Durango is one of the view Mexican states without a coast line and has Mexico’s second-lowest population density, It is situated in the North West. The capital has the same name, but officially it is called Victoria de Durango.
20th Nov 2018
I arrived in Durango by bus from Mazatlan in Sinaloa. The road is going throughout a wonderful nature. Most of this beautiful views, which contains mountains, you can see in the state of Durango, because you leave the state of Sinaloa quite soon.
For more photos of this trip, please follow the link.
Isabel, my host for Durango, met me at the bus station. Together we took a taxi and there were no overprice, of course, because of her. She tried to pay with a 200 MXN-note, but the taxi driver did have no change. Luckily I had a 50 MXN-note and paid instead. She already helped me with holding the amount low as well as she explained for the driver where to go. Unfortunately the Mexican taxi drivers do not know their cities very well.
We left my luggage in her apartment, which by the way is huge, but also really clean. It contains a kitchen area and a living room as well as a big hall and two bed rooms, both of them are very well sized. The bedroom I was allowed to use had two beds and a wardrobe – there was anyway a lot of space. Then she invited me for dinner in the restaurant she is working. Actually she is a manager of three cafés, called Wirikuta (sacred place), at different locations, but all close to the city center. Because she is living close to one of them, she usually has her meals there. The owner of the restaurants, who is her employer, pays the rent for her apartment including electricity etc.
I was not very hungry, though I had a crepe with a sweet filling and a camomile tea (the tea in the hope not to get heart burn). It was nice represented and also tasting good. Isabel put that on her bill. Back in the apartment, she had to work more. She usually has an office, but that is under maintenance, though she works from home, but has to go to the cafés from time to time to talk with the employees etc. She told me, that she prefer to work in her office and is looking forward to do it again. She also told me, where I can find the password for the Internet and I was to my room and updated my blog with some lines, but by the bus trip and still having pain in my back, I soon lay down in the bed and fell asleep.
21st Nov 2018
I had a breakfast at Isabel’s home, containing coffee and cornflakes. Afterwards I was walking downtown. It only takes 10 to 15 minutes to walk downtown and Isabel had explained to me, how to go there. It was very easy. Just to chose the right street outside and walking on it, passing a church and finally arriving at the cathedral and main square. Close to the main square the police was directing the traffic, though the pedestrians had a chance to cross the streets.
I was already hungry again and looking for a restaurant. I chose one, which was a part of a hotel, because it looked nicer than the others, which had meals, where I could eat and there already were people sitting inside. The other restaurants actually were empty. I ordered an omelette with bacon as well as another cup of coffee and papaya. All together was for 85 MXN and I left 15 MXN for the waiter, who made his job very good. I felt a little sorry about him, because he was elder and not walking very well anymore. I was still a little craving for something sweet and bought an ice cream, which was a little expensive, but very tasty (chocolate).
When I had finished my ice cream I took photos of the cathedral and also walked inside. There were a service ongoing, though I could not take photos from the inside, but it was not very baroque. Actually it had a few artistic details. Now it was time for the main square, which is big. Well done this, I continued to the Historical Museum of Durango and paid the fee for elderly, which was 13 MXN. The most interesting part of the museum was the exhibition about the movies: “La Tierra del Cine”. Close to Durango especially movies of the “Old Wild West” were taken, because of the nature. There is a spectacular waterfall and on another place there is the scenery for these movies build up. The rest of the day I spent walking around the historic city and took some more photos of beautiful buildings. At least I had a dinner in another restaurant. The meal actually was for 98 MXN and the drink for 38. I gave a tip as well, of course.
This evening Isabel and I had a long chat about our travels and languages, but first she explained to me, what I had to see more and what is close to the places, I would like to see. She even told me, that the Mapimi mine, which is recommended by the “zona turistica” on the Internet, is far away from Durango city. She told me about, when she was traveling in Europe and also that she had to pay a lot of taxes in Italy. I told her about my special adventures in Mexico, like the night with the Tarahumara family. Unfortunately she had to work afterwards again, meanwhile I could go directly to bed.
