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Barra de Navidad and Melaque, Jalisco

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Puesta del Sol (melaque)

I stayed at the Puesta del Sol for 300 pesos a night (about $32US). Very clean, with full bath (shower), two doubles, ceiling fan, tiled floors and a full porch (with screens) over looking the beach. The porch had a fridge, sink and cooktop (gas). If you need to use kitchen facilities, make sure they promise all things work. I ate out all the time. They do have a pool but it's not too attractive and not on the beach side, it's clean. It's right next to Trailer Park Playa and in the middle of downtown on a nice part of the beach.

I'm not sure of rate increases from Dec-March.

Scott Parks

December 2000

You Can Get Anything you Want...

Hi Tom! I just want to wish you a very Happy New Year and let you know that is a restaurant in Barra de Navidad that you do not include in your Web Page.

Is "Alice's Restaurant" and we have the best Pizzas and Hamburgers in town.

Please stay in touch. Thank You.

December 2000

We have eaten at Alice's Restaurant and enjoyed. We didn't have pizza or hamburger though. -Tom

Kayaks in Cuastecomates?

Does anyone know if we can rent kayaks at Cuastecomates? I heard that Pelican Restaurant was thinking of doing this-it would be so much fun! Thanks for any info.

Dan Lou Grogan

December 2000

Security at Pablo de Tarso

Dear Tom. Love your site, got a lot of information off it for our first trip to Melaque last year. we brought our four children ages 14 to 8, for a Mexican Christmas and had the time of our lives. Stayed at Pablo de Tarso for the first while but there is threw traffic and our children "lost" a lot of stuff by the pool. We then moved to Las Gaviotas which was cheaper, friendlier and definitely more secure. Bring ear plugs however, Gaviotas as well as many of the hotels have screened windows only, and the car alarms can be a real annoyance at 2 in the morning.

A good place for breakfast was across the road from Judy's Restaurant, at a house, no sign open only in the morning run by a very friendly Mexican gal who speaks very good English and was a wealth of information. We are heading back for two weeks in early January, this time without the kids and this time we are flying to Manzanillo. I have two questions:

1). I've heard that Aero California is notorious for losing luggage is that true and if so any suggestions as to precautions, and 2). Where can I get a map of Melaque. Wishing you and all your readers many happy memories in Melaque and area!

Suzanne in B.C. Canada

December 2000

For the luggage, make sure you have contact information both on a tag outside and on something on the inside. You could take a change of clothes and a few necessities in a carryon bag. Have the address and phone number of the hotel where you will be staying with you (rather than in your luggage) so you can have the airline deliver your luggage when they finally locate it. -Tom

What to Do in Melaque

The Manzanillo airport looks like it's inland on the map but one wing is over the beach as you land. Was surprised at the overcast. Very warm and humid at 4:00pm. Same time zone as D.F. which surprised me since it is so far west (central US time).

There was no money exchange (casa's de cambio) at the airport and the taxi stand took US money. $29 to Melaque. They give you a ticket for the taxis outside.

Arriving in Melaque the banks close at 1pm (9-1) so needed a motel/hotel that would accept US dollar, most will. The nightly prices of hotels in the central beach area was $32-12. Most people that are staying for awhile rent by the month and those range from $100-300 for a 1-2 bedroom apartment, usually within two blocks of the beach.

The town is oriented east-west rather than north-south. The sun rises on one end of the beach and sets on he other.

Melaque is a working class town and the majority of beach tourists are Mexican. Barra de Navidad is smaller but looks more like a tourist destination with more trees, newly paved streets and a larger ratio of hotels, bars and tourist shops. The beach has been washed away (it's coming back) in Barra so there are less beach vendors. Melaque has quite a few but they are mellow and tend to remember you (saying no) after a few days.

The places to meet people (Canadians and Americans) are Bigotes any time after noon and Bananarama. Bigotes is a beach restaurant/bar with happy hour from 1-6, good music, nice family that owns it ... and good food. Bananarama is a breakfast place open from 7am-1pm with good coffee (Starbucks they say), fruit bowl or various egg breakfasts.

Things to do:

A day snorkel trip with Ray ($100 pesos) in the back of his pickup to Tenicatita (about 40 minute trip), minimum 5 people - we went with 8. Very nice beach, good food at the palapas. He brings you back via Boca de Iguanas for body surfing and La Manzanillo to see the Crocodiles (caimans). Ray has reasonably good snorkeling equipment included in the price. He also rents mountain bikes. Ask about him at Bananarama.

Walk the beach to Barra, about 2 miles.

Walk over the hill to Cuastecomates.

Take Spanish lessons with Sharon three times a week (Mon, Wen, Fri). Beginners start about 10am - for 1.5 hours for 30 pesos. I just walked in look for it and they asked me to sit down. The "school" is on the grounds of La Paloma, about 5 blocks east of downtown. She also has intermediate and advanced classes.

Surfo Bar has good service and an active pool table.

Bring lots of cotton clothes but laundries (lavandaria) are cheap and good. Easy to go through 2-3 sets of clothes a day.

Meal and beer costs; Average dinner is $6-8, Lunch $2-5, Beer 50-120pesos. One night we bought a half chicken, beans and rice (to go) for about $5 - and took it to Bigotes to add the beer. It fed four with a beautiful sunset.

So am I going back .. you bet! Still scratching my mosquito bytes ... so yes they are there!

Scott Parks

December 2000

Seeking Accomodation

Tom, Thank you for the great site, we have reviewed the information provided as well as other sources and have decided that we would like to stay at Melaque for 1 week in Feb. i have faxed Las Brisas, Villas Camino del Mar & La Paloma but am not getting any response back. Do you have any suggestions? I could telephone, however my Spanish is very very limited.

Thank you for any suggestions that you could provide.

Vern Crawford
Alberta, Canada

December 2000

I expect they are all very busy at this time of year. La Paloma does have email and they speak English there. February is the high season, and I would expect that some but not all of the hotels will be full. -Tom

In mid December I posted a message to Tom that indicated I was having some trouble getting responses to my inquiries. In that message I included the name of La Paloma. Shortly after sending the message La Paloma did contact me via e-mail and fax. Although they did not have accommodations available for the dates we wanted they voluntarily checked on another location (also not available). Even though I have not been to La Paloma all indications are that the owners operate in a very professional manner and make every attempt to communicate with prospective clients. Good news Tom, we have booked at the Hotel Monterrey. We were about to give up on staying at Melaque when we got a very helpful and encouraging e-mail from one of your contributors. We phoned Hotel Monterrey a couple of times until we were able to speak to Ivonne Garcia. She was very accommodating and spoke good English. We received confirmation by e-mail and fax. When you are trying to book at any of the accommodations I would suggest that you not take for granted that your fax or e-mail will be answered, especially if it is a busy time of the year. Allow yourself plenty of time to make arrangements and be patient for a few days (7-10) for a reply. Telephone, probably the best. -Vern Crawford

Wanting to Rent a House

Tom, you were a great help two years ago when we went to Barra. We stayed at the Bungalows Mar Vida and it was great. Now we'd like to rent a house from Dec 1, 2001 to Feb 1, 2002 in this area. Hopefully it would be less than $1000 Cnd. a month. Any leads would be a welcome . We are a non smoking couple but we'd prefer a little extra space in case our daughter came to stay for a week. Please contact me at selltile@home.com if you or your readers have any leads.

Cheryl Halkyard

December 2000

Beer Bob Okay? Tenacatita Burned?

Have you a recent update on Beer Bob? Is he still in bad health? I am anxious to hear the news from friends who are down there now. Any truth to the rumor I heard that Tenacatita had been burned down? In the past few months thru your page I have made many contacts with those who love Barra and those just trying it for the first time. What a great service you provide. I just want to say Thanks to you for keeping it alive. I visit at least once a week. Hoping 2001 brings you all that you want.


December 2000

No Tenacatita was not burnt. That happened when I was there. The rumor is that someone wants to put in a large development and the federales were going to burn the palapas to move everybody out. The locals had a demonstration in anticipation scheduled for a Tuesday and the federales moved in the Monday before. The whole area was closed off including highway 200 for about a day ... and then everything was back to normal (almost). But it is another ejido land dispute. -Scott Parks, sparks@svimail.sccd.ctc.edu

Does anybody really know what happened there? My Mom lives in Melaque and she doesn't know. I am planning a trip there with 3 friends next week and so am curious if we can even go there, either by the Mary Choy or with Ray. -Dan Lou Grogan, danlou@olynet.com

De el Hotel Costa Sur

Hola, te saluda Maria Luisa Merino Arroyo, Gerente del hotel Royale Costa Sur en la bahía de Cuastecomate.

Ví tu pagina de eden.com [ahora tomzap.com], esta muy bien realizada, sobre los destinos turisticos de ésta región, Agradesco que gente como tú, promueban a esta región. El motivo por el cual te mando este correo, es para informarte que los numeros telefonicos que tienes en la pagina del hotel estan mal, asi mismo te informo, que el hotel fue remodelado, para brindar un mejor servicio, y creeme que lo estamos dando.

posteriormente te enviare fotografias para que las coloques.

Te envio los nuevos numeros, para que los coloques en tu web site.

01 335 55085
01 335 55730

Maria Luisa Merino Arroyo
Gerente del hotel Royale Costa Sur

December 2000

Felix Luna Passed Away

Felix Luna, who was a popular fellow with many visitors to Barra de Navidad, passed away last night [December 20, 2000].

Brad Smith

December 21, 2000

Club Felix was THE social gathering place of Barra and the place just won't be the same without him holding court at his beloved hole in the wall. It's hard to imagine walking down the street and not seeing him sitting there with his many friends.
I once saw him ride his bike out to buy more beer, wobbling all the way down the cobblestone streets to the store. He successfully made it back with the 20 cervezas precariously perched on the handlebars of his bike, only to wipe out at the last minute. His payload was destroyed but he laughed, he cussed, he relieved himself and then got right back on his bike to get more! Via con Dios Felix, you will be missed by all that knew you. Barry, cruzeros@home.com

Tom, all my best to you are my fellow readers of your page. I was sad to hear of Felix passing away. Shared many an early morning coffee with him and some interesting afternoons as well. Without him and Mary many people will be lost. susanna, rojafrog@hotmail.com

I just received a phone call from Barra this A.M. 12/21/00 that Tio Felix Luna has passed away after his recent illness. His brother Ed Luna from Modesto, Ca. was present visiting him. He is survived by brothers Angel of Barra, Ed from Modeso, California USA, and a sister Jaunna also of Barra. With deepest respects, Jerry, jjsonke@juno.com

Likes La Paloma Oceanfront Retreat y Ray's Tours

Hola! I have just returned from Melaque and want to add my praise for Richard and Nancy Lennie for opening their doors to fellow travelers. This is my 3rd stay at
La Paloma and enjoyed every second of it. They are a wonderful couple with an overwhelming capacity for generosity and kindness. I have to agree, also, with another visitor's comments on Ray's tours to Tenacatita. The man is a professional tour guide with the flare of Crocodile Dundee!! He really knows his stuff and is well worth the pittance he charges for a full day of excitement and discovery.

I also enjoyed another new "find" this year. That was the Surf Taco just up the road from Umbitos's fabulous "hole-in-the-wall" eatery. It was new for me but a great place to eat on the cheap.

We had a very successful day of fishing Dorado on a boat chartered from Captain Colo out of Barra. We caught 5 large and larger fish and managed to feed all of the guests at La Paloma as well as half the town of Melaque with the fillets cut by Pancho, our guide and outfitter. Again, Nancy and Richard supplied a Bar-B-Q pit, instructions, and ingredients for our fish fiesta in their usual cordial style. I encourage any visitor to the area to sample life at La Paloma at least once. I'm already pestering them for a return booking in the near future!!

I pray that the area stays as simple and uncomplicated for many years and that the "improvement of progress" takes a bypass around Melaque San Patricio for at least the next millennium.

Michael Laderoute
Toronto, Canada


Quisiera Comprar Casa en Tenacatita

Hola! Estoy buscando lugar de compra (casa) cerca de la playa o condominio en venta en la playa de Tenacatita! por favor mandarme informacion acerca del lugar. Gracias.


December 2000

Back to Barra

I haven't been to Barra for two years and am wondering several things. Is there a place now to rent boogie boards and fins? Also, I have heard through the grapevine that The Bogavante was destroyed by a storm and the rates for an ocean view room at the Hotel Barra are now $75 for a double. Is this true scuttlebutt? Thanks.


December 2000

I think the Crazy Cactus rents the boogie boards & fins. The Bogavante is being rebuilt. -Tom

Bungalows Orientales

I finally tracked down a fax number for Bungalows Orientales that does work!

