This article is from the October 1995 The Mexico File
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An Observant Traveler Reports
by Stacy Taylor
Mr. Stacy Taylor, "world famous" talk show host at KFMB Radio in San Diego and a reader ofThe Mexico File reports on a recent trip to Mexico.
We had a great time in Mexico despite my trepidations about arranging the itinerary through EASYSABRE on-line service. I wasnt totally convinced that any of the reservations and such would "take," but there were no (unpleasant) surprises.
Actually, what was surprising was how quickly the guidebooks have become out-of-date. An oft-cited "acknowledged best" restaurant in Guadalajara, Copa de Leche, no longer exists at Juarez and Galeana downtown, or anywhere else for that matter. In fact, the central business district offers surprisingly few good restaurants. We ended up having several meals at Sanborns, of all places, because at least there you could get some chilaquiles to go with your huevos. While the downtown cuisine left something to the imagination, the virgin wool Italian-made suits at Aldo Contis, for $125, were the bargain of the year.
We rented a car (Budget...no hassles) and headed to Colima via the toll road and got there in good time, spent a night in the Hotel American, ate some authentic Mexican food for the first time since leaving San Diego, bought a few of the ubiquitous ceramic dogs, got bitten by mosquitos, and moved on.
We skipped Mazanillo (at your recommendation) and headed for Malaque/Barra de Navidad. Again the guidebooks are out-dated. The Hotel Casa Grande is now a virtual ruin, destroyed by earthquake or hurricane, or both, and I found Malaque to be a bit of an unpleasant hell-hole. While looking for a Pemex station, we had an encounter with one of those oh-so-obvious dealer/narc types you run into down there from time to time. He first, in perfect English, warned us about the checkpoint up the road and then suggested we (including my 8- and 13-year-old sons presumably) turn over our drugs to him. The whole experience, after a full days drive, was so off-putting that we headed back up the road a couple of miles to Barra and checked into the Hotel Cabo Coral. Barra, unlike Malaque, was charming, probably the way San Felipe was about twenty years ago. This will all probably change in a year or so when a huge Xanadu-like resort on an island in the bay goes on-line sometime in 1997.
From there it was a picturesque, no hassle, five-hour drive up the coast to Puerto Vallarta, where we spent three charming days of eating, scrounging for trinkets, jet-skiing, and debating the cost of a Sergio Bustamante sculpture (ultimately deciding we could afford the $250 for the smallest available piece).