Saturday, February 27, 2010

Road Trip to Barra de Navidad

On Wednesday, Terry, Gary, Judy and I went on a road trip to explore points south.  We had heard that Barra de Navidad was a place worth visiting, and along the way we could make stops at Punta Perula and Melaque.

Barra de Navidad is approximately 175 miles south of us, which is a long day for a road trip.  Keeping in mind the Mexican roads, we were up early and on the road by 6:30 a.m. to ensure that we would be home before dark.

Once we were through Puerto Vallarta, the roads became your typical Mexican nightmare; narrow and winding.  As we weaved back and forth along the road, it was enough to nauseate Judy and send her from the back seat to the front.  Fortunately, the roads straightened out past Mismoloyas, it was good driving conditions and we were able to make up the time lost.

First stop was Punta Perula (105 miles south of Bucerias).  According to our Mexican camping book, Punta Perula is 'a very small sleepy village', and, 'amenities here include the beach and little else'.  But what a beach ....  lovely, long, flat and with virtually no one on it.  There is a small RV Park located right along the beach which seemed quite nice.  A number of the residents had small boats, so the fishing must be quite good.

Walking up the beach we came across a lagoon, and were treated to the sight of a rather large crocodile slowly making his way up the waterway.

This would be tranquil camping - quite a difference from the hustle and bustle of Bucerias!  Amenities here are definitely limited, but available within reasonable driving distances.  Just need to keep an eye on that crocodile ....

Back in the car, we carried on to Barra de Navidad.  With a population of approximately 5,000, it is fairly similar in size to Bucerias.  The town is set along a beautiful bay, that again, stretches for miles and miles.  There is very much a laid back feeling to the town - not quite the same 'hustle and bustle' that you experience in Bucerias.  It reminded me of a larger Sayulita.

We stopped for lunch at a beachside restaurant, strolled along the malecon, and admired the luxury Grand Bay resort, located just across the waterway.

On our way back to the car, we stopped and did a little shopping in the 'tourist' area, which had a decent share of boutique stores and restaurants.  Terry was surprised to come across a full grown 'Amigo Lyle'!

They grow up so fast.... And isn't he the spitting image of his father!

We pointed the car north, and started making our way back.  We made a stop to check out Melaque, which is only two miles north of Barre de Navidad and shares the same long stretch of beach.  It seems to be much busier than Barra de Navidad, with many more people on the beach and on the streets.

We knew that there was an RV Park along the beach, and last year met people who stay there regularly, so made a point of stopping in to check it out.  A basic RV park, but set back on a nice stretch of beach.  We chatted with a couple of gentlemen staying there and compared notes on Melaque vs. Bucerias RV camping.

We had discussed our final stop as being the RV Park along Tenacatita Bay, but changed that when we realized that it was a five mile trip off the main highway.  Instead, we stopped at Boca Beach.

Wow - what a fantastic place!  This is probably the nicest stretch of beach we had experienced along the entire west coast of Mexico.  The beach along Tenacatita Bay is wide, long and flat - perfect for walking.  It is lined by a dense ring of palm trees.  Absolutely gorgeous.

There is an RV Park along the beach that looks great.  The residents there seemed somewhat protective of their little piece of heaven, which I can't blame them for.

While Gary and Terry checked out the waves, Judy and I toured the beach, and searched for information on rental properties in the area.  There is a beautiful boutique hotel/resort there - Boca de Iguanas - as well as a new residential development.  And like Punta Perula, there is also a resident crocodile!

I could see the attraction to staying here - stunning scenery, quiet and peaceful, amazing beach.  The only drawback would be (besides the crocodile ...) the distance to any amenities.  You are either driving to Puerto Vallarta to the north, or Manzanillo to the south.  Might be worth it.

Having satisfied our wanderlust for the moment, we headed back to Bucerias after a long day of driving.

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