Fax number from Canada, 011 52 368 43482
Reservationes Guadalajara
Re: Bungalows Orientales
Attn: Tanys

Apparently they own the Orientales and they do speak English. They will respond within a day and at least you know you have a reservation!

I hope this helps others.

Barbara Armitage

December 2000

Cola Wars Leave Bad Taste

We have been regular visitors to Barra de Navidad since 1974. It has long been our favorite Mexican beach town. Last week we visited again, intending to stay for two weeks. Then we saw the Pepsi invasion. We were shocked. What in god's name is wrong with the folks there? How could they let all that ugly, schlocky Pepsi advertising take over the town? The boat canopies, the restaurant awnings, the hideous flags flying on the isla across the lagoon. The huge banner draped over the Hotel Tropical. Pepsi is everywhere. It's an abomination.

Tourists come to Mexico to experience the ambiance and color of Mexico. We do NOT come there to be assaulted by Pepsi advertising. We are actively sending out the word to every travel resource we know how irritated we are with this and advising people to by-pass Pepsi de Navidad.

Mary Dempcy and Rene Tihista

December 2000

Why do people like Marcy Demcy and Rene Tihista feel the need to harm the town of Barra de Navidad just because they are upset with the Pepsi advertising? Trying to drive away tourists is awfully spiteful and harms everyone in the town not just the business people that accepted an awning or boat canopy for free. Besides this happened not too long ago with Coca-cola and most of that has disappeared. Where in the world do people get the idea that they are helping anybody with this sort of judgemental garbage. Barra is probably better off without them. - Brad Smith, veritas_53@hotmail.com

I don't like seeing signs all around either, but I do like the idea of spending the advertising dollars on something useful. You can't sit in the shade of a TV commercial. -Tom

Looking for Suggestions

We are planning a vacation to Barra/Melaque for a week starting the 4th of February. There will be 8 of us. Two couples with 4 teenage boys, 12,15,17 and 18. We are looking for suggestions on moderate accommodations on the beach with a pool. Not interested in anything that is all-inclusive. What is the best way to get from the airport for such a large group. We were planning on not booking anything until we get there. Is that a viable thing to do? Also, could anyone recommend some day trips that are reasonably priced and fun?

December 2000

Cooking Mr. Noodle

We are six adults and three kids 3,6 and 7.We would like to stay together and a house would be nice but other options would be considered. However we do need a kitchen to cook Mr. Noodle for our kids before we go out to eat Mexican.. We include Grandma and Grandpa so it can't be too rustic. Late Feb to Mid-March for two weeks is the plan. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Ian McLellan

December 2000

Tennis Resort in Melaque

The following is the text of an article that the magazine "Inside Tennis" did on us in the September 2000 issue. If there is somewhere it could be used within your site, it would be a great help. Thanking you John L., jlapointe@nautilus.melaque.udg.mx

Tennis El Palmar: A Slice of Heaven South of the Border

Imagine yourself lying on a sandy white beach, sipping a cold cerveza. Your most important decision of the day --- play tennis or just lounge on the beach? Welcome to one of Mexico's best-kept secrets---Tennis El Palmar---a tennis beach resort in Melaque and Cihuatlan, Mexico, 200 miles south of Puerto Vallarta.

Guests are cohosted by the families LaPointe of Melaque, and Salas of Cihuatlan. Leopoldo Salas is the 76 year old family patriarch; son Polo, a former top ten player in Mexico, will arrange matches with locals and visitors on four fine red clay courts. So it's mornings at the courts, afternoons on miles of beaches, swimming in the warm blue waters and meeting the friendly, easygoing people.

"The people are what make it," says co-owner John LaPointe. They're wonderful warm and open. They take you in." Everybody ends up going away with a bit of a friendship." A variety of open air beachfront restuarants serve the local fare and offer lazy seaside hammocks to rest your tennis weary body. A band of wandering mariachis may pause to serenade you or you can enjoy the many colorful outdoor markets nearby. For information on this cross-cultural experience, call (250) 213 7115 or Mexico 011 52 335 56263.

Trip to Melaque with two teenage children

My husband and I and my two children ages 15 and 13 just got back from a week in Melaque and Barra. It was a very spur of the moment trip with obtaining very reasonable air only tickets. We were there from December 1 8th which was extremely quiet. Very little tourists. The beaches were empty. We stayed the majority of the time at Hotel Hermosa in Melaque. (right across the road from the bus depot)

We got a ground level room facing the ocean. (rooms 1,2, 3 or 4) Outdoor patio, three beds and a full kitchen with fridge, stove, etc. The room rate was $60 Canadian a night over 5 nights. It was a great location for the kids. At hotel Hermosa there is a manager there named Pablo who speaks very good English. We were right next door to a great restaurant called Ceasar and Charleys. The kids were happy having some 'down time' in the sun. My son literally spent hours in the ocean on a boogie board and body surfing. My 15 yr old daughter who loves to shop found a great 'exclusive clothes boutique' called Normas Boutique. (the clerks in the store were great - they spoke no English but with a lot of 'charades' and an English-Spanish dictionary, we had a lot of fun) It is on the bus route between Barra and Melaque. (we just hopped off the bus when we saw it)

The restaurant Flor Morena in Melaque gave the kids a chance to experience real Mexican food - the shrimp pazole on Sundays is incredible and very reasonable in price. The other restaurant which was outstanding in Melaque was Alcatraz (upstairs). Maya's restaurant was gourmet food with a breathtaking setting on the ocean (perfect for a romantic dinner) a bit pricey but worth it. Melaque and Barra is a great choice to take your kids if you want them to experience a taste of 'real' Mexico and it is also still an affordable destination.!!

December 2000

Restaurante Aurora

Hola Este es un saludo para el restaurante Aurora. Es un restaurante que da muy buena atención y cocina una comida muy rica y unos saludos para la senora. Aurora que es una senora muy especial para mi porque me dio su servicio por muchos anos y saludos para toda su familia de parte su amigo.

Francisco Gomez Tapia

December 2000

Canadian Dollars and Pesos

Tom: Can't say how much, as many others have expressed, your website has been of assistance. As the result, we are headed to Barra for a week spanning Christmas for our first trip to Mexico. Would appreciate info regarding changing money and/or accessing Pesos while in Barra and suggestions as to the best way to handle it all. My wife and I are coming from Canada and are pondering the necessity of converting to American Travelers Checks. Also, any info that may assist us in our stay over Christmas would be much appreciated from those who have developed a history of visits.

Joe Brennan
New Brunswick, Canada

December 2000

Do people in Canada have ATM cards? (automatic teller machine) -Tom

But of course we have ATM's. Access through credit cards, debit cards, bank cards as elsewhere. We may be "north" but really little difference in use of technology for monetary transactions and communications. -Joe

Good. That is THE best way to get pesos. No waiting; no trying to figure out when the bank is open; no cheques to purchase. Just put your card in a Mexican ATM machine and pesos come right out of your bank account at the bank rate of exchange--the best you can get. Your bank will most likely charge you for using the machine on a per use basis so it makes sense to take out a large amount each transaction. Check with the bank that issued your card to see what the charge is. There is not a bank or an ATM machine in Barra, but there is in Melaque. There are also banks and ATM machines in Cihuatlán on the way from the airport. Although the ATM card is the best way, it doesn't hurt to have a backup plan-a little cash, a couple of traveler's cheques, a major credit card. -Tom

Tom, It is pretty mandatory to keep a few pesos on hand, sometimes the ATMs go down for a few days at a time, and unless things have changed since July, only the bank will take a credit card, and if they are closed the same time the machine is down, you have a problem. Usually not a major problem, but heavy holidays and weekends, it does not hurt to have a little backup. - Sincerely, Judy, from Restaurant Judys, Locajudy@aol.com.

I endorse the comments from Tom the webmaster of the Huatulco pages. Do forget the old advice about changing Canadian money into US dollars for Mexico. ATM machines are far easier to use, and cheaper. They are making travel cheques obsolete. It's useful to have a bit of U.S. currency in small bills, strictly as back-up.

You can also use credit cards to borrow money through ATMs (as long as the card has a PIN number -- and PINs should be no longer than four digits.) This process incurs high interest charges. Your bank will probably charge you for using the debit card outside its own bank machine network, the same as back in Canada. The Royal Bank charges me $3 Can. for an international transaction. That's still cheaper than commission charges, as long as a substantial amount of money is withdrawn at one time. As well, the money is changed at the wholesale rate, cheaper than any bank will sell currency over the counter.

The peso currently costs in the neighbourhood of 16 cents Can. and has stayed around that rate most of 2000. - John Laycock, Windsor, Ont., JLaycock@WIN.Southam.ca.

Seeking Info for Child-friendly, Budget Accommodation

I am a single mom, 46, traveling to the Barra/Melaque area on Jan. 26 with my nearly 3 year-old son. I am joining a friend in an apartment in Barra on Feb. 1, but I will be alone with my son for those first 6 nights.

I am seeking suggestions for a clean, budget-priced room in a child-friendly environment anywhere in the area - I have no preference town-wise and am open to suggestions in the entire area Barra/Melaque/La Manzanilla/Cuastecomates. (I have stayed in Barra on three previous, childless visits.)

My wish list would have a pool, a safe play area, walking distance to the beach and the company of people who understand and enjoy young children. I am certainly prepared to be flexible. I would appreciate receiving your suggestions and personal experiences.

Brenda Mason

December 2000

Where to Keep a Boat in Barra

Hi Tom, always check in on your terrific site. Is there an e-mail address for the marina(s) at Barra. What do they charge for berth fees is what I am curious about.

Charlie Palmer

December 2000

Bungalows Laguna del Tule

What a great website. I've read that Bungalows Laguna del Tule is a great place to stay, but neither "the list" nor accompanying photo have a phone number or address how to reach Fidel Diaz. Can you help? Also, if you have any other helpful advice on other hotels on the list that are highly recommended (prefer not to be in the main part of town but less populated part of Melaque with kitchenette and pool by the beach. The descriptions don't always give ratings by readers). thanks much.

December 2000

Nancy Lennie at La Paloma Oceanfront Retreat and Art Center provides us the number for Bungalows Laguna del Tule: (3)355-5395.

Need Place to Stay

Hi Tom. Thanks for keeping this site! I'm learning a lot about Barra, etc. from it.

My wife and I are joining another friend down there from December 30, 2000 to about January 7th, 2001. The flight is arranged, but I fear that I may have left the hotel arrangements too late. We have contacted Hotel Ramon and Marcia but both of them are booked up during that time period. One of them had written back and suggested Larisa's place (a new B&B?) in Melaque. However, Larisa's rates were not at all comparable -$73US per couple vs. the $25 - $40 at the other two places.

So, my question: does anyone know who else I should contact for just a nice little hotel in about the $30 - $50 US price range? Any and all comments will be appreciated.

Lorne Mack
Winnipeg, Canada

December 2000

Tennis Anyone?

We just returned from a week's stay with John & Fitu LaPointe at Tennis el Palmar. We booked on the strength of their brochure and website and found the advertising to be very accurate. Their new apartments are tastefully appointed and well fitted - open plan but private, the small garden/pool area is very well maintained and stocked with a variety of flowers and shrubs. Each morning we were driven into Cihuatlán to play tennis at the El Palmar Club which has 4 wonderful clay courts. The gentle clay and hot sun provide almost a soothing balm to the sore knees and backs of most hard-court players. We played with local club members and other visitors and, to us, this was the highlight of the week. In the evenings we wandered through Melaque and Barra, enjoying the local life and sampling the various restaurants and bars. One week was hardly enough and we will most certainly return for longer!

British Columbia, Canada

December 2000

Cap'taine Pelican Restaurant and Bar

Just to let you know that we found your website not just invaluable in helping us plan our stay in Barra and Melaque but also extremely useful during our stay.

We visited many of your recommended high spots and were never disappointed. We would like to add a new spot to your list to visit.

We lucked into a new restaurant at Cuastacomotes called Cap'taine Pelican Restaurant and Bar. Gabriel Astie, originally from France, and his wife Michelle, originally from Quebec, offer a unique menu with a nice French touch featuring shellfish, pastas and crepes.

This is a fun spot to spend a day at the beach and they are more than happy to set up a table for you, keep an eye on your things, and enjoy a friendly chat in English, Spanish, or French. They plan to offer scuba, deep sea fishing, scenery tours and kayaks. Good luck to them.

Wynn and Bernadette Rimstad
Montreal Canada

December 2000

Bus Information

Hello Tom. I will be arriving Puerto Vallarta on December 23, 2000 at 7:30PM heading to Barra de Navidad. Could please provide me with any and all current bus information/schedule between P.V. and Barra and return. Especially bus information/schedule between P.V. and Barra after 9:00PM in the evening.

