.

I also recommend highly the James sculpture garden at Xilitla, both because of the garden itself and the birding – it is an island of tropical forest. Emerald Toucanets can be seen here. Check out www.junglegossip.com for more information, including the El Castillo B&B.

Presumably, you will go on to Highway 85 and head north. Taninul is a palatial resort on highway 70 about 10 miles east of Cd. Valles. There are ruins nearby at Tamuin but I have never seen them.

The two best birding areas on the way back are at El Naranjo (west on Highway 80) – check out west of town and the El Salto Falls area. The other, of course, is Gomez Farias. If you are serious about birding, get Steve Howell’s “Bird-finding Guide to Mexico.” The Bocatoma II restaurant (watch for the sign at at the base of the escarpment leading up to Gomez) is tiny and famous for its langostinos, fish, gorgeous setting, and great birds. Open Wed-Sun.

PM me if you need trip reports, etc.


TomG

Apr 5, 2004, 1:43 PM

Post #3 of 14 (8934 views)

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Re: [Bob-in-Iowa] South to North through Eastern Mexico

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Hey, Bob! Glad to hear you step in with your expertise.

Tom


"El Gringo Jalapeño"


Apr 5, 2004, 9:32 PM

Post #4 of 14 (8916 views)

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Re: [Bob-in-Iowa] South to North through Eastern Mexico

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Bob:

Excellent narrative! It makes me want to visit that part of México which I've only driven through once in a hurry to get to Xalapa.

Since you love birding, you must meet this fellow in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz(http://geocities.com/birdingveracruz/) named David McCauley. He is an impassioned birder and I know you should meet him. He identified 65 different species from his downtown porch in less than an hour. His 2 hour birding walk we had with him a week ago makes me wish I had his enthusiasm.

Thanks for participating in this forum and I hope to hear a lot more from all of you.

¡Hasta pronto! Portense mal y cuidense bien.
Roy B. Dudley "El Gringo Jalapeño" See more about Xalapa at www.xalaparoy.com

(This post was edited by "El Gringo Jalapeño" on Apr 7, 2004, 10:15 PM)


smokesilver

Apr 6, 2004, 7:17 PM

Post #5 of 14 (8889 views)

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Re: ["El Gringo Jalapeño"] South to North through Eastern Mexico

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I can check this myself of course but it is more fun asking you 'El Gringo Jalpeno'; what airlines serve Veracruz & Xalapa from the USA?


"El Gringo Jalapeño"


Apr 6, 2004, 8:11 PM

Post #6 of 14 (8883 views)

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Re: [smokesilver] South to North through Eastern Mexico

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Continental Airlines flies into Veracruz City from Houston, arriving at almost 11 PM. The price tends to be high(US$900+!!!!!!!!!), but I'm sure you can get some excellent deals on the Internet. The only flights to Xalapa are noon daily ones(when not canceled by bad weather and fog) with AeroMar from Mexico City(also very expensive).

¡Suerte!
Roy B. Dudley "El Gringo Jalapeño" See more about Xalapa at www.xalaparoy.com


Ed and Fran

Apr 7, 2004, 11:01 AM

Post #7 of 14 (8869 views)

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Re: ["El Gringo Jalapeño"] South to North through Eastern Mexico

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You'd be ahead to fly to Mexico City and take the bus to either Xalapa or Veracruz (or both).

jmho

Ed


raferguson


Apr 7, 2004, 5:20 PM

Post #8 of 14 (8853 views)

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Re: [Bob-in-Iowa] South to North through Eastern Mexico

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I liked Bob's account, since I want to go there also!

I have a couple of comments. The Perry book about the Fortress monastaries of central Mexico (forget the exact title, he wrote the Maya Missions books) will cover some of the important churches in that area, including Jalpan. I am a sucker for his books, make visiting the churches must more meaningful.

The area around Ciudad Valles is the Huasteca, famous for ecotourism, I am sure that there is good birding in that area, but you would need local advice.

Have fun!


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


wendy devlin

Apr 9, 2004, 7:44 AM

Post #9 of 14 (8832 views)

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Richard Perry's books and Jim Conrad

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  below is info for the books that Richard mentioned.

