Posts Tagged ‘4×4’

I don’t want to bore you with a long story for now. I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Of course I’ll follow up with a story you’ll not want to miss about our trek from the Amazon,  climbing Chimboroza and taking the “Nariz de Diablo” all in a few days. This Ecuadorian Life!


Beaches, caves and food!

Posted: September 24, 2012 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel
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We woke up early again thanks to the chickens and “Soni Gas”! So we decided to do some exercise.  We ran by the smoothie guy, standing behind his cart dancing to the music, promising we would be back after our run. We ran through town and along the beach. Three quarters of the way down the beach we found a large log laying at the water’s edge. It was just perfect for some sit ups and pushups. The waves were refreshing, washing over us as we counted out the reps.

Sayulita Beach- Great for work outs and beautiful!

Farther on down the beach we saw a large protrusion of rocks. Rock formations that would make a rock climber excited. They jutted out into the water. It seemed there was no passing the rocks when the tide was in. However, as we neared the formation, light could be seen deep in the rocks! As we looked closer, we found that there was a cave tunnel, allowing access to the other side. Crabs ran around on the rocks, eyeing us, as if to say, “Do not enter”! We did any way of course.

Beach cave exposed an untouched beach

At one point you had to nearly get on your hands and knees to crawl through. I decided to just go for it and not contemplate what was crawling through with me. Waves crashed around us into the narrow passage adding to the excitement of exploring the unknown

All of a sudden, we popped out the other side. There before us was an unscathed beach! It was untouched by human or otherwise. There were no tracks, no beach chairs, umbrellas, or noise. There was just the sound of the waves crashing into the rocks, the birds overhead, as they circled above, and pure sand and nature. It was an exciting thought that we had discovered a vacant beach.  We walked around just enjoying the fact that for a moment we were on our own private beach, before heading back into town .

The hidden beach

Back at the smoothie stand, we ordered a fruit smoothie and watched it being made. The contents were ultra fresh as he walked across the street to the vegetable and fruit stand, minutes before, to  get the ingredients. For mine, I chose oranges, pineapple, papaya, mango, strawberries, and a little lime. Bernard ordered the green drink. Of the many ingredients, it contained cactus leaves, celery, and carrots. The blender was full for each drink he mixed up. The great part was, he would fill your cup nearly three times with the contents from the blender all for only 35 pesos. That’s a little over $2.00! Very refreshing!

Dancing smoothie man

Around lunch time we ventured back into town to see what we could find to eat. That is where we met Art. Art is a hard working guy; His sole responsibility is to get you into the small family run business for lunch. We saw him every day for a week. Each time he was out in the street directing traffic to the restaurant. He had the laugh and personality for it and easily convinced us to have lunch. This is where one of my many tolerances were tested. Anyone that knows me well, knows I am a germ phobic. I have an extremely difficult time drinking from a glass someone else has drunk from, even family members. I wash my hands all the time just to make sure I’m not carrying a virus. My stomach gets queasy at the sound or site of nasal fluids. You get the point. I am paranoid. So we walk into the tiny one room restaurant where mother is standing behind the grill waiting to prepare our order. Daughter is washing the dishes from a previous customer and Dad is smiling at us not speaking one word of English. After we ordered, Dad brings out some chips and salsa. Great! Every good Mexican restaurant should serve chips and salsa. However, I noticed right away, that someone had already been eating my salsa. I felt like I was in the story of the three bears. And somebody ate all my porridge! No, there was still some salsa, but clearly, someone had already been eating on it. The chips at least did appear to be fresh from the bag. Bernard dug right in never giving it a thought, But I couldn’t get over eating salsa after someone had already been eating it. It was as if the prior customer left some in the bowl and the owner said, I think Ill save this for my next customer. I chewed on a couple of chips and passed on the salsa. I have found since then that it is fairly common for the restaurants to reuse the chips and salsas. It is kind of a community offering. I have timidly eaten from some of these recycled bowls, however have to draw the line when I physically see the flies helping themselves. I know they are full of germs!

Our buddy Art and the owner of the family restaurant

Later after a swim in the ocean and a little sun on the beach, we noticed a man staring at our roof top tent set up. He was standing a ways off, so I decided to continue relaxing. However, Bernard got up and started talking to him .The conversation turned from the tents to our travels. The man said he had made similar trip years ago and was envious of our adventure. He had toured Central America on a motorcycle. He said he had some detailed maps that he would like to give us and invited us to his house 30 minutes away. He said it was deep in the jungles of San Pancho. He agreed to come by later that week and let us follow him to see his home. We said good bye promising to visit and talked excitedly about the many people we were meeting in Sayulita.

Checking the maps

For dinner we found a place on the out skirts of town. A man had an electric spit that was cooking numerous chickens simultaneously. We chose the half chicken, which included grilled whole baby potatoes, rice, salsa, tortillas, all for 50 pesos (about $3.50)! We found out that the mans name was Pepe. He told us he was the owner of a local non-profit radio station in town. The recent storm had damaged his transmitter so it was currently off air, but he hoped to be back on soon. We exchanged info, and promised to stay in touch.  He said his non profit benefited young women and ladies that suffered from domestic abuse and elderly that could no longer take care of themselves.. We promised to be of any assistance we could. We took the meals back to the hostel and settled in checking our emails and facebook ,and discussing the days events with our fellow travelers at the hostel. Life in Sayulita is great!