Finally can you provide me with any information and cost of a taxi between P.V. and Barra. Thank you very much.

John Knowlton

December 2000

Some of the bus companies have their schedules online. I have links to them as well as all I know (and more) about bus travel here: trans.html#bus

Taxi between P.V. and Barra? I don't think it has been done. It's a 4-hour ride.

I must mention that transportation as well as other tourist services is maxed out during Christmas/New Years and Easter holidays in Mexico. A sleeping bag is a nice thing to have in a bus station. -Tom

Hi Tom, In answer to the taxi between P.V. and Barra, I hired one almost always, from the airport or downtown P.V. It is not cheap, but different drivers will usually negotiate the price. When you have lots of luggage, it is much easier sometimes, than the bus. I must admit the taxi route is not for the faint of heart though. Those drivers put race car drivers to shame! Judy of rest. Judys, Locajudy@aol.com.

Laundromat in Barra?

Is there a laundromat in Barra? It's been 6 years since my husband and I visited Barra (we hope to go back within the next two years), and I'm quite sure there wasn't one when we were there. My sister is spending a week in Barra at Christmas and was wondering about laundry facilities.


December 2000

Yes, there are laundries in both Barra de Navidad and Melaque. They do it for you, it is not self-service. Why don't you stop in at Crazy Cactus and ask Tracy to recommend which is doing the better job at present? -John M Williams

Apartment for Rent

Spacious, clean apartment with full kitchen, and ocean (sunset) view.

Available Jan. 3 - til Jan 20.
Available Feb 5 - March 11.

daily and weekly rates.

Please do write me about other dates or other apartments. This is the only over which I have any influence or knowledge.

Bonnie Gibson
Amiga's: Spanish Lesson's in Paradise
December 2000

Looking for Stuart Van Niekerk

I sincerely hope you will be able to help me or put me in touch with someone who can help me. My son Stuart Van Niekerk has been staying in the Tenacatita community for the past three months and I have been in contact with him via e-mail until 3 weeks ago when the correspondence stopped. He is supposed to be coming to South Africa (where I live) in the next week and he needs to contact me urgently regarding his plane ticket.

I cannot understand why he has not contacted me and I am concerned that there is something wrong. Could you please URGENTLY put me in contact with someone who may be able to help me locate him. The only information that I have is that he was living in a little hut or shack on the beach and had made friends with some French cruising sailors and that he was diving and fishing.

Please contact me urgently at this e-mail address.

I thank you for your help in anticipation.

Mark van Niekerk

December 2000

Accommodations for one couple in Barra or Melaque

Looking for condo or hotel, etc. for the month of Jan/01. Would like kitchenette, TV, air conditioning, and prefer to be on the beach. Would even consider a small neat house.

December 2000

Last Minute Decisions

Love your site. We are coming to Melaque THIS WEEK. Fri. December 8. 2 adults, 2 children.

What do you recommend for accommodations for us.

We've been to Melaque before, just the two of us. We enjoyed it so much, that we want to go again, this time with the boys.

Please help us out. (Or if you post this on your site, maybe someone can refer places to us).

Ontario, Canada

December 2000

Looking for a Place to Stay

My husband and I are flying into Manzanillo on Dec.29/00 and are looking for a place to stay for 1 week in Barra (or Melaque). Does anyone know of anything available for a reasonable price? Does anyone know of any good contacts for fishing? We are staying at the Blue Bay Los Angeles Locos for the second week. Any comments?

P.S. Love your website! Most informative and enjoyable!

Barry & Sherri Foster
Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

December 2000

First-Timers Tell All

Hola Tom! We just returned from the best vacation we've ever had! We started in PV (5 nights) and then to Melaque for 8 nights. Having never been to Melaque or Barra de Navidad, we were really grateful to have found your website before we went. What a wealth of information! Here's a breakdown of our trip, please feel free to edit this or to cut and paste into as many subject areas as you think are appropriate.

Getting there and back: We took the bus from PV to Melaque, about a 4 hour ride. We were on the Primera Plus (1st class) nonstop. We wanted to have the chance to see what the countryside was like. We were really impressed with the different climates and the variety of flora. In the mountains just a few miles south of PV, it's a mixture of pines and cactus. A bit further south, more cactus and lots of banana and palm groves. The bus left PV at 7:45 in the morning and made one stop about 2/3 of the way there. We were fed tortas and sodas and the bus had air-conditioning and an onboard lavatory. A long trip, for sure, but not too bad. We paid 130 pesos each. The trip back, on the other hand, was absolutely grueling! We had the choice of leaving at either 1:45 or 4:00, both A.M. We opted for the later bus. Again, this bus was supposed to be a nonstop, but we made an hour-long detour in Tomatlán to pick up a bunch of people. The road in and out of Tomatlán was all torn up for construction and so the ride was really rough. We felt like we'd probably need dialysis when we got home! Once we got back on the highway, the bus stopped at every intersection and small village all the way back to PV. Needless to say, we were exhausted by the time we got back. We realize that hey, this is Mexico, you can't expect it to be like the US or Canada, but since we'd paid the full price for the nonstop, we felt like we should've at least gotten a cup of coffee and a sweet roll out of the deal. Oh well, you live and learn. If we ever go back, we'll spend the extra bucks and fly into Manzanillo.

Bungalows Laguna del Tules: There were 3 in our party, mi esposa Kerry, our amigo Mike, and myself. We stayed the first couple of days at the Bungalows Laguna del Tules. We had requested a particular room and were happy that they had reserved it for us. Blanca and Fidel were very friendly and gracious hosts. We really liked the rooms and the feel of the place, but for a couple or reasons we decided to move to another place. For one, even though we had read several comments on your site about the heat and humidity, I'm not sure we were really prepared for how hot and humid it really gets in Melaque! Hailing from the cool, rainy Pacific Northwest, it was pretty clear after a day or two that we really needed to have air conditioning.

The Bungalows Mallorca: The reservations agent at the Mallorca, Tere, and her husband Ray were absolutely terrific, really helpful and kind. The whole staff went out of their way to make us comfortable and welcome. While we were there the hotel purchased brand new microwaves and toasters for every room. The only complaint we had was that the beds were terrible! Hopefully they'll upgrade the mattresses soon. We also heard that the rates were doubling, not sure if that's a seasonal or permanent change. We would certainly stay there again at the same rates we paid this time ($210 US for the week) but only if the beds are better.

Restaurants: Like nearly everyone who's commented, we loved Bananaramas. Marie and her husband were really helpful in arranging our Tenacatita trip and the food was excellent, especially for the price. We also really liked Carlos and Charly's. Meli and his staff were very welcoming and friendly, the food was great and the beers ice cold. The best meals were to be had at Alcatraz. Unbelievably good food. While we were there we also met Bonnie, the Spanish teacher from La Barra. Very nice lady!

Tenacatita: Without a doubt, the highlight of our trip! We got hooked up with Ray, the guy who took us out there through Marie at Bananarama's. He picked us up at our hotel at about 9:30 in the morning. There were about 10 or 11 of us all packed in the back of his truck for the 45 minute ride out, and boy was it worth the ride! The water was crystal clear, calm and just right for beginner or intermediate snorkelers. We had our own masks and snorkels, but Ray had fins for all and full sets for everyone else. One memory Kerry and I will take with us to the grave was when we were engulfed in a school of these little silver fish. There must've been a bazillion of them! There were so many, you couldn't see through the "cloud." There were lots of other species of fish too, including some really spectacular small neon blue/purple ones. After snorkeling for a coup! le! of hours we went over to the other side to the restaurant area and had the recommended Rollo del Mar, more than enough for the two of us. I think we paid 6 bucks and it was one of tastiest dishes we had the entire time in Mexico. After lunch we had time to hang out for a while. Some of us went back for more snorkeling, others hiked around the area, others sat on the beach and just relaxed. We left there at about 3 and took the back roads to La Manzanilla, where Ray took us to a great beach for body surfing and boogie boarding. What a blast! We took more back roads into Boca de Iguana where we stopped and watched the Caymans in the lagoon. These guys were monstrous! We noticed we didn't see any small dogs, cats, or children running around here...We then came back to Melaque, again, mostly on the backroads until we had to get back on the highway. We got back to town at ! ab! out 5:30. Wish we could've gone back again. About 2 days later we heard some disturbing rumors about there being some trouble at Tenacatita. Apparently someone had gone there in the middle of the night and had burned all of the restaurants down. We also heard that the Marines had gone in and that the highway was shut down for several hours. Like I said, these are just rumors, we're not sure what, if anything, really happened, although we did notice an increased military presence for the remainder of the stay. If anyone knows for sure what really went on there, please let the rest of us know.

Some general observations from first-timers: I could go on for hours about this trip, but since this is already turning into a moment-by-moment recount, I'll try to keep this short (if you're still reading this, you're probably feeling like you're trapped in your gramma's living room watching old home movies on an 8 mm projector!) The people in Melaque/La Barra are the warmest, most friendly people we've ever met. The locals will almost bend over backwards to ensure that you are comfortable and happy. Even though we'd been to Mexico before, we really were struck by the level of poverty most of the people endure, but at the same time, how genuinely happy they seemed to be with their lives. We did our best not to feel guilty being on vacation while people around you are working so hard for so little, and they did their best to make sure you were having a good time. Family and faith really do appear to nourish the soul there though I'm sure that even living in a tropical paradise has its own challenges. We were there for the last part of November and the heat and humidity were really oppressive, not sure if it's that way year 'round.

Thanks again Tom for putting together and maintaining this site. We really felt like we knew better what to expect when we got there and it was neat seeing and going to places that we were familiar with. Keep up the good work!

Bob and Kerry Longhorn
Olympia, WA

December 2000

Fax Problems

I'm having trouble faxing to Bungalows Orientales. Somehow I have the wrong routing codes from Canada. I've been trying 011 52 3 355 5750, where 52 is Mexico 3 is the region Guadalajara and 355 5750 the Bungalows Orientales number.

I have tried lots of combinations but with no success. Can anyone help?

Barbara Armitage

December 2000

Hotel Bahia

We have heard about this little hotel in Melaque, but can not find any specific details about it. We'd like to go there in late January, 21-28. Any comments?

Claud and Lynn Buchanan

December 2000

Insect Bites

Here I am back from a beautiful vacation on the coast-----------covered with insect bites which defied any kind of protection or ameliorization. I wont bother you with the list of things I used to protect beforehand and apply afterwards. Anyhow, the insects were largely invisible (I almost wrote invincible), but I'd occasionally see something gnat or flea like (not necessarily on me). Now that I'm back in the frozen North, they sometimes fade away, sometimes don't, and new ones keep appearing. This also happened to a lesser degree to others in my group. Do you know what I'm dealing with here? Do you know how I should deal with it?

Thanks for a quick answer.

Nancy Plotkin
December 2000

Update: Our overwhelming insect experience was on the coast in a well-sprayed, beautifully, sensitively maintained small resort midway between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. I think the bugs were those classic no-see-ums (sand fleas?) because we never saw them. The dramatic overreaction some of us had (new welts even after we left the area) was a sort of doubled allergic response. (It's got a name). Anyhow, the treatment is oral antihistamine or cortisone-----and whatever cream or salve makes your skin feel better while it's working its' way out of your system. (Try refrigerating the salve). My doctor says it can take a month or so. It's too bad. Besides the nuisance, it prevents us from returning to a beautiful place. Hopes this helps someone. -Nancy Plotkin

Bug Bites in November We just returned from a 2 week trip (PV & Melaque) and I must've been Thanksgiving dinner for some very hungry bugs! I used Muskol but it didn't work, so I returned home with a few really nasty bites, infection had set in. Went to the doctor and said what should I do? Doc said lime in the coconut just works by the pool (joke). Soooo, I got the good ol' antibiotic treatment and things are much better now, almost a week later. So, my advice, drink up from the coconut but be sure your wearing deet when your sittin' by the pool, or anywhere else for that matter! Then relax and enjoy Mexico! - Kerry Longhorn, Olympia, WA USA, Twodamoontoo@home.com

Try the Lime - When we were in Melaque in March/April both myself and my son seemed to attract some kind of no-see-ums that terrorized us. After spending a fortune on bug repellant (none of which seemed to work) we were told to try squeezing lime juice into your hand and rubbing it on, just like repellant. Viola! Worked great. We tried it at home, but unfortunately the Canadian no-see-ums don't seem to be deterred by lime juice. -Wendy Randall, wrandall@yknet.yk.ca

Hotel Royale Costa Sur

My wife and I stayed at the Hotel Royale Costa Sur in November 18-25th 2000.The pool was very dirty on the 21st. We asked the staff to please clean the pool. Finally on the 24th they started to clean the pool. We did not swim in the pool the whole week we were there! Also the trash can on the beach next to the stair entrance had dead fish in it and smelled terrible the whole time we were there. There is a good bartender there named Ernie. On Wednesday Ernie told us he had two days off and there would be another bartender on duty. HA HA. Not only was the bar closed for two days so was the kitchen so we were forced to go look elsewhere for food and drink. The hotel never told us they were going to shut down. BUT it was a blessing in disguise!