22nd Nov 2018
On my way downtown, I visited a tourist information, asking how I could come to some attractions – if there was an opportunity to go by bus. First I only got leaflets of a female assistant, a kind male assistant then explained to me, that it unfortunately was not possible to visit them by bus. I had to take a taxi.
Afterwards I was going back to the cable car and going with it on the hill, from where I could get a good look over Durango. I could easily see the main streets. There was not much more to do up there, though I was taking the cable car down again. The return ticket, even for elderly, was for 15 MXN only. On my way to a restaurant for lunch I was to an HSBC ATM. This time I did not need to pay a fee again for taking out money. It really seems it was an exception in the state of Nayarit.
For more photos of Durango please follow this link.
The afternoon I spent at a Museum for Contemporary Art. It was hard to find, but I did it after a while, even asking around. The entrance fee was only 5 MXN. The museum was small. There were exhibitions of two different painters and a part, where historical things were shown.
I was still full from the lunch, though I was walking back to Isabel’s home. She was at home, but on the way to the café and asked me, if I was hungry and would follow her. I had to tell her, that I will eat later that evening. I took a rest, meanwhile I uploaded my photos from the day – it took a lot of time and made it impossible for me to update my blog. Well finished that, I was hungry enough to go to the café for a meal. I chose one of the more expensive meals. It was a non-spicy chicken dish, which was served in a pan with bell pepper. It also was served with tortillas, but I was happy I could eat the whole dish, but the tortillas. I had a very big cup of drink chocolate as well. It was not a very good combination, of course, but it was both delicious and warming. I paid the bill myself, because of the price (120 MXN for the dish, 50 MXN for the chocolate and I left 20 MXN for the chef). I thought it would not have been fair to let Isabel pay for it.
Isabel had to stay a little longer at the café, though I was back to her apartment by my own and going to bed.
23rd Nov 2018
I was willing to rent a car this day to go to El Saltito, where the waterfall is, which was the scenery for some movies. I have had a look on the Internet and found a car rental in downtown, not even a kilometer away from where my host lives. Well finding the street, there was no car rental. I had another address a couple of kilometers away, but I was looking for a taxi, asking how much it would cost to go there and they explained to me, it would be around 1,000 MXN, but I could go there by bus. I had to take a bus to the town El Salto and from there a collectivo to Mexiquillo. Therefore I was going by city bus, which costs here 10 MXN, to the central bus station. On the way I was thinking about, that Mexiquillo might not be the right place for El Saltito and decided to ask, if there is a bus to the municipality of “Nombre de Díos”, because Isabel had explained to me, that this town is the closest to El Saltito and I could go there, to eat something.
At the central bus station I asked for a ticket for Nombre de Díos and it was for 66 MXN. I could not get a discount for elderly at this one. I was going all the way to that main village of the municipality. I was disappointed, because it should be a Pueblo Magico. It was all, but not magic! Later I found out, that this municipality had the status of Pueblo Magico only by the waterfalls El Saltito. When I left the bus, a taxi driver asked me, if I will go with him, but I was hungry and had to find somewhere to eat. I found a simple restaurant, which served gorditas (I explained before, what kind of meal that is). I was happy, that I could get one without chili. I had two with different fillings. I actually had thought, to have both fillings in the same and then two of them, but it seemed to be common here, to fill them with only one kind of it. I had a bottled peach drink as well. In a small supermarket I bought a bottle of water for my way to El Saltito. I asked at a bus, how to go there and was explained, that they will pass at the junction and let me out there. The fee was 20 MXN.
This way I came to the junction, from where it is around 40 minutes to walk to the waterfalls. I send a message to Isabel, where I was and that I was walking there. I did not know, if I have to go throughout the forest or how the way down there looks like. Therefor I sent her the message, adding if I am not back during the night, it will have happened something to me. This is a usual way recommended.
I tried to hitch hike, but only a few kilometers before my destination a couple stopped and took me to El Saltito, which was not only well signed, but also very close to the road. It was a quite open area with some trees and some cacti. From above one has a good view onto the waterfalls. Later I also did find a staircase to the bottom of the waterfall, but I was thinking about, that I have to come up all the way again and stayed on the upper level. I could see trees with lichen as well. By the way, it was much warmer here than in Durango. I would have liked to have my hat.
