Days 53 – 56 : San Miguel, Nevado de Toluca, and the Most Awesome Water Park in Mexico

San Miguel de Allende is a pretty little town with shockingly high prices, most likely due to the healthy ex-pat community that calls it home. We tucked ourselves into a cute little RV park close to the center of town which would have been perfect except for the grouchy (and child-despising) older German couple parked next to us. We’ve found most overlanders to be a friendly bunch but somehow these guys missed the memo.

Fortunately there were streets to explore, cathedrals to be viewed, and ice cream to be devoured. I also saw a doctor for my pesky earache and got some antibiotics which slowly worked their magic. Total cost for both the doctor’s visit and meds? Less than $10. 

Ben worked studiously on getting his wiggly tooth to a state of ‘even more wiggly’. It wouldn’t come out for another five days and then was at the center of a crisis when the tooth fairy forgot to stop by. She redeemed herself though and came ’round the following night  She must have felt badly too, because she shelled out 40 pesos, double what Ben got for Tooth #1 in Baja.

We drove up to Nevado de Toluca, one of Mexico’s tallest peaks and our highest point of the trip so far: 12,237 feet.

It was a nice change from the steamy jungles of the lowlands; we broke out our winter parkas for the first time since California. The next morning we woke to see the top of the mountain covered in a light dusting of snow.

We planned to hike up to the top of the peak the next morning for a look inside the crater but intestinal distress struck three family members during the night and we quickly bagged our mountaineering plans. Quick! Find a hotel!



Our hotel, despite being located in the middle of nowhere, was lovely. We lounged by the pool and let our stomachs recover with a bland but necessary diet of bread, tortillas, and cereal. Breakfast of champions. And of people suffering from traveler’s diarrhea. 🙂

The next day we were sufficiently recovered and decided to promptly re-scramble our insides with a trip to Mexico’s most terrifying water park, El Rollo. Don’t look at TripAdvisor if you plan to visit: they tell horror stories of 30,000 people descending on this park on weekends, hour-long wait times for rides, and expensive food. Which, I’m sure, are all true, should you visit on a weekend. We happened upon the park on a Friday and it was deserted, in the most fantastic way possible: no wait times, and gobs of different rides.

[A tame ending to a not-so-tame slide. I can’t believer they let a three-year old ride it.]

For the most part, the rides were ones that would rival any park in the US, except for the fact that they let wee little Emma on practically every single slide, no matter the level of difficulty. Emma was delighted with the arrangement and proved that she, like her older brother, has a bit of a dare devil streak. Nobody puts Baby in a corner.  We didn’t bother carrying a camera around but let’s just say the day was one of our best yet.


Emma at previous water park, near Guadalajara. This one was crazy fast and a little scary. It also ripped the crotch out of my swim suit which made for a slightly awkward exit maneuver. El Rollo was way better (and did not attack the clothing covering sensitive anatomy bits).


After that we pointed our trusty camper south and headed for Acapulco. We were ready for beaches!


  • Luv your trip reports. You guys are so coo!
    Going to Portland, 9/14-15 to order a Hawk shell model with some add-ons. I’ve enjoyed the construction reporting of your Hawk build-out. A question, if you will: Factory installed refrigerator vs. your install–nice work, by the way.
    Looking forward to your next trip installments. Benisons and goodwill as you travel on!

  • Sonja Jernstrom

    The guys in Portland are great; they did a great install on our beefed-up camper struts (which makes the roof much easier to open). If you’re waffling on struts, get as much assist power as possible. The roof (we have solar panels and a rocket box) gets heavy.

    As for the fridge: when we ordered they were only putting Dometic fridges in FWC and we weren’t super impressed with ’em. Hence our Novakool. However, we swung through the factory in July and we saw that they’d switched to a new brand (can’t remember off-hand), which were great. Consequently, if we were ordering now, we’d go with the factory installed version.

    The Novakool is great – it was just a ton of work to install (especially figuring out the wiring and making sure we had enough vents for cooling) and we worry every time it makes weird noises.

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