In a while, crocodile!
It is well known on the Costa Alegre that La Manzanilla is home to the largest cocodrilario (crocodile sanctuary) on the Jalisco coast.
What was once just an inconspicuous swamp is now a government-protected Ramsar Wetland and home to more than 500 crocodiles. For years, the local people fought to save their mangroves and their crocodiles from “development” and it has now become one of the major attractions in the pueblo. Both Mexican and snowbirds alike are fascinated by these “living dinosaurs” and happily pay a few pesos to meander along a wooden bridge out in the lagoon to get a closer look.
This fall, “Crocodile Whisperer” Pepe Martinez has opened a Crocodile Museum. The building is filled with skeletons and eggs incubating. The man himself is filled with information, not from books but a lifetime of observing and handling these creatures in and sometimes out of their habitat.
If you plan to visit La Manzanilla this season, make sure to spend some time at the cocodrilario. You may even have a chance to hold a baby crocodile. Now there’s a story for your grandkids!
Bridge over troubled waters
Every rainy season brings an overflow to the lagoon, and the man-made earthen bridge is carried out to sea by the raging water. Every person living on the beach past the lagoon is then forced to drive the back road to Boca de Iguanas, to get on Highway 200 and return the town, then make the trip back to Boca, and the back road to return to their homes. More often than not, the back road is still a mud pit from the rains. Their other option is, of course, to navigate a bicycle across the suspension bridge overhanging the lagoon ,which is full of the afore-mentioned crocodiles. More than a little inconvenient.
This October, residents in that area were happy to discover that a drainage system had been designed to help alleviate the situation. Three large culverts were installed under the road. These will drain the water from the main lagoon slowly and steadily into the smaller lagoon and eventually out to the ocean. Hopefully, this will stop the build-up in the lagoon and prevent the flooding.
Green & clean
This past September eight members of our community initiated a new committee dedicated to “Reduce Re-use and Recycle” to help safeguard the environment of La Manzanilla. Three meetings have been held so far, the most recent with the local primary and kindergarten school parents and staff. Brainstorming was done about a recycling program and collection site, fun events and ways to educate students and their families about the human effect on our ecosystem. The committee has already collected a lot of information on what is already being done in the town and is reaching out to partner with the local government and agencies to co-ordinate efforts. The focus is to include all elements of the interconnected solid waste – stores, restaurants, business, schools and households. Their goal is to “create a shining example in this small village on the Costa Alegre of a community that truly values and respects its astonishing biodiversity and promotes a culture of respect and wise management – a real green community.” If you would like to get involved, the members of the committee can be reached via La Manzanilla Message Board.
Meet the artist reception
View spectacular paintings and meet artist Geraldine Classen at Galeria La Manzanilla Friday, December 8, 4-7 p.m.
The Galeria is located at Calle Perula Sur 83.
Kris Kringle Market
Formerly known as the Christmas Tree Fiesta, the Kris Kringle Market is now bigger and better. As always, Chef Alex’s fabulous appetizers and desserts will be served. Friday, December 15 at Magnolia’s Kitchen and Drinks.
More on this in my next column.
Thirty to 40 paintings by members of the Lake Chapala Painting Guild will be on display and for sale at Boca de Iguana’s fabulous restaurant and B&B, Chantli Mare by the Sea, beginning in mid-December and remaining up until mid-March. The paintings are exceptional and hopefully you will be able to visit and stay for awhile.