La Crooz day Wan-a-cox-lee – The Cross of Huanacaxtle.
La Cruz is a small fishing and gringo village between Puerto Vallarta and Punta Mita, in the Mexican state of Nayarit. As an aside, I was lucky enough to visit Punta Mita and stay at the Four Seasons Resort as part of a work-related reward trip. It was a wonderful trip but a just little different than this one…..then we had a little ice cream cart that came to the pool every day, and waiters is white jackets to serve umbrella drinks. Now, I cook on a teeter-totter, I do laundry by hand and I pee in a cup. Methinks a post on living on the hook (at anchor) is brewing….
We left Mazatlan on Monday 23 November because a tropical depression forming off Guatemala had a chance of turning into a hurricane and tracking towards Mazatlan. John thought it would not be a hurricane by the time it reached Mazatlan, but knew the weather would force us to stay there for longer than we wanted. We had a couple days to make it down the coast to La Cruz before the sea got all stirred up – what is known as a “weather window”.
Before the weather pattern changed, our plan was to leave Mazatlan on the Monday and make our way to San Blas, and from there to La Cruz. The captain took us past San Blas and after thirty-six hours of motoring, we reached the marina at La Cruz.
The depression turned into Hurricane Sandra, the largest storm to ever form this late in the season (hurricane season is officially over Nov. 30). La Cruz was hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. One thing about big tropical storms – they seem to suck all the wind up into them and push all the hot air away from them. I’m not sure this is the real scientific explanation, but that’s what it felt like here. No breeze, hot, humid. Then Sandy went past us, about 150 miles out to sea but close enough to open the heavens for steady rains from Thanksgiving Thursday through Saturday morning.
Since records have been kept, there has not been a direct hurricane hit in this area, so it is one of the places that boat insurance will accept as part of the ‘hurricane plan’ that we had to submit when we applied for insurance. As such, La Cruz will probably be our ‘home port’ while we are in Mexico, meaning we’ll spend more time here than in other places. We’ll have some time here before heading further south and then stop again after we start heading north to the Sea of Cortez in the spring.
The marina was built in 2008, and since then the town has developed into a cruisers’ and musicians haven. There are several volunteer groups active in the area, supporting local issues such as fundraising to support free spay/neuter clinics for dogs and maintaining a recycling program. The marina has a large lounge that hosts yoga, Spanish lessons, a writers’ club, kids’ club, and other gatherings. The town has several small cantinas and restaurants, several of which provide venues for musicians of all sorts to play live music. One of the local businesses provides a map of all the businesses that cater to the cruisers and many winter visitors from the condos in the area.
One part of the marina is given over to the local fishermen – they all dock their pangas and there is a permanent fish market with several stalls. Every day we can go to the fish market and buy fresh fish, shrimp, octopus or lobster. Note that we’ve never cleaned or cooked octopus and we haven’t splurged on lobster yet. I doubt that we’ll take on the octopus challenge.
Three days a week there are special markets – Sunday there is an art/crafts/farmers market near the fish market plus another crafts market in the plaza,
Wednesday is a general market, Thursday evening one of the tiendas (small grocery and general market) gets a large produce delivery but shoppers can poke around the bags of stuff and they call it a vegetable market. More on the markets in a later post.
For a mere 9 pesos (about $0.60) we can hop an autobus (big bus) or combi (van – the name “combi” is derived from the fact that is a combination of car and bus) and travel the few miles down the road to either Bucerios or Nueva Vallarta for such modern conveniences as banks and, of course, WalMart.
The Saturday after we arrived, the church ladies held a fundraiser for the church.
They cooked and sold their goodies at a temporary outdoor venue near the plaza – meaning they set up tables and chairs in the street. The two of us ate dinner for 100 pesos – about six dollars. Home-made tamales, tacos, agua frescas (sweetened fruit juice and water) and a shared dessert.
Afterwards, we stopped at El Gecko Rojo for some music from a rock cover band – eclectic mix of music covering Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Cocker and more.
One of our favorite places to eat is the Green Tomate (that’s how they spell it – green in English, tomato in Spanish. Like many small cantinas, they expand their footprint by putting tables on the street. Like, where the trucks drive. ). It’s their first season so they are just getting everything put together – the first couple times we went they didn’t have a menu, now they have a big chalkboard. Eduardo is the waiter, and we think his mom is in the kitchen. I’m hoping their expansion plans include adding a toilet seat.
The next Monday we wondered around looking for a dinner place and stumbled on Masala – the fancy-eatin’ place. An expensive dinner (for here) but probably half the cost of comparable evening out in the States.
We are here for a month or two and then will head further south.