Trip Update: León, Nicaragua

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$2.40 USD for this plate of outstanding food

We have been in León, Nicaragua (Second largest city in Nicaragua) for three days and we plan to leave tomorrow morning, making our way to Costa Rica.  We had a great time in this unique city.  We ate great food.  Pizza, Rice & Beans and really delicious chicken!!  To make it even better, it was all at a reasonable price.  We all had a great time and enjoyed roaming around the city. Here are some clips from our adventures.

$9.40 USD for a Large (16 inch) pizza

$9.40 USD for a Large (16 inch) pizza

Overall: León, Nicaragua is a great place to eat food and walk around.  Amazing architecture, great food and reasonable prices.  Lots of backpackers and plenty of hostels.  Seems to be a safe city, however, I would imagine there is a lot of theft, so be careful.  During our stay: we woke at 6 a.m. on the day of our departure to two men rummaging through the back of our truck (which was parked on the street outside of the hostel).  They had managed to pull the tailgate down and had just begun searching through our stuff.  When they saw us, one guy grabbed my dad’s suitcase and the other grabbed a backpack.  They began to run.  One guy dropped the backpack but the other guy kept running with the suitcase.  Our friends began chasing them on foot and later via bike.  All efforts failed.  We lost them.

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With one suitcase missing, we went about our day as planned.  We packed up the truck and began our journey to Costa Rica.  But that wouldn’t be the end of our misfortunes for the day.  About an hour after leaving Leon, we approached two cops who had made a road block.  One cop was on the side of the road, sitting on a motorcycle and the other was standing in the middle of the road, stopping vehicles.  We were close to a football field away from the “checkpoint” when the cop glanced in our direction then did a double take and began waving to pull us over (we were told that with surfboards strapped to the top of your vehicle, you are a major target, in Nicaragua).  We pulled over.  The cop had a nasty grin on his face.  He asked a series of questions in Spanish.  “Where are you going?”… “Where are you coming from?”…Show me your passports…blah blah blah.  About 10 minutes into the stop, after we told him where we came from etc., he asks, “Why didn’t you stop when the police tried to pull you over in Leon?”.  We had no clue what he was referring to.  No one had tried to stop us in Leon.  He didn’t even know we were in Leon until we told him.  He was obviously making things up.  He then asked for my dad’s driver’s license, which we gave him.  Big mistake.  Once he had the license in his hands, his face lit up.  He then asked for proof of insurance in Nicaragua.  We didn’t need insurance, so we didn’t have proof.  Long story short, he told us that he is going to write a ticket and we must go to Managua to pay for it (about an hour or more away) and come back to get the driver’s license.  He gave us the ticket and told us it was a $300 USD fine.  We proceeded to tell him that we were robbed and we didn’t have that kind of money.  We asked if we could pay the ticket on the spot instead of in Managua (a slick way of asking if we could bribe him), he said no but we kept asking.  We then proceeded to pull out money.  About $50 USD, he still turned it down.  I pulled out about $20 USD and our friends emptied their pockets of all of their money.  About eighty dollars later, the cop glanced to his partner who was sitting on his motorcycle on the other side of the road.  He was silent.  We folded the money in the ticket he gave us earlier and handed it to him.  He gave us the license back and told us we could go.  Needless to say, we were all very upset.  Though, the bribe did save us a lot of time and a little bit of money, we were amazed at all of our misfortune, so early in the day.  First, a suitcase is stolen then we have to bribe a cop.  And we still had a border to cross.  What else would happen?

We were all very glad to get out of Nicaragua.  In that same day we crossed into Costa Rica and managed to make it to Tamarindo without anything else too bad happening.  That was a very long day!  We had a good time in Nicaragua but with all of the bribes paid at the border into Nicaragua and the series of events that followed, we are hesitant to return.  Be careful and never let your guard down.  There is a lot of fun to be had in Nicaragua but there is also an evil side to this country, just like every other place on Earth, unfortunately.

Don’t forget to follow the mxsteez blog & subscribe to the youtube channel, so you can follow our trip.

 

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Posted in Central America, Countries, Nicaragua, Reviews, Surfing | Leave a comment

mxsteez Abroad – Surfing Guatemala – Episode 2

On this episode of mxsteez Abroad, the team goes to El Paredon in Guatemala.  Also included in this episode are clips from a jam session which took place in a restaurant in somebody’s house in Coatepeque, Guatemala.  Guatemala was a lot of fun and the people were really nice.  We have since moved on to El Tunco in the country of El Salvador.  Stay tuned for Episode 3!

You can follow our journey on our Facebook page, Youtube channel & here on the blog.

 

Posted in Central America, Guatemala, Season 1, Surfing | 1 Comment

Trip Update: Adventures in El Paredon, Guatemala & more

We were on our way to El Paredon from Escuintla when we heard the brake problem.  IMG_0929We were forced to drive slow because the brake pads were worn down so much.  Once we made it to Sipacate we realized that we cannot drive to the beach of El Paredon from this little town.  In order to get the truck to the beach, we must drive an hour or so out of the way to bypass the river between the beach and Sipacate.  However, we could park the truck and take a boat ride across the river, to the beach, on the other side.  So, we did just that.  We paid an armed security guard to watch the truck while we camped out in El Paredon.  Since it was a Sunday when we arrived, the mechanic in town was not open.  We decided to stay the night in Paredon and cross back to Sipacate the next day, when the mechanic would be open.

Getting the brakes changed in Sipacate.

Getting the brakes changed in Sipacate.

The next day, we left early in the morning to fix the brakes.  It took all day because the mechanic did not have the parts for out specific vehicle.  We sat in the street watching people walk by all day.  Though it was hot and boring, it was an overall great cultural experience.  We all really enjoyed watching all the locals going about there daily lives.   We were fortunate to have been able to get the brakes changed in such a remote location.  The cost of the repair was under $50 USD.  We returned to the Paredon beach break and camped for another two nights.  We camped out at a turtle conservation place.

My bed inside the casita.

My bed inside the casita.

The El Paredon Surf Camp and every other surf camp were full, so we worked a deal at the turtle place for about $2 USD/ person per night.  After three nights in Paredon, we then packed up on Wednesday and headed for the border of El Salvador.  We managed to cross the border and make it to the town of El Tunco in the same day, which is where we are now.

Sunrise in El Paredon, Guatemala.

Sunrise in El Paredon, Guatemala

At the border of El Salvador.

At the border of El Salvador.

Pool at the host we are staying at in El Tunco, El Salvador.

Pool at the hostel we are staying at in El Tunco, El Salvador.

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mxsteez Abroad – Hasta Guatemala – Episode 1

We made it to Guatemala.  Took us three days to drive out of Mexico from San Blas, Nayarit.  We are stoked to be heading to the beach tomorrow.  Stay tuned for more episodes with some awesome surfing and skateboarding in them!

You can follow our journey on our Facebook page, Youtube channel & here on the blog.

Here’s Episode 1:

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Trip Update: Hasta Guatemala

Tuesday morning at about 5 a.m. we left from San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico.  We are now in Coatepeque, Guatemala.  The first day of driving out of Mexico was brutal.  We made it to Mexico City a little bit after dark and began searching for a hotel.  Of course, we got lost.  We asked at least 10 different taxi drivers to guide us out of the city so we could find a hotel elsewhere.  At about mid-night we found our way out of Mexico City.  We hit the highway hoping to find a hotel but we had no luck.  We finally called it quits at about 2 a.m.  We stopped at a Pemex and took turns sleeping in the cab of the truck.  We mainly let Dave sleep and the rest of us just napped for an hour or less and drank way too much coffee.  Once the sun came up, we hit the road again.  Only for a few hours though for we were approaching a really cool city called Oaxaca.  We all decided it was best to get a hotel and hang there for the rest of the day and night.  The following day we ate a big breakfast, repacked the truck and hit the road again.  This time we made it to Pijijiapan, which is about three hours from the border town of Tapachula where we planned to cross into Guatemala.  Then there was today.  We crossed into Guatemala today.  What a mess!  About an hour from the border, some guy waved us down.  When we stopped, he told us that he would help us.. Blah..Blah..Blah.  Long story short, him and about 10 other guys screwed us over.  But not too bad.  We made it here and we are safe and tired.  This will be one of the few times that I will have access to the internet until we get to Costa Rica, so there may be a delay in the posting of episodes etc.  I just finished episode 1.  I will post it here shortly.  So wiped out!  The border crossing and video making wore me out.  Tomorrow we are headed to Chanperico.  Gonna get some surf footage for future episodes!  Goodnight.  Stay tuned for more updates in the near future.
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// San Blas Jam Sesh with Timo & Christian //

Timo and Christian had an acoustic jam session yesterday.  Timo is a local surfer from San Blas who will be joining us on the trip through Central America.  And Christian recently moved into the apartment below ours.  Christian is an expat from Germany who lives in Northern Canada when he is not traveling.  He is an amazing guitar player.  We have the pleasure of hearing him practice from our apartment.  Yesterday, we heard Timo and Christian practicing so we wandered downstairs to sneak a peak for the first time.  Here are some clips of what went down.  Take a look.

