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Week 2 - Lo de Marcos 4/12-4/18 bird crazy, Iguana rescue and a new friend

Updated: May 20, 2021

We have had a fantastic week here in Lo de Marcos. We are really loving our campground El Caracol. It’s like a jungle with all the beautiful tall trees and spectacular flowering plants. We have been taking advantage of the small pool almost every day. We walk to the north end of the beach every few days. It’s a long and hard walk in the sand….it’s a Butt kicker. We try to mix it up with walks around town. We love our extensive and intensive explorations of the areas we stay in. This week, we added hiking and biking too. Plus drives into Punta Mita and Puerto Vallarta. Looking back, we did a lot. Ha ha ha!

We began the week with a mid morning hike up the road to find the next beach south, Playa los Venados. We like to get our exercise on before the full hot sun takes over. After that, it’s pool time or under the palapa or trees on the beach. We investigated some side dirt roads along our way to the beach. We found a home that was for sale right on the south end of the beach. We snooped around. A nice young woman named Joansie came up to see what we were up to and she was Canadian. So Larry and her talked a bunch! Her family owned a beach house and we looked around a bit. It was super cute.

We found a path that took us to the beach and a small restaurant. As we were walking we saw many birds. The most amazing one was the Black throated magpie jay. We both got a few good shots of them but we realized how hard it was to get their long tail in the picture. They seem to like the tall palm trees and are one of the most elegant birds to watch fly over. I was super happy to see a new bird! So far I’m loving the birds.

We also discovered some property across the road that was Se Vende. It was a large pie shaped mango grove. It had an orange tree too. The mangos aren’t ripe yet but we keep checking all the time. Free fruit! Mangos are my favorite. We took the phone number to call about the land later. I think we could easily build our tree house here with room to spare. It’s one block to walk to the beach.

We kept walking down the road toward the beach and came across a property that said propiedad privada. It was a large flat piece of land with fabulous tall trees framing it. It had its own private beach too!!! I saw a garden with sunflower plants and it was beautiful. I would have walked in to look around but with the fence and sign I had to respect that. We went around the corner and found a trail toward the beach. No sign, no indication of where we were heading but we ended up on a ledge above the beach we were looking for. It looked precarious to get down the side of the hill…...until we checked more closely and found cement stairs down! No one was at this beach at all. It was gently sloping into the ocean and small and cozy. There was a large house or hotel in the south corner but no one there that we could see. I think we will come here for the day soon. We found a road leading out that eventually took us back to the main road. It was a loop.

We hiked up this road two more times this week. Each time it got better and better. We saw two kinds of Trogans, and Russet-crowned Motmots... everywhere. We found two types of orioles and woodpeckers, flycatchers, groove billed anis, great kiskadees and squirrel cuckoos. The best thing about it, we were able to get some really good pictures. And you know, I’m all about pictures!

On one of our hikes up the road, we paused at the propiedad privada to take some pics of the sunflowers. A mexican gentleman came up to the fence from where he was raking to say Hola. He had a pair of brown khaki shorts on and no shirt. We said we liked his place and he motioned for us to come in the gate. I asked, “Pasar?” He said “Si” He spoke very little english but we seemed to communicate fairly well. He gave us a tour of his property. He had many fruit trees like bananas/plantains, mango, coconuts and many others that I’ve never seen before but he let us have samples. He grows tomatoes, many varieties of peppers and herbs. He showed us all his sunflower plants with great pride, especially the “muy grande” ones. He has a cooking palapa and a sleeping palapa. His name is Alberto or Berto and he lives there with his brother Reuben. We walked down to the beach and on the way he showed us the fish he caught earlier. He has his own beach which is around ¼ mile long. It’s very flat and calm with a larger palapa on the south edge with a table and few chairs. I asked if this place used to be a campground and he said cerrado. He said his brother and he had lived there for 3 years and explained how much property that they had. It seemed like a lot. I didn’t see any signs of electricity on the property but it really had everything you needed to live a simple and happy life. He sent us away with lots of chile peppers and herbs for tea. We asked if we could come back to watch the sun set and he said “si”. Super nice guy and did his best to communicate with us and the lack of spanish we know. We asked him what his favorite beer was and he said, “Victoria solo”.

