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jaybear

Jun 23, 2006, 7:58 PM

Post #1 of 21 (4004 views)

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Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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Is this a pretty route? Any sights or restaurants you can recommend? I understand the route goes over about 4 mountains and is quite winding, but I am hoping that it is worth it.

Thanks for any info you can provide.

JayBear



shoe


Jun 24, 2006, 9:14 AM

Post #2 of 21 (3978 views)

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Re: [jaybear] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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Bring your camera as when you go through the mountains there are some very pretty views. The camera is for your passengers as you will not want to take your eyes off the road if your are driving in the mountains. You get to use the camera if you stop at some of the pull-offs that are for the views.

The trip will take you about the same amount of driving time as taking the cuota as it is about 50 KM shorter. Around 4 to 5 hours should be planned plus stopping time. It also depends on how slow the truck or bus goes through the mountains that is ahead of you, as you are right, it is winding. I drive this way often to/from Joco and usually leave in the early morning and it takes me around 4 hours. You will also avoid the toll of about $300 pesos that you pay on the cuota.

If this is truly a vacation type of trip, stop in Tecolotlan, Union de Tula, Autlan, and/or La Huerta as these are interesting towns. Do google searches on some of the towns on your trip and you will find lots to go and see.

You will see lots agriculture with lots of sugarcane, agave, watermelon, cotton, grains, tobacco, fruits, and other crops being grown in the valleys on your trip.

Restaurants are varied as you are going through nothing but medium to small Mexican communities. I usually stop at any place that already has a few people there and found, most of the time, the food was pretty good.

When you get to Melauqe/Berra I hope your air conditioner is working as it is a little warm here with lots of humidity. It is great!!! The ocean is nice and warm. Come to the north end of the beach in Melaque for the least amount of wave action.

Enjoy your trip,
shoe

PS: There are a few topes to watch out for. lol

Nothing is intrinsically good or evil, but its manner of usage may make it so.
-St. Thomas Aquinas


Don


Jun 24, 2006, 10:31 AM

Post #3 of 21 (3966 views)

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Re: [jaybear] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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You can also take the cuota or libre down to Sayula. Once inside the town you can take the road to San Gabriel. Once there, the road goes around the town or you can turn off and go through the town of San Gabriel. On the other side of town you will again pick up the road that bypassed the town and that will take you to the state highway tha runs from Ciudad Guzman to Autlan. At that intersection outside of San Gabriel, you will find a restaurant with excellent food. It is called Mirador Del Llano. From there you can take the road to Autlan. You will go through Tonaya (where they make tequilla and mescal) and the town of El Grullo. As you near the city of Autlan, you can pick up highway 80 which takes you to the town of Melaque.
There are many views and sites to see and some mountains to cross. The road is good.


(This post was edited by Don on Jun 24, 2006, 10:32 AM)


jaybear

Jun 24, 2006, 5:18 PM

Post #4 of 21 (3949 views)

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Re: [Don] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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Thank you, Shoe and Don! It sounds delightful. This will be our first venture to the Pacific coast after 6+ months in Ajijic, and we are looking forward to it. We will have #1 son and his two teenage boys with us, and it is their first time in Mexico. So, we are thinking of going down via the mountains tp La Mazanilla, and maybe coming back via the cuota so they can catch a glimpse of Vulcan Colima, altho if it is not smoking this may be a non-event. I personally hope we can see the cloud forest--I have no idea what this is like, but I read about the biodiversity and it is mind-boggling. Won't have time or physical skills to get too far off the road, but maybe we can admire the biodiversity at the pull-offs while taking in the view.

We will definitely take the camera.

JayBear


song_of_joy

Jun 26, 2006, 8:08 PM

Post #5 of 21 (3908 views)

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Re: [jaybear] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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I also suggest you read Tony Burton's book, "Western Mexico, a Traveller's Treasury" for desciptions of the cloud forest, perennial maize, the volcano, and more. I'm pretty sure it's available at Lakeside.

http://www.mexconnected.com/sombrero/


(This post was edited by song_of_joy on Jun 26, 2006, 8:09 PM)


jaybear

Jun 26, 2006, 8:16 PM

Post #6 of 21 (3906 views)

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Re: [song_of_joy] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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Yup, read that, and that's why I was interested that we might pass thru some cloud forest. The books is a bit episodic, tho, so I was unsure about the road. Thanks.

JayBear


wendy devlin

Jun 27, 2006, 6:09 AM

Post #7 of 21 (3893 views)

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Re: [jaybear] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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Jaybear,

You might want to GOOGLE more about La Reserva de la Biosphera de la Sierra Manantlan which is up in the hills behind here between the coast and Autlan.

To see 'cloud forest' you will need to leave the highway itself, and do some hiking. Perhaps others can chime if on how self-guided or not this can be.


jaybear

Jun 27, 2006, 6:27 AM

Post #8 of 21 (3890 views)

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Re: [wendy devlin] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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Wendy, I am pretty sure that hiking into the Biosphere Reserve will be beyond us for this trip, and I read that one needs permits in advance for admittance. I think we will pretty much stick to the road, or at most park and hike a few hundred feet in, assuming we can find a safe place to pull off and leave someone to defend the car.

