Blog Post 36 - La Cruz

Sun 24 Apr 2016 20:22

Blog Post 36 – La Cruz

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03/07/16 - 03/27/16


By the time we rolled into the La Cruz Marina Jirig and I were both very sick. We docked the boat and went to bed. We had a terrible night. My fever had progressed to a serious cough and I could barely breathe. I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest. We both laid in bed comatose all day. Nico was banished to the front of the boat, as far away from us as he could get. We did not want him getting sick too. As I was laying there practically delirious it occurred to me that in our 25 years of marriage Jirig and I had never been sick at the same time. Jirig acts like the typical guy when he is sick. He complains but won't take any medicine or see a doctor. He self-diagnoses, won't take any medicine and thinks he knows what to do to get better. After a terrible night and morning I decided that II had to try to find a doctor in the little village of La Cruz. He said you are just going to go out and spend a bundle of money, we don't need a doctor. I went anyway. It was already 2PM and we needed some medicine and some care before the evening. Jirig was now coughing and congested like I was. I crawled out of bed and dragged my ass to town. There was only one English speaking Dr in town and he just happened to own the pharmacy as well. His name was Dr. Pimiento. That is pepper in Spanish. We got a kick out of calling him Dr Pepper. He took one look at me and heard my cough and said you have bronchitis. You need treatment immediately, you are 24 hours away from pneumonia and hospitalization. I told him, you think I look and sound bad, you should see my husband, he is too sick to even get off the boat. He called the marina and told them to get a cab and then go to the boat and pick him up and bring him to his office right away. We needed serious anti-biotic treatment. I have never had bronchitis before. It is really debilitating. Aside from the cough and fever you feel so weak you can't move. Add to that the heat and humidity of Mexcio and you feel like you are dying. Dr Pepper said we needed oral antibiotics for a week and needed shots in the butt twice a day for three days. We also needed expectorant to get the gunk out of our lungs. It cost us $95 for all the shots, the Dr visits and the oral antibiotics. That is $95 for the both of us! We started to feel better early the next day. Now it was time to belatedly explore La Cruz.

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La Cruz was an amazing little town. It is a functioning fishing village that unlike so many other places we had been it is not totally dependent on tourism. Sure the marina helps the town financially, there are probably more restaurants and bars than there normally would but what you don't see are all the hawkers selling crap, the excursion salesmen on every corner and no upscale markets for gringos. We loved it. The cruising community in La Cruz is truly incredible. It is a very tight knit community. It is comprised of the boats in the marina as well as the boats out in the anchorage. They have a robust cruisers NET. Every morning at 8:30 on VHF Channel 22 there is a formal net for cruisers. They have a set schedule, they start with medical emergencies, and the weather, treasure of the bilge (things for sale or trade) and then a resource help line of sorts. You can find anything from outboard mechanics, canvas people, even where to get your hair cut or get prescription lenses. On my first trip to the marina store I found out about the free daily yoga classes, movie night on Thursday’s, how to get your laundry done and even that there is a kids cruising net. There were many more kids in La Cruz than any other place we had been. At 9:30 after the regular cruisers net, the kids get on and discuss things that are important to them for the day. Where to meet to go to the beach, plans to go into town to get ice cream, whose parents would let kids hang on the boat that day etc. It was awesome. We barely saw Nico while we were there. We had met a kid named Morgan in La Paz and we hooked up with them again in La Cruz. He is 10 and shares all the same interests as Nico. He is a total gamer, loves X-Box and all things related, knows more about super cars than even Nico and follows the same You Tube gaming personalities as Nico. They were inseparable. His mom was named Linda and they were on a boat called Nomie.   La Cruz also has a Sunday Farmers Market that is the best I have ever seen…. The most incredible prepared food, all sorts of authentic handicrafts, not the crap you see in the tourist traps, and live music and everything that you could want to indulge in and spend the day doing.


We were planning on staying in La Cruz for a couple of weeks so we rented a car for one of them so we could get out and explore. There is tons of stuff to do in and around La Cruz and Banderas Bay. The Mexican public transportation system is robust, you can get a bus anywhere and rarely have to wait more than 10 minutes and it is dirt cheap. The problem is they are crowded and do not have air conditioning and in the tropical heat that can be a deal killer. I love to take road trips, just get in the car and drive and go exploring. I got my magazines, blogs, maps and Trip Advisor and set a plan for all the places I wanted us to visit.


The first place was Sayulita. It was a sleepy little fishing village until about 15 years ago when surfers and snow birding Canadians discovered it. The story goes that a group of wealthy Canadians bought up most of the land and started to develop it. Not as a resort but as a funky little town to get away to for the winter. There I found the only vegetarian and health food restaurants I had seen in Mexico. There were great little shops selling truly authentic handicrafts. The gringo homes were made in the traditional Mexican way, with palapa roofs and lots of open air space. There were surfer drop outs and old school hipsters and hippies everywhere. The streets are very narrow and crowded yet you still get a small town or village feel to it. I took the kids to the beach and they had a great time boogie boarding. There truly was a great surf break there. We got there at 10AM and I had to drag the kids off the beach at 5PM. They loved it! There was just too much to see in one day especially with kids in tow so I vowed to return before we had to rerun the rental car. Jirig and I went back a few days later. We got lost on the way to Sayulita and ended up on a dirt road. We saw a small sign for a beach with a rugged trail next to it and decided to ditch the car and take a hike and see what we could find. It is spontaneous things like this that I just love. We hiked for about ½ mile and the trail emerged on one of the most perfect beaches we had ever seen. It was completely deserted. Not a soul in sight. After taking a swim we headed back to the car only to find 3 vaqueros (Mexican cowboys) herding a group of about 20 horses down the dirt road. We waited for them as we had no choice and got a kick out of doing so. They have started bringing busloads of tourists from Puerto Vallarta and dumping them in Sayulita for the day and as we approached the town we saw a few of them and decided to pass and keep going. If they keep this up pretty soon the town will be ruined. We had heard about another little surf town right down the road called San Pancho so we headed there hoping to get some lunch. San Pancho must be what Sayulita looked like 10 years ago. Just a funky little village where locals and gringos have learned to coexist. Lots of small restaurants and shops with cute little streets and shops, the type of place we may consider returning to after our travels.

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Another great little road trip was to the ancient mountain town of San Sebastián Del Oeste. It is about 100 KM from Puerto Vallarta but it might as well have been 1000. It is a town right out of the 1700’s. The Spanish discovered silver here 300 hundred years ago and built the town to support the nearby mines. It is so remote it had hardly changed since. There are cobblestone streets, ancient buildings and the perfect little town church. Life appears to be very much like it was 200 years ago.  Getting there was truly an adventure in itself.   We decided to take the back roads instead of the main highway. A back road in Mexico is truly a back road we forged through rivers, followed donkeys and cows and generally got a feel for life in the Mexican countryside. It was a great day and nice to get off the boat and away from the ocean for a change.




La Cruz has a robust music scene. It is like the drop out town for retiring musicians. There had to be at least 10 restaurants/clubs that had live music every night. The most famous was Philo’s. As the story goes Philo came to town on a boat in 1994 and never left. He was Canadian and a musician and he decided this was the place for him and he never left. He built a bar, restaurant and small hotel but most importantly he really helped the town. He hosted all kinds of charities that supported schools, libraries, musicians. Unfortunately Philo passed away last fall. He will be sorely missed in the town.


Of all the towns and marinas that we have been in Mexico La Cruz was our favorite so far. Great town, great people, an awesome marina and a cool place all the way around.