Getting around town can be challenging no matter where you live, but the availability and convenience of the bus systems in Mexico never cease to amaze me.
According to the CIA World Factbook of 2012, Mexico’s road network boasts 377,660 kilometers, placing it number 20 on a list of 223 countries! Considering the number of mountain ranges and general topography of the land, this is very impressive.
Our small communities on the Costalegre offer many options for local travel. The colored busses known as Segunda Class are the most economical, at a cost of eight to 26 pesos per person, one way. Once affectionately referred to by foreigners as “Chicken Buses,” locals now find this term very offensive. Pets are allowed but it’s not likely you’ll see chickens or other livestock these days.
Orange buses run between Melaque and Barra de Navidad every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (more or less). With frequent stops, you’ll traverse through the back roads of Villa Obregon, San Patricio and the Barrio in Barra de Navidad. If you’re not in a hurry, this is definitely the way to go. Each bus reflects the personality of the driver with various photos, posters or signs. Some drivers are lucky enough to have a family member waiting at a stop along the way to deliver lunch and a cold beverage. Don’t be concerned about cracked windshields and squeaky brakes, it all adds to the ambience. If you’re really lucky, you’ll be treated to the sounds of local musicians singing and playing their heartfelt traditional songs.
Green and purple busses travel the main roads with fewer stops. Look for “directo” on the window sign. The green bus from Barra de Navidad will take you a few steps from the bus station and Banamex in Melaque, where you can go on to La Manzanilla or Cihuatlan. Purple buses go to Barra, Melaque and Cihuatlan.
The one-way fee between Barra de Navidad and Melaque is eight pesos per person – roughly 50 U.S., cents or 68 Canadian cents. Be sure to pay close attention to the destination signs in the front window. A one-way trip to Cihuatlan from Barra or Melaque is 12 pesos per person. La Manzanilla is 20 pesos per person with the first bus leaving at 9:30 a.m. and last bus returning to Melaque/Barra at 5:30 p.m.
Going to Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo or Guadalajara? Executive or first-class is your best option for long distances. Unlike the second-class buses, they follow stringent safety regulations. You will have a smoother, more comfortable, air-conditioned ride, a bathroom and cushioned seating. Some companies offer reclining seats, TV with headphones and even a beverage with a sandwich or snack. Fees are very reasonable. As an example: Primera Plus, departing from Melaque to Puerto Vallarta, costs 339 pesos per person. With departures seven days a week at 10:15 a.m., 2:10 p.m. and 4:15 p.m., the price is well worth it. Duration is 4.5 hours. First-class service is not offered to Puerto Vallarta from Barra. Seniors, age 60 plus with identification, pay half price – foreigners included. Pets are not allowed on first-class or executive buses.
Areas and bars are starting to put forward their entertainment calendars for the upcoming high season. Following is information we’ve received to date.
BARRA DE NAVIDAD:
Backstage Bar, Av. Miguel López de Legazpi 200B. Friday night is dance night!
Besame Mucho, Calle Jalisco 13B, 315-100-9362. Mondays, Allan Garcia; Tuesdays, Mark Pettigrew; Thursdays, Salvador; Fridays and Saturdays, Mauro; Sundays, Tata Joe. Music begins at 7 p.m.
Cabo Blanco Hotel, Av. Armada and Av. Puerto de la Navidad. Thursdays, Jam by the Pool with host Doug Pettigrew, 1 p.m.
El Manglito’s Restaurant, Av. Veracruz 17, 315-355-8128. Fridays, various Mexican musicians from 7 p.m.
Marlena’s Restaurant, Av. Veracruz 167, 315-355-8645. Mondays, Chido Rivera; Thursdays, Simone. Music starts at 7 p.m.
Sr. Froy’s La Casa Mia Restaurant, Calle Filipinas 66, 315-109-4740. Wednesdays, Salvador; Saturdays: Rojo & Paul. Music starts 6:30 p.m. Music nightly beginning in December.
Time Out Bar, Av. Miguel López de Legazpi 7. Wednesdays, Los Bandidos; Fridays, Pineapple Express; Saturdays, Chido Rivera Band; Sundays, Los Bandidos. Music starts 9 p.m.
Albatros Restarant, Av. Cabañas 36, 315-355-5753. Wednesdays, H&R Rock beginning later in December; Fridays, Chido Rivera Band; Sundays, open mic with Chido Rivera. Music starts 7 p.m.
Esmeralda’s Restaurant, Av. Gomez Farias, 461, 315-104-5647. Saturdays: open mic with Jack Connors at 1 p.m.
La Salamandra, Calle Abel Salgado 382, 315-355-5530. Thursdays, Los Bandidos, 7 p.m.; Fridays, Salvador, 7 p.m.; Sundays, Mario Montalvo Band, 7:30 p.m.
Viva Maria 1910, Calle Palmas 7, 315-107-1973. Mondays, Francisco de Leon, 7 p.m.; Tuesdays, story telling – five minutes per person, 7 p.m.; Wednesdays, open mic with Tata Joe and Los Magnificos, 2 p.m.; Thursdays, story telling 7 p.m. (see Tues.); Fridays, Francisco de Leon, 7 p.m.; Saturdays, H&R Rock beginning later in December, 7 p.m.; Sundays, Jaime Perez “El Morro” 2 p.m.
La Oficina, Calle Revolution 41, 315-355-5982. Thursdays, rotating artists/special guests; Fridays, open mic hosted by Dave Spinks and others; Saturdays, Lalo. Music starts 8 p.m.