After over 4,904 nautical miles we have finally reached the Pacific shores of the USA! Meaning I was also finally able to replace my phone that was haphazardly misplaced in Roatan…We are docked in San Diego and are exploring the town and getting our feet familiar to the U.S…#stillacclimating
Yesterday we arrived in Puerto Vallarta in the early evening after a full day at sea. We left Barra de Navidad around 4:30am and ran all day, arriving in PV by dinner time. Luckily we had a great weather, a bit bumpy to start due to the left over swell from the weather we had in Barra, but that simmered down a bit as we progressed throughout the day. Currently we are actually a bit North of the Old Town of PV in an area called Paradise Village — home of the Vallarta Yacht Club and the Mayan Resort, which not only has a lovely marina but also features loads of wildlife…see more below…yikes!
…and now for the wildlife portion of our update…
(or not so wild)
Don’t fret — we did not ¡try touch the tigers! Yikes
We have been in Barra de Navidad for a few days now and are prepping to leave tomorrow for Puerto Vallarta. Although PV has been in the news recently, we are headed there to refuel for the much longer jump across the Sea of Cortéz, which will be the following leg of the journey. Barra de Navidad is a neat little beach town on the Pacific Coast of Mexico and has a very local feel. It hasn’t quite been taken over by foreign tourists, and therefore maintains just an ounce of small town Mexican charm. Although the town suffered a hurricane a few years ago, it is evident through the number of restaurants and local hotels that the rebuild has been successful and that tourism is back on track.
The marina here at Isla Navidad is great. It is part of a large hotel which is now owned by Wyndham — and guests of the marina are able to enjoy if they please all of the amenities of the hotel — including a swim-up bar, beachside hammocks, and a panga taxi service to the main town of Barra de Navidad — what more do you need? Oh wait, I know — fresh croissants and french bread daily…done!
Exhibit A: the French Baker delivers via panga service daily…
We left Marina Ixtapa a few days ago to anchor out in the bay of Zihuatanejo. While it is a naturally sheltered bay there is a bit of weather coming through and we are getting quite the swell! We managed to hook up our wifi through a local hotel and are enjoying having some slow and slightly inconsistent (but available!) internet while at anchor — amazing! Now there is really no need to go ashore, especially since we stocked up at the mercado and the chicken lady. (see ‘Franny Gram’)
//Pico de Gallo\\
While at the market, I stocked up on tomatoes — a favorite staple to any Mexican dish. Below is a taste of my favorite pairing for margaritas — salsa fresca y totopos…enjoy!
~para el pico~
Tajín spice — a Mexico favorite, sort of lime flavored with some spice to it — add to anything
one tomato diced
one white onion diced
a bit of chopped cilantro
one half jalapeño pepper chopped very small
(omit a few seeds to simmer the kick — recommended!)
~para los totopos~
(side note: the word totopo comes from the Aztecs – it was originally combined as the word tlaxcaltotopochtl — tough to pronounce but it actually is a combo of word ‘tortilla’ and ‘thunder’ — meaning, chips that sound like thunder when you eat them)
1. start with a couple of stale corn or flour tortillas —preferably very thin, you can let these dry out a bit outside to make sure they are stale and very dry
2. in a small bowl combine some olive oil or peanut oil (about 1 tablespoon) soy sauce and salt
3. brush the tortillas with the oil and soy mix
4. cut the tortillas up into small chip-like triangles and place not touching on a baking sheet
5. oven to 400 and bake for about 8 to 9 min…enjoy
With my birthday just a few days ago, Piet and I ventured to Playa la Ropa for a bit of r&r. Playa la Ropa is on the south eastern side of town, and is one of Zihuatanejo’s four beaches that surround the natural bay. The beach is named “clothes beach,” not only because it is not a nude beach, but because years ago a Spanish galleon wrecked and washed its cargo of silks ashore — hence the “ropa.” Now the beach is dotted with boutique resorts, hobie cats, banana boats, parasailing chutes and beachside restaurants — a perfect escape for a birthday. Prior to returning back to the boat we walked through downtown, stopped at the market, and did a bit of browsing through Zihuatanejo’s old town. The old town of Zihuatanejo is on the flat part of town that leads down to the fish market, the area has been transformed to be a great little walking district of shops, restaurants, and hotels.
