Archive for the ‘Nayarit’ Category

Tepic is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico, the Sinaloa, La Familia, and Zeta cartels shoot it out in the non-tourist sectors of the city on a semi-regular basis. Occasionally the violence spills out onto the pereferico and into restaurants and public arenas. Regardless, your odds of ending up anywhere near such events as a gringo tourist are somewhere in line with the same odds of a direct hit lightening strike or the powerball jackpot. In other words, totally safe. Still, better safe than sorry right?

The best campground anywhere near Tepic is a world apart and about an hour north up the cuota in the volcanic crater lake of Santa Maria del Oro. The Koala Bungalows are a quiet peaceful place to spend some time swimming in the lake, kayaking and straight chilling, and I can’t think of a better spot to spend our second to last night in mainland. Beautiful, peaceful, perfect.

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Was that last post so amazing that you have decided your next visit to mainland Mex is to Sayulita? Well, if so, I highly recommend the Sayulita Trailer Park and Bungalows. Run by an old German guy and his Mexican wife the spot takes tent campers and  RVers (full hook ups) and if you’d rather a room; it has cabanas, full hotel rooms, awesome common areas with outdoor showers, ping pong, book exchange, wifi, the works; all right on the beach for super reasonable rates considering the costs elsewhere.

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Que Viven en Sayulita

I haven’t been blogging lately, mostly because we’ve been having too much damn fun. The van is still having the occasional bouts of electrical gremlin-itis but its sufficiently fixed to attack and get rad.

We were, theoretically, waiting in Sayulita before heading south due to the impending arrival of our good buddy Jason. Unfortunately, due to situations out of his control, he had to bail. No worries though, we’ve had a fabulous time here. We have been kicking it with two rather comical gringos from the states, spending our days surfing, 4x4ing, scarfing down the local fare and consuming semi-copious amounts of margaritas.

Jeff, giving the Vanna treatment to the booty.

We ran into Jeff the first day in Sayulita. An anesthesiologist from Durango by way of Aspen, Boulder, and points further removed from Colorado, Jeff was kicking it solo style for a few days so we banded together for some juvenile hilarity. His compañero George, also a Dr. by way of Aspen, who now lives on Kirkwood about 2000 feet down Laurel Canyon from my brother and his family, arrived a day or so later. We had intended to meet him upon his arrival to town ~3:00-ish, but in true latin american time we arrived somewhere around 6:00.

They were incredibly friendly, gregarious, moronic, sophomoric and amazing traveling compatriots. Even after Natalie winged an overhand, full Tecate, at point blank range into Jeff’s grill, causing a substantial amount of bleeding and icing, they still wanted to be friends. Jeff is considering flying back to Zihuatanejo or Manzanillo and going for round 2 with us. I’m sure will catch some slopes or such with him at a later date regardless. George will fully be added into the LA friend rotation and tasty waves with him in SoCal is a definite.

The town break in Sayulita was rumored to have been ruined by the recent floods. Sometime in the past couple months the river flooded, taking out the bridge and main sewer line in town and depositing silt and whatever else got in its way smack in the middle of the wave. The sewer situation is now mostly rectified but the wave has looked pretty meager. So instead, we’ve been packing up the van and driving across the peninsula to the Punta Mita side. It can be a little challenging to find the breaks but they have been pretty fun sessions.

George is totally stoked on my board color choices

A couple of days ago we took a panga out to the point. Unfortunately the Punta Mita point has been developed by private real estate developers, their greed and exclusivity has resulted in limited access to one of the better breaks. So now you have to pay MX$600 for a boat ride to the break. It was well worth it though. The first set we saw fired through the lineup and raced a solid 300 meters. Natalie, riding the Pink Taco II, pulled into one of the bigger set waves of the day, a solid overhead-plus ripper that garnered some cheers from the locals.

