Roughing it

Jorge & PJ, Lo de Marcos beach

 

I could really use a pedicure and an eyebrow wax, but I’m in the process of roughing it. As the years have passed I have felt like I was getting more vain and less free to…be.  I wondered if I would feel comfortable roughing it for an extended period of time, and if so, would it take me time to adjust to it.  I found out that I am easily comfortable with much less self-maintenance, and with living more modestly. I still care about what I look like, but I’ve adjusted to a more natural way.  And I still like things, but don’t really care too much about luxury.  Those discoveries have been a relief.   I would be so disappointed in myself if found out that I couldn’t handle less comfort and convenience.

I discovered Lo de Marcos by just seeing it on a map.   A Google map that is, it wasn’t on my printed maps.  I was looking to spend a couple weeks in Sayulita, a place I’ve been dying to go.  After deciding that the waves could be too strong for PJ, I looked for a nearby place with a more mellow beach…and I found the village of Lo de Marcos.  Just twenty minutes from Sayulita and an hour from Puerto Vallarta.

The 5 hour drive from Mazatlan (Sinaloa) to Lo de Marcos (Nayarit) seemed short because it was so incredible.  The landscape turned into a tropical jungle around San Blas.  As we merged onto the two-lane 200 highway, the trees and vines made a natural canopy over the windy road.  The vegetation came right up to the edge of the pavement.  You have to be vigilant, and watch for the vines and branches sticking out onto the road.  A branch hit our side mirror and tore the plastic cover off.  The other hazard was the careless drivers.  I guess the numerous crosses planted along this road didn’t raise a red flag with most people.

Photos of Highway 200 to Lo de Marcos below.

Thanks to my new bible “Mexican Camping”, by Mike and Terri Church, we found El Carocal RV Park in Lo de Marcos.  The beach in front of the park was the best I have been to so far.  There were a few RV parks along the beach, but we chose El Caracol because of the pretty trees that offered shade, and the quint garden atmosphere.  Besides spaces for RV’s to park, they had bungalows for rent, a tent camping area on grass, a small pool, chairs for the beach and showers.  It was the perfect spot for $16 dollars per day. 

Photos of El Caracol RV Park below.

It turns out that I really loved this place.  I wondered if I could ever live somewhere like that, especially when the people there seemed very happy and content.  We could easily ride our bikes around town, and there was no shortage of homemade food and friendly people on every street.  They also had a nice town plaza where people gathered at night when it cooled down.  Jorge played volleyball one night in a pick-up game at the plaza. That was a sport he used to play back in the day, and I have to admit he was really good – actually the best of all the players that night. 

Photos from Lo de Marcos below.

 

From Lo de Marcos we visited San Pancho, Sayulita, Bucerias, Ringcon de Guayabitos and Puerto VallartaPuerto Vallarta was fun because we rode our bikes all around.  It was challenging with all the steep hills and cobblestone streets.  I loved all the old buildings and the houses built on the steep hillsides with STAIRS FOR DAYS.  My favorite place we visited was San Pancho (also known as San Francisco).  I loved it!  In some ways it was like a small Sayulita.  There were lots of great restaurants, cafes, and artsy shops. This little village had the best vibe, and a pristine beach.  I thought this place was so great that I decided to stay there awhile, while Jorge went to Puerto Vallarta.

Photos from San Pancho below.

 

I was pretty excited to rent a small apartment in San Pancho for one month, which is where I am as I write this post.  I paid $350 for the month, and that included utilities and water.  The place is furnished and is located in the middle of the village, a couple blocks from the beach.

Photos of my apartment in San Pancho.

The best part of the last two weeks were the roads and places we discovered as we traveled around the area.  We found countless jungle roads that were mysterious and appealing to me.  They led to a variety of places.  Some of the overgrown roads let to hidden jungle homes of all sorts.  I wondered who owns those remote homes and what they looked like on the inside.  There were other roads that led to pineapple fields, exquisite beaches, or wide open ranches with cows and horses grazing freely on the land.  We weren’t necessarily looking for these roads; we would just come upon them on our way to somewhere else.  Curiosity is a constant source of happiness.

Jungle love photos below.

Photos from Sayulita below.

Photos of Puerto Vallarta below.