Chacala, Nayarit, Mexico

Beach life ……

Thursday began with a rude awakening at 5:30 a.m., in order to meet our driver down at the Teatro Principal for the journey to Guadajuanato Airport.


Through sleepy path ways our suitcases rattle along.

At this point we feel like the only people in Guanajuato awake.

However, of course not!  Right at the steps of Teatro Principal we found our driver, Israel.  Off we went …..


If possible, the tunnels seem even more eery when we are the only car driving along …..

The flight itself was smooth and quick, a far cry from our lengthy journey by bus to get inland.  Oh, if only that volcano hadn’t been acting up!

My brother Bruce and our cousin Doug met us at the PV airport.  Bruce seemed to think that we were all going to fit into that VW bug, along with our luggage.  Not a freaking chance.  I ended up with Bruce and the luggage and the rest of the crew went in a taxi.  Doug had his own version of a Mexican Harley … his scooter.


This does look a bit like a cartoon ……


A far cry from the world of Mexican VW beetles, we stopped at Doug and Mona’s swanky condo …… However, that world is out of our budget and so off we went.


At long last … the beach!  We have arrived in Chacala, which will be our home for the rest of the trip.  Time to relax, swim and just soak up some vitamin D.  So fabulous to have a visit with Bruce.  After lunch he and the VW bug made their way to PV, but we know he will be back!


Our first sunset from the deck at our home, Casa Monarca.


No groceries purchased yet, so we wandered down to the beach for dinner while listening to the waves crash on the beach … these coconut shrimp were just delicious!


Waiting for the collectivo to take us into Las Varas, the largest centre to get some groceries.  Chacala has a decent assortment of small spots to get fruit and vegetables, but that is about it.


As you can see, it is really busy here, not sure we can handle the crowds.

With about 300 full-time residents, Chacala is a small fishing village – very rustic and quaint.


As  we arrived in Las Varas the parade celebrating the Revolution of 1910 had just begun.  Or, as Grant would say, it was his planning that had us arriving there in time for the parade!  In any case, this is a big deal down here, with people of all ages taking part.  Probably the longest parade we have ever seen.


We missed the youngest children, but the kids of all ages were wearing the most beautiful outfits.  I had to feel sorry for them as we were sweating without wearing elaborate clothing!



Just loved the way this group were dressed in the traditional regional attire from around Mexico.


Cutest little daycare group sitting watching the parade, needless to say their favourite part was having candy thrown at them from the floats.



Although worn in the parade as depicting the traditional attire, don’t think it isn’t still used as such – when we are in rural Mexico, in small villages, this is still what people are wearing.


It’s not all traditional though ….. these little cheerleaders were high energy and very good.





Unless you live in Mexico, I am sure you haven’t seen this in your local parade – teenagers making margaritas and passing them out to other teenagers!


Sorry Vivi, but I had to include this photo …. It makes me think of that expression that goes something like “a picture is worth a thousand words..”  Hot, tired and hungry all Vivi wants is to be fed, not try and understand a menu.


Taken from our balcony, after a strenuous and exhausting day getting groceries, parade watching and bobbing in the Pacific Ocean it is very nice to be able to come home and sit on our loungers while still listening to the waves crash behind us.

Chacala is about 1 1/2 – 2 hours north of Puerta Vallarta and a great place to come if you want to get away from it all.



Tuesday morning it was time to leave San Miguel de Allende and move on to Guanajuato.  That trip turned out to be pretty simple!  We walked out our door, dragging our suitcases and walked down to the main drag, literally 7 minutes (down, 15 back up Vivi says).  We flagged down a taxi to take us to the bus station, but then asked him how much to take us directly to Guanajuato … 600 pesos and the deal was made.  Off we went.  Things were super easy until we got into Guanajuato and it became apparent that our driver had never been into the big city of Guanajuato.  Thankfully he had no problem flagging down any and all pedestrians to ask for directions to “Teatro Principal”.  Eventually, many tunnels later, we found it, much to his relief but I think he was a bit worried about getting out of the maze.