Every restaurant we go to, or street vendor we pass is always selling delicious aguas frescas — these are combinations of fruits, veggies, seeds and water that are usually strained as a juice and served over ice — similar to a smoothie or fruit juice. Piet and I love these refreshing drinks and juices, especially because the weather here is so toasty and humid! Sometimes it is just too hot to event be outside, but the aguas frescas make for a tasty treat for any time of day and are great little pick me up after spending hours in the sun. We have a great blender onboard so we don’t need to strain our agua frescas, but by all means feel free to pass the blended juice through a strainer to make more of a pulp free version. If you add seeds — think smoothies! Most seeds that are added here in Mexico are either chia or flax.
<<//Piña, mango & verduras\\>>
para dos (2)
2 small apples – cored
4 rings of piña
Piet and his vegetable winnings from el mercado
After arriving in Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa a few days ago we have been spending some time getting more familiar with the city and surrounding areas. One thing we have both noticed about the area is that we are speaking way more Spanish now than we were in Costa Rica. While most people here know bits and bites of English, on the whole more Spanish is spoken. While we were in Costa Rica we barely ever needed our Spanish, as practically everyone spoke English — it’s great to get back in the groove of speaking Spanish, and being here in Zihua/Ixtapa has definitely helped! (that and of course downloading Destinos episodes…in case you are not familiar with Raquel, Don Fernando, and the telanovela Destinos, I highly recommend it!)
Ixtapa was built during the 1970’s, which is clearly evident throughout the town’s architecture — see below for “Piano Bar” example… The development and construction of Ixtapa was funded by the Mexican government in an effort to create a tourist attraction — it was in 1968 that the Mexican Government created a fund for developing tourism on it’s coastlines. The town was built on an area that was once a coconut plantation and mangrove estuary — hence the marina and the loads of palm trees! However, something about the modernist 70’s city planning failed to give the city a central core, resulting in a bit of an off beat “town” structure. Despite the lack of town, Ixtapa does apparently attract many tourists during it’s high season.
..//The Marina Ixtapa\\..
The marina is located in Ixtapa, just a few miles north of Zihuatanejo. While Ixtapa has a great beach and a wonderfully large and secure marina, the marina has no wifi, the town lacks a supermercado, and the town is completely inundated with empty condos, hotels, and beach stores; the high season has passed and town is practically deserted. However, just five miles south in Zihuatanejo, the town is still bustling with locals and some tourists despite it being “low season.”
More tomorrow on beaches of Zihuatanejo and a visit to the mercado central!
We have recently arrived in Mexico! A new country, a new beach, a new margarita! We completed this leg of the journey in two portions, three days from Marina Papagayo (Costa Rica) to Marina Chiapas in southern Mexico, and then after a one night break and many customs papers and immigration documents later, we traveled three more days underway from Marina Chiapas to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo. We decided to split the trip up in two parts not only because it is a major distance to travel between Costa Rica and Mexico (as there are just a few countries in between..) but also because upon entering Mexico there is an area renowned for poor weather. Marina Chiapas offers the perfect safety zone prior to crossing the Golf of Tehuantepec — a stretch of sea that has a tendency for having winds up to 70knots and 20 ft seas…not something we would like to tackle…ever. Luckily we researched the weather extensively and had extremely flat seas throughout the entire trip from Marina Chiapas to Ixtapa. Not exactly uncommon, but it just takes research, patience, and a lot of good timing. In general though when making that trip north, it was amazing to think that you can travel three whole days and nights and still be in the same country…Mexico is one very large country and we still have so much more to explore.