Lo De Marcos Mexico, the surfs up?

Posted: September 4, 2012 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel
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We left San Blas headed towards Puerto Vallarta with no particular destination in mind. We had heard of a few small towns that might be interesting to visit. One of those towns was Lo De Marcos. We rolled into town looking for a campground. After some challenging one way streets, we came to campground row. There were numerous campgrounds all promising similar accommodations. “Free wifi”, “beach front”, “electric hook ups”, they all boasted. We chose a nice location and set up camp.

Campsite under the fruit trees

We used the same campsite but were still charged for three people!

We walked down to the beach where there were many tourists and locals enjoying the 96 degrees. The waves were gently rolling in, much to the surfers dismay. It didn’t look like they would have a chance to display their talents today. However, as with many other beaches thus far, it was beautiful with lots of clear sandy beach. It was nice that there was not much sign of anybody peddling their wares. We dove in and took a relaxing swim, as Bernard looked around for photo opportunities. Now isn’t this what Mexico is all about? Sun, surf, sand, and locals?

Lo De Marcos beach

We noticed the beautiful trees scattered around the campground, and had chosen our spot based on the shade covering of a coconut tree and mango tree. We were able to sit around the trucks while enjoying the 10 degree difference in temperature the tree covering provided. All of a sudden, there was a loud thud and then a “splat”! What in the world was that? After some investigation, we found a large ripe mango had fallen on the other side of the truck. It smashed open upon impact gushing its sweet contents all over the asphalt driveway. The bees wasted no time attacking the pulp, and sweet juices.

Bernard went down to the beach taking pictures, while Angela and I sat in our loungers being lazy, reading and surfing online. It was hot even in the shade of the coconut trees. If you sat perfectly still, you might avoid having sweat trickle down your forehead, but mostly it was unavoidable.  Bernard returned to the campsite and said he had some exciting news. He had met some surfers that operated a surf school on the beach, and because Bernard promised to take some pictures of them, they offered free surf lessons. Learning to surf is definitely on our list of things to do while here in Mexico. The waves might be a problem though. If I am going to learn to surf, I need decent sized waves to propel me through the water. The waves that were rolling into the beach currently, barely resembled a ripple on an inland lake when a ski boat drives by.

Small waves on the beach

Bernard siesta!

We decided to head into town to find something to eat. We also wanted to pick up a fan for the campsite and tent. We drove around asking about fans in the area, but much to our dismay, were informed we would have to drive about 20 miles away to another town, called Rincon, that might have them. We decided it might be a good thing, because it would allow us to be in the air-conditioned truck for a little longer. It would be  a nice relief from the sweltering heat. We decided to wait until the next day to go.

We headed back to camp to settle in for the evening and had to laugh as we approached Bernard’s truck. A very ripe mango, half eaten by squirrels, had fallen from the tree above and landed on his fender guards. The “guts” splattered down the side of the fender and onto the ground. Of course this became another photo opportunity, so Bernard began snapping photos for memoirs. After some wireless internet time right at our campsite, we climbed up tour tents for the evening. It was still uncomfortably humid, and sweat was threatening to stream out our pores with any slight movement. We decided a shower in the shower house was in order. Fortunately, we found the bathroom and showers very clean and accommodating here, unlike the mediocre ones back at San Blas.



The next morning we closed up the tent on the Landrover and headed into town in search of a fan. Upon arriving in the predominately tourist area of Rincon, we did a little tour of the town and discovered many seasonally vacant homes along the ocean side community. From the markings and flags, it appeared many of the lavish homes were owned by Americans and mostly Canadians. These were very nice homes decorated with local flares, such as masonry, block and wrought iron work. Many homes had a concrete walls defining the property lines and offering access through large wrought iron gates. The architecture was very appealing. These homes would  fit in nicely in any upscale neighborhood in the states. I wonder if they need a house sitter to keep an eye on the home while they are gone…..?

Rincon statue in town

Cowboy in town

Some vacant homes

More homes in Rincon Mexico

We found a fan and a body board to play with in the water, back at camp, and headed back to find something to eat. On the way we stopped at a fruit and vegetable stand, so I could buy a whole, fresh pineapple. I paid 20 pesos, “venti” (or about $1.50), for a nice large one. I would put it in the cooler to get cold for a snack later. There were not many restaurants open, so we chose one that looked clean and the people were friendly. They were probably glad to see us, as we were the only ones there. After ordering from the menu, we enjoyed chips and salsa, with varying temperature salsa. My favorite was “Caliente”, which I enjoyed, but not sure how much of the taste I experienced as my tongue went numb after the first bite! Our food was brought out and we enjoyed the hot fresh fare, along with a Coka Light, and “botella agua” (Diet Coke and water), and Bernard, Pacifico, a watered down beer, common here in Mexico.

