The day after we paddled the second canyon of the Rio Verde with Team Previa (see: Mexico 2013 part II HERE); we woke up early and broke down our camp at Aldea Huseteca. Eager to get on the road south towards Veracruz, we skipped breakfast, planning to find something to eat along the way. It was raining lightly as we departed our campsite and the rain continued throughout the day, slowing traffic everywhere and lengthening our already long drive to Tlapacoyan. While driving through a small town, the name of which I have already forgotten, we did eventually find an awesome place for breakfast. We spotted fresh bread and pastries in a storefront window along the main road. A couple of blocks later we found a spot to park and backtracked on foot. The storefront was indeed a bakery, but was also a café with a counter and table-service in the back. No one spoke any English, but like so many times before we used a combination of our limited Spanish and pointing at meals being consumed at other tables to place our orders. We didn’t think we had all ordered the same thing, but when our meals appeared they were identical. We each received a big platter containing a slab of flank steak, a pile of eggs, fried potatoes, and a serving of beans. A couple stacks of tortillas also appeared; ready to be loaded with the contents of our plates. We ate to our hearts content and bought a few pastries on our way out the door, beyond pleased with our random breakfast stop.
Back on the road again, we slogged on through the rain. We passed through two state police checkpoints where the officers first asked… then insisted, that we buy them a cup of coffee. Their exaggerated shivering was effective charades in communicating to us that they were cold from standing in the rain… despite if being about 70 degrees outside. We complied, not too put-off by the ten peso price tag, after all the current exchange rate put ten pesos roughly equal to $0.75 USD. It was a small price to pay to not get hassled any further and to move through their checkpoint as quickly as possible. Soon we were winding along the Emerald Coast, catching glimpses of the beach and its waves on our left. Had it not been a rainy, foggy day, it would have been quite a beautiful spot. Eventually we turned right, leaving the coast behind and heading back into the mountains towards our destination, the small city of Tlapacoyan.
Over the past few years the state of Veracruz and the especially the area around Tlapocoyan have become the most well known destination for paddling in Mexico. Its popularity is due in part to the many great whitewater runs that are in relatively close proximity to each other, but it’s not just the richness of the whitewater that have made it so popular. In large part, the boom in paddling in the region is due to ease of logistics because of the services provided by a family-owned company called Aventurec. Unlike most of Mexico, where paddlers are pretty much on their own to figure out logistics, Aventurec makes paddling around Tlapacoyan downright simple! Aventurec a eco tourism company that has rafting, horseback riding, zip lines, a campground, hostel, rental cabañas, a restaurant (with meal plans!), a bar (that allows tabs!), and can provide shuttle services for kayakers. Pretty much anything a nomadic group of paddlers could need or want is all right there and coordinated by people who know the area like no outsider ever could. There is also usually a variety of different paddling groups from around North America and Europe staying at Aventurec, creating a great vibe every night at the bar and around the campfire.