On the beach front two doors north is a great little restaurant called Cap'taine Pelican Restaurant Bar. It is owned by Gabriel and Michelle Asti'e. Gabriel was born in France and Michelle was born in Quebec, Canada. They met in a French cafe in Montreal, Canada and have been married now for 31 years. They speak French, English and Spanish very well. With relatives in Florida they moved and lived in USA from1971-1999 then to Mexico to open there restaurant in Cuastecomates. When JIMMY BUFFET wrote Cheese Burger In Paradise he must have had this place in mind. Gabrial & Michelle cook it all from sea food to burgers to pasta's and more! Michelle cleans the kitchen two to three times a day with bleach so you always get good food with no bacteria. There ice is also purified so you don't have to worry about meeting with 'Montazuma's Revenge'. Gabrial & Michelle are just plain party fun !!! If you have any questions feel free to contact me at my E-address.

Larry & Kim

November 2000

Bungalows Mallorca Hikes Rates

We booked a stay at the Bungalows Mallorca from mid-December to mid-January for our firsat visit to Melaque. We have found your website to be an invaluable source of information.

I just thought that others planning a visit to the Bungalows may be interested to learn that the owner has just decided to increase the cost of our stay by almost doubling the rates on us, two weeks before we leave, and after our non-refundable airfare for five has been paid for! There's nothing that we can do about it now, but as I say, maybe others will profit from our experience.

Also, if someone knows of alternative accommodation available in that time slot, we're all ears.

Dave and Lorraine

November 2000

Update: Through a friend of a friend, we have found alternate accommodation in a private house, closer to town, and cheaper than the increased cost at Mallorca. -Dave and Lorraine

Budget Accommodations

Hi, thank you for a great info site! My family (four adults) are planning to holiday in Barra or Melaque from, February 9th to March 2nd 2001. With the low Canadian dollar, we are looking for budget accommodation. Access to a kitchen which would help stretch our dollar but we would be also be happy with hotel style rooms.

We would appreciate any suggestions;

Allen Haworth

November 2000

Want to Watch the Artists

We will be visiting Barra in mid December and I was wondering if there are any places close by Barra where one can watch the local artists work.


November 2000

How About Colima?

Hi, I want to spend a week in Melaque and then on to Colima for a few days. Anyone know how to get there and have any recommendations on where to stay. Any help is appreciated.


November 2000

Sorry I don't have anything on Colima the city yet. Send me some info and maybe I can get something started. -Tom

Here's the skinny on driving to Colima if you want to post it!

Head south out of Barra de Navidad-Melaque-La Manzanilla on Hwy 200 towards Manzanillo. Get on the cuota road just before you get into Manzanillo, heading to Colima. Take the first Colima city exit off the cuota road into town. (2 couta's to pay one way- 35 pesos and 65 pesos). Well worth the investment since the road is nice, safe, and fast!

After exiting just drive straight into downtown Colima and the road will pass right by the downtown zocalo(jardin). Find a place to park and then walk back to the center of town to enjoy the architecture, restaurants, and stores ringing the zocalo. If overnighting I highly recommend the newly renovated Hotel Ceballos ($50 dbl. includes breakfast). Driving distance approx. 100 miles one way. -mexicodan@hotmail.com, www.choice1.com/villamontana.htm

I have stayed a few times over the past 4 years at Hotel La Merced at Juarez 82 across from a zócalo (Jardin Nunez I believe) in Cuidad Colima. This is a budget hotel and is in a good location and very reasonably priced. Clean, no extras. The city bus from the Central Bus Station goes to the far corner of Jardín Nunez just cut through the park and there you will see the hotel (small entrance) The newer section would be quieter as is away from the main road. Take the bus from Manzanillo to Colima about 1 1/2 hrs (seem to leave every 2 hrs) then the city bus from the depot into town.

The restaurants around the Plaza Principal are excellent. Check out the museums and art galleries. Good coffee at La Arabica, at Guerrero 162, where you can also buy locally grown coffee beans or have them ground for you. Walk out of Hotel front entrance, go left 3 or 4 blocks to Guerrero and then left again about 1 block.

A good cigar store circa la Plaza Principal. A must is to visit Colima about 10 km north. The bars serve botañas (?) free with a beer and they just keep coming. Open around 11 am for several hours. Located across from the plaza. Go to the city center bus depot in Colima and buses go frequently or take a taxi. Weekends are recommended in Comala. Regards, - Jim, maskell_j@telus.net

Posada Pablo de Tarso

The price seems right for us! Has anyone stayed here and if so, any comments? It looks like a nice spot but is it true the rooms are a bit run down and if so what does this mean? Any thoughts, experiences would be much appreciated!

Ros. and Guy

November 2000

Renting a Video Camera

We're heading to Barra for Christmas for the first time. We're wondering if there's anywhere in Barra de Navidad or Melaque that might rent a video camera. Love the website, it's been a treasure trove of information for us.

November 2000

Exploring the Coast

Wow, have just seen 2 page spreads on Barra in several newspapers here in Canada. Also reading the recent pages I can tell it won't stay a quiet little hide out anymore. I enjoyed a few good years there anyway. I was wondering, have any of your faithful followers explored further down the coast. I would like info on Paraiso, San Juan de Lima, Cuyutlan, and Playa Azul. I am looking for a village that was like Barra 15 years ago or so. Somewhere that is just getting started. Also Tom, a lot of friendly people have contacted me through previous postings on your page. I am delighted to receive their mail, it has been a fun way to expand my Mexico connections. Thanks in particular to those that shared a connection with our dear friend Meri Marsden. I look forward to further contact and perhaps meeting some of these people who love Mexico as much as I do. Your page rocks Tom!


November 2000

Place on the Beach

My wife and I are planning to go to Barra de Navidad in early January for one week. We are looking to rent a bungalow on the beach. Any recommendations?

Richard Molnar

November 2000

Casa Bonita is the only one I know of. -Tom

Getting Married

We will be staying @ the Blue Bay Los Angeles Loco resort near Tenacatita beach from January 16 to 23 We would like to get married on the beach.

I need to know if I can get the documentation needed or do I need to hire someone to take care of the legal part? Do you know any ministers in that area? What are the fees? Looking forward to a reply,

Josée Cardinal
Calgary, Alberta

November 2000

La Paloma Retreat and Melaque

I just came back from spending a week in Melaque at La Paloma Retreat and loved it. If you are an artist or have any leanings that way it's worth your while to go there and treat yourself to a week's workshop. It's good for freeing the creative juices. While I was there I crossed paths with Micki Kirk who is planning to hold a workshop in oil pastels in February. It struck me that anyone who is interested in combining technique with personal imagery would benefit from this experience as well as have a lot of fun.

Jessica Wilson

November 2000

World Class Restaurant; Church for All People

A world class restaurant has just opened on the Bay of Navidad! Just 100 meters on the beach from La Paloma Oceanfront Retreat is the fabulous Restaurante MAYA. Owned by two gals , Chef de Cuisine Peg earned her reputation at Delilahs in Vancouver B.C. a city of great restaurants! As a former resident of Hawaii, before retiring to San Patricio, The very South Pacific environment of Restaurante MAYA really turns me on, and the food is like nothing else available here! Their prices are much much lower than I would expect to pay for such luxury. Competition brings better things to our life and I am thrilled to offer our guests a truly great dining experiance, down the Beach from us.

By the way, our English Language Church, St. Patricks by the Sea, holds SUNDAY SERVICES at 10:30 a.m. next to Restaurante Maya, followed by Sunday Brunch! We are a CHURCH FOR ALL PEOPLE, and welcome visiting Ministers from all faiths to lead our congregation, and of course Welcome ALL Visitors to join us.

Richard Lennie
La Paloma Ocean front Retreat

November 2000


My husband and I are looking for a place to stay in Barra in Feb. and March. Any suggestions out there? Do we have to really be concerned about mosquitos?

Linda Omand, Canada.

November 2000

The wind usually keeps the mosquitoes off the beach, but they can be nearby. Avoid being concerned by being prepared. -Tom

Seeking a Housesitting Opportunity

I am seeking a housesitting opportunity in the state of Jalisco, Mexico preferably on the coast. I am a single 44 year old male, with my ancestry in Jalisco, I am bilingual Ingles/Espanol and a skilled carpenter/ builder. I also am a Martial Arts teacher. I was employed for two years as resident caretaker at the Lagunitas country club in Ross California, a very exclusive club.

I am available from March and possibly thru the summer into September 2001. I will care for landscape, supervise any staff and am available for construction projects.

Lorenzo Martinez

November 2000

Need Summer Renter/caretaker for Villa in La Manzanilla

1-3 months Jul.-Sept. Need someone to water plants and keep the place clean! Ideal for retirees, teachers, students. Right rate for the right person(s).


November 2000

Looking for Ramon

Been trying to locate Ramon by internet but not having any luck, it is Le Casa De Don Ramon in Barra De Navidad. Any information would be appreciated.

Gilles (Canada)

November 2000

Looking for web page of La Casa de Don Ramon? Here it is... http://www.pathcom.com/~msclarke/

Paul Savard
Alias "Pablocito"

ICQ: 64729437

Hotel Questions

My husband and I are planning a trip to the Barra/Melaque area in February. We are thinking of flying down and finding accommodation once we get there, rather than booking in advance. We're looking for a hotel on the beach with a pool, not too expensive of course. From the visitors comments it sounds like either the Hotel Barra or Las Brisas might be our best bets. Does anyone have any additional info on these two hotels and their rates. Are reservations recommended? Thanks for your help and wonderful web site.

Bobbi Turner

November 2000

Hi Tom. I have received lots of info on the hotels . Thanks for putting my message on your visitors comments page, I've not only received info I made a few friends as well. What a great site you provide! I think we will try the hotel Las Brisas based on the feedback we received. Sounds like reservations might be a good idea too as we are coming down in February and it is one of the busier months. Thanks again. Bobbi

Sudden Availability of Apartment in Barra

I have a lovely beach view apartment, perfect for single or couple that i am willing to sub-let from Tue. Dec. 2 until Tue. Dec. 19. Price negociable depending on whether you want it by the night or by the week. Think in the $30.00/night range, the hotel immediately across the street is $56.00 and does not have cooking. This apartment is beautifully located, furnished, including entertainment center, full kitchen, shower with hot water, 3 balconies, one with 360 degree view. If you know me, you know the place.

Bonnie Gibson
Amiga's: Spanish Lesson's in Paradise. November 2000

The Weirdest Fish

I was in Melaque in Feb.1998 and laid out in all it's splendor on ice was the wierdest looking fish I or anyone else had ever seen in their lives! Was anyone else there that fateful night if so how about an update? Heard it is called an ORR . What happened to it etc.?

November 2000

Looking for Inexpensive Place to Rent

Two poets are looking to rent a house as inexpensively as possible. I stayed in Barra twenty years ago, rented a small house and loved it. If you know of something for the month of February lets me know. thanks.


November 2000

Recommends Hotel Barra de Navidad

I just returned from Barra de Navidad on November 12, and wanted to provide you with some recent information about my experience. I stayed at the Hotel Barra De Navidad, which is being remodeled, in an ocean side room for 560 pesos a night. The room was spacious and clean. We had a great balcony overlooking the ocean. I would definitely stay there again, and some of our friends staying in other hotels switched to ours before their trip was over. We ate breakfasts at Ramon's across the street, which served wonderful food. We had dinner at the Seamaster, which had not only wonderful food, but had very patient staff (we also drank there with several friends for many hours!). We sat on the beach below a small cafe that provided umbrellas and tables, and kept the margaritas and beer flowing! Nothing quite like beachside service.

It was very warm there every day and night (87 degrees during day, 75 degrees at night), but not too hot. The ocean water was warm and inviting. The local residents spoke broken English, but understood English very well. They were also very polite and helpful. All in all, a wonderful experience. I highly recommend the Hotel Barra de Navidad (I know it did not receive great reviews before, but it deserves praise now). I am looking forward to returning to Barra again in the future.

Robin Unander

November 2000

Villa Montaña

Tom, I just got back from 3 weeks at the Villa Montaña in La Manzanilla. We had a great time and the view from this place is great. We could see all 3 beaches in the bay, Chubasco Point, the 2 brothers and the point of the Bay of Tenacatita!

