Depending on your idea of frolicking in the sun, folks visiting the Bay of Banderas may crave sunshine and margaritas or prefer getting out on the bay, going for hikes or visiting the hidden beaches. Whatever your idea of a great time, the North Bay has it all.
My favorite thing about living in an “away-land” is that I get to meet a variety of people from all walks of life. During our second year in La Cruz we met a fabulous fisherman and ocean tour operator, Jesus (pronounced Hey-zuice). He and his son, also Jesus, took us and four others to the Marieta Islands, where we delighted in seeing the blue footed boobie bird and we got to swim in a crater.
Jesus Chavez Gonzalez has lived in La Cruz all his life, growing up with 13 sisters and brothers. All his family still live in the area. His sister Maria Chavez is the owner of Abarrotes Grocery La Cruz; our favorite corner store.
Jesus started commercial fishing out of La Cruz at the age of 17 long before there was a marina here. His business includes sport fishing, humpback whale watching tours and sightseeing. The most popular is taking clients to the Marieta Islands to explore. He started his enterprise with a small panga (boat) named Ivette I, then “upped the experience” when he bought a newer vessel named Ivette II, with all the gear he needed and more comfort for his clients.
“I believe my specialty is providing a pleasant and fun ride for my clients,” he says. “Depending on their taste, some customers enjoy fishing and others like to walk the coastline or snorkel in the Marietas. There have been so many special moments with humpback whales breaching and the amazing sight of a whale mom giving birth or spending time with her young. That’s the reward of my business, sharing all that with my clients. It’s a business that has brought livelihood to my family and the pleasure of seeing customers return each year to hire me again for my services.”
Contact Jesus at 322-149-3585.
Oscar Trueba’s first visit to La Cruz was in 2013, and he says the ocean brought him here!
“Being on the water, for me, is like going to church or to the temple! I was a professional paddle boarder in Spain and my passion is helping people enjoy all kinds of ocean activities.”
I learned about Oscar when guests hired him to take them on a sunset paddle. They told me they saw so much more than had they gone on their own, felt safe and were totally delighted with the experience.
Off The Grid Javi, as he calls himself, moved to the Bay area seven years ago and to La Cruz this past November. He started his business in March 2018 with the goal of showing visitors the hidden gems in and around the bay. There are many beautiful places few visitors will ever hear about, much less have the chance to visit.
Javi began as a tour guide on a boat that went to the Marietas and Yelapa, and now considers that his specialty. Getting onto the hidden beach can be a challenge due to both politics (access is limited) and physically (waters can be very rough sometimes).
“I thrive in navigating those challenges. The Marietas Islands is definitely my specialty. The best rewards are helping customers overcome their fears and limitations, and the beautiful places and wildlife we all see as part of my job.”
Chuck truly is a rich mine of information and expresses delight in all he shares on his personalized tours, which take folks to neighboring towns, whale watching, snorkeling, and to the Marieta Islands. He arranges fishing trips, both deep-sea and closer to home on local fishermen’s panga boats. He and his team will also arrange airport pickups.
The main goal of “Chucks Tours” is to make sure his customers have the most fun possible, creating great memories.
“I’m proud to be an ambassador for La Cruz, letting people know all the great things to do here. I love seeing smiles on people faces and building memories.”
Chuck has been awarded Guide of the Year a few times.
He says his most under whelming moment was taking a group fishing and not catching any fish.
That’s why they call it “fishing” and not “catching.” Cut yourself some slack Chuck, I say.
For landlubber enjoyment you must visit the Bucerias Artwalk on Thursday evenings. Not only will you, I believe, have the best night you’ll be supporting artists, boutique art stores, and if you dine or stop for a drink, you’ll support all those folks, too.
I highly recommend starting at Karen’s on the beach for dinner, drinks and the magical sunset, before meandering along Calle Lazaro Cardenas, popping into the various shops and viewing the beautiful art pieces. Many offer a complimentary beverage. If you prefer to eat later, visit the shops and end your tour at Sandrina’s to enjoy a Mediterranean meal in my favorite courtyard around the bay.
Calling All Vendors! There are a few spaces left at The Bucerias Chalk Art Walk Festival, which takes place February 21, 22 and 23. Location: Lazaro Cardenas between Galeana and Benito Juarez. Spaces are 4 meters x 4 meters; you bring your own table and chairs, no electricity. The cost is 1,200 pesos per day or 3,000 pesos for three days.