It has been about a week, and we still miss La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. There is the still the occasional joke about making it back to La Cruz in time for happy hour at the Hunacaxtle Bar and Cafe. The group we hung out with in La Cruz really settled in, and the place began to feel like home. I’ll confess, when we did finally get our plans together to leave there was some discussion on our boat if we really had to. I’m sure we could have stayed, but with friends moving on it wouldn’t have been the same so we decided to migrate south.
I’m not sure what exactly made La Cruz so special, but it was. There was the warm climate, a good group of friends, sailing on Profligate, a visit from my sister, lots of good food stores, delicious street tacos, live music and easy, fun day trips to beach locations. And of course, the Huanacaxtle Bar and Cafe. It took as a while to clue in, but once we did the fun usually began around 4:00 pm, when two hours of Happy Hour began. Draft beer ran about .77 cents and there were wings and nachos to snack on. After Happy Hour we usually found some tacos at a local stand, and more and more frequently returned to the Huanacaxtle for their live music or what were usually private karaoke parties. The staff wasn’t just friendly, they actually became our friends. We will be passing back through and I can’t wait to go in and say hi to everyone.
I probably shouldn’t say negative things since I’m out here living the dream, but the low point of La Cruz was Philos, a restaurant with live music and featuring a menu of pizzas. We were told this would be the cruiser hangout in La Cruz, and it even had a blurb in our guide book. But we found the food mediocre, the beers overpriced and the service abysmal and in stark contrast to the friendly folks at the Huanacaxtle. While we were not there for the excitement, several of our friends had the staff threaten to call the police on them over a disagreement on the bill, which our friends were in the right over. Kind of a mistake on Philos part, these were not two guys who’s bar business you wanted to lose. I would have given these two a free beer if it meant they kept coming to my establishment! I did enjoy the music one night, but then realized pretty much every night the owner sang lead and he does not have a voice I wanted to listen to multiple times. It also seemed the patrons were less any cruisers we knew, and mostly Gringos who now live in the area.
As long as I’m on my negative streak, let me move on to our next stop, Yelapa. It is about 15 miles from La Cruz, across Banderas Bay and is touted as a beautiful little village, populated by native people that own the land as a collective. Sunday morning around 7:00 am, we set
sail motor for Yelapa. Let’s just say Yelapa got off on the wrong foot with us, and never got back on the right one. Because it is a deep bay, there are mooring buoys to tie up to – for a fee. I already had heard several stories about boats dragging the buoy, or swinging into each other. When the panga came out as we approached, Nicole on Bella Star tried to negotiate a deal with him as we had three boats coming in. Rather than bargain, he just drove off, and approached our boat. Thanks to the VHF, we were already aware of what had happened to her, but tried to bargain too. He gave us an off hand wave of his hand and drove away. Apparently he knew if we were coming in, we were getting a buoy from him and paying full price for it. Well, sometimes cruising costs money, so we took a buoy and paid up – it cost more than a night in the marina in Mazatlan. The price did include a dinghy ride ashore, so after waiting a bit to make sure we were staying in place (and backing down on the buoy after the panga left since he was telling me not to pull on it) we headed ashore to wait for Panache to arrive. Of course, the panga dropped us off in front of the palapa he worked for who encouraged us to sit down and have some drinks. I was a bit surprised beer was only 20 pesos, actually cheaper than at Philos. This in a town with no road to it, so everything is brought in by boat. We had a some beer and nachos and as Zack and Steve from Panache arrived requested our bill. Our waiter gave us a total 35 pesos higher than it should have been, and when we questioned it he corrected it by “realizing” we only had two beers, not four. Okay – maybe he did make a mistake, but he still pretty much flat out asked Jenn for more of a tip as he was giving her change.
With the Panache crew ashore, we decided our time was a bit short so we hiked to the closer, smaller waterfall. The trip though town was fun, the street was more of a path with enough room for the occasional 4 wheeler and pedestrians. We climbed a staircase with branching paths to various doors to arrive on the path, and walked about 30 minutes to a small waterfall where a few of us braved the cool water to splash around a bit. Then a walk back down to the beach, where we sat back down at the palapa for another round of beer to cool down from all the
hiking walking. Steve from Panache asked our waiter (same one as earlier) how much the nachos were. He replied “80 pesos”. Funny – when we looked at the menu on our earlier visit and ordered them, they were 60 pesos. A question of the price brought a menu and a correction. I’ll say this, maybe our waiter just made a couple honest mistakes, but it sure felt like he was trying to pocket some extra pesos if we weren’t on our toes. He did make it up a bit by bringing us a couple free shots of Racilla, a moonshine version of tequila that was surprisingly smooth with a nice smokey flavor.
After our afternoon session at the palapa, and an unsuccessful quick scan of the beach establishments for the Super Bowl on a TV we headed back to our boats. I managed to get a slow internet connection with our Banda Ancha and tried to call the Super Bowl party I was hosting in spirit, but while I could here Andre and the crowd saying Hi to me, my voice was not reaching them. Still, hearing some friends back home was enough to make up for not being able to watch the game. The small bay was very rolly and it didn’t take long for all of us to get on the radio and agree that after dinner we were going to head for the next stop down the coast rather than wait till morning.
So, goodbye La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, until we meet again and we will. And good riddance Yelapa, I doubt we’ll be returning. While your town is in a picturesque bay, we have found other places with their own beauty, better anchorages, and waiters less prone to arithmetic errors in their favor.
Sorry for the lack of pictures, I’m still on a pretty slow internet connection. We’ll be heading to a bigger town today or tomorrow and I’ll upload some pictures from Yelapa and La Cruz. And despite my little grumbling, I’m having a great time even if we are experiencing so much gray and rain that I’m not sure if we are in Seattle or Mexico.