After Mazatlan, we rolled into Chacala, a small seaside village north of Puerto Vallarta in an area the tourism industry calls Riviera Nayarit. Chacala didn’t start off in a good way.
We arrived around sunset and were pleased enough with the campground/parking lot which was right next to the beach with coconut palms above and cost just $10 a night. We set up and after a long traveling day figured we would grab dinner out and crash for the night. It was a Monday night and in the smaller towns Mexicans don’t typically go out for dinners like Americans do so all of the restaurants in town were pretty empty. We found one at the end of town with some customers and went to grab a bite. Amidst the kids acting up, rain started pouring and the wind picked up and the restaurant lost power twice. It rained hard enough that Simon had to borrow a garbage bag as poncho to walk back to the campground, lower the pop top and drive back to the restaurant to pick us up. Then we realized that the beds and sleeping bags were a little wet because we left the top windows open while we were out. Well, nothing we could do about that now. We got the kids settled down, turned off the lights and that’s when I heard “drip, drip, drip” ON MY BED.
“Simon, do you hear that? Water is leaking from the rear door onto the bed.” I called to the upstairs bed.
“Yeah, there is nothing I can do.”
“You mean you knew about this? It is dripping pretty bad. The cushions are soaked through and even the frame underneath is wet.”
“Yeah, there is nothing I can do right now. I already tried to tarp the outside.” He said sleepily and didn’t even shift.
Well I stuck a bucket with a towel under the drip and went back to bed.
So that’s how we started our time in Chacala, a place that both of us think is our favorite place yet from our three months on the road.
Sometimes with traveling what one person finds extraordinary can be totally opposite for someone else. But after spending seven days there which is the longest stretch consecutively we had spent in any single place, we still couldn’t find anything wrong with it. It was such a magical place and time for us. It’s not like we haven’t seen an amazing beach after coming off of two months in Baja. But there is something about the warm water and playful rolling waves surrounded by lush jungle and coconut palms. There is also something to be said about the entire sandy beach not dominated by hotels but is open to everyone and dotted with low key locally owned restaurants. And strangely enough we had some of the best food on our trip in this town and still managed to stay under our budget while eating out twice a day.
We couldn’t just stay in Chacala for good so we peeled ourselves away for a place called Playa Mayto on the Jalisco coast. This place is often not on the map and Google map will take you the long and wrong way to get there. It is remote with miles of untouched coast and pounding waves. We rarely got in the water but regardless we had a really sweet camp spot for a few days with our own palapa for some outdoor living space.
Mayto turned out to not just be about the beach. First, because we weren’t really sure about the road conditions into Mayto, about mid way into our drive we started looking for a place to crash for the night. So that led us to our first time asking a stranger if we could camp on their land. Thank goodness for our Spanish translation app. It never hurts also to point at your kids. Mexicans just love little kids. And we lucked out because as you know our family just love farm animals and we got to play with them for a day.
We also found in Mayto the beginnings of a sustainable ranch and went to take a tour at Rancho Sol y Mar. We met a great Mexican/American couple working on the ranch with their 4 year old boy who is just 3 days older than Ty. We really enjoyed talking with them and the other volunteers there and learning about different sustainable energy and waste systems, permaculture and natural building.
After Mayto it’s time to head to the mountains.