One evening we walked into town with Deb and her dog buddy to have dinner. Many of the restaurants we wanted to try were closed. We ended up at The endless summer. We all had a beer and Larry tried their lasagna which he enjoyed. I got nachos but was disappointed. Deb got guacamole and she loved it. As we were eating, we looked to the street as Carol, Marvin, John and Stephanie were walking by. We waved them to come in and sit with us. We had to rearrange some tables and a few folks but it was all good. They were out hunting for an open restaurant as well. This place caters to Canadians and Americans and had no mexician feel at all. We stayed for a while while some folks played trivia. Overall, not that happy and I kinda wish I had my money back. Lol We did enjoy the company of our friends.

We wandered around town on the way back. We showed Deb the other nice campground with the fancy hotel. We inquired at Tlaquepaque to see if we could get a better price on staying for a month. They had 2 large pools and very nice grounds. When El Caracol matched that price, we didn’t move. By comparing prices, we were able to save $150. It’s smart to shop around. We do really love El Caracol. We showed Deb around Tlaquepaque. We told her that for $5 we could use their pools for the day. We plan on doing that soon. We all three spread out in all different directions. I got a text from her with a picture of a large green iguana. I asked her location and ran back to her. Mr. Iguana seemed like a slow mover and I snatched him up easily. We carried him back to our campground but he wasn’t really using his back legs much. When we put him on the ground, he eventually moved by dragging his hind legs. He had been injured a while ago. We let him go in our campground. He has lots of places to hide. We have seen 3 other lizards here so he’ll have friends. It was nice to have a lizard for a while again!

We have already used our bikes to explore the area. Larry found a short bike path along highway 200…..but it was really very short and didn’t go anywhere. LOL We had brunch in town at one of the many tiny 4 table street restaurants before our adventure. We wanted to see if we could find any hiking trails on the little hill on the north side of the beach. We saw on Alltrails many hiking trails on the mountain, we just needed to find where they started. We used Alltrails and google maps to assist as best we could. We found the river that runs toward the beach behind the main street with a few turns and down a dirt road. We saw that if we followed the river up, it would take us to a bridge. We could cross it and take more dirt roads toward the hills. I’m not sure if we just lucked out or there is only one road up, but we found it! We rode the bikes as far as we could until it was too steep for me. Larry could have powered up but we locked them to a tree and continued on foot. It was very steep. Like a calf burning steep! There were lots of tall trees and shade so that was very fortunate. It was super dusty too. I had brought my camelbak with lots of cold water so I was prepared this time. We kept hiking up and listened for birds. We didn’t see much but it was now the hottest part of the day. We were happy that it was a nice wide road. We had a few trucks pass us plus a golf cart and a side by side. We found a couple of houses on the hill and a few gated lots with nothing at all. I think Larry was getting tired of climbing up the hill so I kept saying,”Let’s just go a little bit more or just around this turn and then we’ll go down.” Then we came around and it opened up to a gorgeous view of the beach and the amazing house that I can see from the beach. They are still building it but we were able to climb around on it. It is 3 stories and has an open roof. It almost looks like a type of castle from the ground. The view from it was the best we have seen since we’ve been here! I was so happy. We spent a while looking around. Also, the next property to the north is finished so we stopped and looked around at it. That place has 2 houses and a large semi circle patio with more than a 180 degree view of the beach. I would love to go back up there and watch the sunset some evening. We saw more roads that spun off to lots that I assume are for sale. I can only imagine how much they cost….maybe I’ll call to see. It was a lot faster on the way down the hill than up. Lol We were glad when we were able to hop back on the bikes for the rest of the way home. It was a good adventure and I’d do it again.

We took a drive one afternoon after I finished writing a story. It was early afternoon around 2:30pm. Since we have been to San Francisco and Sayulita already, we decided to go a little further down highway 200 to Punta Mita. We really didn’t know what to expect here, we were just going out for a drive. It’s very warm during 11- 2 pm so we try not to be in the blazing sun. If we were driving, we still get to experience great sights from the truck with air conditioning and shade. Lots of times we will make 3 or 4 stops before we get to the final destination. On more than one occasion, we never made it to where we were headed! That always cracks me up. I like to pop out along the way if we see something cool. My favorite saying is, “I’m always looking for a one hundred dollar bill.” Or 2000 pesos in Mexico but that would have to be four 500 bills. But anyways, I am always looking for the unexpected and magical. I find a lot more cool stuff that way. We do find some money too, mostly coins. It was a beautiful drive and occasionally we would get a glimpse of the ocean. There were lots of horses, stables and tours. I asked Larry, “Wanna go horseback riding?” He just gives me That Look! We were coming into the town of Higuera Blanca and saw a house for sale. We both saw it and Larry asked if we should turn back around and go look. Well, of course! We drove up a small hill to a flat area with several houses. Two were small but the one with the west facing patio was the one for sale we thought. We drove and parked. Soon after a gentleman came out and said Hi. He was a canadian but had lived here for the last 25 years. He had this property with 3 houses on 4 acres with a large pool and ocean view. He also had a ranch on the mountain to the east for his dairy cows. Interesting guy. He said when he moved there was no highway through. He was very friendly and showed us around his home. Since he built as he got money, the house resembles this with lots of add ons. It has 5 large rooms-like hotel suites through long hallways with common seating areas. It’s different. He had the view that couldn’t be obstructed ever by tall buildings and he explained that he had permits to build 23 condos at the far end of his hill. Lots of important information. He said that this area was building up fast because it’s close to Puerto Vallarta and has its own beach. Then he told us he wanted 1.5 million dollars US. I didn’t know what to say….so I asked for his we were interested. Please send me donations to the fund to buy this property!!!! Ha ha ha

