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AIM Adventures In Mexico Newsletter
Your best resource for information about budget travel, affordable retirement, and living in Mexico.
Adventures in Mexico Newsletter
A newsletter on retirement and travel in Mexico
AIM-Adventures in Mexico Newsletter
Dec 04/Jan 2005


ffffOvernight in Angangueo is a chance to see the real Mexico. When you awake, and the sun rises in a clear sky and warms the sanctuaries high in the mountains above town, the butterflies stir loose from their slumbers in the remote ravines high above town and pour down the hillsides to begin filling the tiny plaza and narrow streets and sidewalks. What butterflies you may see in the town, however, are just a teaser for what awaits you upon arrival at the highest sanctuaries of El Rosario and Sierra Chincua.
ffffFirst hotel on the right is Hotel Don Bruno with 30 rooms. Charming architecture using natural brick in archways, and wrought iron detailing, a restaurant, and a large courtyard filled with azaleas and calla lilies. AIM looked at Room 101 with fireplace and a spotted cowhide table and chairs in addition to the two double beds. Rates are with and w/o fireplaces: $50/sngl & $62/double w/o fpl; $62/sngl & $74 w/ fpl. Add $10 per person for breakfast buffet, $13 for afternoon or evening buffet. Anoisy teen school group had booked all the rooms. At these tourist rates (Mexico City tourists North Americans are rare around here) we were happy to walk on.
Also at the entrance to town is Hotel La Margarita with 12 rooms. It has interior parking, big rooms, fireplaces and a large, clean restaurant. $23/sngl, $34/dbl.
ffffSeveral blocks further up the hill and toward the center is Hotel Real Monarca, Calle Nacional No.16. upstairs. AIM liked the price and location in the middle of the action. On the second floor is a restaurant that functions as hotel lobby. The rooms are new, with new beds, but we surmise they used rolled socks to stuff the pillows.
NOTE: When sometimes obliged by the rigors of adventure travel reporting to stay in room settings with indifferent bedding, or if there is a sense of disappointment regarding some detail, the paint scheme perhaps, AIM finds that a small medicinal application of Mexicos national Brandy Presidente, $7.60/940ml bottle, can soften pillows, firm up mattresses, and set free the travelers imagination.
ffffHotel Real Monarca is meticulously clean, but the stairway to the third floor is a real head basherarchitects are not always consulted in the design of lesser-cost public accommodations, leaving it to the masons to figure out how to get from here to there in the course of bricklaying. Angangueos steep hillsides complicate the challenge. Real Monarca rates: $18/dbl. w/o bath; $22/dbl. w/bath. The hot water was not reliable. When we tried to shower in-room, hot water merely dribbled. We waited naked expectantly, then disappointed, scampered down the cold morning hall wrapped in towel, only to find the same impeded flow in the shared bathroom. Breakfast companions would see us unshaven.
ffffDining at Hotel Monarca is a cheerful event. Bright colored table linens are changed morning and night. We were famished on late arrival, post concert, (see below) and found the thin steak with French fries (thin steaks are typical, so nothing wrong here) or chicken breast with rice acceptable at $4, with bottled beer $1, and soft drinks $.70 Agood vegetable soup was $.90. The mountain morning was quite coolwe stayed in our hotel for breakfast of Mexican style eggs (vegetarian, with finely chopped onion and peppers), a large portion, carefully prepared and very clean, with frijoles, nice warm tortillas, large portions on large decorative plates for just $2.20 Fresh OJ was $.90. Delicious. Mexico is filled with good cooks whose simple inexpensive preparations are a great human pleasure.
ffffNext door at No. 20 is Casa de Huéspedes. This wins the funky award - all stairs, balconies, and birdcages in a jumbled layout that would be hard to diagram on paper not the kind of place you want to come home tipsy at dark as walking is precarious. Rooms open onto an open, mountain air courtyard bring your woolies. The rooms have older beds but are clean and homey. It also has a breakfast room and the señora made a point of mentioning the hot water and that the place can accommodate a bus tour of fifty. $9,one single bed/no bath; $11 w/bath; $18/dbl. w/bath.
ffffHalf a block uphill and across the street from Hotel Real Monarca is Hotel Juarez, older adobe construction with blue façade. Rooms surround a traditional colonial style courtyard with a riotous flower collection, very agreeable to peek in and see just how many flowerpots you can cram into a Mexican patio. AIM enjoyed viewing lovely specimens of calla lily, azalea in variety, and many, many geraniums. Flowerpot collecting is obviously an Angangueo hobby deliriously out of control and thoroughly delightful. Do peek into the rooms, touch the mattresses, squeeze the pillows and take a deep whiff to make certain the exuberant patio is enough amenity before you hand over $22.50/double. The manager pleasantly urged us to make immediate decision as todos los hotels están saturados (everythings booked). He was right-most rooms and some entire little hotels were booked for a Saturday night. But AIM holds to the true faith that in wondrous Mexico, there is always another hotel, prettier patio, better flowers, ever nicer people, and maybe cheaper.
ffffAcross from the zocalo, on Calle Nacional is Restaurant Los Arcos. This is a super-clean Mexican tourist class restaurant with a uniformed staff, tablecloths, cleanly printed menu and well-dressed tourist clientele. They rent rooms. AIM was quoted $36/ for a 3 double beds (large Mexican family) room.

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