Saturday, February 25, 2006

Chacala Baptism

This morning was the baptism mass for the new little baby girl, Wendy, who is seven weeks old, and lives in the area where I camp. This morning we cleaned up tables and chairs and blew up pink balloons for the fiesta this afternoon. Then I got to hold Wendy (seems like such an un-Mexican name) while her mom, Henia, and her sister-in-law, who lives right here too, hung the balloons. Wendy's little brother, Markito, aged two, and her cousin, Jasmine, also aged two, and I drew and messed around with dominoes while I held the baby and the moms worked.

When we got up to the church for the mass, the priest arrived about an hour late, so there was plenty of time to hang around and visit. I was amazed to see how young Henia's mother was. I don't know who comes to baptisms, but it was a smaller crowd than I expected, considering the size of Esparanza's family in Chacala. But I don't how it works. Henia asked me to come several times, and she also invited my friends Susan and Kirk, who were visiting yesterday. Esperanza, a young woman, and Maria Pelilia were the only women wearing dresses. Everyone else was wearing long pants. Except me in shorts. Markito had on brand new Levi's, size two or so, and a nice new cowboy style shirt. The grandad and dad both had new haircuts.

There are still quite a few tourists arriving and leaving, but the motor homes continue to leave with no replacements. The beach and grassy camping area are starting to look empty. There is more talk around town about the wisdom of allowing motorhome people to dump their sewage directly into holes they have dug in the sandy beneath their motor homes. Same with the jet ski issue.

I am so pleased with how the photos look on the website. There are some problems with the size of the type I can't resolve, and at the moment I can't seem to save any changes on the "List of Chacala Rentals" post. But Jared, my MAC savior is going to fix it. The photos are there, and the type is readable, but some of it is small. I have photos to add as soon as the glitch is straightened out.

If you have some photos of rentals you want to send me , that would be great. alalatawah (at) Use the symbol @ to email, rather than (at). Trying to avoid spammers. To look at the photos I already have posted, go to Chacala rentals

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Chacala and the whales

This morning about 9am, I was sitting at my table looking out at the water, and two baby whales popped up, with their cute little tails waving in the air. Then their mom showed her back for a bit. They bobbed up and down for about twenty minutes until some kayakers moved up on them and they disappeared. They were the closest I have ever seen to the beach, way inside the buoy. Amazing.

Alvaro, a local man who speaks English, has been taking visitors out to visit a Huitchol (local Indian group who are very artistic and strong spiritual practices) "village". It's actually kind a a rancho, with a very large extended family living in a number of houses near each other. The two groups I talked to about their trip with Alvaro had exceptional times, and came back very excited about their experience. I think you bus with Alvaro into the mountains, about an hour , and then walk to the settlement. And eat with the family, etc. Alvaro is very knowlegable and fun to be around and I can recommend that trip, and also the trips he makes to the petroglyph area near Chacala.

The weather continues to be wonderful, warm and clear and not too hot. The town is pretty quiet, and most of the rentals are full for now. The motorhomes are pulling out, and soon they will mostly be gone.

Some governmental agency did some work on the road that goes by Esparanza's , on the way to Mar de Jade. I can't tell if it's an improvement of not.

For a look at Chacala budget rentals click here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Everyday Life in Chacala

Yesterday I rode into Las Varas with a friend and found out two things I didn't know before. One is that the IMSS store, reached by turning left at the second signal, and going west two blocks, has both peanut butter and fruit juice in small jars (apple and grape are my favorites), both of which are unusual around here. They also have ground coffee, another hard-to-find item.

Also, I didn't realize the ice factory on the way back to Chacala from LV sell block ice, another hard to find item. I am still trying to find small canisters of propane, which are also difficult to find, even in Puerto Vallarta.

The motor home area over on the grass seems to be emptying out after a high of 18 motor homes, campers, etc. That doesn't include the weekend campers from Guadalajara, Compostella, etc. Those that remember Jose Manuel, the former campground security guy, will probably be glad to know he got a new job, doing security, etc at Las Brisas.

