Guanajuato was one of our favorite cities in Mexico! The town is built in a ravine so while it’s not very conducive to driving, we had a wonderful time walking around the city. We stayed at a campground in the city (the only one) which was on a grassy terrace, with an incredibly view overlooking the colorful buildings of the city. We spent a few days walking around and exploring the town, getting lost in the side streets, which happens all too easily. Surrounding the town are beautiful hills which we spent (only) a day hiking around. There’s plenty of mountain biking and rock climbing in these hills as well. It’s a university city and you certainly get that feeling with a young population. There is also a math university there that my father will be going to in a few weeks, CIMAT. One night a dog came over to play with Leika. Shortly after the dog came, the owner came over to say hello. Turns out he’s a post-doc at CIMAT. He told us about rock climbing in the area and while I hoped to join him for a little, we had to move onto San Miguel de Allende. We did stop by Las Palomas to ride on our way out of town but Jakob had a flat and like idiots, we didn’t have spares or a patch kit on us. Note to self: Presta valves aren’t easily available in Mexico.
San Miguel is another beautiful town, but much more developed and touristy than Guanajuato. We went on a few mountain bike rides in the area, and really enjoyed them. My favorite ride in the area was when we went out to La Gruta (public hot springs), parked the car there and went into the hills, just ducking onto cool looking paths. We then went for a swim in the warm pools of La Gruta.
That afternoon we left towards Queretaro. Technically, it’s called Santiago de Queretaro so before we got into town, I looked up camping under Santiago de Queretaro. Nothing came up so I figured we were on our own to find a place to stay. After stopping by a national park that didn’t allow camping, we continued on to a water park. At first the guard said no and that they were closed for the night. Trying to be my mother’s daughter, I wouldn’t let him say no again and for 100 pesos ($8 usd), we pulled in for a safe camping spot for the night with tickets to the water park for the next day.
We only spent a few hours walking through Queretaro (a UNESCO heritage site) the next day, but would have happily stayed longer if we weren’t antsy to get on our mountain bikes. We drove 45 minutes south to Aserrin Woods and had one of the best mountain bike rides we’ve ever had. It seems to be a private network of trails, costing 10 pesos (80 cents usd) to ride per person. There were tons of dirt bikers and a few other mountain bikers at the trailhead. After asking about where the trail head started and what route was best to take, a guy offered to suit up on his dirt bike and lead the way! It was so nice of him and he guided us about a mile up the trail to show us where the fun really started. We spent the next hour or so rolling through mud, rock and streams. It was such a blast in the mud.
After the ride, we threw our muddy bikes in the car and took off towards Toluca. After a long dirt road, we made it to the camping spot at 4,000m elevation. There is no real campground but you can park for free there. The next day we hiked around Nevado de Toluca, acclimatizing and figuring out whether the traverse would be something we, and Leika, could do. All seemed great and we were excited to give it a go the next day. Unfortunately, the weather turned a bit too nasty and we didn’t hike the next day but rather went into town and ran some boring errands and headed back to the camping spot at night to try the hike the next day. The weather cleared out overnight and we woke up to clear skies. The hike was a blast and while exposed at times, views were fantastic and the hike a fun challenge. Leika was a champ and either clawed her way up some stuff or took a different path than Jakob and I. I genuinely think she’s more capable of climbing than most people are, certainly more capable than Jakob.
After the hike, while snacking near the van, two of the park staff came over to us to ask about our van. They were very shy and sweet asking about the fridge, solar, flooring and if we lived in it.
We then headed off towards Teotihuacan to take a look at some ruins and say hi to some friends we met in San Miguel de Allende, JFDI Overland.