Anyone interested in birding, hiking etc. might like to check out books written by naturalist Jim Conrad.

Although most of his books like, "The Maya Road" are nature-orientated hiking guides, he also wrote one personal account of an extended camping trip on the east side of Mexico.

'On the road to Tetlama, Mexican Adventures of a Wandering Naturalist; 1991

Jim also hosts a non-profit website promoting small scale ecotourism at www.earthfoot.org

I worked with Jim over the years, publicizing this worthy web site and helping him find potential Mexican hosts. Wendy

1. Mexico's Fortress Monasteries
ISBN: 0962081116 - Paperback - List Price: $20.00
Publisher: Espadana Pr - Published Date: 01/01/1993 - Paperback
Author: Richard Perry



hummer

Apr 11, 2004, 8:11 PM

Post #10 of 14 (8810 views)

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Re: [wendy devlin] Richard Perry's books and Jim Conrad

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Many thanks to you all for the information. Obviously I should have asked sooner. We are leaving this week and won't be able to track down the books mentioned.

Still, we have more to go on than before.

No one has mentioned anything about camping in the area. Maybe there just isn't much camping done in the Huasteca?

Thanks again.


Bob-in-Iowa

Apr 12, 2004, 3:39 PM

Post #11 of 14 (8789 views)

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Re: [hummer] Richard Perry's books and Jim Conrad

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     I don’t know about everyone else, but in Mexico I run into very little camping away from beach areas and not much there. However, I have seen campers at the base of the Rio el Salto falls near El Naranjo, SLP. To get there, go west on 80 from Highway 85 towards El Naranjo/San Luis Potosi. Go right towards El Salto just before El Naranjo. Just past the little town of El Salto is a turnout where you can see the spectacular falls. Go on to the power plant entrance - just before you come to the gate, go left towards the river. The actual falls at this point are often dry since the water has been diverted for hydro-electrical use, but the remaining pools are cobalt blue and beautiful. I sometimes see campers under the riverside cypress trees.
Another possibility is at La Florida, which is adjacent to the Bocatoma II restaurant I mentioned previously. This is a quiet and lovely balenario (sp? - water park) that would presumably allow camping - they have plenty of space by the river. Jorge can take you up and down the river in his boat for a few pesos. As mentioned in the first response, follow the signs - the signage is pretty good but requires a bit of faith - it is perhaps 4-5 miles from the turnoff and takes you down some roads that appear to be going nowhere. By the way, Bocatoma II is an aquaculture farm (for lack of a better term) that produces fish and langostinos (a sort of freshwater cross between crawfish and shrimp). We have actually given our order and then watched a kid go down to the pond and dip out some fish to take back to the cook. On up the hill on the main road is Gomez Farias - a beautiful little town than has become fairly prosperous in part from ecotourism.


gayone

Apr 27, 2004, 12:28 PM

Post #12 of 14 (8727 views)

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Re: [hummer] South to North through Eastern Mexico

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Linn: My husband and I are planning on retiring in Mexico in the near future. Unfortunately, no one seems to know much about us retirees relocating to Mexico. Could you provide us with some information. We are not interested in San Miguel, since that seems to be the current haven for retirees. We want to get a flavor of the culture and the people. We are currently teaching ourselves Spanish. We will also be traveling with a small dog, could this pose a problem while traveling through Mexico and/or staying in Mexico. Any help would be very helpful. Please respond to howardgenelee@hotmail.com. Thanks Garnett Lee


Marlene


Apr 28, 2004, 12:26 PM

Post #13 of 14 (8689 views)

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Re: [gayone] South to North through Eastern Mexico

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Garnett,
I detached the post with your questions about living and retiring in Mexico in an attempt to resume the thread on our Living and Retiring forum. For some reason your response to my post seems to have vanished. Could you please go to that forum and repost your questions.
Thanks kindly.


jzh

May 5, 2004, 9:22 AM

Post #14 of 14 (8650 views)

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Re: [hummer] South to North through Eastern Mexico

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Route 85 has few gas stations, very difficult to find. I have made the trip up and down from Monterrey to Mexico City and back with a few other brave Americans. I would suggest a gentle speed as there is a lot of beauty along the way.
 
 
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