The quiet and seclusion with the cool breezes up the side of the mountain were very relaxing. The maid was very friendly and efficient. Thanks for the information on this place.

I would recommend this place to anyone who is looking for real Mexico with a million dollar view but at a reasonable price! They can be reached at www.choice1.com/villamontana.htm


November 2000

Travelogue From our Melaque Trip

Hi Tom, I've written to you a couple of times, and again want to thank you for this great site. We traveled to Melaque in March 2000, and I have just now uploaded a website detailing our trip. If you are interested in one traveler's journal, please have a look at http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Shores/8220/one.html I'm still adding a few links and pictures, but check it out when you have a chance.

Sue Woods

November 2000

Art Workshop

Hi, I just returned from an amazing adventure at La Paloma Art Center. The pursuit of my art has been sluggish at best and has been jump started by Nancy and her workshop. I was especially impressed with the oil pastel artist, Micki Kirk. Her techniques are unique yet anyone is sure to have success with Micki's supportive teaching and knowledge of the medium. Her great sense of humor is a bonus. And many thanks to Nancy, whose encouragement has awakened my artist self. THANK YOU! I'll be back! Anita McCreery

November 2000

Being a Kid in Barra

We spent the winter in a three story building belonging to the Hotel Tropical, in '68/'69. I was about ten yrs. old, and I tell you, I had a grand time!

I wonder if the building still stands, by the laguna at the end of Sonora St., on the right as you look at the lagoon. There was a huge (to me at least) fig tree that I could climb off the second story into, and the Oregon family built carved boats out of big jungle logs. Tell me, anyone, what's left of that? Does the Oregon family still live in the area? Especially Ricardo- we had a blast together. Thanks,

Andy Gladish
Guemes Island, WA

November 2000

Melaque in January

Hi there. We are looking forward to at trip to Melaque In January. Since my husband must stay at home and work (boo!) I am travelling with my 4 year old and a girlfriend. Does anyone have a good suggestion for accommodation. We would like 1 to 2 bedrooms, pool and kitchen near the beach. We have enjoyed the Hotel Monterrey but think we may need more room and a kitchen. How about Bungalows Mallorca or Orientales? I would love any comments. Thanks.


November 2000

Suggestions for Accommodations?

Hi, I just read some of the comments with lots of people asking about accommodations. My friend and I are looking for something simple near the beach for 4 days in early January. Any suggestions. We'd appreciate them.

Allegra Troiano

November 2000

Remember Peter?

Hey there, my name is Peter Garcia, My parents had a restaurant in melaque for 15 years called "Los Pelicanos" we provided services for the sail boat cruisers (ice, propane, gasoline, diesel ect.). She sold it in 1997, if you remember Philomena Garcia (Phil), Trinidad Garcia (Trini) or me "little Fat Peter" from Melaque (mexican riviera). You can get in touch with me at peter.garcia@atlp.com. Peter Garcia

November 2000

A Word for Restaurant Judy

Hi Tom, I just want to thank all the people who have been in my restaurant in Melaque and have sent all the fantastic e mails of support, after hearing I was closed. Anyone else who wants to contact me can do so at Locajudy@aol.com. What a wonderful space you have created here, I love keeping up with Barra and Melaque. Thanks!


November 2000

Where to Stay?

Hi Tom, I was hoping someone could recommend a nice place to stay in Barra de Navidad. My wife and I have heard it's a great place to visit and are looking for a quiet place to get away from it all. We were thinking of some time on the beach, and some good fishing. One person had recommended La Casa de Don Ramon, a small guest house. Does anybody have any experiences with this place?

Is there a better place to stay? Some other choices would be handy incase this place is booked up. Oh ya .. we'll be there at the end of November 2000.

Any feed back would be appreciated. Thank you,


October 2000

Wedding Plans

We recently read an article in our newspaper on Prince Edward Island, Canada, that highlighted Barra de Navidad. This article was printed just as me and my fiancé were preparing to arrange a trip somewhere south. We are wondering if your village could be the place we have been searching for. What we are hoping to find is a spot where we can have a very simple wedding with some of our closest family and friends present. We are planning it around the 14th to the 24 of March in the year 2002. My two children (who will then be 10 and twelve) will be accompanying us, as well as my fiancé & parents and a few friends. We are thinking there may be approximately 10 to 14 people accompanying us.

What I am hoping is that perhaps you can perhaps suggest a guest home or villa that will be able to house us all . If not, maybe you could suggest several smaller ones that are close to each other. What we really hope to have in our experience is a very traditional sort of village to bring our families to---not just the everyday resorts that the travel agents have been trying to get us to sign up for. We want more for my children and for ourselves. We live in a small fishing village on Prince Edward Island, and a similar, yet different experience in Mexico sounds too wonderful to imagine. If anyone has any suggestions to offer me, I would greatly appreciate them!

Dale Arsenault
taylork1@gulfshore.edu.pe.ca or

October 2000

Where to Get Stained Glass Supplies?

Hi Tom. I have been going to Melaque for about four or five years now and love it. I have taken a stain glass class and would like to work on it while I am there this year. Do you know where I could get the glass and the lead came? I can bring all my tools, but carrying lead and glass seems a bit ridiculous; even to me. Would appreciate any info you could get me.

Judy Batstone

October 2000

Judy, I would advise bringing all and I mean all necessary supplies for any art project one would want to do in Mexico as the ability to purchase any art supplies is very difficult out side of Mexico city. I do stained glass windows also and the current supply of glass is bathroom variety, and no lead came.

I would suggest that you develope a lot of designs that you will work on when you get home and take to doing Mandalas and watercolor. and bring some foil and do tiffany style projects instead of lead came.

Nancy Lennie La Paloma Oceanfront Retreat and Art Center lapaloma@ciber.net.mx

Melaque Tips

Tom, Some info to share on Melaque Great place to get away! Went for ten days....not long enough hadn't done enough discovering in that time. When we left we didn't have a hotel, or any money (borrowed $175US from a neighbor) when we left Canada. Made the reservation at 5:00pm had to catch the plane out of Calgary at 3:00am the next morning on Air Transat. The result was....AWESOME Took a taxi from the Manzanillo Airport to the Bank machine in Melaque 200 pesos. (They accepted American money- they also would have accepted Canadian.)

Got a room at the hotel next door (at Vista Hermosa tel 01 (335) 5-50-02 ) to the bank machine for $30.00 Canadian a night. On the beach, clean, very nice people working there and staying. Many of their permanent week long guests were there for the winter. Mexican vacationers from Guadalajara on weekends. Kitchenettes and Regular rooms available. Beds were hard (heard they were everywhere in Mexico) Bus Depot was right across the street Caesar's y Charlie's Restaurant on the beach (great food, priced very reasonable) and Sunflower Cafe at the end of the street (two city blocks) with wonderful cinnamon buns and pecan pie. She's also a great tourist information center for those wanting information. Found great day trips to Colima, Comala, Tenacatita Beach, etc. There a many undeveloped beaches to hang out in, just ask. This is a Mexican town, that caters to Mexicans. Don't go and expect to be treated like you're at home, you're not, you're in Mexico. They don't take credit cards! We'd go again in an instant. (Even faster than last time)

Greg Hochstein

October 2000

Felix, Beer Bob?

Anybody knows how is Felix health, recently? And how about Beer Bob...is he better, now? Will he keeps is book exchange open, this year again?

Paul Savard, Alias "Pablocito"
ICQ: 64729437

October 2000


My husband and I will be in the Barra de Navidad area in the month of February and need accommodations with cooking facilities for that month.

Any chance of finding such accommodation for around $800 for the month. Doesn't have to be anything fancy or right on the beach - just something with some aesthetic appeal.

Also, any comments on the language school in Barra?

Robert Sutton

October 2000

Money Exchange

Hello My husband and I will be in Barra de Navidad in December for a week and are looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the fishing. Could anyone tell me if there is a money exchange available. We would like to use our Canadian bank cards.

October 2000

Can't Eat Gluten

Our family will be visiting Melaque December 13 - 19, 2000. Our 11-year-old son has celiac disease, a condition that prevents him from eating gluten (wheat, oats, rye, barley/malt). I don't think we'll have much of a problem, since the Mexican food we've come across tends to be relatively gluten-free anyway, but I'm curious if, by chance, there are restaurant owners or market owners who are familiar with this condition and who could help while we're there. Thanks! Can't wait to go!

Danna Korn

October 2000

Looking for a Quiet Nook

I am 20 yers old and am writing a book. I attend the University of Mississippi, but am from Texas. I visited Barra de Navidad when I was 9 years old, and eleven years later I want to write my book about my study abroad experience in Ecuador which I took in 1997-98. I want a cozy little place to sit on the beach or a little cantina and organize my diary/journal for my book. Here is the deal - where do I stay? I want a private little nook for cheap! Approximately for 2 months in the summer (my guess would be end of May 2001 till mid July 2001. ) I think the main reason I chose Barra de Navidad is because the sunsets and sunrises are hermosa! In all my adventures I still remeber that sunset after eleven years. That is where I want to be! Please Help me find a place to stay it would be greatly appreciated!

Rachel Childers

October 2000

Medical Supplies for La Manzanilla

The response to Friends of the Costa Allegre has been incredibly positive. There have been sufficient donations that the clinic is now sharing the supplies with Protección Civil an agency that responds to auto accidents. Neck braces are a new item on the list. Despite the loss of our original source of medical supplies everyone who writes to us has been generous in donating whatever they can take across the border. Since that amounts to just what could reasonably be considered for personal use, it is not an undue expense for any one traveler but it is a enormous improvement in resources for this small community. We have a list of needed supplies and would be happy to e-mail anyone planning to travel that way. Thank you for your continued support and interest.

Dennis and Jodi Johnson

October 2000

Massage Guy, La Paloma

I read the note from Rod "the massage guy from Idaho" and wanted to comment that I visited him for a massage a couple of trips to Barra ago. I was more than pleased with his work. I had mis-stepped on the rocks getting out of the water at Cuastecomates and was hurting. He really helped me with his techniques.

Incidentally, fiancée had never had a male masseuse before and Rod made her totally comfortable. His wife is a very personable, fun lady.

In a more recent trip to Barra/Melaque we stayed at La Paloma and were thrilled by the service, ambiance, and helpfulness of the owners. We have stayed one time at the Grand Bay and would choose La Paloma over it, especially for the huge price difference.

Thank you, Tom, for providing this service -- it is invaluable.

Jim and Dale from Phoenix

October 2000


I came to Melaque in late November and it was great. Can anyone tell me what it is like a) from Dec. 2 to the 20th when does it start to get really busy in the second half of February. Thanks for your help.

Deb Calderon

October 2000

Massage Guy Won't Make it This Year

Hi Tom, My wife Kathi and I spent four months last winter in Barra. My wife baked fresh specialty breads and sticky buns for Mango Bay, the internet cafe. I am a massage therapist and massaged some wonderful people from all over the world while we were there. I was wandering if you would mind placing a small note somewhere in your sites that we aren't going to make it to Barra this winter but look forward to returning the following year to resume serving the great people that visit Barra. I just was concerned that some of my clients would be wondering about us. Thank you.

Kathi and Rod" the massage guy from Idaho"

October 2000

Hometown Barra

Hola Tom! My name is Lucy Moreno. I am from Barra de Navidad, but I moved to California 2 years ago, when I married a nice American citizen, but I lived all my life down in Barra, and I really appreciate what you do for my little town, thanks for all your comments and you are right; it is a nice, quiet and the safest place and the people is so gentle and helpful, we try to go back to Barra twice a year, like my husband says "You can take a Mexican out of Mexico, but never take Mexico out of a Mexican." God bless you Tom.

Lucy Gillett (my married name)
Yorba Linda Ca.