Whales are still right close. Yesterday there were whales were almost inside the buoy area. Mom's and babies. Dancing around. Only one moto on the beach this Sunday, and it left quickly. Don't know why but I am glad.

Fleur, the Eastern dancer, from Mexico City, who danced at Majahua last winter. is back. This time accompanied by her very talented musician friend, Gonsalvo. He plays the sitar and also the soprano sax. One of favorite memories in Chacala will alway be listening to Gonsalvo play the tenor sax at Majahua, while I sit on the terrace there, watching the ocean and the stars.

Fleur is offering Eastern dancing shows several night a week. You can go up to Majahua to check on times and days.

Yesterday I has some neighbors for the night. They didn't know how to put up their little tent, and we had fun putting it up. They, a middle-aged couple from Compostella, had never camped before. When I returned to camp after dark I saw they had no lights so I gave them some of the candles in jelly jars that people use outside around here. In the morning they paid me back (not necessary) by buying me an fresh orange juice from Tina. Nice way to start the day.

Mar de Jade has a lovely new patio area out near the pool, where the artifical streambed used to run. It looks lovely and the perfect place to read or talk or have a drink. And speaking of Mar De Jade and Majahua, there are numerous stone "statutes" all around the area there. Many stones balanced on top of each other. One of the tourists told me he thought the stone were glued together, because it seems impossible that they are only balanced. It looks kind of strange and kind of beautiful, in my opinion.

Trini's Spanish Classes and Cundo's Airport Van pickup services and Boat rides around Chacala

Most people who have come to Chacala know Trini, Spanish teacher par excellence. Cundo, her espouso and his brother Juan, offer airport pick-up services. They also offer boat rides to the local surfing beach, La Caleta, and to San Blas, and other destinations. During the winter, they also offer whale and dolphin watching rides.

To contact them, email to trinimoya2 (at) Please use the @ symbol rather than (at) when emailing trini.

or go to

for Spanish lessons

or to

airport pickups and boat rides.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

My Favorite Life in Chacala

Spent the afternoon learning more about taking pictures from digital cameras and putting them in IPhoto and then unto my blogs and emails, etc.

I have photos posted for a lot of the rental units I have listed on http://chacalabudgetrentals.blogspot,com. I think it looks pretty good for work by someone that doesn’t know much about Mac’s. Very fun and I am kind of slow at learning this stuff.

Jared has been a big help teaching me and taking pictures of lots of the rentals in town. And he has been very patient with me.

Jared is very interesting. He has made maps of Chacala, Zihautenajo, and La Penita and Rincon Guayabitos that are available on the web. They are very nice to look at and accurate. They are available to print out from his websites for personal use, but for professional use you need to contact him about fees, etc. I will add the addresses later, but he said you can just Google “maps” and the name of the town and his websites come up near the top of the Google lists.

Having one of these maps makes it easier to see where the place you an considering is, in relation to the beach, etc. The maps include locations of most of the hotels, restaurants, etc, so it’s easy to figure out locations.

It’s late afternoon now, and I am typing on the computer inside my tent, with the screen windows open on the side away from the sea. I am nervous about computing near the ocean because people say the salt water corrosion is a problem.

It’s Sunday afternoon and there are local people. Mostly from Las Varas or Compostella, having a day at the beach in all the palapa camping spots around me. One of the families has its car parked close and their stereo or something has been playing lovely guitar music for several hours. I really love it. Usually I hate the music around here, but this is great. Now a woman singer singing ballad type music on on. It’s so nice to have nice music, plus the sound of the ocean waves, the sunshine and the nice breeze blowing thru the tent.

I have been fooling around with little glass beads lately, and my latest project is a little beaded chandelier-type thing for my bare light bulb over the eating table. It’s fun, but a lot of the time when I am working on it the little kids hanging around and drawing and I am afraid the beads will get bumped off the table and hit the sand. But it’s still fun. People are bringing small gifts of art supplies down to share with the kids. It’s great to have new colored pencils (from Jared and Lucille) and three sets of watercolors (from Lonnie and Carolina), and other things too.

