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I made my way from Tlaquepaque to Ajijic. I stayed in a Vacation Rental for 7 nights.
Accommodation in Ajijic is a problem … on ANY hotel search engine (including my favourites: AGODA.COM and BOOKING.COM), you will struggle to find a Double Room with Ensuite for less than MXP700 / night.
I changed tack and pre-booked a Vacation Rental through TRIPADVISOR. The cost was US$200 / week.
The Vacation Rental was very comfortable.
I had a large bedroom, large ensuite, a private roof terrace, and access to the common areas like the Dining Room and the Kitchen. In the kitchen, I had my own cupboards and Fridge / Freezer.
AJIJIC VACATION RENTAL TO BUS STATION:
My Vacation Rental host, Mike, was kind enough to drive me the 8-10kms from Ajijic to the main Bus Station in Chapala Town.
I don’t think that UBER Taxis operate in Ajijic … if they do, an UBER Taxi would cost about MXP50. A normal taxi would cost double that.
We left Ajijic just after 9:00am and arrived at the Chapala Bus Station at 9:20am.
The next ‘Direct’ Bus to Guadalajara left at 9:45am.
The price is MXP50.
BUS FROM CHAPALA TO GUADALAJARA:
The bus is perfectly comfortable and more than adequate for the 1 hour journey to Guadalajara.
I already knew, from my previous mistake in getting from Tlaquepaque to Ajijic, that the Chapala bus goes to a Bus Station near the centre of Guadalajara … not to the Nueva (new) Central De Autobuses just south of Tlaquepaque. I needed the latter for my bus to Guanajuato.
I was expecting to have to catch a 15-20km UBER Taxi ride between the two.
However, even though this was a ‘directo’ bus (direct with no stops), when we got to the outskirts of Guadalajara the bus stopped to let some people off.
This unscheduled stop was only 7kms away from the Nueva Bus Station … so I quickly got off too. The driver was kind enough to let me do that … even though he had to stop longer to get my suitcase out of the Luggage Compartment.
GETTING TO THE NUEVA CENTRAL DE AUTOBUSES:
I got onto my UBER Mobile App to order a taxi. Communications were down.
I had to wait 10 minutes before the UBER App worked.
Finally, I ordered my taxi. This time, I wasn’t given a fixed price quote … I would just have to see what the price was when I got there … but I have learnt to trust UBER.
My taxi arrived within 5 minutes. It was a reasonably new and tidy Peugot.
By 11:10am we were at the New Bus Station.
The price was MXP43.50; I gave him MXP45.
I learnt a little bit more about UBER’s charging method. There is a fixed fee of about MXP5 and the remainder of the fare is made up of a mixture of kms travelled and time taken. The latter works out to be about MXP6-7 / km (depending on traffic).
BUS FROM GUADALAJARA TO GUANAJUATO:
The UBER Communications outage made the difference. I just missed a Primera Plus bus going to Guanajuato. The next Primera Plus Direct Bus was 12:20pm.
I could have caught an ETN Bus instead but they cost MXP600 … and the Primera Plus buses are very comfortable … you don’t need to pay the extra for ETN (even though they are meant to be a bit more ‘luxurious’).
I grabbed a couple of Tacos for lunch and waited.
You are assigned a seat number of your choice. Your ticket tells you the number of the bus so that you can easily find it.
The journey is scheduled to take about 4 hours 15 minutes.
The bus left on time. My suitcase was ‘tagged’ and stored underneath in the Luggage Compartment. You keep the ‘tag’ and you need it to reclaim your bag when you get off of the bus at your destination. this helps to prevent luggage theft.
You are security checked as you get onto the bus and they check the contents of your hand luggage.
The seating is very comfortable and you have your own Entertainment System. There is, also, free wifi – but it didn’t work very well on this bus.
These long distance buses do not go to the centre of Guanajuato. They stop at the Bus Station de Guanajuato which is 7kms out of town.
GUANTAJUATO BUS STATION TO MY VACATION RENTAL:
There are normal Taxis waiting but you will pay a premium price. Apparently UBER operates in Guanajuato … but, I didn’t know that at the time. On UBER, I could have gotten to my Vacation Rental for under MXP50.
As you walk out of the Bus Terminal you will find a bus stop immediately in front of you up some steps. It is easy to find because all of the locals are queuing there.
A bus arrived within 5 minutes and I got on it … luggage and all. The bus driver sort of ‘gave me a funny look’ … but who cares. The price to the Town Centre is MXP5.
The Town Centre was a 15 minute walk from my Vacation Rental, so I watched which route he took on Google Maps to see if I could get off at a better spot. Sure enough, he passed 600m from my Rental so I quickly got off.
It wasn’t an easy walk with a suitcase along hilly cobbled streets. In retrospect, I should have caught a Taxi. But, I got there in the end.
It was 6:30pm.
MY VACATION RENTAL:
As with Ajijic, I found Hotel prices in Guanajuato too expensive for GRANDPAckers. What was within price range was usually in a Hostel and either below GRANDPAcking Standard and / or had a Shared Bathroom.
So, I pre-booked another Vacation Rental through TRIPADVISOR. The ‘Garuda’. I paid US$167 for 1 week (7 nights). US$24 / night.
You entered through a hallway. Off the hallway was a separate lounge with Cable TV. Off of the lounge was a separate conservatory.
The kitchen led to a nice Double bedroom with good furniture. Fan.
The ensuite was a good size.
The trip from Ajijic to Guanajuato is a reasonably long one … and you need to get your ‘connections’ right.
Door-to-door it should take about 9 hours.
My total cost was MXP526. But, for 2 GRANDPAckers, budget MXP1,150 (using UBER Taxis).
I will tell you more about Guanajuato in my next post.
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