Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bus Travel, Mazatlan to Guadalajara and Morelia

Bus Travel, North Central Mexico

Mazatlan to Guadalajara and Morelia

The old colonial district of Mazatlan
I toured Mazatlan with a cab driver and then visited the archaeological museum in the colonial district, a few blocks from the church going toward the beach. I had spent the night in a hotel on the beach, a grand old place but just that, old.  
Mazatlan's old city 

In the early afternoon I decided to continue south from Mazatlan to Guadalajara with Tufesa Bus because they had a bus leaving at a convenient time for me. I also wanted to see how they have improved service to  Guadalajara and to check on that service for info for the softseattravel website. 
      Tufesa has modernized their buses with the addition of WiFi, both in the station and on the buses.

From Mazatlan the bus goes southeast down along a road parallel to the Pacific Coast to Tepic, the capital city of Nayarit State. On that stretch of road you pass a hundred miles of mangrove swamp and estuarine lagoons rich in bird and animal life.
     Inland from Tepec, reached by local bus, is San Blas, a coastal village of note for surfers and eco tourers. The mangrove swamps attract migratory birds of all description with reports of 500 species of birds being seen.  Such a large migratory bird population prompts San Blas to holds an annual birding convention in January.

Surfing museum in San Blas

The hundred miles of mangroves are breeding ground for shrimp, small fish, and other animals that live in the brackish waters and in the warm salt waters offshore. The abundant life attracts Humpback whales that migrate south from Alaska to breed along the Pacific Coast and the Gulf of California. Whale shark, a 30 foot-long plankton feeder, also visit these waters.  During the Winter months  San Blas  becomes a popular stop for whale watching.

The Bays of the Pacific Coast are noted for surfing and 
eco tourting
Surfers will note that the Bay at Matanchen, (Matachen on some maps) is a welcoming place with beaches, Las Islitas, el Borrego, los Cocos, and Miramar. These beaches are often nearly deserted and offer many lodging options that make San Blas a good village for surfers and independent travelers. 
 See San Blas Lodging

A father and son run whale
watching trips from San Blas
From Tepic the Tufesa buses continue south and head inland to Guadalajara, about three hours away. 

Matanchen Bay offer lodging, dining and surfing

 The trip from Mazatlan to Guadalajara is about 500k (310 miles) and takes about eight hours.
Tufesa Bus uses two terminals in Guadalajara, one as it enters the city and a second one near the main bus terminal, about six miles from the Centro Historico. I stayed on for the second terminal near the historic center of the city because from there I could get a taxi to a hotel near the center.

I stayed at the Rotunda Hotel,  (see review) a nicely located and well run hotel.  Next day, after sightseeing, I caught a cab to the central bus station, just a short trip.
Turned out there was a Primera Plus Bus leaving for Morelia an hour and a half after I arrived so I was able to buy a ticket and board after having a snack.  Morelia.

Once in Morelia I stopped for a while and toured the city.  Morelia has some great colonial architecture and some nice old hotels near the Cathedral. I put in for a couple of nights at one of the old classic hotels.

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