October 2000

La Cueva De Los Piratas: The Adventure Continues

Hola Tom! The bar is open, the beer is cold, and the stereo still cranks! La Cueva de Los Piratas is alive and (almost) living in Yelapa. Their biggest problem is that the tourist season hasn't kicked in yet, so people haven't necessarily been flocking to Yelapa. Knowing that many people who plan to visit this marvelous coast will check your site for things to do, I hope this will offer just one more way to spend "another day in paradise".
While not as easily accessible as their previous locations in Los Angeles Locos and Chamela, La Cueva is definitely worth the trip. And a trip it is! From Puerto Vallarta, visitors can catch a water taxi from the Marina (during the "season"), or take a land taxi to Boca de Tomatlan, a few miles south. Going up from La Manzanilla, I embark on my La Cueva adventure from Boca, which is only a 2-1/2 hour drive from here. From Boca de Tomatlan, it's about a 30-minute boat ride to Yelapa for 50 pesos a person; from Puerto Vallarta I think it takes a little longer, and I have no idea what the price is. As for departure schedules -- quien sabe! Some are posted on various Vallarta and Yelapa web sites. I have not found these departure times to be particularly accurate, but that's one of the charms of Mexico. Someone told me that water taxis from Boca leave every hour on the half hour. I haven't witnessed evidence of this either! I guess the best thing is just to show up, and if the taxi isn't ready to leave then sit down and have a beer or a bite to eat at one of the restaurants on the beach. Hey, you're on vacation, this is Mexico -- chill! Or catch a ride with one of the locals going out. They'll appreciate the extra 50 pesos. As for getting out of Yelapa -- if you really want to! -- ask your water taxi driver as times do vary.
(Hint: If you're embarking from Boca, apply liberal amounts of insect repellant right before you arrive. The no-see-ums there are carnivorous and voracious!) Don't wear anything to La Cueva you won't mind getting wet, because disembarking in Yelapa usually requires hopping out of the boat and wading through the surf for a few feet. It may be possible for you to have the water taxi driver drop you at the beach right in front of the bar. La Cueva is the three-story building at the opposite end of the beautiful stretch of sand from the Hotel Lagunita. The Jack Daniels banner hanging above the bar is visible from a long distance, as may be my day-glo green shoes on a clear day. Your other options are to get off at the Hotel or the little beach and walk over, or take the boat into the village and walk down. La Cueva is between the beach end of the village steps and the large rocks where the beach ends.
If you haven't had the La Cueva experience, your hosts at any given time are: Juan Carlos, chef extraordinaire, a gravelly voiced Mexican with penetrating green eyes; Larry, a pony-tailed, blue-eyed gringo who usually wears a hat; and Arundu, the 7-foot Indian with totally unfathomable eyes who makes a killer margarita. All three speak Spanish as well as English, with varying degrees of proficiency. Carlos and Valentin, while not as loquacious as the above mentioned three, will provide you with excellent service and absolutely to-live-for food.
The first floor of La Cueva is the bar. Whether you're sitting at one of the tables, perched on a bar stool, or relaxing on one of the couches, you'll have a spectacular view of the beach, the bay, the river and the hills. I personally recommend a couch if you're having more than two margaritas! After my third one, I renamed Arundu "Our Undo-ing". The bar is usually pretty well stocked with good liquor, and the cooler always has plenty of beer and soda on ice.
Upstairs is La Cueva's restaurant, where your perspective on Yelapa's beauty is equally as impressive as that from the bar. Food is served downstairs, too, but then you miss out on the experience of dining at impeccably set, candle-lit tables with table cloths and cloth napkins, rare amenities at a beach restaurant. The food is deliciously prepared and artfully presented, and ranges from fresh fish, shrimp and lobster (depending on availability) to sushi, along with excellent guacamole and fresh salsa of course. Most entrees are served with rice and fresh vegetables. Even if you're not a big fan of veggies, these could make you change your mind! The (very clean) restrooms are on the 2nd floor as well.
Le Cueva de Los Piratas is definitely worth the trip if you have the time and the inclination. Tell them Jane says hello, and that your first drink is on me! Or maybe I'll see you there sometime.

Jane Gorby
La Manzanilla

October 2000

Mango Bay

Tom, I guess you don't have the real status about Mango Bay. It is still run by Mary Carmen, it has more computers for the internet with a better connection, the best service you can get in town with a lot more things of interest for our visitors. We have a lot of handcrafts, clothing, the best coffee in town as well as the kalhua milkshake and other flavors.

Com and visit us and you will be delighted wit the beatiful shop and service.

Alejandro and Mary Carmen

October 2000

House Rentals in Barra de Navidad

Hi, We are looking to rent a house or beach house in Barra de Navidad or surrounding areas (except not in Melaque as the roosters crow too loudly). We spent a lot of time in Barra & it was very beautiful up the coast between Manzanillo & Puerto Vallarta. We are looking for a house (a/c not required)that sleeps about 4-6 people comfortably, for the month of 2001January. It could also be out of the way, but preferably on or real close to the beach. Looking to spend about $1000-$1500 Canadian $$. Will have a vehicle, so access to remote area not a problem; When we were last there, we saw some rancher style type beachouses (sort of attached but 1-storey only); we asked about them; apparently they were very difficult to rent-they were on the beach, just where the beach front ended on the Barra side main street where it curved to turn towards the Melaque side (there was a large area right beside these places that was fenced off that looked ready for construction to start-sorry can't recall the street name).

Any ideas? Any local papers on the web? We are taking Spanish, but are still limited. If anyone has a rental place available, we can also contact by phone or e-mail. Photos would be helpful on the net.

Karen Brucker

October 2000

Accommodations In Barra De Navidad Or Area

My husband and I will be in the Barra de Navidad area in the month of February and need accommodations with cooking facilities for that month.

Any chance of finding such accommodation for around $800 for the month. Doesn't have to be anything fancy or right on the beach - just something with some aesthetic appeal.

Also, any comments on the language school in Barra?

Robert Sutton

October 2000

Best Coffee in Barra?

Hi, just reminiscing about our trip to Barra, Melaque, La Manzanilla. Best breakfast- forget Bananas, go to 'Mokeke' for Huevos Rancheros on Ave Veracruz by Sinaloa. About a block up the road toward the sea-wall go for a take-away lunch of roast pollo (chicken) or carnitas (pork) with tortillas and salsas. (Jalisco and Veracruz). Go for dinner on the street in Melaque, one guy does a fantastic roast pork taco. He makes a big 'layered' pork roast with slices of pineapple in between. Grills this all up and then slices it ultra thin and onto the little taco- wonderful. On the other side of the street is a woman who makes chicken tacos- she makes the tortillas fresh to order by hand. They were great, very tender. It was great to just watch her (I am a baker and get a charge out of seeing how other people cook and bake).

For dessert try a little old guy in Barra, sells churros on the street. He's about 150 years old and still supporting himself. The churros were some of the best I've had, delicate and crisp. Yum! We ate on the 'street' most times, buying from street vendors, trying to avoid the 'Americano' restaurants. Had a great time and never had so much as an upset tummy! Next time, Maybe somebody can recommend the best place to go for a GOOD cup of coffee!

Debbie and Bill Paquette

October 2000

Ideas Welcomed

Hi My husband, son and girl friend and I are looking for modestly priced accomodation from Dec 7 '00 to Jan 6 '01 - any suggestions as to how to find such a place in Barra - sounds like a beautiful town. Thanks a lot.

Helen Middleditch

October 2000

How is Felix doing?

We think about him every day. I have been lighting my candles for him too. Do you see and talk to him ? We heard that JR was there. Is that true. Is there any way to get fresh flowers to Felix daily like he used to do? We would like that. Please send us a message.


October 2000

Have Kids, Will Rent

Our family will be visiting Barra in January. We have two kids ages 2 and 4. We are looking for any information from folks who have been there with little children. Any recommendations for accommodations? Specifically, we are looking for something with at least two rooms.

Becky Johnson

October 2000

Need a Little Help Here

Hi - my wife and I are seeking accommodation in Melaque or Barra de Navidad for this Christmas Break. Dec 18 to Jan 4 or 5. Are very desperate to get back down for a holiday as we love the area so much. Pleeeeeeeeeeaase heeeeeeelp!

Brad Dusseault

October 2000

Used Clothing and Medicines

Bringing used clothing other than your own into Mexico is prohibited. Customs and sanitary laws require it to be sterilized. Although many times it gets through unchecked let travelers beware. If it's not a large quantity you can declare it as your own and shouldn't have any problems. Sometimes people will bring bigger amounts to give to the needy and have it confiscated. Then they think the Mexican Customs are jerks when actually they are only upholding the law. Things aren't always what they appear to be here and a lot of times people assume the wrong thing.

On bringing medicines it might be a better idea to purchase these here and donate them. In places such as Guadalajara there are pharmacies named 'Similares' that offer generic medicine at at least half the cost of regular drugstores. You'll avoid any hassles at the border this way.

Brad Smith

October 2000

Where are the Worthy People?

I always suspected that you edited messages. Your omissions speak for themselves. It appears that you PROMOTE certain establishments and fail to mention many other worthy people. Is this because they didn't patronize your friends, Butch and John Williams? Of course they weren't very well liked by most residents of Barra.

Brad Smith

October 2000

Since I don't live there, it is certainly possible for me to miss something. So I depend to a great extent on what the readers choose to like/dislike. I'm not making this stuff up.

I do edit for spelling and grammar, but I don't alter people's opinions. And, as you can see, I even post comments containing only marginally useful information.

Want to promote some deserving establishment? Tell me about it in an email and I'll post it in the Visitors comments. I have yet to turn down information.


Hotels in Tenacatita

Awesome page!! But you should update some pictures in Tenacatita!! Because it's being overrun by hotels! Which that is a drag! Cause my family has been going there for the past 25 yrs. for vacation every Christmas! And right now there are 3 hotels built!!. Pretty soon it will be very commercial!

Andrew Bouffard

October 2000

Tenacatita Changing

Hola! Buenos dias!

My name is Vanessa and I just came across your site. My family has been vacationing in Tenacatita for almost 40 years. I remember when there was no paved road, and when there were only three restaurants. Things have changed now.

It is nice to know that the beach is getting known world-wide. However, I am sad that it is not the hidden beach it used to be. It really used to be a secret paradise for many Americans and Canadians.

Your site has brought back many memories...


October 2000

Looking for a Place in Melaque

Hello: we rented a home on the beach in Melaque last year and loved it. We want to return but that casa is not available for this year. If anyone knows a casa, bungalow etc that is suitable for a family of 4 please email us. Thank You.

Ross Munro
October 2000

Help for the Clinic

I recently returned from my trip to Mexico. I had an awesome time. I loved almost every part of the trip. I was able to stay with Maria for a few days. I really liked her place. She treated me like family. I got to know some other visitors to her place. Their names were Jean Pierre and Jose, I don't know if you know them. But they frequent Maria's place. I also gave them the medical supplies and the used clothing. They were very appreciative. I hope to maintain this relationship with the clinic, and bring them more things in the future. Thanks for all your info and help. My trip wouldn't have been the same without you [Dennis and Jodi Bridges].


September 2000

Horseback Riding

Is there anywhere to horseback ride around Barra?


September 2000

Looking for that Spot

I have been doing research on a place to go this winter and luckily found your website which is the best travel site that I have seen. It has been a major influence in deciding to go to the Barra de Navidad/or somewhere South of Puerto Vallarta region.

A friend and I are looking to rent a bungalow, villa or house on or near the ocean for two months (1/15/00 to 3/14/00) in the Barra de Navidad/South of Puerto Vallarta area. We would prefer a kitchen of some sort and privacy. We would also prefer something slightly rustic, romantic or interesting and "nontouristy" although palapa roofs are a plus.

I would appreciate any tips and if you would post this e-mail for your readers. Thank you for your website and in advance for your help.

Leah Brecheisen
phone: (USA) 215-985-4387

September 2000

New Hotel to Replace Bogavante and Karelia

The latest message posted may be erroneous. I talked with the owner of the Bogavante and Karelia yesterday and the place will definately be torn down and be replaced by one hotel as he showed by the drawings from the architect. It should be open for the 2001-2002 season and will be a fancier place.

Brad Smith
September 23, 2000

Storm Damage Updates

Bogavante and the Karelia all reservations are canceled until the end of Feb. because of the damage from the waves should this change they will get back to me so I can notify you of any change. All other hotels are ok, The Hotel Barra had damage around the pool only, minor they are repairing it now, the Hotel is still open for Business, it has not closed nor have they canceled any reservations. [See damage info.]

Bungalows Mar Vida

September 20, 2000

Those misplaced due to storm damage

Hola! I thought I would let everyone know that we have availability in La Manzanilla at several of our private residences. There was no storm damage in our area. If you need help finding a place to rent for the holidays get in touch with me at: outlandadventures@foxinternet.net

Good luck!

mexicodan, owner villamontana


Bogavante and Karalia to be Torn Down

Hi Tom, I have bad news.............. I just spoke with the owner of the hotel Bogavante, they are going to tear the Hotel down, and the Karalia. Poeple with reservations can either 1) leave the deposit for next season or 2) Get a refund of their deposit. If they want a refund, this will be done by bank wire transfer. If they want to email me I will try to assist them with the refunds, but be patient, I will be a bit busy. As for other options, I currently have apartments, condo's and townhouses. I will try to help everyone that needs assistance. If they need reservations, they should be specific, how many people, how many bedrooms, price range (actual dollar amount) etc. With this type of info I will be avle to help everyone much faster.

New location of Bananas will be determined by next weekend.

