01 January 2011
The picture shows us firmly at anchor in Chacala probably on the highway somewhere! This is how off the Mexican charts are from the GPS position. They haven't updated their charts in many many years and they were surveyed in the late 1800's and early 1900's. So when navigating in these waters, you have to be very prudent and not rely on your chartplotter. Thankfully there are lots of Guide books written for cruisers and they often will have the GPS coordinates of some of the more dangerous rocks and reefs.
Chacala is a beautiful place with lots of sand and palm trees. 15 years ago we were there with friends Lynne and Harvey on their boat. Then there were a couple of small palapas on the beach and the town was one or two streets with a couple of small stores to buy basic supplies. There was one hotel at the very end of the beach. Now it is very different with many big palapas on the beach and the street behind the beach is store after store of anything you might need to get you through a day on the beach. There are many small hotels and the shoreline for many miles has beautiful homes built for the gringos mostly as they are very luxurious and the average Mexican would not be able to afford these places. Actually I don't think the average Canadian would be able to either!
The interesting thing about Chacala is that it is a laid back community and really only gets hopping at Christmas and Easter as it is a destination for the Mexican during these holidays. About 30 big busses a day come in the morning full of people from the various inland towns and cities and they spend the day having fun on the beach swimming, eating, playing and enjoying the day. Then around 6pm they all return to the buses and once again the beach becomes quiet. I guess the rest of the year the gringo population must help to keep the economy going somewhat. It's a definate place to visit if your looking for some peace and quiet away from the tourist scene - just not at Christmas or Easter.
We hope to stop in there again on our way north when it is a little quieter. It was fun to see everyone enjoying themselves but the blaring music gets a bit much.