Posted by Leroy Blankenship on Marzo 28, 2000
We will be driving (yes, my brother insists upon driving instead of riding the bus) from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara next week, and return. It would be nice to take the fastest route in one direction and the most interesting or scenic route in the other direction. Would someone please give me the directions, and anything else you’d tell us? Thanks, Leroy
Posted by dumois on Marzo 29, 2000
Estimado Leroy, Glad to know you’re heading this way.
From Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara (fast track): Take highway Mex 200 NE. The first 20 to 30 km will be under construction. Close to the detour to Punta Mita construction ends. Stay on Mex 200 until you arrive to Las Varas. Keep on the highway, which will now be Mex 68, heading west. You will pass Compostela and then Chapalilla. Just after this last town you will find the junction with the toll autopista, Mex 15. Take it SE to Ixtlán del Río and Guadalajara.
Back to Puerto Vallarta (scenic track): Take Mex 15 NE until you arrive to a junction that will lead you, heading SE, to Tala and Ameca. Just passing that junction, and I mean just (almost there), you will take Mex 15 (the old road, not the autopista) NE to Arenal, Tequila, Magdalena, and Ixtlán del Río. Stay on Mex 15-old until you arrive to Chapalilla. From Chapalilla to Puerto Vallarta you will retrace your previous steps, as there is only one way to reach Puerto Vallarta from Chapalilla.
And now for the extra advice you asked for. I drove from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta last week with my family, using fast track both ways. A four to four and a half hour drive. It’s been years since I last drove scenic track. Between Magdalena and Ixtlán del Río, you will face a stretch of mountain road, through Plan de Barrancas, a difficult and slow patch of curves. Of course the views are magnificent. If you ask me, I would not take the risk and toil of the scenic track. But if you feel adventurous, be prepared to drive in not so easy conditions. Using fast track you will have to go through the sierra anyway. Not so spectacular, but nice views too. And much safer. On both tracks, watch for El Ceboruco volcano between Ixtlán del Río and Chapalilla. Don’t get nervous; it’s been dead for many years now. But the river of black lava extends from the top of the hill to the valley below, crossing the path of the road and offering a strange, almost lunar landscape. At Las Varas you will see a lot of small puestos selling tropical fruits, coconuts, candies and many other things. Take your time to stretch body and mind and buy whatever suits you. Have a nice trip, amigo Leroy, and if you feel like it and I happen to be in town, perhaps we could share a thought or two in front of a glass of two here in Guadalajara.
Saludos desde mi tierra,
Posted by mexicodan on Marzo 29, 2000