After a relaxing weekend in Cabo, it was time for us to pack up and drive back up to La Paz to catch our ferry. We boarded in the evening; Paul drove the van on while I waited in a separate area to board. The trip from La Paz to Mazatlan would take us about 15 hours, so we got a cabin and settled in. While on board, we met four other couples that were doing the same trip we were! We all got together in the corner of a ballroom and swapped stories of our trip, sipped beers, and endured the numbingly loud 80ʻs music being pumped though the speakers. One of the couples, Mike and Lindsay, (you can follow their overland trip at www.roamingrhythm.com) were heading to the same town we were. We decided to caravan down together in the morning.
We got off the ferry at Mazatlan at about 10am. Mazatlan is a port city in the state of Sinaloa and is a notoriously sketchy place to be. The city has its origins in the 1700s as a base for smugglers and pirates and continues to maintain that reputation if you catch my drift. But it is also a thriving fishing port and is a major manufacturing center for Pacifico beer as well as a tourist destination in its own right.
We weren’t too interested in hanging out there however, so we took to driving. It took about 5 hours to reach San Francisco (called “San Poncho” by locals). Here we met up with my friend Aida (who was visiting from Oahu) and her friend Tori (who lives here). We also got to hang out with Toriʻs boyfriend Poncho who showed us around and helped us get a campsite for the week.
On our first two days in town, there was a huge fiesta in honor of San Poncho (Saint Francisco) the townʻs patron saint. The party had apparently been going for an entire week but we were here to catch the finale. Inebriated cowboys guided their horses to stomp and keep time with music in a kind of equine ballet. Big brass bands played music as a parade winded though the streets. The last night was filled with fireworks and dancing that lasted until about 4 in the morning. Everyone was out celebrating: parents, kids, babies, couples, old people. The whole town. Mike, Lindsay, Paul, and I wandered through the fiesta until around 1 am when Paul and I couldnʻt stay awake any longer. People in San Poncho can really party.