Yesterday morning I had decided to Skype into a conference call back in San Diego so Natalie, Jeff and George packed up their rented econobox, stacked the boards to the roof and ventured off to Punta Mita again. The swell is picking up but the general consensus was that it wouldn’t effectively fill in to Nayarit, wrong on several accounts. Prior to my conference call (which I was an hour late for) I paddled out into what looked like head high racers. As the tide shifted and the swell filled in, I realized the rumors of the Sayulita wave’s decline have been greatly exaggerated. Instead of being ruined, the extra sand and silt had transformed the left and the right into a North Shore style, spitting barrel that dumps right into the sand, a punishing shore break, but totally rip-able. It took me a solid 45 minutes to figure out the take off and catch my first one. But after I realized there would be no shoulder take off and the preferred  modus operandi was say fuck-all and air drop into the pit and race the line around the corner so as not to be deposited into the concrete strewn sand, I surfed it alone for at least a half an hour. I must have made it look good because several more boards hit the water pretty quick after I got it figured. Three more waves and I let them have it,

totally stoked. The next sessions were filled with fully frothing locals, apparently it hasn’t been good here in FIVE MONTHS!!! Unfortunately it appears to be totally fickle and when the tide came up again it wasn’t nearly the same size or shape (still fun tho!). The next morning the wave was rideable but not nearly the same. I wish I would have snapped photos when it was good but we were too concerned with frolicking.

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What the hell time is it?

Sayulita used to sit in the Mountain Time Zone. Puerta Vallarta sits in the Central Time Zone. For years, tourists have missed flights in PV because it is an hour later than in Sayulita, even though it is only an hour or so drive time to the south. In order to be a little more fly-in tourist friendly, the Sayulita region (lo de Marcos, San Francisco, Sayulita, Punta Mita) has moved to central time to match the city.

Hardly any of the online information has caught up to this fact and our guidebooks that are a year or so old don’t have the change either. To compound matters, in Mexico the daylight savings time switch varies by date depending on what time zone you are in. The Mountain Time Zone switched to standard time in October but Central just switched this weekend. Of course these dates don’t match the US daylight savings dates so you can’t use time in our home cities as a metric.

The result is that there is substantial debate amongst the tourists (ourselves included) as to what time it really is? That and the historically approximated timing of latin america mean that we get absolutely nothing done on time or efficiently; it makes it pretty hard to reserve a boat or make a conference call or know what the tide is doing. Good thing we don’t particularly care.

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San Blas, Nayarit

The sand spit in the picture above is the world’s longest surf break. With the enough size, the right direction swell and the right tide it breaks across the bay for 1.7 kilometers. Crazy. Right now… not so much. We had hoped to be in San Blas about a month earlier and score some of the famously long lefts. The other thing that San Blas is famous for, bugs; specifically Jejenes (sand flies) are not in such short supply. They’d be tolerable if the wave was firing, especially since the full hook-up site we are in behind the Paraiso Miramar Hotel is killer.

We did meet some cool travelers from Washington. Fred and Laurie are off to some property they own in Sayulita to try to convert it to an ecolodge style commune. Pretty cool stuff. We had dinner and drank a few beers with them and they fed us breakfast this morning. It sounds like they will be our neighbors in Sayulita as well so that’ll be fun.

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We can’t win…

Natalie is finally feeling better. Nothing mechanical or electric broke down on the car today. I’m a bit worried that we may have fried one of the batteries though because its not taking a complete charge. Minor compared to our normal woes. The stereo worked the whole way, the AC worked 95% of the time but we may need to get a freon refill on the AC unit because it isn’t very cold.

We had a mishap of another kind on the road today though. The bike rack on the rear spare tire broke. We hit a bump and the screws cleaved right off. Awesome. Hollywood racks is getting a nasty gram from me. Luckily I have a pretty sophisticated cable lock for the bikes and that held them partially on. The rear tire of my cyclocross bike dragged on the ground for a few miles before the tool booth operator informed us of our problem. By that time the road had ruined the tire and the tube and possible the wheel. Hopefully we might be able to get it fixed in Sayulita or Puerto Vallarta.

Also, our brand new SteriPen has decided to quit working and our also brand new 5 gallon water cube leaks. So basically all the Aztec Gods are aligned against us but yet we push on.

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