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North Banderas Beat - January 28, 2017

Crocodile sanctuary

Located in the lagoon complex between Bucerias and Mezcales, near the Flamingos Golf Club, is a natural protected area that has been open to the public for many years – the El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary.

It has recently been upgraded with new experiences and services for visitors, according to biologist Ruben Saavedra, who is in charge of tours.

“One of the objectives of the sanctuary is to change the perspective people have about crocodiles,” explained Saavedra.   “People say these animals are aggressive and tend to attack, but here we teach people to understand that they are merely defending themselves. What makes a crocodile dangerous is evolution, which has allowed it to make itself nearly invisible, allowing it to accumulate its energy and use the surprise factor.”

The teaching method used in the tours is the old-fashioned “show-and-tell” method for those looking to up their adrenaline, as there are several other resident animals in captivity, including birds, pigs, tejones and turtles. 

The newest attraction is the nocturnal tour, “Night of Legends,” which includes a fantastic show that tells the story of the legend of the crocodile, put on by one of the most important ceremonial groups in the Northeastern portion of Mexico: Kalpulli Osteocoatl Chalchitlicue. 

The magical evening includes dancing and a fire show set against a natural backdrop, live music and a buffet.  It takes place on the last Saturday of every month.

Saavedra noted that with advanced reservations, visitors can enjoy meals, night camping and cabins.

The El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary is open all week, except Wednesdays, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

For more information, call 322-206-9314 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also see facebook.com/cocodrilario.

Festival Sayulita

The 4th annual Festival Sayulita, Film, Spirits, Music & Vida is ready to go from February 1 to 5 and will “knock it out of the park,” organizers say.  

At a press conference this week, organizers explained that the goal of the festival isn’t only to promote the “Magic Town” and its surfing attractions, but also to raise funds for a future cultural center. 

For starters, they’re expecting a crowd of anywhere from 7,000-8,000 – up 4,000 on last year.

Festival organizers Gabriel Villarrubia and Alonso Aréchiga, together with Richard Zarkin, public relations manager for the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau, stressed that nearly every event on the itinerary is free.

Music: The Jungle Live! concert is the most highly anticipated event of the week, as it’s being headlined by the famous Mexican rock band Café Tacvba, supported by Nortec Collective, Troker, Sotomayor, Burton and Sayulita’s Los Gatos Negros.  The musicians take the stage Saturday, February 4 at Las Quintas Trujillo, with doors opening at 1 p.m. Tickets cost 490 pesos.

Film: Over 50 features, shorts and documentaries will be projected onto a giant screen at the beach. Everyone is welcome to these free movies.  There are paid packages available for access to a sofa, food, drink or a souvenir.

Food and Drink: Every year there’s plenty going on in the culinary arena.  Standouts include the Pairing Dinners on Thursday, February 2, 6 p.m. One of the concepts is to create new libations and mixes with Mexican spirits such as tequila, mezcal and raicilla.

Vida: There are plenty of sports to be enjoyed, including surfing, stand-up paddle, boxing, races, riding, yoga and the famous Borracho Fest Stretch to get rid of hangovers. 

Children: Kids will also have their special day on Friday, February 3, with rock music and games created just for the little ones.

Check out the full program, locations and ticket sales at festivalsayulita.com.

February Calendar

Apart from the Sayulita extravaganza, there are several other festivals coming up in the Northshore, celebrating everything from culture, the environment, gastronomy, cinema, music, the arts, community development and sports – to just plain being alive. 

Community “Entre Amigos” Festival (February 11). San Pancho is the epitome of art, family togetherness, love and happiness and it’s all expressed during this 10-year-old festival. The themed parade is an invitation for all to gather at the Plaza del Sol, to enjoy high-quality shows. See es.entreamigos.org.mx.

Mita Tech Talks (February 12-14). Punta Mita welcomes experts in the latest technologies, gadgets, launchings, innovations and trends in order to address the demands of a new century and its invitation to modernize. See mitatechtalks.com/en/home2.

Flamingos Canamex Cup (February 18). North America is looking for the best golf team in the area, a title that’s being disputed between Mexico, the United States and Canada at the Flamingos Golf Course, the oldest in the region.

San Pancho Music Festival (February 24-26). Prepare for three days of great music with local, national and international artists in the Cultural Capital of the Riviera Nayarit. The Plaza del Sol will once again host these top-level shows. See sanpanchomusicfest.wordpress.com.

There are even more events if you include the San Blas International Migratory Bird Festival, which starts in January but continues through February 5, and the International Bahía de Banderas Regatta, which runs February 28-March 4. See banderasbayregatta.com.

Abuelitos de Bucerias Center

Beta Sigma Phi service sorority committee chair Mary Ann Hodge helps members pass out clothing at the Abuelitos de Bucerias Center. BSP’s annual Operation Warmth also took place at the La Cruz senior center and another location for those lacking financial resources.

Spay/neuter clinic

The 2nd annual citizen-sponsored free Bucerias spa/neuter clinic was an unqualified success, according to Harold Sokolove and Sue Fornoff, clinic organizers and Guadalajara Reporter columnists.

They arranged a suitable clinic location, contracted with the mobile vet team Pets4Life and recruited over 40 volunteers for various chores during the four-day clinic, from January 11 to 14.

Results: 21 male dogs, 73 female dogs, 16 male cats and 40 female cats were sterilized cost-free to the pet owners, both Mexicans and expats. 

A number of the animals brought to the clinic were rescued from the street.

Donated collars, harnesses and leashes were also distributed by the volunteers. 

Said Francine Fortin, who has volunteered both years of the clinic: “I so enjoy working with the cats. It’s very rewarding being able to help them through recovery from surgery.”

“There are all sorts of ways volunteers can help, from tending to animals, cleaning cages and handing out flyers,” said Tracy Jones, who also volunteers with Sayulita Animals. “The end result is everyone is helping reduce the number of unwanted animals.”

The clinic cost of 34,500 pesos was funded in various ways, including individual donations.  One Bucerias volunteer baked and sold dog biscuits in the community and another channeled a charitable-giving donation from the Exxon Mobile Corp., based on his participation.  In addition, Amigos de Bucerias civil association covered a portion of the cost.

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