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The Road to Chapala - photos

The beach at Estrella del Mar, Pat Butlerís development south of Mazatlan. This huge development has four miles of oceanfront which is pretty much empty this time of year. Besides the condo complexes, there are custom home lots surrounding an 18 hole golf course. After two intense days of driving, we were happy to kick back for a few days in this beautiful spot.

Estrella del Mar condos. We visited our former San Felipe friends, Tom and Kathy Coonce, and spent some great down time lounging around the pool and grabbing a few cold ones. We pretty much had the place to ourselves as most owners leave for the hot and humid summer months.

Left: Old Town Mazatlan. One of the many sidewalk cafes in the old part of Mazatlan. Renovation has breathed new life into this formally-decaying section of Mazatlan.


Right: A room with a view. This is the view from Tom and Kathyís patio. The pools in each complex were absolutely huge complete with swim-up bars. We often sighted large iguanas sunning themselves on the lawns.

No Worries, Mate. A few of the many hassle-free zone signs we passed. They failed to tell the military about this as we were searched several times on the way back. I think the sign means that you wonít get hassled for bring in a US-plated car all the way to Guaymas, where the zone ends. To travel to Chapala we had to get a vehicle import permit and pay a small fee. Lots of AZ folks make the one-day drive to Guaymas for a short beach holiday.

Lake Chapala. Mexicoís largest lake has over twice the surface area of Lake Tahoe but is incredibly shallow, reaching an average depth of only 20 feet (average depth of Tahoe is 1000 ft.). Now internationally protected, today the lake is the highest it has been in three decades, rising several feet in the brief time we were there.

Lake Chapala from the Ajijic pier. The greenery along the near shore is a very nice park.

Mescala. Fields of blue agave grown for the tequila distilleries near the picturesque lakeside village of Mescala. In the center is the town church with unusually tall bell towers.

Mazatlan to Guadalajara. The mountains between Mazatlan and Guadalajara were absolutely beautiful as we climbed from sea-level to over 5000 feet. In the photo of the lush valley on the right you can see a waterfall on the far valley wall. Much of this area reminded me of Hawaii.