The next leg of the trip promised beach and sun as we headed up and along a strip of the Pacific coast. Our first stop was beautiful Puerto Vallarta where it proceeded to rain for two days straight.
It's full of bars, restaurants and resorts along the beach and a bit of a party vibe. That said, we didn't get up to a whole lot. There really isn't any sites as such to visit so we just ducked between eves and slipped in for a Margaritas every now and then to dry off.
How do I put this delicately? Puerto Vallarta is pretty fucking gay. We went for brunch one day and I think we were one of two straight couples (or at least Ariane was one of three females).
It's known as a 'liberally minded' city which lots of largely white American males have embraced fully. And it's really lovely to see. Sure, there's a seedier side to it, but there can't be too many places in the world where it's possible to be as openly gay - in the carefree sense of the word as well as the homosexual sense.
Mazatlán was our next stop which is also a bit of a resort town but a little more sophisticated and middle class. We arrived late on a Saturday night and the town was well and truly alive so we were a little worried we'd missed the main event.
It was a feeling that was reinforced when we got up in the morning to wander around a bit to find deserted streets and closed shops. But after a bit of a siesta we re-emerged to find the city alive again. The foreshore was crammed with families out and about with loads of street food and some young guys diving off the top of a rock a good 15 or 20 meters high into a tiny (but presumably deep) rockpool below for tips from tourists.
We then found the main square where there was live music and settled in for a bit of alfresco dining.
The next day we caught the bus to Los Mochis for the night before getting up at the crack of dawn to get on El Chepe - Mexico's last passenger train that travels from Los Mochis to Chihuahua weaving it's way through the 'Copper Canyon'.
It's the best train ride I've ever been on and I'm a train enthusiast. There's hardly a moment when you're not just staring outside in amazement as the train crosses gorges and rivers and creeps along the edge of cliffs.
Hawks and Turkey Vultures soar above you while falcons sit on top of cacti peering down for an unfortunate rodent.
We spent the night about two thirds of the way along in a tiny town called Divisadero in a hotel that overlooked the Canyon and had bird feeders outside the windows that humming birds hovered around all day long. It's also on the edge of a National Park that has a range of thrill-seeking options including a three kilometre zipline (they're mad on ziplines in Mexico) that has people reach up to 130km an hour . We opted for the cable car which covered the same route but at a speed where you could actually take it all in.
The next day we finished the journey on the train to Chihuahua. And while we had clearly covered the most spectacular parts the day before, the trip out of the canyon and into Prairie country wasn't without it's charm.