JayBear
"Don't believe everything you think" - Maxine

JayBear



Bubba

Jun 28, 2006, 6:12 AM

Post #9 of 21 (3856 views)

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Re: [jaybear] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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For more information read Tony Burton Western Mexicoo or / and contact the
University of Guadalajara
The Director
IMECBIO
APDO #69
CP 48900 Autlan Jalisco


bfwpdx

Jun 30, 2006, 6:45 AM

Post #10 of 21 (3803 views)

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Re: [jaybear] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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This is a great thread and I want to thank those who contributed to it. Hubby and I are still busy building our "snowbirding nest" outside Joco, and have done very little exploring so far, but once we are settled we can't wait to start...threads like this are an invaluable resource! Great posts guys!


jerezano

Jun 30, 2006, 9:49 PM

Post #11 of 21 (3772 views)

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Re: [jaybear] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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Hello jaybear,

Re Colima volcano. This was published on www.registerguard.com/news of June 30, 2006

MEXICO CITY - Western Mexico's Volcano of Fire sent a towering column of ash and gas more than a mile into the air Thursday, [NB:june 29] authorities said.

Winds blew a 7,150-foot column of ash toward the west. No communities were affected, said authorities in Jalisco state.

As for route 80 from Guadalajara to Barra de Navidad. I have driven it twice. Shoe lives in Melaque and as he points out in his posts has driven that route various times.
Nevertheless, I as the only driver have found that scenic route via 80 takes ME a lot longer time than the cuota even if it is 50 km shorter. I have a heavy foot on the cuota and there is no serious traffic blockage there.

On highway 80 through Autlan you do have to go over 4 mountain ranges. Although the highway surfaces were good some 3 years ago, there were many times when climbing the mountains that speeds as low as 25 miles an hour could not be maintained. So, if I were you I would plan a good 7 to 8 hours for the trip. Particularly if you want to stop along the way and eat or to take photos--which I do recommend. I found Autlan is a good halfway (about) mid day stop.

I also drove the cuota from Guadalajara to Sayula and then drove up the mountain to Autlan. I found this is to be a much easier route but still time consuming and tiring.

Highway 80 is scenic but it is not a FAST way to Barra or Melaque. Just be prepared.

If you do drive from Ajijic or Chapala, I would also recommend that you drive on out to Jototepec and then over the low hills to Guadalajara. This will bring you out on the Colima highway a little north of where highway 80 to Autlan joins the freeway to Colima. And you will miss that horrendous hour long trip on the Guadalajara Southern Periferico and the morning rush hours.

Adios. jerezano.


jaybear

Jul 14, 2006, 12:33 PM

Post #12 of 21 (3703 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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Thanks to all who wrote with helpful advice. We drove from Ajijic to La Mazanilla via Route 80 over the mountains, and we loved every minute. The driving time was about 5-1/2 hours from Jocotepec; we did not go fast. We were mostly going uphill and we only had to pass a few slow trucks; my husband said he would not like to do the route in reverse, since he does not like runaway trucks bearing down on him from behind. We stopped for a break at the plaza in Tecolatlan, which is a lovely town. We also stopped later at an overlook high in the mountains and ate our ham sandwiches. The views were wonderful--a lot like the Smoky Mountains where you get to a good overlook and see mountain after mountain off into the blue. The route is very winding, but not in my view scary, altho our son was surprised by the lack of berms; we, however, remember how it was in the US in our early youth, and my husband thought it was a lot like driving in western Pennsylvania when he was young. There are a lot of places where you go thru a valley, and that provides a well-needed break for the brakes, which were heating up even tho my husband downshifts where possible. Once you reach La Huerta, aptly named as it is a valley with lots of orchards, you only have one smallish mountain to go over.

We took the cuota coming back; another 5-1/2 hours driving time. There ARE lots of federales with speed detectors, and we saw at least one gringo pulled over for speeding. So, we drove at the speed limit. Several people who have houses in La Mazanilla told us they frequently take one road going down and the other going back, to provide diversity. The cuota is not without interest: there is a beautiful overlook above Manzanillo; there is an area of limestone caves and grottos; there are the volcanos; and there are the dry lake beds. We want to go back to that area to explore.

La Manzanilla and Tenacatita Bay are wonderful, especially for us, as we like non-touristy places, and we stayed in a house right on the beach, which is beautiful. I had to be dragged back and can't wait for better weather to go again. Oh, yeah, the temps and humidity were both in the 90's, which necessitated lots of afternoon siestas in AC. But the breeze off the ocean made it great for mornings and evenings on the beach and hanging out in the oceanfront palapa.
"Don't believe everything you think" - Maxine

JayBear



patricio_lintz


Jul 21, 2006, 8:42 PM

Post #13 of 21 (3622 views)

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Re: [jaybear] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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"Don't believe everything you think" - Maxine

Tambien: "The truth is more important than what you believe."


wendy devlin

Jul 22, 2006, 5:42 AM

Post #14 of 21 (3606 views)

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Re: [patricio_lintz] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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Patricio,

Your posting is a little cryptic for me.