I got an email today from one of the owners of Casa Azul, in which he outlined the plans he and the other owner have for Casa Azul. He said that they will keep the two current patios and add another one plus a roof terrace for guests. I think I have that right. And he said an owner will be living on-site soon, which should make it much more guest-friendly there. It’s got a great location and some nice vegetation. He said the two palms I thought had been removed had just been moved. I haven’t had a chance to read the email carefully yet, but I had the impression the new construction will be happening soon. He also has an email address, and that they will have a website soon at (You will have to type it in if you want to find it because think is not a live link) .

Trini and Cundo are working hard at expanding their tourist boat and van service business. Planning for brochures, a website , etc. They currently have a small web site at or they can been contacted at trinimoya2 (at) for airport pickups, day trips and boats rides to surfing, or for fishing or whale/dolphine watching. Use the symbol @ rather than (at) for emailing please.

The guy with the red pickup with a gold metal canopy,, who has a lot up mear Casa Pacifica is building a concrete bunker on his lot. I think it might be a bodega. He also has a big motor home and his truck parked there.

The guy that bought the restaurant next to Las Brisas and made in into a rental unit seems to be in town. There were jet skiers driving everyone crazy out on the water this morning, driving within 30 feet of the short, near swimmers. I hope that the gossip is true about banning jet skis.

The weather is great, shorts in the evening. The little no-see—ums are out in force for a while right around sunset. Some very nice sunsets lately.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Thanks to Jared, of Gabriola Island, Canada, there are now photographs of many of the rentals listed on the blog "Chacala Budget Rentals", which can be reached at

Here are a couple of photos, for a start. They take a while to download. Most of these pictures were taken by Ann, who visited Chacala in November 2005. Additional photos are by Rob, who was here at Christmas time.

Oops, will finish this later. But the new photos are on the rental blog.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sunny Chacala

A couple of days ago I looked at the house Juan (who runs the Joker tienda at the corner) is building a few lots down the hill from the school, on the main road up from town. It looks like it has two bedrooms with baths and a largish living kitchen area and a back-of-the-house washing area for laundry, etc. It’s a very small lot, with no outdoor space in the back, except for the laundry area, and about five feet between the house and the road in the front.

It seems to be being built with an inside staircase to go upstairs but I don’t think it’s for a teraza. There are only windows in the front of the house. With a little natural light coming in from the laundry area and small windows high in the walls. The house faces west but no views except from the roof. Juan says it will be completely furnished with kitchen equipment etc. I don’t know what he wants to ask for a monthly rental, but he is thinking about it. It’s definitely worth looking into if you are looking for a long term rental.

Casa Pacifica is offering a very good monthly rental rate for the summer months, and you can contact Susana at about rates etc.

Patti’s aerobic studio, which used to be a store, is right across the street from the primary school/bibliotecha entrance. She offers classes during the week and is easy to find around town. Her family runs two of the markets in town, including Juan’s,

Dona Lupe ( of Euloia and Lupe) is becoming more and more entrepreneurial.
She is now selling delicious, fresh squeezed orange juice from her restaurant. She is also renting both downstairs rooms, with a shared bath, for a weekly or monthly rate. Cheap by the month. Her family is sleeping at the restaurant when the rooms are rented.

I am starting to think that February is the big month for motor homes parking in Chacala. There are about 25 right now, with a number of them on the grassy area off the beach. Some people to deposit their toilet water into the sand in holes under their trailers. Disgusting and detrimental to water quality. The state is looking into the situation and may close the parking places close to the beach if it comtinues. That info is gossip. Jose Manuel is not working as maintenance and security in the parking area for motor homes any more and it’s looking kind of raggedy.

I think I already mentioned the Koko Bongo’s has wireless now.

