After leaving the butterfly reserve, we hightailed it to Valle de Bravo, a town about 2 hours from Mexico City. Because of its close proximitely to such a huge population (roughly 25 million), it is a very popular town for the affluent upper class of Mexico City. We arrived on a weekend that they were hosting some sort of international cultural festival, so the town was packed! Of course, compared to Mexico City, the traffic was probably a nice break for those local weekenders…but for us, it was horrific!
As we entered town, we immediately discovered we should leave town, and we therefore began to attempt to turn around. One hour later we got out of bumper to bumper traffic on some very narrow streets, and found a parking space. A quick job into town was fruitful, and we found some yummy eats and enjoyed looking in some nice shops.
At the restaurant where we ate dinner, we got advice on a quieter area to spend the night, rather in the town which had limited parking and late-night concerts in the plaza. They recommended going to Avandaro. When we arrived to Avandaro it was growing very late, and we soon realized that we hadn’t specified at the restaurant that cheap would have been a nice bonus, too. Avandaro hotels were not cheap. They were painfully expensive…$1400 pesos and up per night (more than $100…and in Mexico, that’s expensive!). We finally gave in and went back to a place that had said they’d knock down the price for us to $1000 pesos. We still felt robbed…it was a $400 pesos quality place, with very limited hot water in the showers. You win some, you lose some…
The town is perched on a mountain side, overlooking Lake Avandaro. Unlike Lake Chapala, Lake Avandaro is actually used recreationally, and the town also has many hiking and ATV trails scattered throughout. Sadly, I never got a photo of the lake! However, I was told recently by some diving friends from Mexico City that this lake has a buried chapel at its bottom! I need to know more!
We found a beautiful wood furniture shop that sold wooden hammocks, that reminded us of our wooden watches that we sell. We considered another wholesale business briefly…
While in Valle we ran into an American who lived in Mexico, and asked him what “local” adventures we should go on. He pointed us to a waterfall in Avandaro, Velo de Novia (Bridal Veil). It is a public park buried in the middle of a high-end neighborhood, and it was well-visited by tourist buses and other crowds!
It received a thumbs-up from our family!
After our hike we met up with the Dennings one last time and bade them farewell. We planned to drive out of the city for awhile and get a hotel. But when we started calculating the distance we realized we could be home by 11pm if we just kept driving. So, the kids all fell asleep and we plowed through the well-lit, smooth toll roads…all the way to Guadalajara, and then Chapala! An end to another great adventure!