Living & Loving La Cruz

We last left you in Mazatlan, where we had a lovely Christmas.  From there we headed south to Banderas Bay and a wonderful little community called La Cruz. We had heard from other cruisers that while making your way to that area, it is very important to be on the lookout for long fishing lines set out by the local fisherman.  We kept a sharp lookout, which was somewhat challenging because many of the lines were marked only by small plastic coke bottles that are nearly impossible to see amongst the waves and glare of the water.  We thought we avoided most of them, but when we later dove the boat, we discovered some line wrapped around the port prop.  Luckily it didn’t appear that this caused any damage to the prop.  However, when Cap’n Mike went into the engine box for a routine inspection, he discovered that both engine mounts on that side had broken – likely as a result of the line wrapped around the prop.  So – the engine sat askew from where it should have been, and we were extremely lucky this didn’t cause us to take on a ton of water.  We had planned to stay in the anchorage at La Cruz, but upon learning of engine mount damage, we headed into the marina and docked in order to make repairs.  Parts were ordered and shipped in from San Diego.  Cap’n Mike worked his maintenance magic and the good ship Air Bender was back in tip top shape.  While we could have headed back out to the anchorage, we opted to stay in the marina as we had become quite comfortable there with access to long hot showers, and all the other niceties that come with being able to step right off onto the dock and walk into town.  

La Cruz is on the same bay as Puerto Vallarta, but is an entirely different world.  It is a quaint little town, complete with cobblestone streets, numerous tiny restaurants that are often part of the owners’ homes, and the nicest people you could hope to meet.  There is also a fantastic live music scene there, with a choice of various live performances most every afternoon and evening of the week.  The food there was fantastic as well.  We had two favorite Taco places.  First, Tacos on the Street (the actual name of the restaurant), where they served one basic thing – sirloin steak tacos and buckets of miniature Corona beers. The other was Fonda Coqui, where the owner and his wife cooked, waited tables and even let us play with their new pug puppy. Their pork adobada tacos were to die for!  We found an amazing place for pizza – best we’ve had in Mexico – called Casa Hule.  The tables were actually on the street in front of the owner’s home/restaurant, and you would often find the family dining together inside while also serving its customers.  Right outside the marina was a small hotel and restaurant called the La Cruz Inn, which most definitely caters to us gringos.  While they had some excellent guacamole and tacos, their specialty was good old fashioned American food, complete with Heinz ketchup – something you don’t find too often down here!  I know, I know, why eat gringo food while in Mexico?  Because sometimes you just miss it and need a little taste of home.  They did an amazing job of doing just that.

La Cruz also had a weekly open air market on Sundays.  It was huge – especially considering the small size of the town.  They had everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, to baked goods to clothing to Mexican blankets, and everything in between.  Our absolute favorite thing to get there every week was the best sourdough bread you’ve ever tasted.  We still have a half a loaf in the freezer – oh my yum!  Another cool thing that happened while we were there is that La Cruz won an annual competition among Mexican communities that resulted in them being selected to have a large number of painters come and paint over 35 murals on the outsides of their buildings.  The art was just beautiful, and each painting held special meaning to the business or home on which it was painted.  It was such fun to see these murals being painted from start to finish, and it added yet another special touch to this already extraordinary place. 

I have to say though, as great as the town itself was, one of my favorite things about this stop was the amazing cruising community that we got to be a part of while there.  There are a ton of cruisers who come to Mexico every season, and many spend time in La Cruz in preparation for either crossing the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia, or working their way south towards the Panama Canal.  There was a daily “morning meeting” on the VHF radio where you could hear weather, announcements, things for sale/trade, and any number of other helpful tips and info.  There were seminars put on by volunteers  about every topic you could possibly think of related to cruising – safety, maintenance, provisioning, homeschooling on a boat, healthcare – you name it.  The marina organized a kids club that was extremely active, having fun, but also doing clean ups and volunteering for local organizations.  Yes, there are a number of cruisers with kids – from little tykes up through high schoolers.  They are some really great and well-rounded youngsters who will have amazing stories to tell their own kids someday.  Another fun activity was weekly movie night at the amphitheater, complete with burgers and dogs on the grill.  Even Henry got to go and enjoy a couple of good flicks!  And I can’t forget the yoga – we had a wonderful yoga teacher (also a fellow cruiser) who lead us in yoga three mornings a week at the amphitheater – did I mention that’s right on the water?  So.  Freaking.  Awesome.  I think all in all, we were in the La Cruz area for about six weeks, and we enjoyed every single minute of it!

So, until next time…live the adventure!

Henry livin the good life
Lifting the engine to replace broken engine mounts
Mike & Col with Jamie and Carson from Sailing Vessel Lee Ann
Our vantage point from La Cruz anchorage
One of the handsome dancing horses that performed every Friday
Interesting garden
La Cruz Inn – A Gringo favorite
Col and the bull outside The Green Tomato
Mike being Mike at Fonda Coqui
The wonderful owners of Fonda Coqui
Mike gettin all prettied up
Dinghy Dock
La Cruz Cross