This season there have been more motos (little motor bikes and three wheelers, etc) on the beach, with is not allowed by the state transit authority here. There are signs on the beach entrances forbidding vehicles on the beach. Juan, the current juduez (something like the justice of the peace in Chacala) is intending to enforce the rule, and will call the transit police if anyone lets him know there are vehicles on the beach. A few weeks ago a little girl was run over by one of the four wheelers. An eight year old was driving it. As the parents egged them on, faster, faster.

The other annoying new presence on the beach has been jet skis. An American brought them here first, but luckily he doesn't seem to be around here much this year. At least so far.

Majahua now has a little gift shop at the restaurant, with lovely things. For people who are tired of the tourist stuff sold along the beach road, this is a great alternative. And the location is wonderful. A great place for a drink or coffee or leomonade, plus incredible meals. And the occasional belly dance show.

The moon is very full at night right now, and is up from about 8pm until after daylight. It looks just beautiful at night, reflecting across the water. The nights are comfortable again, no more cold snap (cold being low 60’s F).

Lots of tourists and some day trippers from La Penita/Guayabitos, who mostly seem to hang out at Las Brisas. The most popular home town this year is still people from Vancouver Island. There have been at least 10 people from Hornsby.

The work on the house below the paved road, headed toward Marina Chacala seems to had stopped. Actually, work has stopped on a number of projects. Don’t know why.

There are whales within sight of the beach everyday now, and people going out on whale watching trips are having a great time, seeing lots of whales.

The bird watching group is still in business. Well not in "business", but active. On tuesday mornings they met to walk into different areas around Chacala. Sue, Ron and Kathy, who little in a little tent and trailer encampment just south of the Delphin restaurant, are in charge. And very knowledgable and birds.

February in Chacala

I am in PV right now. I came down from Chacala to Puerto Vallarta, meeting up with my son a couple of days ago. He just brought my repaired MAC laptop down from the US. I am now computing on it and very happy. We went to the internet place across the street from the Posada Roger ( in PV), where we spent the night, and he configured the "Mail" program on the laptop so the mail to all my email addresses can be answered off-line. And then he fixed up the "Ecto" deal so I can write posts for all my blogs off-line. I am so happy with this.

Then we roamed around the neighborhood and found Dee's cafe (PV), which has free wireless if you buy some food or drink. And actually, there was a default wireless there, and we didn't even need a password to go on-line.

In Chacala, Koko Bongo's now has wireless in addition to broadband. And there seems to be a default wireless (an open hot spot) right now, downtown.

Later the same day, Tuesday. Went to the airport and then went on to the Camionera Central to catch the bus home. I took a taxi to Chacala from Las Varas because I had too much stuff (My wonderful son brought me lots of goodies, besides the computer). And now I am computing via wireless here on Playa Chacala . It's wonderful. The sun is about to go down and life is good.

I have been thinking about the lessons in life I have been learning from doing some beading projects here on the beach. I have been making little beaded decorations to hang on the palapa beam, and have figured out three things in the process of messing around with little glass beads.

First, is , "Never work without a safety net", because the minute your hands are not over the table, you will spill beads and/or needle all over the sand and never find them again.

Second is, " If you can't think of what to make, wait for inspiration" . Maybe go clean up the camp or swim or take a nap or something, and next thing you know, you will have an idea of something to make or a way to make it.

And third is, "If you start to think you are going to wrong way, stop right there and back up until you get the place that feels right". If the project is starting to look funny, don't keep going, thinking it will get better. Stop, go back and start over. You will be sorry if you keep going because it seems like too much trouble to back track.

That's my words of wisdom for today.

I have been starting to get some offers about where to stay next, and that feels pretty good. Especially with Semana Santa coming in less than two months.

That's it for today

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Fiesta days in Chacala Las Varas

I am in Las Varas at the moment, at the newer, and perhaps only, at the moment, internet place in Las Varas. It's a couple of store fronts south of the bank on the main street. Today traffic on the main street is totally blocked off by booths related to the fiesta days here. Which I think is related to Guadalupe, but I am not sure.