Perhaps you could expand upon it:)


bournemouth

Jul 22, 2006, 6:27 AM

Post #15 of 21 (3599 views)

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Re: [wendy devlin] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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Not cryptic at all if you read Jaybear's usual signature line.


Sheilad

Aug 2, 2006, 7:40 PM

Post #16 of 21 (3486 views)

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Re: [jaybear] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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We were in La Manzanilla in December and want to go back this December. I see that you had a house there. Could you tell me who we should contact to rent one for one week. We will be in Puerta Vallarta and Guadalajara before going to La Manz. This will be our 2nd trip to Central Coast. We love Mexico and have friends from Minneapolis coming with us. Meeting them in Puerta Vallarta.

Any suggestions and info would be greatly appreciated.

Sheilad


sparks


Aug 16, 2006, 4:54 AM

Post #17 of 21 (3409 views)

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Re: [Sheilad] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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This web site has a pretty good listing of rentals. Many sites you find with Google will have a few

http://www.lamanzanilla.info/

Sparks Mexico - Sparks Costalegre


Bloviator

Jan 20, 2007, 4:46 AM

Post #18 of 21 (3275 views)

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Re: [jaybear] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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Yesterday I decided to drive over to Barra de Navidad for lunch - or rather on a scouting trip to check out hiway 80. I found the hiway to be no problem except for the 25 or so miles around Autlan, which is narrow and winding with absolutely no place to pass. Half is downhill and half uphill, so you get your choice of being rear ended by trucks with no brakes or driving 20 mph tops if you get stuck behind a slow truck going uphill. Another danger that I had not considered, but should have, is cars/trucks hitting one another while going in opposite directions. I passed two small delivery trucks which had just sideswiped each other while passing in opposite directions.

My thinking is the opposite of Jaybear's. I'm not sure I want to take Hiway 80 from Barra to our area because it is uphill most of the way (we go from 5,000 feet to sea level when we go to Barra) and I'd hate to have to deal with slow trucks the whole way. I don't, however, think that is is much of a problem except for the area I mentioned above and the short stretch from La Huerta to the coast. The road is generally straight and fairly level everywhere else. Some stretches are quite bumpy and full of patches, but in general its not too bad that way.

I was fortunate that I had the road all to myself almost the whole way. I went early in the morning and passed few cars and met few coming the other way. Those that were, however, at least on the part around Autlan were in rather long convoys. It was really a beautiful drive, though I'm sure it is much nicer during the rainy season when everything is green. Barra, even in January was 90 degrees plus and fairly humid.

I'm pretty sure that I will take Hiway 80 the next time I go to Barra - definitely not a one day trip ever again - because the elapsed time was almost exactly the same and the cost was about $400 pesos more going through Colima - tolls and extra gas for the longer mileage.


jaybear

Jan 20, 2007, 6:45 AM

Post #19 of 21 (3264 views)

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Re: [dlyman6500] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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Now that friends of ours totalled their car when one wheel went off a "highway" where there was a sharp dropoff and no berm on the road south of Manzanillo, I am more aware that one should be cautious of area roads, and that even with caution, one is taking a chance. But, Route 80 is beautiful and worth doing at least once. I can't imagine driving there and back in one day, even sharing the driving! Wow!

This week we explored the free route 54 from just south of Cuidad Guzman to Colima and found it interesting but not worth the extra time. Someday soon, we are going to try the back route from Colima thru the mountains to Manzanillo, which is recommended as very pretty in Tony Burton's book (hi, Tony!). We took this road for a few kms. across the bridge he describes and, at least for that area near Colima, it was a very good road and picturesque, with wide-open views.

So many beckoning roads, so little time!


Bubba

Jan 20, 2007, 8:00 AM

Post #20 of 21 (3260 views)

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Re: [jaybear] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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Route 80 is beautiful and worth doing at least once. I can't imagine driving there and back in one day, even sharing the driving! Wow!

Yes, indeed. Once.

Autlán is in a beautiful agricultural valley and seems a relatively prosperous place. I believe Santana is a native son. If you drive this, there are several huge campestre style restaurants along the highway in Autlán where one could stop for lunch.

In this area there is also a remote rain forest preserve managed, I believe, by the UdeG which sponsors excursions into the area. You can only go with tours under their auspices. I´ll try to remember the name of the preserve. (OOPS! I see Wendy has already discussed this reserve earlier. Scroll up for more information.)


(This post was edited by Bubba on Jan 20, 2007, 8:03 AM)


song_of_joy

Jan 20, 2007, 3:27 PM

Post #21 of 21 (3237 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Route 80 from Lake Chapala to Barra de Navidad

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I believe it's cloud forest... do see Tony Burton's wonderful book "Western Mexico: A Traveller's Treasury."
 
 
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