Strangely enough, the last time Grant and I were in Guanajuato, we were also dropped off at Teatro Principal by the taxi driver.  That time we argued with him that it was not our address, and after much gesticulation, we understood that our driver could NOT drive to the destination, this was as far as a car could go.  Pretty funny this time when the same thing happened, and we were met by our hosts in order to walk up and up and up.

Guanajuato is built with most of its road system underground, in tunnels that were formerly underground rivers.  Above ground there are very narrow streets, single lane with SUPER skinny sidewalks, single file if you are thin.  I don’t know how anybody builds a house here, or even buys a new fridge.  Very few roads, with all the houses built up on the hillsides, and only narrow pathways or stairs to get to them.


We took a few photos of our path down to the centro, just so we could find our way back through the maze!


This is the University of Guanajuato – 25,000 students here really give the whole area that student buzz.


The view from our balcony at Guanajuato.


I think we have certainly had our fair share of odd things to check out in Mexico, but this was right up there in bizarre stuff …… We went to the mummy museum.  The first mummy dug up was in 1865, and there are more than 100 remains on display. Authorities were shocked to find not skeletons, but mummified bodies, complete with clothing and shoes intact. Somehow the lime in the soil kept these mummies preserved.


Just weird.


The buildings are colourful, and just beautiful – every street is so pretty.  A really clean city as well.


Pretty much the first order of business when we get to a new location is to purchase fresh tortillas – ready for breakfast.


The streets are lined with sculptures.


After our long hike UP UP UP to the mummy museum we stopped for a coffee, hot chocolate and pastry ….. Wilson was a little disconcerted to realize that glass in the floor beside him was a view of the tunnels and road system below the city.


Our living room (salon) in Guanajuato, and yes, another night of salsa and guacamole before going out for dinner.


Basilica interior – the churches are often very ornate, but this was incredible. . . chandeliers everywhere and absolutely stunning.  A real sense of the wealth behind the Catholic church, yet incredibly peaceful.


I know, I can’t get enough of the house colours around here …. but I think it might be time to paint my kitchen this shade of blue!



I love the way each little neighbourhood has its own courtyard for socializing.  The further away from the centro that you get, the quieter it will be.


We went to Diego Rivera’s home, where he lived in his early years.  It has been restored beautifully and not only houses much of his own work, but two of the floors are used as art galleries.



Honestly, sorry, can’t remember the name of this artist, but impressionist art is a bit lost on me ….


However, this one of his we both loved.


One floor was devoted to photographs of life in Angola, and these photos were so captivating I just couldn’t believe it.


These would have made amazing prints to purchase and take away, but there weren’t any for sale.


There is simply no reason to be hungry in Mexico – without looking too hard it is easy to find a vendor selling cut up fruit and vegetables – sprinkle on a bit of chile, lime and salt and find yourself a park bench to sit on.  Those are plentiful too!


We made it to the top of the look out – a monument to El Pipila overlooking Guanajuato – quite a steep climb.  We had planned to take the funicular (tram) but it wasn’t working.


I’m really hoping that one of the many photos I have taken of this picturesque city will turn out well enough to be enlarged and hung on a wall – it is truly one of the most beautiful cities.


Waiting for our “comida” – the mid day meal is the most economical way to eat in Mexico.  This four course meal is usually around 70-90 pesos and is pretty much always a great idea.  Today turned out to have a bit of a surprise …. one of the words in the first choice was unfamiliar to me.  I did recognize tomato, peppers and onions so I thought it might be a vegetable dish, and since I knew the next course I was choosing was pork, we went with that.  Sure, there were a few of those vegetables in there ….. but it was mainly cut up weiners!!!


Really??  says Vivi …… these last few steep steps into our home almost do her in …..


On Thursday morning we say Hasta la vista to Guanajuato and fly from Leon to Puerta Vallarta, and from there to beach life at Chacala, where Casa Monarca awaits us …..