I rode to La Penita with a friend of mine who is camping up abut three blocks up the beach from me. A couple of other people rode with up, and we all went our separate ways once we arrived. We were in La Penita for the Thursday street market, the tsangiu (?spelling). This time of year is is jam packed with US and Canadian tourists, and it's kind of overwhelming. And this year the powers that be have moved all the tourist oriented booths up in the plaza, which is very nice and mostly shady. I bought a mirror for 10 pesos (90 cents or so), two dozen colored plastic clothes pins for ten pesos, four small cantalupes for 90 cents, a loaf of whole wheat bread, (home baked) and a miniature apple tart, which was delicious.

I like all the pottery and stuff in the booths, but it's way out of my price range, and pretty unnecessary in my life style. But it's fun to look at. They also have alot of used clothes booths but I am okay for clothes at the moment. I went on the main market street for about three blocks, looking for peanuts in the shell, but didn't find any. The main street is full of stuff that Mexican families who live in the area need, and it's fun to look at everything. The only thing I meant to get and didn't get was elastic to replace the elastic in my shorts.

Then we headed down the road a couple of miles to Guayabitos, looking for some nice folks from Corvallis who weren't home. As we walked up the beach to their hotel I got a nice handful of shells. Guayabitos is much nicer than I imagined. It was my first visit there, and I had a nice time. We ate at the Cafe at the Hotel Jacqueline, right on the beach, and it was very pleasant. Our friends hadn't come home by the time we finished, so we headed to Las Varas, where I got dropped off so I could go to the cash machine and the internet place. I am going to look at the fiesta booths on the way home, but probably won't buy anything. Except maybe elastic.

The night for the Chacala parade or procession is apparently Saturday night, although some people say it's Friday night. I have gone a couple times now, mainly for the bumper cars and watching the procession, but I probably will stay home this year. We didn't gt home until about 2am last year, and that's too late for me.

The second bike riding group came to Chacala yesterday, and camped at Esparanza's last night. Second group I have seen here, and it was only two young men. I had the impression they weren't interested in visiting with me, so I don't have any details about their ride and how it was going. The restaurant and whatever the American is building on the beach is looking uglier by the day. Maybe it will look better when it's painted, but at the moment it looks like a fortress.

The owners of Casa Azul have been (re)
moving (?) palms, etc, in preparation for building more rental units between the old building the the beach cliff. I can't imagine how it will look back there when it's done. Most of the construction project around town seem to be on hold for the winter. However, Juan, of the Joker tienda is building a small house up the hill from the store, and he is interested in finding a long term renter.

Las Brisas is now completing it's ninth rental unit, upside on the street end. I think the rentals are between $45 and $65 depending on the number of people and other variables. Actually that price is pesos, 450 to 650 pesos.

Posada Guadaloupe, three units on the beach road, away from the beach, now seems to have live-in maintenance family. If you speak Spanish, the phone number is 327 219 4011. The units look small and uninviting, but the insides might be nicer than the outside.

The addition to the Kinder (gaten), a new, larger classroom, is being worked on . I think the Omaha and Shawnee Rotary groups are coming down in the few weeks to do some more work there.

Koko Bongo's internet seems to be working all the time. One of the daughters from Koko Bpmgo's is now running a hot dog and video game arcade on the beach road across from the motor home parking.

People are starting to gear up for Semana Santa, which is the business time of the year here. I am hoping that the powers that be here in Chacala will discourage the late night and extremely loud music and microphone late at night if it is anything like last year. Which was terrible and went on until 2 or 3am.

The weather is perfect, warm enough for shorts at 6:30am and until bedtime. Sunny and nice. The water is lovely, and the waves are very varied, from pretty wild to calm and peaceful. There aren{t alot of tourists in town, and less motor homes than a few weeks ago. Maybe 15 , all together.

The creek that is the water source for Chacala seems to be dried up at the moment and people are having nice clean water trucked in. That's it for now.