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Saltillo to Zineapecuaro


Trip Report # 2, Part 4

By Char & Al Bennett

Published: June, 2001
Lorena's Note: Char will be sending us Travel Reports as they travel through Mexico. Keep checking back for their latest adventures.


Jan. 20 - 23

El Pozo RV Park
100 pesos ($10 + tax)

Toll Roads strategy

When we left Lake Chapala, we headed east on Hwy. 35 as far as La Barca. There we picked up the toll road in order to bypass Zamora, but took it only as far as the Churintzio exit instead of going all the way to the Zacapau Exit, which would have put us a little closer to Patzcuaro before leaving the toll road. But here's why. If you've bought the Guia Roji Road Atlas (almost a necessity for driving down here), in the back the atlas are 36 columns, or strip maps, showing where the toll booths are, and how much is charged at each throughout all of Mexico. It takes a bit of figuring out, but with patience one can at least get a pretty good idea of which tolls are expensive, etc.

In this case, we looked ahead and saw that the first toll we would come to would be quite reasonable, 75 pesos for the motorhome. This time, however, they charged us an additional 48 pesos for the car, so prices have obviously gone up from what the book quoted. But for the next toll, it was going to be double that, or too much, we thought. By getting off one exit earlier and taking a parallel road for a short while, we saved ourselves about $25.

We continued south to Hwy. 15, then east to Quiroga, and south again to Patzcuaro, one of our favorite cities. Our campground, El Pozo, which is very pleasant, is on the right side of Hwy. 14 as you approach the city from the east, shortly after the new highway branches off toward Uruapan. Watch for a Pemex on the left. The campground is on the right soon after. We crossed RR tracks and went through a large square entry arch.

RV sites are on either side of a large field, with quite a few trees. Alberto, the owner, speaks English very well and is extremely accommodating, giving us brochures and maps of everything around here. He even walked over to tell us of a special party going on down at one of the hotels. The restroom facilities are adequate (not great) and per usual, a train came by in the night. But Al and I always joke that we're not in an official campground if a train doesn't wake us up at least once at night!


We stayed in Patzcuaro for four nights, but much of it has been like “The Lost Weekend” for me. Al has had a mild cold for the past few days, and I could finally feel my throat tightening up, so I knew I was going to catch it as well.

But on our first full day here (a Sunday), we spent several hours just wandering around in town, people watching in the plaza (which is one of our favorites in Mexico) and exploring the multitude of craft shops nearby, including the lovely House of 11 Patios. We sat in on part of a church service that had fantastic music... a small choir accompanied by lots of guitars. After having lunch in one of the hotels on the plaza, we headed back to our campground to relax. And that's when my cold really kicked in!

The next day I stayed back in the camper to read and sleep while the others spent the day taking a boat over to the Island of Janitzio. I knew they wanted to climb to the top of the island, and I also knew I would never make it right now (I have in the past done it....twice), so Al, Bruce and Judy went on. They were able to see the fishermen with their butterfly nets, although they perform for tips now, rather than catch fish. Needless to say, they had a great time!

The next morning I woke up again with an unbearable sore throat... it hurt terribly whenever I swallowed. So Al contacted Alberto, our campground owner, and he in turned called a doctor who promised to come see me in our motorhome at 11:00! And he did!!! Can you believe that?!?! As I suspected, I had developed a severe case of strep throat and a staph infection, so he immediately started me on ampicillin -- two huge capsules every eight hours. And Judy, great friend that she is, cooked up a chicken and brought me a whole kettle of chicken soup, so for the past two days, that's all I've been able to get down.

We had decided to spend one more day in Patzcuaro, but Alberto, feeling very badly about it, told us he was expecting a large caravan in that would take up all his space. He was sweet and offered to let us dry-camp off at one edge, but we opted to leave after all. Since the pain was concentrated in my throat and ears, I decided I could ride in the motorhome as well as I could moan in bed. So off we finally went, leaving Patzcuaro, one of my favorite places, but I hardly even saw it this time.

Continue with Zinapecuaro
©1972-2001 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens