Rincon de Guayabitos - Finally, the Pacific Coast

Trip Start Dec 27, 2008
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Flag of Mexico  , Pacific Coast,
Friday, January 2, 2009

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First Time Reader? ......here is the background to this series of blogs
http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/lobo/9/1233502800/tpod.html
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Click on SLIDESHOW and the rectangle in the right corner to see photos in full screen format
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Mexico:  23 Destinations to Spend the Winter Months
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Rincón de Guayabitos
No. 8 of 23 Destinations (this is not a ranking)
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Rincón de Guayabitos - Our First Stop on the Pacific Coast

Part 1 of 2
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State: Nyarit
Population:  30,000
Location: on Bahia de Jaltemba, 45 kilometers north of Puerto Vallarta
Weather: warm winters, hot, hot summers
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After Ajijic our original plan was to visit the city of Tepic and then the Pacific Coast town of San Blas.

When we mentioned our travel plans to several expats in Ajijic, we were dissuaded from going to Tepic. Allegedly it is an industrial city that is dirty and polluted partly due to the coal-powered electricity generating plant. As far as San Blas was concerned, it was struck off our list due to its location in a swampy area and the "no-see ems" and the havoc that they wreak at about ankle level.

http://www.backyardnature.com/cgi-bin/gt/tpl.h,content=692

Truth be told, we were almost relieved to hear some negative news in order to cut out some of our itinerary due to lack of time. Thus is was that we omitted Tepic and San Blas and headed straight for Rincón de Guayabitos located on the Pacific Coast just north of world renowned Puerto Vallarta.

If Puerto Vallarta is a darling destination for Canadians, Americans and Europeans to catch some "fun and sun" on the 7-day, all-inclusive holiday, the same cannot be said about Rincón de Guayabitos. Far from being a jet-set destination, it is deeply rooted in being a favourite vacation destination for the average Mexican family. At least that is the impression as one walks about this busy town and crowded beach during the holiday season.

Our entry on foot into Rincón de Guayabitos was a rough start.

Let me explain.

The Pacifico bus stop for Rincón de Guayabitos is on Highway 202 by the Hotel M. Estela. We decided to stay at the brightly coloured hotel for 350 pesos that is about half the price of staying in town.  It is only about a five minute walk to get onto the main street and walk to an undefined center along a highly commercialized boulevard. 

Getting back to the "tough part" and recognizing that the safety standards of cleanliness and infrastructure are different in parts of Mexico, the walk into town is still tough on any scale.

Firstly there is an open creek that has to be crossed and from the smell it seems it acts as an open sewer.  Then there is the state of the sidewalks that are abominable as they are incredibly uneven, and in parts totally broken up.  This would truly be a hopeless case for any attempted mobility by people with a disability.

The sidewalk improved as we walked further along the main street but not anywhere near to being pedestrian friendly.

Of course if you are arriving by car you don't get this initial "welcome" but you are still left with unusually uneven sidewalks and a less than clean city.

We later toured a condo building where a $350,000 US condo had an annual property tax of $150 US.  Yes $150 US!!!  That boggles the mind when there is such a crying need for public infrastructure improvements and particularly a need to spend some money on just keeping the streets clean.

Furthermore, on the gorgeous beach occupied by thousands of vacationers we had to hunt for a garbage can to dispose of our empty plastic cups from our fresh fruit snack.  There were many food vendors on the beach so there would be a fair amount of garbage generated not to mention the food that people brought from home.  There were sections of this beach that were just strewn with garbage.

Yes, infrastructure and cleanliness leave a lot to be desired in Rincón de Guayabitos. The main street has apparently been under construction for the last three years and street sweepers are few and far between.

In our walk into town along the Avenida Sol Nuevo we passed an interesting circular park, a modern church, an abundance of street vendors and the Dom Pepe Hotel that was advertising a price of 250 pesos per person.  That was a good price but compared to the 350 pesos for the two of us in our hotel, it was still more expensive. It does point out though that accommodations are cheaper here than they are in Puerto Vallarta.

Now let's get back to our hotel for a moment, the Hotel M. Estela located out by the highway. The friendly bilingual manager, Gustavo Montes, who had spent a number of years in the United States before his abrupt return, was only too glad to show us what he had to offer in the way of long-term stay accommodations. As the photos will attest, in a classic case of "you get what you pay for", the comfort level was "pretty basic" with a price of $400 per month.

We often noted in Mexico, at least in the lower priced hotel rooms we stayed in, the amenities were absolutely basic and often had the impression that nothing was provided because if it was, it would probably disappear. In a non-credit card system if a guest walks away with a lamp or a painting or chair or whatever else can make a room comfortable, there is practically no way of getting it back. So it seems the best strategy is to provide next to nothing or at least provide the items that cannot be carried away.