For more photos of Nombre del Díos and El Saltito, please follow this link.
I walked all the way back to the junction, I did not even try to get a hike. At the junction I found a bus stop on the other side of the street, but not on my side – in the direction of Durango. I was waiting at a good place, where a bus could stop and tried to get one. Actually a coach from the “Omnibus de Mexico” was the first one, who came and also stopped. I had to pay 50 MXN.
From the central bus station I took a city bus to the city center. I was so hungry now, I had thought about to eat close to the central station, but by just catching the bus to the center, I did not do that. Now I just wanted something to eat and entered a Burger King restaurant, where I had a chicken nuggets combi. When I bought it, I have got a small leaflet with special prices and by it I bought a little ice cream for 10 MXN as a dessert.
Back at Isabel’s she asked me about my day and I told her, that it was possible to go by bus to El Saltito. I was soon to bed, because my feet hurt a little from walking the road.
24th Nov 2018
It was Saturday and at the weekend special buses are going to “Paseo del Viejo Oeste” – an artificial “Western town” with entertainment. My wish was to see the real scenery of the movies in Chupaderos and this entertainment town was close to it. How close I did not realize, but I hoped, there will be an opportunity to see even the real scenery.
I had a late breakfast and was on my way to the supermarket to buy the meat for Swedish meat balls, which I had offered Isabel. When I told her, that I, after I had been at the supermarket, will go to “Paseo del Viejo Oeste” she told me, that she could drive me to the supermarket in the evening. I was happy about it, because I could catch the first bus for the entertainment town. I was still in good time and one of the first entering the bus and it had been easy to find, because there were actors all around the main square with advertising for it. During the waiting time sellers were entering the bus with sweets and chips and similar things. I actually bought a little bag of sweets for 5 MXN, because the waiting time became long. Finally the bus left, full with visitors for this town on the seats and, standing, the actors. The bus was for free respectively the payment was included in the entrance fee, which was 40 MXN only.
For the Swedish readers: This attraction is similar to High Chaparral in Småland, but there is no train. Soon after our arrival the first comedy was played. It was about Indians and the people and other visitors of the town. Unfortunately I had a bad seat, because I did not know in which part of the street the play would be held. Though I could not take a video. The actors all spoke Spanish, of course. Anyway I could enjoy that comedy somewhat. Afterwards I was looking for a restaurant. I took a seat at one, but was not served for a long time, though I was going to another restaurant instead, where I have got my meal immediately. The first restaurant also mostly had spicy dishes. The other restaurant announced, that they sell gorditas and burritos, but actually they only had gorditas. I asked for a filling without chili. There were nopales with eggs and a special kind of cheese. I had one with nopales and one with cheese and a little mug agua de Horchata. Furthermore I went to a shop, buying a popsicle, because I was not really full after the gorditas.
For more photos of “Paseo del Viejo Oeste”, please follow this link.
I was walking around and taking photos, when I came to another place, where another comedy was prepared. It was about Pancho Villa, a Mexican revolutionary general of the Mexican revolution. I stayed for this as well and it seemed, the Mexicans like guns. Lots of children were running around with pistols with percussion caps. Some also acted at the side of the official actors. Now I had seen enough of this spectacular and was leaving the area, asking at the cash, when the next bus is going back. I was told at 5:20pm. I had a waiting time of an hour. Though I googled about Chupaderos and tried to find a taxi. On the main road there was no taxi, but a sign, that it was only 2 km to that place. I decided to walk and hoped, that I could go back by a taxi instead.
I was walking the road again and also this time throughout beautiful nature with mountains. Some where really close to the road. A bus was passing by. I was not expecting one, though, unfortunately, I did not stop it. Arrived at the village of Chupaderos I asked a woman for the way to the movie scenery. She told me, straight ahead after the third street. I was walking further, passed a sign with the name “SET CINEMATOGRÁFICO” and followed that direction, which was straight ahead. The area has a kind of gate and on the top the name “Chupaderos”, therefore I knew, that I was there, even for to be more sure, I asked people in front of it, if that is the “Set Cinema” – I actually did not remember the whole word, but that was not necessary either.
