After spending 11 hours on an airplane next to one of USA examples how not to eat healthy, I arrived in Los Angeles. This flight was a journey through time and space… I’m kidding, I only crossed the international date line. As a result I arrived in Los Angeles the same day as I left Fiji.
Here I joined Nico, a friend from university who flew over from Belgium to join me on my trip for two weeks. After the first beers and exchanging new business cards, we flew over to the land of tequilas and mariachis: Mexico. The first city we visited was the coastal city, Mazatlán.
Mazatlán is situated along the Pacific shoreline near the Gulf of California. This city is famous for its 21km-long malecon (walk) next to sandy beaches.
We stayed at the funky monkey hostel, a nicely designed hostel where you feel immediately at home. Free breakfast, rooftop terrace, pool… All with a Mexican touch. In the hostel we met Hervé and Marsou, two French travellers who are exploring North and Latin America. Later on we met again in Puerto Vallarta and Guanajuato!
Nico and I rented kayaks, filled them with beers and snacks and paddled towards a nearby island. We had some catching up to do friend and work stories from back in Belgium. After we finished our beers, we made our way back to the main land.
The next day we went to explore the old town of Mazatlán. Little streets, markets with beheaded fish and taco stands on every corner. Here we discovered the delicious fish tacos! As we practiced our Spanish using Duolingo, the local people really appreciated our effort and step by step we got better in Espanol. (little steps)
For those who are not familiar with the Mexican cuisine, here are some dishes we tried:
A little thin pancake, made out of flour or corn
- Taco (±11$)
A filled tortilla (either toasted or not) with pork, chicken, coriander, lettuce, salsa… Whatever you want…
- Quesadilla (±13$)
Tortilla filled with melted cheese. Mushrooms, chicken… are optional
Literally translated: sauce. Mostly based on diced tomatoes, union, garlic and chilli.
- Tostas (±25$)
A delicious toasted sandwich filled with avocado, lettuce, jalapeño, cheese and chicken, pork or ham
Our French friends made it already to our next destination, Puerto Vallarta, so we joined them in the same hostel. Hostel Central was our base camp during our days in this city. The owner of the hostel invited us to celebrate the Mexican independence day together. Viva Mexico with free shots of tequilas and cervezas! Claudia, the manager from the hostel, made sure we felt at home during our stay. Besides managing the hostel, she’s also organising volunteer trips with her agence Plan B.
She invited us for dinner at the hostel with one of her local friends. Later that night, we all went out together and ended up in an overcrowded gaybar… And I was wearing the wrong t-shirt.
Don’t be surprised when you arrive at the end of the famous playa de Los Muertos. Puerto Vallarta is a popular destination for the gay community and this beach shows it in all its charms.
We found ourself a spot away from the main beach to get rid of our tan lines.
Beach and party are not the only highlights Puerto Vallarta has to offer. After a 30 minutes bus ride you can find yourself surrounded by hummingbirds and butterflies in the middle of the jungle. As an example, we visited the botanical gardens, which is definitely a recommendation if you’re in Puerto Vallarta!
After a proper hike between massive trees, colorful flowers and buzzing crickets, we took a swim in the river down the hill. At the end we were offered a free drink called Agua de Jamaica, a mildly sweet drink made from the hibiscus flower.