Mexico Trip Report '06/'07
Our most recent trip to research for "The River Gypsies' Guide to North America" took us south of the border to Mexico. We decided at the last possible minute that a trip down there was needed, since Mexico is a North American paddling destination with plenty of whitewater. We decided to explore the Eastern Slope - the Sierra Madre Oriental - in the states of San Luis Potosi and Veracruz. Here's the report:
Traveling to Veracruz
Stuffed with terrific breakfast, we hit the road for Veracruz. After two half days of driving south on Mexican highways of very questionable quality (and a night in a Mexican roadside motel), we neared our destination and stopped for lunch on the Costa Esmerelda in Veracruz. It seemed to be the off season for this beachfront area along the Gulf of Mexico, so we cruised into a restaurant and had a tasty seafood lunch. After the meal, we stumbled onto some wildlife on the front lawn of the restaurant! I'm no Steve Irwin, but I decided to have a go at it.
Actually, the restauranteur had two of these little "crocodillos" in a bucket out front. He set them loose on the lawn, and I helped him round them up. It was definitely good for a laugh or two!
After lunch, we took the short drive up to Tlapacoyan from the Costa Esmerelda, and drove the few miles out of town to check out the Cascada Tomata. This falls has been run in a ton of paddling videos. It doesn't look giant, but Tom McEwan told me he's measured it at 74 feet. Andria and I were on the edges of contemplating a park'n'huck before we saw it, but the boxed in gorge and another huge drop below mean that you would have to rig a rope and ascend back up the cliff next to the falls after running it.
The other thing you don't realize from most of the coverage of the Alseseca is that it runs most of its length not through jungle, but through banana and coffee plantations. Trust me folks, the world is never going to run out of bananas. They were everywhere down there. Oranges too. And Mangos.
We headed back to Tlapacoyan and crashed at Aventurec, which is the place of choice to stay near the Alsaseca and Bobos - complete with super nice people, sweet cabanas, great food, and knowledgeable shuttle drivers. Big thanks to Antonio, Sophie, and their guides for taking such good care of us down there.
The next morning we were up and going, ready to huck some drops on the Alseseca!