Since the drive from Los Mochis was only around 4 hours, we arrived at our new campground in Elota about 1:30pm. We still had half a day to explore our new space before dark. I was excited. George/Donna and Kerry/Tracey were setting up their RV’s so we were all pretty busy right when we got there. It only takes us about 30 minutes and then we are free to run about.
We started at the beach. Our trailer was only 500 feet from the ocean! We didn’t have an ocean view but we were happy where we were. George and Donna parked right next to us and Kerry and Tracey with their massive motorhome took all the space across from us. The beach was about 2 miles in each direction that we could walk each day given the tides. Some days we had less beach but mostly we got in some great walks. We found lots of treasures on the beach as it changes each new day. Lots of shells, rocks, driftwood and sea creatures. Some were living, like the crabs that we tried to catch. Some things were not alive anymore but still interesting to investigate. We saw a poor dead turtle, some dead fish and this amazing blue lobster! I will always photograph these creatures but try to be tasteful. We had some spectacular sunsets on our beach and made a point of being there each night at that time. It seemed like it was a gathering time for all campground residents to sit, have an adult beverage and watch the day set into the ocean.
We met some interesting folks camping here. Some will come for the entire winter season just to be on this beach. Others are like us, passing through on our way to another destination. The rest of our caravan group, George/Donna and Kerry/Tracey were only staying 3 nights and then moving on to La Penita. We figured we would stay at least 3 nights. One thing I started to see is that travelers love to tell their own stories and give helpful advice for Newbies (like us). We hear things like:” this is a great campground” or “beware of a traffic trap in this town”, and other great tips. I usually take some notes for good places to go and cool things to see in areas that the other travelers recommend. It has come in very handy.
The owner of Villa Celestine RV campground Noe was super friendly and quite a character. He was born and raised in this area of Mexico. Him and his wife live on the property with their Daughter Noelita. They have a small house. His wife in a doctor in La Cruz a larger town close by and Noe runs the campground. He also takes their daughter to school each day. She was about 8 years old. Noe spent a year in Canada working to save money to buy this campground. He had great English and loved to stop by our site each day to chat. There is a train track right on the other side of the road and the train comes by at least once a day….mainly in the middle of the night. It was very loud. Sometimes it felt like the train was coming through our Airstream! Noe told us a story about how Mexicans will jump on top of the train and ride it up to the border when they want to go visit family in the States. If they ride on top of the train, it costs them nothing. But it can be dangerous too. Sometimes they will fall off and be killed. The folks along the way will stand on bridges when the train comes through and drop bags of food and water to the riders. It was a surprising story as this would never happen in the States or Canada. It was interesting. Noe had many good stories to share. He was very helpful and we fell in love with his adorable daughter Noelita.
One afternoon, when we were lounging by the pool, I spied a black iguana I hopped out of the pool and Larry was my brave helper. We chased him around until Larry was able to snatch him up! Noelita was amazed! I’m not sure if she had seen anyone ever catch one of these lizards before or why anyone would want to. LOL She seemed scared at first to get close to it. Larry eventually got her to even touch it. When I got my turn to hold it, it opened its mouth up…..I said he was smiling. Others have different opinions. We continued to try and catch these lizards but they were really fast and smart. We saw the green iguanas here too but they stayed up in the trees.
We had other interactions with critters at this site as well. One morning Larry was moving the bag for our lawn chair and he was shocked to see a very large tarantula making a home inside already! He screamed a little scream of shock and I came out to rescue him. We caught the spider and kept him for a week. I miss pets! We saw a lot more tarantulas and just observed them. We had a visit from a praying mantis one night. He seemed to like hanging out on our outside lights perhaps to catch the bugs that were attracted to the light. We just left him alone.
The day we were leaving and pulled up the outdoor carpet, we discovered that a mouse had made a home under it with several tunnels to get in and out. We had some tiny frogs living in the puddle of water left by our drippy water hose. So many fun things to get to know. We really enjoyed our time at this campground and would definitely stay here again. The price was very reasonable. 200 pesos a night (around $11 us). We had full hook ups. I was able to do some laundry too. I enjoyed the pool nearly everyday and we had the beach right there too. Perfect.
We did get out a few times to explore the town of Elota. One night we went to eat at Esmeralda’s. It seems like just about everyone has a restaurant at their house. Esmeralda’s was recommended for amazing fish tacos. One of the other campers told us to go there. When we got there, no menu. She just told us what she makes...in spanish!! We both suck at spanish and sometimes they talk so fast, we never have a chance. Eventually we were able to communicate that we wanted 4 fish tacos, 2 each. They were amazing too!! She didn’t take a credit card for payment…..It’s mexico people! She couldn’t break a 500 peso bill and Larry had to run to a small market to get change. Our bill was only 100 pesos ($5.26 us) for 4 tacos and 2 drinks. I had to learn a lot about paying in pesos and not using our credit card.
Since most of our money is in an account linked with a card, we are constantly hunting down ATM machines. This is very hard in small towns. We normally drive into a bigger town close to where we stay to get groceries and money. It takes more planning...like I said…..we are constantly hunting down ATM machines.
Noe told us about November 20th Revolution day. It’s a huge holiday in Mexico. He said Noelita would be in a parade in La Cruz with her school and maybe we could come. That was our plan until we got up and saw the rain. We didn’t scramble to get there at 9am because we thought it might be canceled or postponed. When we did get on the road it was 9am. While driving through the small town of Elota in the light rain, we came across children assembling for their town parade. We made a decision to stay there and at least see one parade. It was a wonderful experience. It almost brought tears to my eyes. We stood by our truck as the parade passed by. The elementary school children were dressed up in such beautiful colorful costumes. They were so proud to be in the parade. Their families marching right next to them. A young man on a Quad had a speaker and he projected the music. The whole town was involved in some way. When the kids passed us they would wave and smile. They seemed happy we were there watching them. After the parade, they waved at us to follow them back to school. We went there to see what was going on. No one spoke English but it looked like they were having food or a party. Finally, a teacher that spoke English came over to us and explained the children were going to have performances and what Revolution Day was about. He invited us to watch it. It was touching. We watched for over an hour and we enjoyed it immensely.
We still headed into La Cruz to explore that town a bit in the rain. It lightened up enough so we tried to find a beach by La Cruz. We followed the beach signs and got lost. We went down some one-way streets in the wrong direction and also were diverted because of flooded streets. We never found that beach but headed in the other direction. We found an empty beach that you could drive your truck on, so we did, of course! Playa Ceuta We were the only ones on the beach besides on young man on a quad. We had a nice long walk and decided to find some lunch.
We found a very nice restaurant on the beach that looked like all the locals stopped in for there lunch. We had a few cervezas and the best ceviche de camaron so far. It was so cheap too!! What a great day all the way around.
We had collected some driftwood to make a bonfire on the beach on our last night. It had dried out from the rain we had the day before and after our last sunset at Villa Celestine, Larry started our fire. A few beers and we even roasted some marshmallows! It was a great week. George/Donna and Kerry/Tracey left after 3 nights. We ended up staying for the whole week. Larry did get in some doggy sitting in while George/Donna went out on the Razor at the beginning of our stay. We have met a bunch of new friends. Some are travelers like us and some are the families where we stay. We are finding kindness, generosity and love everywhere we turn.