Let me get back to the street vendors for the moment. While in Mexico I had grown to like "churros". If you don't know what it is, have a look:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buelna/495378708/

My tolerance for churros was starting to diminish ever since Aguascalientes where I saw the churros I had ordered being stuffed right in front of me with a thick sugary filling. I think on that occasion I must have ingested well over 800 calories by eating just four stuffed churros. My tolerance reached its limit here in Rincón de Guayabitos when I saw how a street vendor pressed the churro dough from a cylindrical tube into hot boiling oil. So there you have it; lots of calories and trans fat to boot - that is the delight called Mexican churros. Maybe I had better stick to bagels that are boiled in water. Then again, bagels are hard to find in Mexico. To this point we had only found bagels in the two hot-beds of expats - Ajijic and San Miguel de Allende.

On the south end of Avenida Sol Nuevo I was fascinated by the condition of the Pancho Villa Posada, at least the north side of it.  It raises the question, who would want to stay here, even though the front of the Posada was more presentable?

Don't get the impression that the accommodations in this town are sub-standard. On the contrary, all price levels are well represented especially along the beautiful beach.

http://www.jaltembabay.com/Properties/Guayabitos/rent_RdeG.html

We enjoyed walking along the 2 two-block pedestrian streets that lead from Avenida de Sol Nuevo to the beach and 5 more one-block "zonas para caminar" or walkways that lead from avenida Palmas to the beach. They make for pleasant strolling and vistas towards the azure blue Bahia de Jaltemba.
   
Yes, our first impression of Rincón de Guaybitos was negative for the reasons mentioned above. But nevertheless it is a place that could grow on the "cultural-immersion-seeking" expat. It is very Mexican. Yes, I know that sounds bizarre considering how we are in Mexico but there are certain destinations in Mexico that I discussed in my previous blogs where expats have managed to at least partly take the "mexico" out of Mexico. Suffice it to say there is no evidence of that on the streets of Rincón de Guyabitos as expats are rarely seen or heard.

Having said that, what we did notice were two trailer parks right near the beach that were full of Americans and Canadians with a strong concentration of Quebequers. The attractions here would be the great winter weather, the gorgeous beach and relatively low prices.

Finally, what is the meaning of this strange word - "rincón"? It translates into the word "corner" as in designating the location of a place. I imagine one would have to be a native Spanish speaker to really get the feel of this word because it still leaves me wondering.  On second thought maybe it is like "Bell's Corners" which is a former suburb of Ottawa, Ontario where we used to live for 40 years.

An evening walk introduced us to "natural Viagra".  We learned this from a friendly lady who was the owner of a small family-run store that was selling these beautiful yucca fruits.  Considering the number of children that she had, she must have known what she was talking about. Anyway, it was an interesting topic around which to practice my Spanish language skills.  Barbara encouraged me to buy one of the
plants but frankly they were too big for me to carry!  If you look at the photos, I think you'll agree with me!  A small Viagra pill that fits into a wallet would probably serve the purpose a lot better.  I understand the Viagra pills sell for very little here in Mexico although they are of the generic variety.

We also noticed while walking about Rincón de Guayabitos that there is an apparent lack of pubic internet providers and a lack of coffee shops where one could buy a good cup of "café américano".  What good is a place without a good cup of coffee?

For another take on Rincón de Guayabitos:

http://www.mexconnect.com/en/articles/1262-fly-to-puerto-vallarta-but-stay-in-rincon-de-guayabitos
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Coming Soon:

Rincón de Guayabitos - The Beach - Saving the Best for Last
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Comments

jesus on

Very interesting article, congratulations!

Daniel on

What good is a place without a good cup of coffee? That's easy: George & Gary's coffee shop.

First thing I do when I go there is getting a cup of coffee and a muffin at George & Gary's and grab a book for exchance over there. It is located here: Sol Nuevo Avenue and Tabachines.

So, now you know where to find a good cup of coffee in Rincon de Guayabitos, great coffee made of grains with great taste.

Lobo on

Thanks for adding this important info to the blog. A good coffee shop is always appreciated.

Daniel on

Also, you can eat for breakfast @ George & Gary's coffee shop, BLTs (kinda sandwich, made of special bread, bacon, lettuce and tomato) or waffles with bacon with some fresh OJ. Just like a sunday morning, also with cat walking around your feet.

Well, last thing I heard was that the cat ,Glinda, die... it was an old cat, almost 22 years old. So, no cat while you eat over there. ):

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