Punta Mita was a super small town from what we could see. It was a bunch of big fancy hotels and a few streets of High-end stores to spend money. We saw far less restaurants but they looked expensive. We finally found access to the beach and a place to park. Then we saw what we were looking for. They had several places to rent surf boards and surf schools set up. We must have watched 30 or 40 folks out surfing or trying their best. The waves looked long and easy for beginners as well as athletes with more skill. We found a nice beach restaurant and had beverages and some very good french fries. We decided we are coming back to spend the day. Larry needs to get his surf on!

One of our favorite mini adventures is always watching the sunset into the ocean. When we can, wherever we are, we enjoy ending the day watching the sun go down. It’s extra special when it falls into an ocean. Sorry about all the sunset pics and any more that will come in the future. I wanted to go back to Berto’s place on his own private beach to watch it. Larry made some of his amazing guacamole and we stopped by the mini tienda for ice cold Victoria beer. We drove to Berto’s and when he saw us, walked to let us in his gate. We brought chairs and a small table. He had a Huge smile when he looked into the cooler and saw 8 Victorias! We walked to the edge of the beach where there is a cement pad where a building may have lived once…..there are 3 stairs down to the beach. We sat together, ate and drank. He said we wouldn’t see the sunset where we were. He said we would need to walk around the lava flows to the very south end. I looked at where I needed to walk in sandals around the crashing waves. In my translator I asked him: “no quiero morir hoy” which means “I don’t want to die today”. He just started laughing so hard and said No. It was just so cool hanging out with this guy. We really didn’t have to work that hard to communicate but sometimes the translator helped. We enjoyed each other's company. When it was time to go climb around the rocks, he got up and started walking. It wasn’t hard or scary at all. We got to witness one of the coolest sunsets here so far with Berto our very new friend. One the way back on the beach, we saw hundreds of hermit crabs of every different size crawling around. Bonus fun! We gave Berto the last 3 beers and said, “gracias. Te veremos pronto”. See you soon!

Sunday we headed to Puerto Vallarta to this new meetup group that John belongs to. We had no idea what we were in for but they were having a meeting at this Eco park….that’s what really interested me. They have a butterfly garden, pond, Temazcal, restaurant and hiking trails. We were meeting John, Stephanie and Marvin at the place. We weren’t sure if we would even stay at the meeting but we were going to check it out. The Eco park was easy to find but parking was very difficult on this day. When we were walking up the long dirt road into the park, we saw it was because they were having a bike race. Well, that’s very good. I approve but it was hard to find parking and too many people for the experience I thought I would have. We sat in the meeting, which was very interesting but it started out with introducing yourself and telling a little about what you can offer to an intentional community. These folks are trying to buy a big chunk of land to live off the grid. At first I got irritated but as it went along I listened with an open mind to what they were trying to do. The key piece of juicy goodness I took from the 2 hour meeting (OMG)! Was they were all good, friendly folks wanting to help each other along. They immediately offered kindness and friendships along with any valuable resources they had or knew of. From this meeting I found an english speaking immigration lawyer that belongs to the group. Where to go for great vegan food and that 85% of these folks can do massage. They ranged from late 20’s to a few folks in their 70’s. Half were Canadian and the rest from all over the world, Croatia, Austria, Germany and Australia. When it was over, I was done! Beer time. We headed to the restaurant and never looked around at the Eco park. I may go back when there is no bike race or meet up group. All I can say is that it was a very interesting experience and I’m super glad we checked it out. Wow!! All the things we get ourselves into…….We are still having a Blast!

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