Crazy Cactus

September 2000

Medical Supplies and New Adventures

Thanks to everyone who has e-mailed and taken medical supplies to La Manzanilla. We send our love and thoughts each time someone comes that way. We want to visit the Mexican Caribbean area early next year but we want it to be like our visit to Melaque. We want to get to know the town and people by being close enough to walk from a beachfront location like La Paloma. O.K. we know there is nowhere in the world like that but does anyone know what might come close? Would appreciate all suggestions. Thanks again Tom for all of the assistance getting the medical supply word out.

Jodi and Dennis

September 2000

Storm Damage Update/Felix in Poor Health

Hi Tom, Here's the latest damage report:
Port captain building -- destroyed
Hotel Bogavante -- damage to deck and 1 room.
Hotel Barra -- slight damage to sea wall -- everyting fine
Karalia -- damage to front -- status undetermined
Bananas -- damage to front --- status -- will open somewhere, currently not sure where.
Maxims -- erosion, part of downstairs floor missing
Sunset -- erosion, but still standing on stilts
Tucan -- erosion, damage to front.
Pancho's, Seamaster, Nachos all fine
See photo.

Also Tom, to anyone who knows Felix -- he is in very poor health.

Crazy Cactus

September 12, 2000

Looking for a Resort

I am hoping to make a trip to Barra de Navidad. Anyone got information to help me along the ways? I am looking for a safe, reasonable & clean little resort to stay in. I would like any information to make a long awaited trip most memorable! I want to shop, tour, relax in the sun, mingle a little and eat and will enjoy a club or two! Know of any mom&pop type places I may inquire about. Name? Numbers? Would be helpful.

September 2000

Hurricane Brushes Barra

A hurricane passed by us a long ways out at sea, we only got light wind and some rain that we needed badly.

Now 3 days later we have high breaking waves, and light wind, it started 2 days ago. But the waves have taken out the walls to some of the buildings on the ocean side.

Hotel Bovante - all of the sea wall.
Hotel Karila - all the sea wall.
Hotel Barra - 1/2 of the sea wall.
Hotel Tropical - no damage.
Sunset (Capri) - no damage.
Seamaster - no damage.
Malecón - all the sea wall but not the rock wall going out to sea
Only one building down the Capt. of the port office. waves still hitting high TV crews are here. No other damage to any other part of town.

Marsha Ewing
Hotel Mar Vida
September 10, 2000

Robbed at Knifepoint

Just reading and enjoying the sight, always makes me feel closer to Barra. I noticed one query from a lady about single women. I was robbed at knifepoint after leaving Piper y Lover's during Carnival. That was in 1999 and that year I knew several other people who had problems. It all seemed to be during Carnival which leads me to think that it was outsiders taking advantage of the holidays. I have noticed the change though in the last few years and do caution single women to stay aware of their surroundings in the evenings.

I also had my birthday gifts stolen from a table right in front of us last Christmas at Chips Bar and we were all dancing. This type of thing never used to happen. As with any magical paradise comes the people who feed off it. I notice an increase in the drugs as well. Barra was such a sleepy little village but it is now discovered and things will happen. I still love it better than anyplace else on this earth but I have a new respect for my safety. I found that most of the bars would provide an escort to walk someone home/hotel with no problem. I would not hesitate to go alone, enjoy the village and have a wonderful time but as you would anywhere exercise caution. Thanks again Tom for the great site. (ps..entered the contest from one of your readers-what a nice gesture!

Susanna Roja

September 2000

First Art Workshop of the Season

Tom: I thought I would drop you a line about our first workshop of the season, it should be a fun and great learning situation on many levels...

Our first workshop of the 2000-01 season at La Paloma Art Center in San Patricio, Melaque Mexico, starts Monday Oct 30 and goes for 5 days. It surrounds the Day Of the Dead and All Saints Day, in other words Halloween. One of the most exciting and fun festivals celebrated today in all of Mexico. Ghost Stories... Mummies....skeletons dancing, yes, all the above and more. This season's art workshops start with an enticing look at the customs surrounding the Day of the Dead. We are going to explore for inspiration and ideas the cultural aspects that have created this most celebrated festival.

Each participant is going to gain their own inspiration in a unique area in the life of Mexico which started long before the Catholic church came to Mexico in the 15th century. That conquest only solidified and expanded the practice of celebrating the family past and with its celebration the continuance of the family present and future... you could say this is an eclectic prehispanic mixed with Christian glimpse of immortality.

The Day of the Dead's focus is the graveyard, and to it, as custom has it, is brought to life total family in food, praise, activities, crafts and stories. We will be doing a multi level approach to understanding this festival in painting and crafting our feelings and sights. Nancy will be focusing in painting, on the rhythm and repetition of life as seen from the graveyard activities. Juri, a fiber artist, will be carrying the focus in to the crafts side with basket making and Ceramic articles including skeletons and woven coffins not necessarily coffin shapes but holders of life present and past.

A mixed group of experienced watercolorists and oil pastelists and rank beginners will be joining them . They have room for a few more interested participants if you should decided to join them. All interested participants are accepted. This 5-day workshop will cost only $30.00 a day or $150 for the whole time. This Workshop will be a starting place for expanding ideas on a wide level of artistic thinking. Why don't you bring your paints and join us for 5 days of difference? I can guarantee you will not return home the same person, and your paintings (drawings, baskets, writing) will reflect your growth. check our web site at www.tomzap.com/lapaloma.html for other classes, prices and dates, and to top it all off, if space permits, stay at La Paloma oceanfront retreat....

Richard & Nancy Lennie
La Paloma Oceanfront Retreat and Art Center

September 2000


Buenas todos! This website has stirred up some wonderful memories. I stayed in Melaque for a little over two months in the winter of 1998(January-February) My name is Broc and I traveled with a friend named Casey. We had many unforgettable experiences in Melaque and Barra de Navidad. My friend and I actually ended up working at Restaurant Judy's. My friend and I both work in restaurants and at the time she needed help, so we would trade off working the bar or waiting tables, it was a blast. We didn't really need the money but it we had many benefits. We ate for free, made a few pesos in tips, listened to Hilario jam on the guitar and met many many people. My time in Melaque was truly and genuinely wonderful. We met great people and had a great time. I was hoping to maybe get a hold of Luke and Ana Johnson. They owned "Salud" and my buddy Casey "Caldito" worked there too. They were a lot of fun. We had some great surf sessions too. There's too many people to list but if anyone remembers two crazy, towhead gringos named Casey and Broc please reply. We stayed in Melaque, and I had a wonderful time with Pamela B. if any one has heard from her. I know it is a shot in the dark, but I'd love to hear from someone to reminisce about Melaque. Viva Melaque!

Broc Glendinning (a.k.a. Menudo)

August 2000

Glucosamine in Mexican Pharmacies?

I am the owner of Life Priority Health and Nutrition. I want to find out about the availability of glucosamine in pharmacies in Mexico. Can you provide me any info? Is it available, what brand, what price? Thanks for helping me.

Greg Pryor

August 2000

Hotel Bel-Air in Careyes?

Hi Tom, Thanks for a great web site, it is truly informative. It helped us plan our trip to Huatulco last year and we are now using the info to plan a trip to Barra. Does anyone have any info on the Hotel Bel-Air that they can share? I have not seen any comments about it and cannot find a web site. Perhaps someone could offer some opinion(s)! Thanks.

Larry S. McPherson

August 2000

I may have found the answer to my own question regarding the Hotel Bel-Air. I would seem that the name has change to The Careyes Hotel - it can be found at www.grupoplan.com It does indeed appear to be very beautiful - but expensive and perhaps somewhat remote!! -Larry M.

In Heaven at the Grand Bay

I'm still in heaven from my experiences in Isla Navidad and Barra Navidad. You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful tropical paradise. I have NEVER stayed in such a wonderful and peaceful place. The people of the region are so kind and warm. The staff at the Grand Bay Hotel couldn't have treated us any better. The bays, the beaches, the lanchas, the discos! We went to Tropigala in Manzanillo and the disco in Tenacatita. We snorkeled in Tenacatita and had lunch in a quaint restaurant on the beach. I lost my toe nail there! We swam in the ocean at Boca Iguanas where it rained on us. We went to Colonia and had camarones and listened to the Mariachis. We drank cervezas at Piper Lover and loved every second of our vacation. We experienced a 7.2 earthquake! I will return soon and so will the rest of my party. When we return we are bringing the rest of the family. I am truly honest when I say that in all my travels, including Hawaii, your region is by FAR the most wonderful, serene and scenic place I have ever visited. I am so blessed to have found such a haven.

This is a picture of me, far left, Carlos the supervisor of the Alberca bar, Mary our friend, Paco, mesero of the alberca bar, and my Niece Laurie. My other Niece Shelli is taking the picture.

Lydia Orona
Arcadia, California

August 2000

Flight Voucher Giveaway

I have {one} voucher from America West Airlines. I can give it as gift to whom I wish. The flight expiration date is on 3-2-01. What if we announce that anyone with the "best reason" for wanting to fly to a vacation in Mexico will be given this gift? Sound wonderful? Enter Here. UNOBOCA@webtv.net
August 2000

Safety in Barra

For several years I have been considering a week or two visit to Barra de Navidad (based on recommendations of various friends who have been there). I am wondering about the safety factors with respect to a single female - best accommodation for safety, going to restaurants or local bars alone at night, etc. I have traveled a fair amount on my own, so am aware of the common sense stuff vis a vis strangers, but really want to know about some of the basic areas of concern.

Gillian Holter

August 2000

This is a quiet, intimate town and I really don't know of any particular safety concerns, places to avoid, etc. Haven't received any indications of safety problems. -Tom


We're looking at making our first trip to Mexico, and the consensus of friends we've consulted seems to be that what we'd probably enjoy most is Melaque, though Sayulita has also been recommended.

One consideration is that my friend's son wants to teach her to surf. Is there surfing at or around Melaque? How would this compare with the Sayulita area, or someplace else reasonably accessible from P.V. or Manzanillo?

We would be coming in November, though we need to make a decision about where to fly into quite soon.

Thanks. I've enjoyed your great site a lot as I've tried to get a feel for the places.

John McKay

August 2000

Bungalows Los Arcos

Hi Tom, thanks for your excellent web site! We have made reservations at the above accommodations. Would you or any of your correspondents have any information about it? We have reserved through a third party, and have some further questions. Our res. is for a four-bedroom bungalow with living area and kitchenette. We wonder about the following: How the kitchenette is equipped, size of swimming pool, how many bungalows, location, etc. Thanks in advance for any help you can give us.

Keith Davies.

August 2000

Posada Pedro in Melaque?

Does anyone know anything about this place? it was recommended to us but we just heard from someone that knows the place that it is a pretty "shaky" place. The price is cheap i.e. $350US month but if it is too "shaky" we might want to look for another place..... we welcome any comment/knowledge you might have of this place. Muchos gracias.

Louise Girard

August 2000

Barra de Navidad and the Grand Bay

Hi Tom! I just returned from a week at the Grand Bay Hotel and we had a wonderful time! The hotel was excellent and the staff all very professional, friendly and attentive. We spent a lot of time in Barra, and we really enjoyed Piper Lover, Tucan restaurant and Seamaster Grill. We would stop in at Piper's in the evening and enjoy a nice cold beer or two and do some " people watching" right there on the cobblestone street/walkway. They also had a lot of little shops nearby where you could pick up some souvenirs & handmade items as well.

One night we ate at Tucan restaurant where they serve the traditional mexican meals as well as bugers. The family that runs the restaurant wwas very very nice! I was suffering from a stomach ailment and the man who runs the restaurant offered me a "remedio",so off he ran to the market to buy what he needed to make it. It helped! And I just thought to myself "wow! now that's really going the extra mile!" they were truly caring folks.

We also enjoyed Seamaster Grill, the food was excellent- we had filet mignon for about $6.00 and the atmosphere was also nice. I liked the decor and the neon lights, and the way you could hear and feel the surf crashing just outside. We really loved the area, but didn't get to stay long enough to see all that we wanted to see. We did make it Tenacatita and did some snorkeling in one of the little bays off to the right of the main beach. There were some nice reefs there, with gentle surf and great visibility. The entrance to the water is a bit rocky so, some kind of foot protection is recommended. (Also mosquito repellant!) I could go on and on... I will definetly be going back to Barra!

Shelli Barnett

California, U.S.A.

Lost Two Friends

Hi Tom! Love your page - check it out as often as possible to see what is new even if I don't always agree. Anyway, we have lost 2 Barra residents in the last 2 months. Our wonderful friend Mary Marsden (kinda the ambassador) passed away June 17th. We were lucky enough to spend Christmas and New Year's with her. Mary (or Meri Alegro as she was known to us) received one of her greatest honors this year when the local women asked her to care for one of their saints before Christmas. She was thrilled to be recognized as a resident. Mary was so special because just about everyone travelling into Barra met her and she introduced so many of us to each other. I wonder who will ever be able to fill her shoes. Good-bye Mary, we love you always.