 

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mxsteez Abroad – New Web Series – Central American Surf Trip Introduction

Buckle up guys because we are taking mxsteez on the road.  Travel is something that we crave and surfing is something that we love…these things set the foundation of this Web Series.  The purpose of this project is to take the Mexican steez to many different countries.  Our hopes are that this Series will take me, my dad and the team of surfers, all around the world.  While spreading our good vibes, making new friendships, learning about other countries and entertaining you guys, we hope to improve our team’s surfing abilities and eventually bring some recognition to the surf community in San Blas.  This is the introduction for our first Abroad trip.  In this season of mxsteez Abroad, we will be taking our team of surfers through six different countries while stopping at as many world class surf breaks as possible.  Watch our journey through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and back.   Don’t miss a beat!

You can follow our journey on our Facebook page, Youtube channel & here on the blog.

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Stoners Surf Camp (San Blas, Nayarit, México) Review

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Sunset on Playa Borrego, San Blas.

Looking for a cheap, safe and accommodating place to stay right on the beach?  This may be the place to stay on your next beach adventure.

This is a stop for the true adventurer.  If you seek to experience the authentic Mexico, this is the place to do it.  Located about one hundred miles North of Puerto Vallarta, San Blas is a small seaside fishing town in the state of Nayarit with an approximate population of about 10,000 people.  Known for it’s annoying “jejenes” and mosquitoes, San Blas is not an over developed tourist destination.  However, San Blas is also known for the influx of migratory birds that visit in the dry season, decent surf and several waterfalls in the surrounding area.  For more details on these activities you can contact Safaris San Blas.

Ron StonerStoners Surf Camp’s unique name originated from the legendary surf photographer, Ron Stoner, who worked for Surfer Magazine.  Between 1967 and 1968, Ron’s photos were featured as covers of Surfer, six consecutive times.  Ron Stoner visited the San Blas area in the sixties.  One surf spot in Las Islitas called Stoner’s Point was named after Ron.  Stoner’s Point is about 20 minutes down the road from San Blas.  You definitely want to check it out while you are here.  However, in recent years the ocean has changed much and Stoner’s Point only breaks a handful of times a year.  Check out this video of Stoner’s Point when it is firing.

Playa Borrego San BlasAfter a long day of surfing, birding and other adventures, you are going to need a place to rest and relax.  Stoners Surf Camp is the perfect place to do just that.  With six open-air cabins and plenty of space for tent camping, a newly remodeled communal kitchen plus bathrooms and showers, there should be plenty of room for you.

Stoners Surf CampPrices start at 150 Pesos ($11 USD) per night for the smaller cabins and go up to 400 Pesos ($30 USD) per night for the bigger, ocean front cabins.  All cabins include electricity, mosquito nets, bed sheets, blankets, pillows, towels and a bike for each guest. Tent camping is also available for 50 Pesos a tent, per night.  All guests are welcome to use the bathrooms, showers and the fully equipped communal kitchen.  There are surfboard rentals and surf lessons available as well.  During your stay, you can eat at the onsite full service restaurant while you enjoy the ocean view and the consistent breeze that keeps the bugs away until dusk.  For more photos and information visit the Stoners Surf Camp website.

Pompis Surfing

Pompis surfing somewhere in Mexico

After dusk you may see the night watchman who keeps an eye on the Surf Camp all night.  You may also run into the owner of the Surf Camp, Pompis, a local surf legend (Photo to the right) or even me, the content creator of this blog during your visit.  No mater what you choose to do during your stay in San Blas, I’m sure you will not regret staying at Stoners and you will likely leave with a ton of great memory of all of your unforgettable, authentic Mexico experiences.

