Window closing, not door
It’s the beginning of April and many who have joined the community to escape all or part of the northern climes are planning their travels home.
Some of us are lucky enough to be flexible and await the return of the milder weather. Others have a schedule and must grin and bear the last that winter has to offer. At the present time, Barra de Navidad and Melaque are gracing us with blues skies and temperatures of 26°C. The border cities on the west coast of Canada and the United States are enjoying a balmy 7 to12°C. Even the Yukon is +2°C today. Easterners on the border are looking at -4 to -7°C.
Even with these milder temperatures up north, we find it hard to leave. The Costalegre has given us so much during these past six months. We enjoy, of course, the beauty of the area with the scenic landscapes and beaches that take our breath away. We learn, as guests, about a culture of caring. It has been our observation that Mexicans put family first. Children play freely on the playas and in the steets, elders are highly regarded. The youngest and the oldest are included in all activities regardless of the time of day or night.
We have become more caring of our own communities because of the love and the beauty that surrounds us here. Music en vivo is at the heart of the culture. Musical visitors have been fortunate to build a diverse network at open mics and jams, enabling them to share their unique skill set with locals and each other. Arts and culture abound: a new arts center in Melaque, the galleries, restaurants, festivals, museums, or the many incredible street artisans in the various small towns are a testament to this.
Groups of expats and tourists come together to experience or assist with traditions such as Day of the Dead, Carnival, St. Patrick’s Day. They volunteer at free spay-and-neuter clinics for local pets and strays. (216 dogs and cats in Barra during the recent Cisco’s Amigos clinic and 123 in La Manzanilla – wow!) We learn to give.
Walking through the towns that make up the Costalegre, it’s clear that “buenos dias” is truly meant. We’re reminded how simple it is to take the time to smile, to participate in this small gesture of an open greeting openly showing how we enjoy the happiness that prevails. The nightlife in high season is filled with tastes and smells of amazing foods, sounds, colors, nightly dancing and singing. The “party-like atmosphere” draws us in as we’re greeted by caring local people who work tirelessly to be sure that we feel welcomed.
Some decide that this is the place to spend their later years because this is a country where “the little things” matter. As visitors, we have learned to appreciate this wonderful area and as a result, have begun to care even more deeply about the world around us.
Mexico law states that you must have a fire extinguisher in your car as well as reflective orange road cones or triangles.
Call 078 from any phone in Mexico to reach Ángeles Verdes/Green Angels: a 300-strong fleet of vehicles staffed by bilingual tourist assistants trained in mechanics and first aid. The hotline is accessible 24 hours but service is only available from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. There is no fee for this service but you will be required to pay for fuel or necessary parts.
Gas up frequently as filling stations can be far apart.
Have a supply of fresh water and some snacks.
Check the operating hours of your intended border crossings, some have reduced hours and/or may be closed on Sunday.
Remember to return your validation sticker at the border.
It’s best to drive during daylight hours.
Watch for cattle, goats and horses on the road.
Enjoy the scenery!
The following restaurants and bars have provided info throughout the season regarding their entertainment and hours. Some have not yet determined summer hours. Please contact venues directly for confirmation as things can change.
BARRA DE NAVIDAD
Backstage Bar and Bluewave Cafe, Av. Miguel López de Legazpi 200B. Some information available on Facebook.
Barra Galeria de Arte & Restaurant, Av. Mazatlan 75, 315-109-6239.
Besame Mucho, Jalisco13B, 315-100-9362.
Cabo Blanco Hotel, Av. Armada and Av. Puerto de la Navidad. The last Thursday jam by the pool takes place on Thursday, April 6, 1 p.m. The hotel is open year round.
El Manglito’s Restaurant, Av. Veracruz 17, 315-355-8128.
Marlena’s Restaurant, Jalisco 48, 315-100-7355.
Sr. Froy’s La Casa Mia Restaurant, Filipinas 66, 315-109-4740. Closed Sundays in April. Open Wednesday to Saturday, May through September. Entertainment will resume in high season.
MELAQUE/SAN PATRICIO/VILLA OBREGON
Albatros Restaurant, Av. Cabañas 36, 315-355-5753.
Alebrije Restaurant, Benito Juarez 43, 331-169-9975.
Antiguo Bar Social (Jack and Ava’s), Alvaro Obregón 5, 315-355-5393.
Bistro Escondido, Las Palmitas 2, Melaque (near the earthquake hotel) 315-355-6579.
Esmeralda’s Restaurant, Av. Gomez Farias, 461, 315-104-5647. Saturday music jams will resume during high season.
Esquina Paraíso Bar (Styx), Alvaro Obregón 13, 314-162-4412.
La Oficina, Revolution 4. 315-355-5982. Closing for the summer, reopens during high season.
La Salamandra, Abel Salgado 382, 315-355-5530. Closed end of March. Reopens in high season.
Tito’s Place Restaurant Bar, Las Palmas 27, 315-109-9787.
Vainilla Pimienta Restaurant, Cabañas 4, 315-110-3550.
Viva Maria 1910 Restaurant, Palmas 7, 315-107-1973.
Seasonal scenes in Mexican paradise
From top left: Music on the beach in Melaque, Day of the Dead festivities, dancing at Lucy’s Paradise in Barra and America and Amanda going to a spay-and-neuter clinic.