Welcome to the season
Already I have noticed a population increase around Melaque and Barra de Navidad and I’m sure it will continue.
Whether we are reuniting with our friends and family from afar or meeting new people, the atmosphere is exciting. The weather has made a change for the better and we should have sunny skies and light breezes for the next few months.
My husband and our two little kids and dog have been in Barra for the majority of the past year. We packed up our SUV and left Vernon, British Columbia, on November 1, 2017, to start our journey of living abroad.
Barra is our base for many reasons, especially because of our frequent vacations here in the past. Our kids are going to school here and their Spanish should surpass ours soon – my son thoroughly enjoys correcting my pronunciation and accent.
Our adventure is about exploring with our minds and hearts and reevaluating our needs. We feel privileged and blessed to be here and have felt welcomed by the both the extranjero and local communities.
Exploring the beaches
Having spent a lot of time on the beaches of Jalisco, I find it interesting how my desires and beach needs have evolved. When my husband and I vacationed here before having children, we looked forward to the long hot beach and cool coral reef of Tenacatita and the secluded beaches accessible only by boat. Now we want it easy and to be where the kids can play in the sand and waves and the adults can enjoy a beverage. And we also want proximity to home. Here is my quick guide of six beaches close to home.
Playa de Cocos is a 14-mile-long beach located about 20 minutes south of Barra on the Isla de Navidad road. This peninsula is great for walking, but the undertow is strong so avoid swimming. It is popular for dog walkers and ATV users.
Playa Laguna in Barra is very popular among locals and tourists. It is an excellent place to catch a water taxi or watch the kids jump off the restaurant railings. The beach is easily accessed but the water quality varies, so swim at your own risk.
Playa Principal is the main beach in Barra and runs the whole distance of the town. In fact, at low tide you can walk all the way to Melaque. Much of the shore is steep, which is good for playing on boogie boards and surfing, but makes it difficult to get in and out of. Near the Malecon there is a great little spot for the whole family to go swimming. Additionally, the town has erected two maleconcitos (little malecons) – perfect for enjoying the sunset!
Northwest of Melaque is the village of Cuastecomates. This small bay is protected and features calm predictable waves and an abundance of restaurants which makes it perfect for the whole family. There is a small reef for snorkeling but be sure to go early in the day for better visibility. This bay is popular for water sports and boats are available for “banana boat” rides. It is also my favorite place for stand up paddleboarding (SUP) paddleboard.Perhaps you have noticed me out paddling around with my kids or enjoying some SUP yoga or Pilates.
Playa Melaque is the main beach that is great for walking and swimming. There are many restaurants to choose from, most of which offer traditional cuisine with a couple of house specials. The beach is popular among local fishermen casting their single lines or nets in hope of catching some bait. Mind your step — on the west end when the water gets warm the sea urchins relax off the rocks and get caught up in the current.
Finally, the malecon in Villa Obregon is a great place to watch the waves. These can get big and are great to play in if you have a board. Here you will always find families visiting and playing in the sand. It is also a popular place for dogs and their humans to walk and play together.
The music scene
Live music is frequent in the area with many restaurants beginning the season with musicians playing on Fridays and Saturdays during dinner hours. From this weekend, many bars are starting their music at 9 p.m.
Unfortunately, I do not yet have a complete schedule but will for our next column.
Dia de Muertos
This year marked the fifth official celebration of Dia de Muertos in Barra de Navidad and Melaque. The theme was “La Magia de las Calaveras” and featured parades, exhibits, cultural programs, altars, catrinas and catrins and the movie “Coco.” It is truly magical and educational to be part of this ancient tradition.
Tuesday, November 20, is Revolution Day and will be celebrated in colorful attire for the ladies and military uniforms for the men. Starting at 9:30 a.m. (more or less) on Nueva España, the parade will make its way to the jardin in Barra. In the evening, celebrations are held in the Melaque jardin. Join in and eat pico de gallo – a tomato-based sauce with the colors of the Mexican flag.
On October 16 we were part of a public group that released about 400 turtles into the bay in Villa Obregon.
“Fantastic La Catrina in Barra,” La Catrina in Barra” and “La Catrina at an alter in Melaque.”
Photos from this year;s Dia de Muertos festivities.
“The Revolution Day parade begins with ladies in colorful skirts”
Photo from last year’s parade.