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Hotel Real de Pascuales (Tecomán, Colima, México) Review

Whether you are looking for a place to rest after a long day of driving or a place to stay for your next surf trip, I highly recommend this laid back hotel.  Pascuales is a famous surf destination in the Mexican state of Colima.  This quiet little beach town is about twenty minutes from the city of Tecomán.  The twenty or so minute drive from Tecomán to Pascuales is a direct route down a two lane road.  Signs titled, “Boca de Pascuales” along with thousands of tall, luscious palm trees will accompany you down this smoothly paved road (Be sure to watch out for the speed bumps).  At the end of this scenic Hotel Realstretch, you will come to a triangle in the road.  Be sure to ease to the right and the first hotel on your left will have a big fenced in parking lot.  This is Hotel Real de Pascuales.

I have stayed at this Hotel three times, so far.  Once, during a one week surf competition in February of 2013 (Link to video of the competition) and two other separate, single night stays.  We love staying at this hotel because they offer clean and cheap rooms, right on the beach.  The owner, Edgar, is nice and speaks both English and Spanish.  Tent camping is also available (access to bathroom, shower and cooking facility included).  Some accommodations that are available include Wifi, Air Conditioning (in some rooms) and Swimming Pool.

Other conveniences of staying here include:

  •   A cheap restaurant right next door that offers great Mexican food and other familiar American cuisine starting at four dollars a plate.  To get to the restaurant just start walking toward the beach from your room or campsite and take a right, passing the bathrooms and you will walk right into the restaurant.  Have a seat, enjoy the fresh air, the ocean view and they will soon come to take your order.
  • A “Super-mini” convenience store on the street, in front of the hotel.  Here you can buy drinking water, snacks and other items.  To get to the store, start walking from your room or campsite toward the street.  Pass through the parking lot unto the street and take a left.  You will see the store on your left.  It is in between the hotel and the restaurant.  Walk up to the window of the store and tell the person inside what you want.
  • A taco cart on the street that is pretty decent.  To get to the taco cart, walk from you room or campsite, through the parking lot and unto the street.  Once on the street, take a left.  Walk past the convenience store and the restaurant and eventually you will see a taco cart on your left.
  • Surfboard repairs available in the hotel parking lot.  Enough said.

Wave at Pascuales Pascuales is an “end of the road” kind of beach town.  Other than one or two other hotels and a handful of small stores and restaurants, there is not much else in this town.  Most people who stop here are surfers.  This town gets a lot of traveling and pro surfers all year round due to the long stretch of empty beach with a hallow, fast, heavy and barreling surf break.  Waves can get very big here.  A lot of times surfers must be towed in due to the speed and size of the waves.  Bring multiple boards because they will break.  I have heard many times that this wave is similar in strength to the wave at Puerto Escandito (The Mexican Pipeline).  When you’re not surfing or if you don’t surf, enjoy the empty beach, laying in a hammock under some shade or chilling by the pool.  This place is a little piece of paradise.  Enjoy!

Real Hotel Pool

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Baby Steps

This morning my dad and I plus four of our local friends headed off to Tepic, the nearest city to San Blas.  In Tepic, we got all of the necessary paperwork for passports for our two friends, Timo and Gerardo, who will be joining us on our trip through Central America.  The other two friends that went to Tepic with us were Pitufo and Eduardo.  Pitufo needed to run a few errands, so he rode a long with us instead of taking a bus.  It was Eduardo’s day off and he needed a ride to Tepic to visit his family.  Since he knows his way around the city, it was easy for him to guide us to the passport/government building before we dropped him off at his family’s house.   Eduardo already has a passport and is still deciding whether or not he will join us on our big trip.

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(From left): Timo, Gerardo, Eduardo, Pitufo and me.

We waited in line at the government building.  Once we got to the counter we learned that we must make an appointment online first.  We were also told that our friends would need a certified copy of their birth certificates along with their national identification cards (which they have) plus photos for their new passports (which they didn’t have).  So, we went outside to a stand that sells passport photos and had their pictures taken for their passports.  Photos cost $40 Pesos which is about $3 USD.  Now all we have to do is make an appointment online and make another trip to Tepic to have the passports made.   Seems pretty simple… we’ll see how it goes.  One step at a time.

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San Blas, Nayarit

It sure was nice to enjoy this beautiful sunset in San Blas, after spending the day in the city.

Stay tuned for more updates on our trip!

You can follow our journey and the Web-Series here on our blog, as well as on our Youtube channel.

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