We know a “road trip through Mexico” sounds a bit dicey, and that’s partly why we did it. After living for two months in this beautiful country (Sinaloa to be exact), we knew it was far safer, friendlier, and more spectacular than the news makes it out to be … and we wanted to prove it! With our fierce Nissan Versa, we set out from the Pacific coast through the Sierra Madre mountains, the lunar landscape of Durango, silver hub of San Luis Potosi, the colonial labyrinth of Guanajuato, the artisan colony of San Miguel de Allende, ancient pyramids Teotihuacan, to the great capital of Mexico City. Nary an accident or a moment of shadiness, our 1,000 mile Mexico road trip was a great success!
See our detailed itinerary and escapades below, and watch our video montage above for a look at Mexico’s true beauty.
Day #1: Mazatlan –> Devil’s Backbone –> La Ciudad
- Depart Mazatlan…The Pearl of the Pacific (read full blog post on our 3 & 6 week stay, plus mini travel guide)
- Begin our drive over the Sierra Madre Mountains via Route 40, one of the most dangerous roads in the world
- Pitstop in colonial Concordia, Sinaloa for the original and famed shaved ice, Raspados de Concordia
- 1,000+ curves later, we reach the center of the Devil’s Backbone, a sliver of road between two steep ravines. Legend has it, when Archangel Michael threw the devil from heaven, his broken backbone formed the rugged ridgeline of the Sierra Madres.
- Reach the tiny town of La Ciudad de los Flores (named after their flowers that bloom through the winter snow), and check in to Hostal Mexiquillo, a family-run guesthouse with amazing guide services!
- Take an evening hike to Los Laureles for waterfalls and incredible vistas of the Sierra Madres
- Off-road to the forest fire watchtower for panoramic views over Mexiquillo, reached by a death-defying ladder…100-feet straight up!
- Learn to make the perfect gorditas on a wood-burning griddle and dine on the best quesadillas and refried beans
Day 2: Mexiquillo –> San Luis Potosi
- Wake up at sunrise and get ready for our ATV tour around Mexiquillo Ecological Park
- Boulder and explore the incredible lunar landscape at “The Garden of Rocks”
- ATV the ghost railroad tracks and tunnels built for the Durango train that never came
- Reach the waterfall for a breakfast: gorditas filled with refried beans and grilled cactus, toasted on an open-fire. Delicioso!
- Drive 475km from Mexiquillo, through the state of Zacatecas, to San Luis Potosi (we were too tight on time to return to the beautiful city of Durango (see the photos from our last trip)
- Spend the night at Corazon del Xoconostle, an awesome hostel in an old colonial house
Day 3: San Luis Potosi –> Guanajuato
- Stroll around the historic center of San Luis Potosi, a 16th-century Spanish silver mining hub with plenty of regal buildings to show for it
- Marvel at Iglesia de Carmen, one of the most spectacular examples of Churrigueresco Baroque architecture. The opulent detail (on the interior especially) was out of control!
- Drive the windy, ultra-scenic Route 57 into the state of Guanajuato
- Arrive to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Guanajuato, also founded as a Spanish silver mining town, and built around the old mines
- Wander the hundreds of winding alleys and stairs that connect colorful homes, pocket plazas, and colonial churches of one of our new favorite cities in the world!
- Go to one of the 500-year old mines … assuming it was now a museum. The guards with machine guns and dobermans informed us it was still operational and not open to the public (even when we flashed the HoneyTrek business card, sheesh)
- Drive through Guanajuato’s mining tunnels (now the underground highway system) towards San Miguel de Allende for a good night sleep at Hotel Doña Urraca
Day 4: San Miguel de Allende
- Wake up in a city known for its impressive art scene, perfectly preserved colonial architecture, and community of 60 different nationalities
- Breakfast at the 18th-century inn and restaurant, Maria Xoconostle. Ridiculously good food.
- ATV tour of greater San Miguel de Allende (ATVs are actually lots of locals primary vehicle), heading to the countryside Chapel of San Miguel to La Aurora, an old textile factory turned into the city’s premier art venue
- Tour the historic center and relax in the fairtytale-worthy plaza, Jardin Principal
- Lunch at the sophisticated Casa de Sierra Nevada. Fresh guacamole, ceviche, tacos…a true Mexican feast!
- Hamam Spa Treatment at the Hotel Matilda. Ooo la la la!
- See our video recap of San Miguel de Allende, above. Huge thanks to the SMA ministry of tourism for such a fabulous stay!
Day 5: Teotihuacan –> Mexico City
- Reach the City of the Gods, Teotihuacan! This pyramid complex dates back to 100BC and was the largest Pre-Columbian civilization in the Americas
- Scale hundreds of stairs to the top of the Temples of the Sun & Moon
- Stroll The Avenue of the Dead to the impressive museum showcasing the vibrant relics from this ancient world
- Drive through a crazy rainstorm/flood for 2.5 hours (normally 40 minutes) to Mexico City
- Party at our friends Rodrigo and Majo’s design boutique: Tenderete, exclusively showcasing Mexico’s artisans. Creative crowd, live music, and fab shopping (we bought an ultra-chic and modern tea set, made by our very own Rodrigo!)
Day 6: Mexico City –> Texas
- Breakfast at Pon Joy, an awesome Chinese/Mexican diner (Ro & Majo’s favorite local brunch spot) serving massive portions and bottomless sides of the most amazing pickled vegetables
- Drive to the Benito Juarez International Airport and drop off our rental car with 1,500 fresh kilometers…and nary a scratch!
- Fly to Houston, slept hard and fast … dreaming of our Mexico road trip!