A quick trip to La Manzanilla
18 January 2015 | 19 16.87'N:104 47.41'W, La Manzanilla, Mexico
Yesterday, after several days of extreme inactivity (excluding walking, Bocce, and beer) we took the big step to motor three miles across Tenacatita Bay to anchor off of the small town of La Manzanilla. It's a very interesting place, although not that popular for overnight visits by cruisers because of the rolly anchorage - rolly at least for monhulls but not for us.
After setting the anchor about a hundred yards offshore, and expert dinghy surf landing, we had a very nice walk along the beach past many waterfront homes and palapa restaurants. At one point on the beach there is access to a large swamp behind which is full of very large salt water crocodiles. In fact, we didn't even see one less than 8' long, with the average about 10-12'. They do have the swamp fenced off from the road and the village, but in many places this simple chain link fence doesn't reach all the way to the ground. While looking at a 12' croc, floating about 6' away on the other side of the fence, it was obvious that even without his immense strength he would have no problem at all pushing through the gap below the fence. Considering how the lower part of the fence was bent outwards, it was clear that our toothy friends had already discovered this exit route. Oh well, Mexican healthcare is cheap to free!
After visiting with many crocs, we walked through the main town. There are very interesting houses perched not only on the beach, but on the steep hillsides around the village. Gringo's are everywhere and most seem to come here every year for all or part of the season.
La Manzanilla has also become a bohemian gringo village with a high density of artists of all kinds who have moved here. We ended up at a rustic restaurant called Palapa Joe's which was having an open mic night. The singers were generally fantastic, and almost all Canadian. We listened to a flautist from Gabriola Island, a great female rock singer from Nelson, and guitarist from Vernon, among others. Because La Manzanilla is inexpensive, relatively speaking, the Canadians far outnumber the americans.
If only the service at the restaurant had matched the music. We experienced the most surly, purposely inattentive wait staff that we have ever seen anywhere! Our waitress would smirk and then walk away without taking our food or drink order. This was no mistake and she wasn't overly busy! But, we could see where it came from. The owner "Joe" verbally abused several customers, one who simply wanted to pay a bill with a large peso note, larger than Joe wanted to take. The boss definitely sets the tone for the staff here! But, we still had a great night due to the fantastic music.
We even ran into a fellow Realtor, Patti LL, who comes down to La Manzanilla every year. All in all, a great night way from Tenacatita for a change of pace!