In Sayulita there’s Mexicans, surfers,
pelicans and dogs.

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We flew into Puerto Vallarta from Mexico City in the afternoon and were met by Ev and Steph.

At the airport we hired a car and drove the 25 km north to Sayulita, a small beach resort. It’s a hectic place full of Mexicans, Gringos (mainly from the US) and dogs. The place is also crowded with bars, restaurants and souvenir shops.

In the late in the afternoon, once we settled into our AirBnB, we went for a walk around the town.

Our bungalow was next to the Arroyo, a small river that runs down to the beach. The beach was as crowded as the town, again with bars, restaurants and dogs.

There is a reasonable beach break so the surfing and stand up paddle boarding culture is very strong in the area.

There was a stream of surfers, with their boards, continually filing past our house.

The area is situated on the Bay of Banderas, which in 1530 was named by Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán. This was because the local natives, the semi-nomadic Cuyuteco people, carried brightly coloured banners into battle.

The next day we drove further up the coast to San Francisco, a smaller seaside town. There were pelicans diving for fish along the shoreline. These are not the large white ones we have in Australia but much smaller and predominately brown and white.

We walked around town where there were lots of hippies and old Volkswagens.

This was a Mexican Ninbin or Byron Bay.

The image of Our lady of Guadalupe, the Mexican Virgin, is featured in the shopping street and on private houses. The story behind the miracles that created the legend of the native American Juan Diego in 1531 a curious one. It was instrumental in the conversion to Catholicism of the native Americans. It was also a rallying point for Mexicans against the rule of Spain in the 19th century.

Los de Marcos is a little further north and even quieter. Again the pelicans were there.

We had the hire car so went in search of a secluded beach. We found it at Litibu, which is south of Sayulita. It’s not really a town at all but few houses and some resort style accommodation. We spent a pleasant afternoon on the beach. Evan and I took some snaps while Thea and Steph just relaxed.

We then drove even further south to Punta de Mita for lunch. This is a series of beach side restaurants with more touts per square meter than I have ever seen.

They weren’t annoying but there was a constant stream coming through the restaurant. They were selling jewelry, bags, hats and even food. Which I felt was rather strange in a restaurant.

On our last day we took a trip to the Island of Las Marietas, a nature reserve just off the coast from Punta de Mita.

This the home and breeding ground of the endangered Blue-footed Booby. It’s also a UNESCO protected area so there was no walking around.

Our excursion of snorkelling and whale watching was on a small fibre glass boat with five others, all American women. Unfortunately the whale watching season was almost over so there were only a few Humpbacks around.

This is the breeding season for the whales so there were several cows with their calfs.

Our snorkelling was limited by the floatations device we were forced to wear.

We have been snorkelling in a number of places around the world and this was the most strictly controlled I have ever come across.

The fish were scarce but there was a good variety.

We are spoilt having the Great Barrier Reef on our doorstep.

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