Still in Sayulita waiting on Angela’s return, we decided to take the trucks out and find some adventure. Not too far off of Hwy 200, there was a barely noticeable cut out in the overgrowth along side the road. The unpaved road, appeared to be more of a two track driveway. We didn’t know where it led, but decided we would find out.
The winding uneven path seemed to go on forever. Driving up some inclines, around bends, under canopies of Coconut trees, we kept driving. Iguanas scurried across the path in front of us adding to the off road adventure. At some points we needed to turn on the headlights as the dense jungle overgrowth and canopies of trees blocked out the bright Mexican sun. We crossed a small water crossing at the base of what appeared to be power lines. We felt like true adventurers lost in the unknown jungle.
All of a sudden, the sun began to shine brightly, and the canopy of trees began to open up, and out od nowhere, we were directly on the sandy beach! Who would have thought this overgrown jungle trail would have led to such a picturesque location. We drove right onto the beach and stopped to take in the breath taking view. It was absolutely amazing. A wide beach some 200-300 yards approached the ocean, where the waves must have been 10-12 feet crashing into the shore. Because of the fairly sharp incline from the water to the sand, the impact of the waves crashing into the beach was thunderous.
We decided to body board (luckily we had them with us). After diving into the water, it was soon evident that the under current was very strong. The huge waves would come crashing over my head. I am 6’5” and was easily swallowed up in massive amounts of water rolling in. As the waves washed back out, the under current swept my feet out from under me, causing me to be caught up and taken off shore with it.
This was easily the most powerful waves, I had ever been in and I wanted more! I swam out a ways and began trying to catch one of the waves on the body board. After a couple of tries, one lifted me up and threw straight at the shore. It was a brief exhilarating ride until I come to an abrupt stop on the beach shoreline. Sand, water and who knows what else washed over me and through my shorts. I landed fairly gracefully in spite of my novice skills. I looked over just in time to see Bernard being swallowed up by the same huge wave. He disappeared long enough that I was actually worried what happened to him.
A minute or so later, I saw him crawling to shore like he was injured. He said that the wave had picked him up and slammed him into the shore. He had a small bald spot above his forehead where he was missing some hair from the apparent impact. I couldn’t help but laugh, however, I am certain it did not feel good. He chose to lie out on the beach and enjoy the sun. I went back out for a few more rides, and experienced a headache after a few more bought with the waves.
We stood enjoying our find deep in the jungle again. There were absolutely no tourists, locals, or people at all. The beach was perfect, deep sand, and the largest waves I’ve seen to date. We were finding these awesome spots and getting to enjoy them without anyone else spoiling it. Mexico is sure a lot of fun!
After lunch, The man from the beach, Virgilio, met up with us to caravan back to his house. We had no idea what to expect, however, after meeting him on the beach and receiving the invitation to his home in the Jungle, we couldn’t pass it up.
The short ride up the highway found us turning into a small beach town called San Pancho. Due to heavy Federales police activity, Virgilio, led us to a side street, avoiding the posted stop in town. He pulled over and said, “I have a friend here you can meet. He is American too. He works with turtles”. This sounded like fun, and it also eliminated dealing with the police stop.
We got a brief tour of the turtle camp where people come to volunteer and work with saving the turtles. I was very interested to learn that the turtles lay eggs at night on the beach. The job of the camp was to gather those eggs and bring them back to the camp to safely store them in a nursery until its time they hatched. The interesting part was depending on the temperature the eggs were stored at, they could determine the gender of the eggs. Above 30 degrees would produce females, which was the preference in preserving the endangered species. We told them we would like to come back and volunteer soon.
We left the turtle camp and ended up on a dirt road that led off the beaten path and through the jungle. This was much more jungle than we had just experienced on the beach path. It was the true definition of a jungle atmosphere. There were exotic, unidentified birds, iguanas, spiders, and dense overgrowth. We drove on for miles deeper into the jungle until we came to an entrance gate, where Virgilio opened and let us go through. We drove what seemed like several more wining miles until we found his house. It was a spectacular site. Surrounded by palm trees, banana trees, and heavy dense green plants, the home seemed to be one with the surrounding. We crossed a small bridge which led to the side porch of the home and finally into the kitchen. The whole house was constructed of concrete and was largely open to the jungle canopy. The palm tree branches hung into the dining area. This home was a true jungle home that brought you one with nature. You could hear the birds, crickets, iguanas, and many other undetermined animals as we sat on the open kitchen area enjoying conversation and the view.
We were given the full tour of the home, where we entered the living room/bedroom area. There was a nice canopy bed on one end of the room and a dome tent in the floor along one wall. It didn’t strike me as abnormal that there was a tent in the room, because he said his 9 year old daughter was visiting him. He said he keeps her in the tent, because the scorpions and tarantulas walk freely through the home, being that it was open to the outdoors. As we entered the bathroom, which resembled a large deck overlooking the lush, green, overgrowth of the dense jungle, we were intrigued to see that the shower and tub were both 100% exposed to the nature below. There was no wall between the bathroom and outdoors. This guy is hardcore! He had built the custom home some 20 years before purely for the enjoyment of the jungle foliage.
Virgilio also shared many photos that he had taken in the jungle. Years ago, he had become interested in taking photos and preserving the jaguar. It was an endangered species in Mexico, and he has been instrumental in the jaguar returning to the area. The photos were spectacular! One particular one that comes to mind is the image captured in the dark of a jaguar, teeth clamped on a wild horse, presumable making a meal of him. He used the nature motion cameras to capture some of these. However, he said many times, he camped out several feet from piles of bait food, with the sole purpose of luring the jaguar into photo range, for the candid shot. He was an interesting man, that loved life and loved risk. He offered us fresh cheese from Guadalajara, it was similar in flavor to Gouda.
We drove back into town again just amazed at the opportunities and people we were meeting. Everywhere we went just seemed to be another opportunity for a once in a lifetime event. This was by far one of our favorite destinations on the trip. It was such a great town on the ocean, overlooked by big business. What a paradise!
I would like to take this opportunity to say I am very behind on updating our blog. I apologize to those who are following closely. Without excuses, we have been having such a great time meeting people and enjoying this trip, that it has been difficult to slow down long enough to write our adventures down. Please continue to follow us on this blog, but for more up to date photos and stories, make sure to follow us on Facebook @ Bernard Barbour, Scott Woodhams, Angela Woodhams, and of course Central America Overland Expeditions. Stay tuned and please forgive me if you get multiple postings, as I try to get caught up! Ciao for now!