We arrived at our campsite, set up the fan facing the lounger chairs and enjoyed the breeze the fan offered. Angela decided to do some reading, and Bernard and I decided to go down for some surf lessons. Unfortunately, when we arrived on the beach, the surf instructors were standing around talking. The waves were still belemic. We talked for a while, and they offered to take us out in a boat to an island that has better waves, but it would cost $250 pesos or about $20. I had my body board or boogie board, and noticed the glee in the surfers eyes, as they somewhat discretely laughed at me. They said surfing is way more fun. We decided against taking the trip at this time, but told them we would get lessons later.

Lets Boogie! Boogie board

In the sand, on the beach, is a large truck or tractor tire that is buried half way. When the surf is down, the surfers use it to perform tricks. apparently this is common at most surf beaches. One of the guys began showing us his tricks. He would run up to the tire do a hand spring, flip in the air, and land on his feet on the edge of the water. It was purely acrobatic. Bernard began snapping photos, so naturally, the tricks became heightened, and his friends started joining in. It was a great show of athleticism and skill.

Up, up, and Away!

Great shot! And he landed it too!

We said good-bye to the surf crew and headed back to camp to try the now chilled pineapple. I went to the truck to get my Crocodile Hunter knife to cut it up. As I approached the table to begin surgery on the fresh fruit, I could not help but say, “That’s not a knife, This is a knife”, in my best Australian accent possible. Wow, fresh pineapple is nothing like the canned fruit back home! Well its similar, but so much more juicy and sweet. The cool pieces of fruit was just what the doctor ordered.

After dark, Angela decided to go take a refreshing shower before bed. Bernard and I sat waiting our turn checking emails, and surfing Facebook. It was really nice to have a strong signal right at our campsite. All of a sudden I heard Angela call for from the shower area. I was a little panicked. Was she ok? Maybe I had become too comfortable just letting her wander around alone, in a foreign country. I quickly made my way over to where she was. She was leaning over the sink saying she was dizzy and in a lot of abdominal pain. She said she could not walk out of the shower area because she was in so much pain. I didn’t know what to do. I wasnt sure that I would be able to get her up the ladder into the tent or if that would even be best. I just stayed with her trying to see what I could do for her. She told me she had to have a bed to lie down on. I hollered at Bernard who by now was just as curious as to what was going on. “Can you try to see if the camp host is still around? I need to rent a room”.

Family suite entrance from the beach

Of course, we were one of the few people at the campground, but for some reason there was only one room available. It was the family suite on the beach with 3 beds, a kitchen, patio and view of the ocean. I couldn’t argue, so we took it and got Angela laid down. She was still in a lot of pain as I helped her walk the 200 yards from the bathrooms to the room. There was A/C in the room, however, apparently you have to pay extra and they give you a remote. By this time, there was nobody around to get a remote from. I went and got our newly purchased fan and set it to blow the air on Angela. I didn’t get much sleep worrying about her and not knowing what was causing her the severe pain she was in.

The next morning, Angela was feeling slightly better but still in pain. We decided it would be best for her to fly home to see her doctor. It was too severe of pain to just leave unattended and travelling in a roof top tent might just inflame it more. We decided to head to Puerto Vallarta to get her on a plane as quick as possible.

Travelling south on Mexico 200 was slow going there was construction and it was common for us to sit for a half hour or more at a time, at a dead standstill. People were getting out of their vehicles impatiently looking to see what the hold up was. At one point just as traffic was starting to move, we noticed the vehicle behind me did not move. Then the yellow Nissan truck turned on its flashers. sitting right in the middle of the road. Bernard and I stopped our vehicles and ran back to see if we could help. We communicated the best we could and could see it was overheating. Bernard went back to his truck and pulled out a half full bottle of antifreeze and gave it to him. It was too hot to open the cap, so we just helped him push the truck off the road. So as not to hold up anymore traffic, we wished him well and jumped back in our vehicles to go.

Traffic jam

A little farther ahead we were stopped once again. I could see a Pemex gas station and a sign for Sayulita Mexico. I had read about the sleepy surf town online, and it had been recommended to us by DJ, a woman back at Stone island, as a must see. The campground book we had said very little about the town, stating, ” there are a few restaurants, a small market, and not much more”. It wasnt much of an appealing sales pitch, and anyway we needed to get on to Puerto Vallarta to get Angela on a plane. We continued inching forward for the next hour until we finally came to the intersection to turn or go straight through. Still wanting to make it to Vallarta, we inched forward some more. All of a sudden, I had enough inching! We can wait out the traffic while we look at the town of Sayulita.

Sayulita Mexico!

I made the turn, the sign said 3 km to Sayulita, Somewhere around 15 km, I figured we had missed it. We turned back, and finally found the one street that led into town. It was a little cobblestone street that ran off of the main road in a “V” heading in a direction difficult to see from the other direction. A small sigh hand painted on a post marked the turn. We had arrived.

We drove farther in and found a place to park right near the center plaza. We got out and Bernard and I just stood there in disbelief. This was an absolute amazing town! It was so inviting, we could see the beach from where we stood. We could not believe what we had just stumbled on. It is going to be difficult to spell out into words what we experienced next. Check out the next blog for the rest of the adventure!

Sayulita Mexico- What have we found here?

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