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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Mesmerizing Mazamitla
Mazamitla, Jalisco, Mexico
(Pronounced Ma-za-MEET-la, Ha-LEES-coh, MAY-hee-coh)
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Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Continuing our travels around Lake Chapala we left the city of Sahuayo, and for 40 Pesos each we bused to the enchanting mountain town of Mazamitla.


 

Our bus wasn't first class, but at least it wasn't the "Chicken Bus"! On the other hand, we think the shocks were original equipment.

 

As we gained altitude the temperatures dropped. The seats were not a soft as they looked, still, all was good.

 

When we arrive at a new location, our first stop is inside the bus station to check the schedule for times and prices of the next leg of the trip. In this case we will be traveling to San Luis Soyatlan in a couple of days. As you can see, the price (listed under the Dollar sign on the right) is 45 Pesos per person. Alternately, we could take any bus going to Guadalajara.

Checking times and prices when we arrive saves us a trip to the station later. It also avoids any confusion in receiving different answers when asking in town about times the buses leave or how much they cost.

 

Well, well, well. We arrived to soup-like fog mixed with light rain and much colder temps. Hurricane Rick was raging on the west coast of Mexico, and we were receiving the outer bands of that weather system.

You can't see it by this photo, but Mazamitla is a pine forest wonderland built high up in the mountain ranges of the Sierra de Tigre - 2,200 meters above sea level.

 

The name of the town comes from a Nahuatl word meaning 'the place where arrows are made for hunting deer'. Tourist books call Mazamitla 'the Switzerland of Mexico' and it's an ideal place for camping holidays, trail walking and horseback-riding.

But today, we simply wanted to stay dry and warm!

 

The local drink in town is called Pajarete which is a concoction of milk, aguardiente (firewater or brandy), brown sugar and chocolate. Also called rompope, it is made in other flavors as well. Here you see the shelves lined from the top with rompope, cajeta de nuez which is a caramel sauce with nuts, canned fruit, other sweets and nuts by the bag.

 

What does one do when chilled to the bone? Order the Mexican dish molcajete. This one was a mixta with pork, beef and shrimp in a borracho (drunk) sauce made with beer and bubbling over with melted cheese. The serving dish is made of volcanic rock from the region which is placed in the oven and brought out sizzling and spitting.

This was an order for one, but with tortillas it easily served two of us and it is delicious!

 

We weren't used to this wet, frosty weather, but the locals took it in stride.

Life goes on in this mountain village, at least for those willing to brave the elements.

 

The next morning the sun burst open and the colors of the town came alive. The temperature was still very crisp, but with the sunlight it seemed entrancing.

This was one of the few places we have visited in Mexico where the town or church clock actually worked, and had the correct time!

 

All over Mexico we see the older generation of men sitting around the plaza chatting away with each other - a skill that Billy is determined to perfect.

Plazas are the gathering place in any Mexican town or city.

 

This couple may have been returning from the market which was just down the street to the right. We saw no trash lying about, and the buildings were in very good condition. This is a well kept town.

 

On our wanderings that day we came across Hostal El Ciervo Rojo  set in a 150 year old home. Rooms rent for 400 Pesos per person and included a private bath. There are enough beds to provide for 16 sleepers a night. With an open country kitchen, large dining room and an interior garden, it was a lovely place to stay.

 

Photos of the elderly in the nations we visit invariably stir me.

One can tell just by looking, that this woman chooses comfortable shoes to walk in and isn't pretentious. She is more than likely a widow, wearing her husband's wedding band on her middle right finger, too large for her own ring finger. Her shawl protects her head and shoulders from the chill and you can tell that her careworn day apron has seen many a meal being made. A feminine floral dress covers her sweater and leg warmers. She's a survivor.

 

Balconies with flower pots line the street heading towards the market. There are potted plants and benches for sitting all along this pristine road.

 

In search for the perfect taco, this place was recommended as serving the 'greatest taco known to humanity.' She served steaming, tender chunks of beef brisket on fire-warmed tortillas. Outstanding flavor and quantity for 8 Pesos each.

 

Later on that evening the temperatures went from crisp to cold. Out strolling, we discovered this food stand serving atole,  which is an ancient Mexican beverage with origins in pre-Columbian times. It is thickened with masa (corn flour) and hits the spot on mountain-fresh evenings.

 

Corn is an integral part of Mexican history and cuisine.

This grilled corn on the cob was served with a mixture of grated cheese and butter. To the left in the photo you can see the tamales (also made of corn) wrapped in corn husks staying steaming hot. The corn drink atole is in the container behind the young girl.

 

After 2 nights in Mazamitla it was time to head on back to Chapala. Since we confirmed our times previously, we had little wait for our bus at the station. This bus was more comfortable than the one we took to arrive here. Notice how clean it is!

 

We made a stop in San Luis Soyatlan to see a view of our Mexican home town from across the lake. On the right of the photo you will see Chapala proper, with the pier strutting out into the lake. Heading towards the middle and left of the photo you see the houses of San Antonio and Ajijic dotting the hillside.

 

Resting here on the malecon in San Luis, our traveler's group photo shows our hats from the hat factory in Sahuayo.

We inquired about taking a boat across the lake to Chapala to finish this adventure instead of riding the bus, but all of the fishermen were out fishing this time of day. No boats were available!

Eight days it took to complete the trip around Lake Chapala and there are towns and places we have yet to see. The more we travel the more we are convinced that there is no end to the discovery!

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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