HUATULCO/ TEHUANTEPEC / TUXLA / SAN CRISTOBAL / COMITAN / MERSIA ( DECEMBER 2021 )
Good day everyone. After four weeks of being at Crucecita and Huatulco I decided to move towards San Cristobal. Took the taxi from the hostel to Bus terminal at Crucecita and boarded the three-hour journey to Salina Cruze, can take up to four hours depending on traffic, as the road tends to wind its way around. It’s a comfortable ride on the regular bus which departs every 40 minutes from the terminal. On arrival to Salina Cruz walked one block and connected to the bus which took me to Tehuantepec, journey was about 40 minutes. I did not stop at Salina Cruz, as it really did not appear to have anything of interest and nobody had a good word for the place. It’s a huge port and the centre I think of oil production and deliveries. On arrival to Tehuantepec, took a short taxi ride to the main square, found quite a nice hotel and stayed the night. I spent rest of the day wandering around, there is an interesting market to explore and of course the whole place is very Mexican, very few tourists stop here, so for me that was an added bonus. In the evening there was a square in front of the hotel with many open-air kitchens, this was a very nice mingling with the local people who were friendly and snacking on what they were selling. Next morning basically spent the whole day taking buses and shared taxis to arrive to Tuxtla, the capital of the district of Chiapas. First bused to San Pedro Tapanatepec, changing at Juchitan de Zaragoza. At San Pedro we took a shared taxi to Ritz Oro, which was a 45-minute journey. Then we got off and at the same place that we were dropped took another shared taxi to Cintalapa, again 45 minutes. On arrival to Cintalapa the driver dropped us at a point where we could take a bus to Tuxtla, which took one hour. The whole experience was very interesting, as you really get the chance to rub shoulders with local Mexicans and these informal drivers. We stayed in Tuxtla, the capital of Chiapas one night and it was by the old centre near the main church and the central market. I again enjoyed the night and could have even stayed two, but decided next morning to take the bus to San Cristobal, which took about an hour and is at a much higher altitude. Really the weather changed when we went inland from San Pedro and began to climb. The weather in Tuxtla, was very nice, hot in the day and warmish at night. When we journeyed to San Cristobal, we climbed to 2,200m and the weather took a change. San Cristobal is a totally different experience, it’s very old, very colonial and has quite a unique atmosphere. There is a very strong touristic element here and is visited by the Mexicans as well as people from abroad. There is also a strong backpacking group that comes here too. All this adds to the flavour that you will experience here. There is wide range of hotel and hostel accommodation and I finished up spending two weeks here. There are some great excursions you can do from here, the Canyon, which are not all that far and you take a very spectacular ride by river boat through this canyon, which is a huge reservoir now. Then another trip are the lakes which is further and it will take you right down onto the Guatemalan border and even you can cross over at one point, there are no border officials here. The lake we visited was okay, nothing spectacular, but what I enjoyed more was the journey, as you get to see a lot of the surrounding countryside. During my stay in San Cristobal, I enjoyed the great market there, ate most days there too and of course the Handicraft Market, which was the best I have found in Mexico in terms of variety, quality and especially the designs. They have very attractive jewellery and small stones they use to make wrist bands, necklaces etc, this was where I brought a number of stone wrist bracelets myself. As always, I found some great friendly coffee shops with wonderful tasting coffee. In the evenings it’s a little chilly, but nowhere as bad as I was l led to believe. I found the weather quite agreeable there, quite warm in the day, I was wearing T Shirts and long jeans and, in the evening, a light jacket. After two weeks yes, I felt it time to move on, my objective to cross the Mexican Border and into Guatemala. My idea then was to jump into Guatemala and a few days later arrive to Talisman on the Mexican Border and re-enter with the objective to get another 6-month visa stay in Mexico, as my first one was due to expire in January. The other problem was that I had heard that Guatemala was soon going to ask for the vaccine certificate for the two injections. This was something that would have prevented me going in, as I was not vaccinated. So having spent Christmas in San Cristobal, on the 29th December 2021 I left for the border town of La Mesia. I took a local collective, 12-seater first to Comitan, which was about an hour and a half drive. I had to walk about forty minutes from my hotel in the centre of San Cristobal at five fifteen in the morning, quite dark and deserted to the terminal. At the start I felt threatened, but realised I had nothing to fear and kept walking with my bags, despite the many taxis stopping. On arrival to the terminal, asked a street seller where the collective for Comitan de Dominguez left and was told it was just round the corner. So off I went at 6am, nice journey, on arrival I got off and crossed over to the other side where I picked up the collective to La Mesia. Again, about an hour and forty minutes, they drop you right outside the Mexican Immigration Office. Here I had my passport stamped and I gave in my visa paper, which I was given on my entry into Mexico City back in July 2021. Important that it’s not torn or damaged, so everything goes smoothly. Once this was done, came back out and there I found Taxi Collectivos that take you right to the border crossing with Guatemala. Takes about six minutes, short ride. During the drive and right up to and over the border crossing, there are many shops, selling everything, clothing, etc and this border crossing is very porous. All the local Mexicans and Guatemalans are going backwards and forwards, with absolutely no checks, so I well imagine you could do just the same. So finally, I walked up to the Immigration office in Guatemala, quite a shambles compared to Mexico and they stamped my passport with the standard three months. There still was no requirement for the vaccine certificate, I had just heard it was going to be applied on the tenth of January, so I was well in time.
Next blog to follow, what happened in Guatemala and did I just go in and out…….