Well there I was surprised about, that there was no entrance fee and that there were shops – a small supermarket, an outdoor restaurant and a little shop for sweets as well as some souvenirs. Some people seemed to be living there. The buildings without shops were closed. Anyway this area is the real one, used in the movies. The other, where I had been before, is just for entertainment and never used in movies. Dawn had come, but I did take some photos anyway. By the way, I was asked something of two minor girls, but I could not understand their question. Though I told them, that I did not understand. When they looked at me wondering, I explained, that I was not from Mexico, do not speak Spanish well and therefore do not understand Spanish well, she still were looking surprised.
For more photos of Chupaderos, please follow this link.
I walked back to the village and hoped to see a taxi, but there was none. Directly after the junction there was a bus arriving and I asked the driver, when it will go back to Durango. Unfortunately he told me, that it was the last tour of the bus for the day. There will not be another one for Durango. At the bus stop at the junction was a guy, which I asked for the bus and he told me, that I just missed it, but there will be another one in an hour. Though I tried to hitchhike and was lucky this time. The first car, which came and was going in the right direction for me, stopped and also did take me with them, but only, because I told them, I need a ride to the junction – what means the junction for Durango. There was a young couple with a little child in the car. When I had entered, the mother did take her handbag from the bag seat. Her husband smiled apologizing. Well at the junction, the driver dropped me directly in front of the entertainment village.
I was really lucky, because the bus for Durango was just to leave and I could enter it, even it already was 5:45pm. I asked the driver for the fee, because he had seen, that I was coming by car and not from the entertainment place. I had to pay 15 MXN, but first he told me five. I was happy, that I could come back to Durango so smoothly, though I did pay the 15 MXN. If I had shown him my ticket for the place, maybe I had not to pay “so much” (actually 15 MXN are just around 70 cent in EUR).
Well back I told Isabel, that I also had visited Chupaderos and that it is very close to Paseo del Viejo Oeste. She asked me, if I was tired, but I was not and we were going to the supermarket – as she promised by car. She told me, that she also had to make a shopping, but did not do that anyway. I bought the minced meat for the dish as well as grated carrots. I also bought shampoo for my hair, because I had run out of it. Furthermore I tried to buy a liter of milk, but she told me, that it is not necessary even I told her, that I used all she has had in the fridge. She told me, she already had more milk. Back at her home I started directly with the Swedish meatballs. We had pasta and carrots respectively celery. She actually do not like grated carrots and I do not like raw celery. Isabel offered a special beer, which only can be bought during the Christmas season. It was a dark “Bock” with 5.6% of alcohol.
During the dinner we were talking about Durango and I was wondering, why there are so many police controlling in town. Isabel told me, that Mexicans do not have a good relation with the police officers, because they are corrupt and brutal, but for Durango they are good. The town has hade a main roll in the drug scene, because the drug chief El Cabo was living in town before. He did it, because his wife is from Durango. When El Capo entered a restaurant with his family, all the other guests were asked to leave and even got the money back, when they already had paid for their meal. El Capo is now in jail in the USA and since the time he got jailed, Durango was becoming save and the sleepy town it is now.
She was very happy about the meatballs and nearly could not stop eating of them. At the end of the dinner she offered me even a liquor, which I tried. It tasted peach. Unfortunately my stomach did not like all the alcohol, though, when I lay down in the bed, it made me going up immediately again. I had to throw up, but most of it was liquid. At that time Isabel was already at the café, therefore she did not know about it – what I was happy about.
Late that evening she was going back with the bowls, she had borrowed at the café and took some meatballs with her for the other employees. I forgot to asked her next day, if the others also liked the meatballs so much.
25th Nov 2018
It was time to say good-bye to Isabel and Durango. I like them both and have had a good time here. I asked Isabel if she use the Uber App, but she use another – one for taxis. Anyway she called a taxi with a taximeter and the ride to the central station was for 50 MXN, exactly like the other way around.
I bought a ticket for a bus for Torreón and was happy, that there was a bus just half an hour later as well as I only had to pay half price again (for elderly). It was only a 3.5 hours ride, though we only got a bottle of water and three biscuits. I had not expected that and became very hungry.
About the few days in Torreón you can read by following the link for Coahuila and scrolling down to the 25th Nov 2018.