More Puerto Vallarta!
As I mentioned in my earlier post on my trip to PV, my daughter and I were reliving a trip that we had taken there 12 years before. A highlight of that trip – and that I blogged about way back then, in my old poly-focused blog, A Poly Life – was a hike from Boca de Tomatlan to Playa Las Animas. You can read about our first time here: The hike from Boca to Las Animas, and see how much that whole area – and the trail – has changed. It was both a trip down memory lane for us and also a shock. Before, there had been no one on the trail – literally – and I think we only saw a couple kayakers on the water until we got to Las Animas. Once at the beach, there was one or maybe two restaurants/bars, a rickety pier going out into the water for the little water taxis/fishing boats, and that was it. Now there are multi-million dollar homes, yachts, fishing boats, cruise ship excursions to the secluded coves, several restaurants and bars, a new resort and so. many. people. It was still beautiful…but less idyllic. Truth be told, we were both a little heartbroken that our isolated hike in the wilds of Mexico had turned into another heavily-trafficked tourist destination. But. Such is progress.
As before, we got to Boca via public transportation. This being 2022 and the age of Uber and all, I almost decided to go that route, but using public transport was a key element to our previous trip, and we both wanted to reprise that. Of course this time we were masked.
Two buses later and we arrived in the sleepy little fishing village of Boca de Tomatlan, with its one convenience mart / bait shop, unpaved streets and wooden trail sign pointing across the river (over sandbars and through the river) to the hillside across from the town.
Wait, did I say “unpaved” and “sleepy”? Not even close. The town was hopping, there were paved streets and cobblestone walkways, and a new(er) suspension bridge had been built far back in the cove.
Instead of dilapidated shacks clinging to the sides of the cliffs, with open fires to cook on and no electricity, the newly-cobbled trail went past tightly locked-up vacation homes and yacht launches, and the (still rickety) bridges crossed over tracks for trams used to ferry things from the water up the hillsides.
It was beautiful, but, with the memory of what it had been like before, somewhat surreal, and felt a little bit like we were trespassing. Still, much natural beauty surrounded us, and the trail once we got out of town was surprisingly technical – steep and rocky, challenging in places, clinging to the sides of cliffs before winding up into the jungle and back down. There were “Se Vende” signs all over though – I imagine if we venture here in another 12 years it will be all built up.
We had a bit of an unintended rock scramble when we went the wrong way at one point – the path clearly went to the left, but the Girl and I both remembered having gone to the right and down to the beach years before, then walking the beach aways in front of the (then) abandoned resort. I’m guessing they rerouted the trail when they renovated the resort – now it approaches from up above and behind, and the path takes you away from the resort itself, and again, it’s been cobbled, quite prettily. We had an unexpected find in our rock scramble tho – a Mother Mary statue high on the cliffs.
The isolated cove where we had seen the lone kayakers before was completely changed too – there was a party boat anchored at the mouth of the cove, the house above had been renovated and gated, people swarmed the beach and a construction crew was working on what would soon be a restaurant or bar just off the path.
Arriving at the seriously busy Las Animas beach, we promptly found a table and relaxed. Another happy accident was that we asked our waiter if any of the water taxis went back to Puerto Vallarta, instead of to Boca, where we’d have to wend our way back to PV by bus again. We were hot, tired and sweaty, and didn’t relish the thought of the hot bus ride back. He said yes, but actually what he did was charter us a private ride back across the water – a point we misunderstood until we asked him what time it would be leaving and he led us down to the water and showed us the boat and it’s driver. It was substantially higher than the boat to Boca would have been, but by that point we didn’t care – I was thrilled to be on the water anyway, so it was a bonus to me.
All in all, a lovely reprisal of our previous trip.