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Turtle Beach Mexico
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Jeep Ride
to
Turtle Beach


Paradise on the Pacific Ocean Side of Mexico

(north of Puerto Vallarta)

By
Bob

Our bed and breakfast, Mi Casa es Su Casa, is less than an hour's drive north of Puerto Vallarta. It is located in a beautiful area bypassed by most of the tourist crowd. We, Vicky and myself, invite you to this quaint Mexican resort located by a beautiful palm-lined beach on a blue-water bay dotted with islands.

To give you a small idea of what you can expect, join us now for a jeep ride to Turtle Beach.

It’s 8:45 AM and another beautiful day in paradise. We, and our guests at our B&B, are loaded in our jeep and headed for Turtle Beach.

The countryside is green, the mangoes are getting larger, they should be starting to ripen in late May or early June. We see smoke back in the mountains. This means more rain forests going down the tube. If they keep this up the day will be seen when there are no more in Nayarit. I read somewhere that at the current rate all will be gone in Mexico within 50 years. During my 6 years here in Guayabitos I keep seeing them going and going. Oh, well, civilization, I guess that is progress.

We pass Puerto de La Lima. The tobacco is starting to ripen, and all the fields look good, even though it is getting toward the dry season. We pass the cut off to Chacala and the many fruit stands. They sell so many nice things. A shame that few gringos stop. Mostly they don`t know what the little packages contain. Many types of fruit and coconut candies. Banana pastries. Honey, fruits, and melons.

At San Ysidro, we stop at a small fruit stand on the right. They have maps of the coast near Turtle Beach and the development which has been slowly going in during the past few years. There are high mountains off to our right, which are Le Cumbre and El Malinal. These are the places where our coffee beans come from. We roast the green beans and grind them fresh daily.

Each of these little villages have topes (speed bumps) , so I drive slowly. The country around us now is dominated by dry scrub trees. Not very hospitable looking and the ground doesn’t look fertile. Sad, because this area used to be a beautiful rain forest.

Reaching the turnoff to Turtle Beach, we turn left. It is 10:18 AM. We pass through many newly planted mango groves and planted fields. The road curves and there is a sign that says 6.5 kilometers to Playa Las Tortugas. We soon arrive in a coconut grove that stretches as far as the eye can see to the south and the point of Punta Custodio to the north.

The development here consists of about a half dozen very nice homes. Passing through the home area we come to the end of the road and park. The beach is in front of us and there is a large estuary on the right. The beach is long and beautiful. If I only had balloon tires on the jeep I think I could drive all of the way to Boca de Chila.

There are a couple of wrecked buildings, downed power poles and much evidence of damage by Hurricane Kenna back in October of 2002. A turtle hatchery was here. Because the green turtle is, or was on the endangered list, eggs were gathered and brought here to escape poachers, who would gather and sell them. Thousands were here and they, along with the buildings that housed them, were destroyed. Hopefully the program will be restarted before the summer season starts again.

We talk briefly with a home owner who tells us that a new phase of the development has started and more homes will be built. A nice place to get away from it all. It looks like something you would find in the South Seas.

We reboard the jeep and leave Turtle Beach in the direction we had come. Seeing a hand written sign that says “Crocodile 5 pesos”, we turn toward the estuary and finally come to a palapa and a few small pens containing crocodiles; or at least I thought they were. A man comes out from the palapa and explains that the penned animals are caimans and not crocodiles. For the life of me I cannot tell the difference. Although the difference between alligators, crocodiles and caimans has been explained to me many times I do not recall the difference. I only know that where they swim I refuse.

He further explained that his caimans were hungry because there was a shortage of food for them. No one in our group, however, volunteered to go in and comfort them. The gentleman cut off the ends on several coconuts and offered them to us for the cool juice. It hit the spot because we were hot and thirsty.


Back in the jeep, we make another stop on this long beautiful beach. No one lives here for miles and it ends at the mouth of Boca de Chila, the old pirate cove. Here is the only road that I know of that will bring you to the beach. We get out and snap a few photos. There are also miles of coconut groves and, according to a couple of hard to get maps that we have, more estuaries, sand bars and other interesting things. If only I had balloon tires on my jeep I would like to check out this long isolated stretch, just to see what is there.

Our next stop is the beach at Platanitos. On the way there, we pass a defensive position that is manned by Mexican Marines. What are they checking for? Going left and down, we pass the beach and palapas. Last October this whole stretch of beach was wiped clean by hurricane Kenna. It is nice to see that is has been largely rebuilt. A few fishing pangas are scattered here and there. You can always eat fresh catch here.

Leaving the beach we go left around the small mountain and soon come to the estuary. Turtle Beach, where we were earlier in the day, is right across the way. There is a clearing below and I see cars parked. We could easily swim across or maybe wade. Who is afraid of the caiman. Me??

Continuing on we come to another small home development at Punto Custudio. We pass a short distance, find a shady spot and have lunch. The usual, Turkey ham and cheese sandwiches, potato chips, bread and butter pickles, pickled beets, small snacks, beer, soda and coffee.

After filling ourselves, we drive on down the hill to Platanitos, park the jeep and have a look around. I have heard that this place is scheduled for development as soon as the ecologists are dealt with. Hotels, a golf course, homes and of course a bridge across the estuary. Farewell to the little fishing village of Platanitos.

On the way home, we stop in Zacualpan. Here, at the old semi roofless packing shed, are the children of the workers that we helped this morning on our way to Turtle Beach. We pass out all of the clothing and candy we have with us and promise to return again with more food and clothing.

Darkness has arrived when we return to our B&B. Our guests and ourselves relax and enjoy locally grown tropical fruits and juices. Then we’ll decide what we’ll do tomorrow. Perhaps it will be a river trip with lots of birds and even crocodiles, a hike to hidden waterfalls, a swim in a mountain lake, go see a steaming volcano, soak in a hot spring, snorkel, ride a bicycle, go fishing, or just lay on the beach.

 

 

   

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