It is easy to see why so many cruisers we talked to adored this area on the mainland. There’s so much to do here that there’s a little bit of fun for everyone. Each area offers it’s own charm unique from the next.
A well organized bus system along with friends teaching us the ropes, is one way we explored each of the following areas with ease. Buses range from small vans to larger municipal buses with varying degrees of seat comfort. The trip costs as little as 7 pesos and as much as 12 pesos depending on the length of your ride, and how many transfer buses you need to your destination.
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
La Cruz de Haunacaxtle stands for the Cross of Huanacaxtle. Who is Huanacaxtle? Huanacaxtle is neither a he or she, but rather a tree. The name is derived from the Aztec language from two words “Guautli” which means tree, and “Nacaztli” which means ear because of the shape of its seeds. But, the Ear Tree just doesn’t have the same ring to it as Huanacaxtle.
The tree is massive in size reaching up to 15 meters in height with a trunk up to 4 meters wide. The tree’s lifespan is 60-70 years. How does the cross fit into all of this? There are various stories circulating. One story mentions a lightning strike to one of the trees that left a cross in the trunk. Another describes an indigenous woman buried under the tree where a large cross was carved. Even more interesting was the story of the shipwreck where the only survivor was a cross that washed up on shore made of the Huanacaxtle tree. A fisherman allegedly found the cross picked up and placed in the center of town.
Either way, the name La Cruz stuck around after many people dubbed the cross as a meeting point. The cross constructed from the wood of the Huanacaxtle tree, is displayed in the round about in the center of main street.
This small quaint Mexican village is where we spent most of our time. It has its fair share of expats that have claimed this area as their new home and have opened restaurants, and chandleries. Each restaurant offers an assortment of live music attracting many more expat clientele from the surrounding areas.
Nothing we’ve seen so far in Mexico as far as organic markets, tops the Sunday Market in La Cruz. Venders from the surrounding areas come to sell their wares, jewelry, fresh vegetables and homemade foods.
The marina has a separate area dedicated to the local fishing pangas, and an endless supply of fresh fish! Going to the fish market to buy a fish from the pangeros has been by far our most successful form of fishing, and we don’t even need a lure!
We had the pleasure of meeting up with our friend Dave from Colorado who was visiting the Atlantic side of Mexico. Before leaving for Mexico he asked us if we needed any crew. At the time we were not in need. But, our friend John on Valhalla mentioned he was looking for crew for a potential trip South to Zihuatenejo. Dave spent a few nights on Maluhia, while we showed him La Cruz, the Sunday market, and introduced him to John.
If nothing else strikes your fancy in La Cruz you might find hours of entertainment sitting in the local plaza stalking iguanas.
If Cabo is the Las Vegas of Mexico, what does that make Puerto Vallarta? As a cruise ship port, and popular all inclusive destination, we didn’t have much hope that this area wouldn’t be similar to the scenes we witnessed in Cabo San Lucas. But, we found this larger city contained real history with a pinch of big city charm.
Puerto Vallarta has a wonderful waterfront walkway filled with popular restaurants, souvenir shops, and very interesting choices for night life. Keep walking and you can get lost strolling through the old town, parks and an endless sidewalk maze of street venders selling their wares.
Both our friends on Tigress – David & Elena and Cake keep us entertained for hours of walking and exploring Puerto Vallarta. We know we only scratched the surface. One minute we were in the city and the next we were in a garden of sorts, canopied by trees that bordered a river complete with hanging bridges!
Famous for its beaches and surfing, we took a bus trip to explore this little town located North of La Cruz. This small town was full of life, small streets, young people, and surf.
We loaded up the troops and headed to explore this town with Cake, Happy Dance, and Valhalla. The fellow beach patrons were nice on the eyes. Watching the amazing surf tricks from beginners to experienced made for another amazing day at the beach!
Punta de Mita
We took the boat to Punta de Mita twice. Once for a small change of scenery and second to position ourselves for our trek South. Punta de Mita is located on the North end of Banderas Bay.
A small panga fishing fleet, with many options for tours taking you whale watching or to the Tres Marienetas islands is central to this part of the bay. The small town is full of vacation rentals, a main drag with a few restaurants, shops, and dive shops offering water excisions such as diving, snorkeling, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and surfing.
We had some motivation to continue South and check out Costa Alegre (Happy Coast), Manzanillo and Ziuhatenejo. Friends Alan, and Carol on Sequoyah, Cake and Valhalla joined the caravan. Our friend Dave decided he would join John as crew for a bit of sailing in Mexico. We waited at Punta de Mita for a weather window to open up so we could round the Southern most point in Banderas Bay, the dreaded Cabo Correntes (Cape of Currents).