Another dear friend passed away July 25th at his home in Guadalajara. Aly Barcena (he was one of the owners of the Sands) died after a long illness and will be missed very much. Aly and his family were always helpful to us when we stayed at the Sands and even when we graduated to apartments they remained good friends. I hope to return to Barra in 2001 and know that I will miss them both.

Cuca and Mario at Los Arcos are still the best!!! and if anyone is going down soon say hi to them and to Hesse and his wife Estelle, to Piper, to my favorite guitar - Carlos Flores and all. Yeah Barra!!!!

Susan Machin

August 2000

Terraza Cortez

Hey tom, my name is Crystal and I have visited Melaque before and it is my favorite place in Mexico. I also visit your site regularly just to read up on what's going on in Melaque. I have friends that live there off and on for the past 20 years , but don't have internet. They have wondered about your site, but were wanting me to write to you and ask if you live by Surfos Bar? They just wanted to know , because there Canadian friend Sharon lives close to there? So if you know her or if you live close to Surfos would you please email me back if you don't mind?

Thanks,,,oh and do you ever eat or do you know of the little restaurant on the beach, I think its called Terraza Cortez, its run by Lorraine and Alodia and Reyhino Cortez? If you do, or if you don't, I definitely recommend it. It's excellent and the people are wonderful and Lorraina also speaks very good English, which was a major bonus when we were there.

crystal coe

August 2000

No, I live in Texas. I haven't eaten at Terraza Cortez, but thanks for the recommendation. -Tom

Hotel Barra de Navidad Room Rates

Hi Tom, I wanted to get some input from anyone who might know about the room rate we were recently quoted from the Hotel Barra de Navidad. We are arriving in October (not the high season) and were quoted a rate of $550 pesos ($58USD) per night for an air-conditioned ocean view room. We were just surprised as all of the info we had read up to now listed rates of approx. $42-$45 US dollars. Have the rates increased significantly? Any info would be appreciated.


August 2000

Writing Retreat for Women

Hi Tom, I really enjoy your web site. I find it helpful, informative and colorful. Last year we were able to locate LaPaloma through this site and spent a glorious week there in November. We enjoyed it so much that we are returning this November. The place is lovely and Richard and Nancy are wonderful hosts. The animal friends are a comfort too. I will be conducting a one-week writing retreat for women from November 13-17 at LaPaloma. If anyone is visiting the area during that time and would like more information about it they may contact me via email or my web site. Thanks again for a great service; I especially like the visitors' comments.

Gail Balden

August 2000

Looking for a Place to Rent

Hi, My husband James and I are coming to Melaque for December, as he is teaching an art class at La Paloma. Although we have been to Barra a number of times, this is our first stay in Melaque.

We are looking to rent a somewhere, with kitchen facilities for a month, keeping our budget in the low to moderate range. Do you have any suggestions? From reading your site, I narrowed down inquiries to Bungalows Orientales, Laguna del Tule, Las Brisas and Hotel Bahia. If you have any feedback on these, or know of anyone renting a small house, we'd very much appreciate it. I am concerned about availability, at that busy time of year.

Finally, do you have a phone number for David at Bananarama, please? There's no contact info. on the site.

Julie Prescott

August 2000

Near the Top

Really enjoy your website. When I feel like getting away I just log on to remember our trip to Barra in March 2000. We stayed at the Hotel Barra de Navidad and it was clean and quiet and on the beach. Most days we had the pool to ourselves. I note that others on your website feel uncomfortable with the lack of hospitality and I would agree but if you want hospitality and the hype that goes with it then go to Cabo Blanco. We spent most mornings at Ramon's Restaurant and found they would also deliver to pool side at the hotel. Best evening was Sunday at a small cafe near the church where we could people watch for hours. In thirty years going to Mexico this village is near the top of all that we have visited. We are planning to go back next spring for a second go around. Don't forget your binoculars and bird books if you are a birder.

Alan Pattison
Vernon BC Canada

August 2000

La Manzanilla

I just got back from spending 3 wonderful weeks in the small fishing village of La Manzanilla. I stayed at the Villa Montana with a panoramic view of the Bay of Tenacatita and the norh end of the village. The villa is secluded yet is easily accessible to the beach. The view from the 100-foot outdoor patio is breathtaking and one of the most beautiful I have seen in my travels around Mexico and South America.

At night the serenade of the many crickets along with the unobstructed view of the stars with no bright lights to interfere was very relaxing and exciting at the same time.

The beach is very user friendly and the boogie boards available from the villa were a lot of fun in the smallish 3 foot breaks. It made for safe and pleasurable fun in the waves.

I would recommend this village and this place to stay for those who have been around the world and want place to rest, relax and enjoy the view!


July 2000

Restaurateur Flees Country

Hello Tom! Just want to warn people who want to open businesses there. I have had a hair-raising year and experience with a Mexican landlord and my restaurant. Seems, in a nutshell, he saw my business taking off well, so has done everything in his power to run me out of money so he can take over.

First he filed a criminal lawsuit in Cihuatlán, bogus, which he eventually lost, then he filed a civil suit in Autlán where they are a very old respected family. Am still fighting that. Learned he has problems with numerous other people who have ventured into business dealings with him, after I was already committed. The first I knew of the civil suit, they came and embargoed my car, all the papers in Spanish; I understand this is illegal in itself. Then the judge eventually signed an order saying he had to return the car, which he refused, and I just keep getting one runaround after the other, designed to run me out of money through legal fees, which he has done, my lawyers have disappeared from the scene, I fled the country on advice from a thirty-year American consulate veteran who says they have a file a foot thick of Americans who were killed or just disappear when they appear to have the upper hand or are fighting lawsuits.

I have Mexican friends there still trying to fight this thing, but I hold out little hope, and basically lost everything, over something I have all the receipts and licenses, etc. saying I complied with everything, by virtue of the fact they can keep presenting roadblocks until you eventually give up and get out and they win by default. I love Melaque, and that is the saddest part, but I thought people considering business there should be aware. To all of the people who frequented my establishment and the international band of Musicians who jammed there so often, thank you for a wonderful two years. I can be contacted at Locajudy@aol.com. Hasta luego to all!


July 2000

Las Brisas

Hi Tom, I recently visited the eden.com [now tomzap.com] website and noticed someone's recommendation of Las Brisas across the street from Bananarama in Melaque, Mexico. My family (about 10 of us) are going down to Melaque for Christmas and New Year's this year and would like to get contact information for the hotel. Do you have any info?

Any help would be appreciated.

Michael O'Brien

July 2000

We've got the info now and Las Brisas has been added to the list. Thanks everyone. -Tom

Coconuts by the Sea

Tom, we recently stayed at Coconuts by Sea in Boca de Iguanas. Thought the following might make a useful addition to your very informative web page.

How should we begin? We discovered Boca de Iguana and Coconuts by the Sea on the internet (see below) and made reservations for one of their guest rooms. Flew into Puerto Vallarta and stayed one night at Casa de Corazón. Great location, beautiful multi-tiered patio/garden setting, and cool ocean breezes. The room, however, needed a good airing out. Overall, at around $40 for a double, a good value for PV. The beach is a short walk down the stairs and through the gate. Casa is at the southern end of the PV beaches and is not nearly as crowded as the resort areas in the center of town. We enjoyed the beach and the music for hours. Everywhere music. The attentive waiters serve drinks and snacks, you don't have to budge. Casa de Corazon was recommended by Jeff Walker, who has a web page about places to stay and eat in PV. The modest $5 access fee (you send it to him) is worth it.

Next day we rented a VW Bug from Alamo. Reserve it in the U.S. before you go and the price is half the normal rental fee - we did it the night before we left via the internet. Like most cities in Mexico, driving in PV is point and shoot driving. Indecisive drivers beware. Bought groceries at the GR supermarket at the corner of Serdan and Constitución, then proceeded south down Highway 200. Keep the windows open, enjoy the smells, and watch out for slow moving trucks and bicycles. There are several places to stop for a cold drink or snacks. We stopped at El Super in Chamela. The landscape was drier than usual even for this time of year but quite picturesque nevertheless.

At about the 20 km marker, turn right onto a winding, cobblestone road that leads to the Blue Bay Resorts. As you drive up the road, the first view of Boca de Iguana is spectacular and almost surreal - perfect beach and surf framed by the Costa Alegre hills. Proceed 1.5 miles and turn left on an inconspicuous dirt road. If you're not driving a 4-wheel drive vehicle, park before the road descends precipitously. They have a Jeep to haul your gear the short distance to the guest house. If you call ahead, Cande the eminently competent groundskeeper, butler, and handyman will be waiting for you.

We were warmly greeted by the proprietors/hosts, Cissie and Bob, and shown our suite. Immaculate, open, airy, perfectly appointed a fen shui masterpiece right down to the hammock on the covered patio. The view and the general setting are more like a post card than a real place. We've spent a lot of time between PV and Barra de Navidad over the years, but this place beats them all. The kitchen was fully appointed (you bring your own food and cervesas), satellite TV/radio (but who cares), laundry facilities, overhead fans and air conditioning, and a short walk to the small tiled pool overlooking the bay (beach time without the sand!). We could have spent weeks there without ever leaving. Definitely not the place to go if you require lots of loud music and action. The beach was relatively deserted and the water was clear and somewhat cooler than PV. We spent long hours doing nothing but beach, but after four days we still hadn't had enough. Coconuts is near several small towns with very good restaurants. We generally ate dinner in La Manzanilla. Tenacatita, Melaque, and Barra de Navidad are nearby.

Cissie and Bob were great. Very accommodating Norte Americanos and good company. Coconuts only has two guest suites but Bob is tentatively planning to build more. We hesitate to even mention Coconuts - we would rather keep this place a secret. It's got to be one of the screaming best values on the Costa Alegre. If you want shopping and nightlife, this is not the place for you. If you want to relax, kick back, get in touch with your inner beach bum, but retreat occasionally to a more luxurious environment, this is the place! For current rates and details, see the webpage at www.coconutsbythesea.com. Their email address is cocos@bay.net.mx.


July 2000

Bungalows Laguna Del Tule

We just returned from a one-week trip in late June to Barra and Melaque. We had visited Barra during Semana Santa in 1999 and loved it. When the rain just wouldn't lift from the Pacific Northwest Rain Forest, we couldn't resist AirTransat's $299 (Canadian) fare Vancouver Manzanillo. It was a $27 (US) cab ride from the airport into Barra. Based on comments on your website, we booked a room at Posada Pacifico for 160 pesos. In other circumstances, the room would have been fine but the heat and humidity and the smell of lingering cigarette smoke in Room 16 proved to be too much for us. We decided to move to Melaque for something different and cooler (we hoped). After visiting a number of the hotels along the beach, we were approached by a young man on a bicycle who worked for some tourist agency. While we were a little skeptical, we couldn't resist his offer to have us driven to a bungalow, with a full kitchen and pool, right on the beach for 150 pesos.

It turned out to be Bungalows Laguna Del Tule. It was fabulous and the picture on your website doesn't do it justice. There are 2 sections, one facing the ocean and the other on the lagoon, with another under construction. We had #19 - on the top floor of the section that faces the sea. It was a corner unit, with 3 fans and a great cross breeze. The kitchen was new, clean, and well equipped and the bedroom had a TV with HBO. We had a lovely terrace, with a table and chairs overlooking the bay. Given the oppressive heat (and we like hot weather), we spent most of our days in the lovely, well-maintained pool, only heading into town in the late evening for dinner. For the first few days, we had the place to ourselves, but as the weekend approached, many Mexican families began to arrive. The only disadvantage is that the bungalows are a ways from town. Its a 15 - 20 minute walk, but you can make a stop at Tacos El Guerillero on the way. Go up (towards the highway) on the street that Koala's is on. One or two blocks before the highway, walk left - and you will see the sign. You can also take the local bus into town, and if you are returning late in the evening, a taxi to Lagunas del Tule is about 20 - 25 pesos. Still a deal given the price of the room. We would highly recommend it, but we assume prices go up in season. (We also checked out a room at La Bahía on the west side of town. The room seemed very nice and reasonable at 180 pesos and we might try it out some other time). We also enjoyed lunches at Cabo Blanco Restaurant, on the west end of the beach. The fish was fresh, the beers cold, the shower refreshing and la cuenta well within our budget. We are looking forward to our next visit.

Stanley and Popo

July 2000

House to Rent in Melaque

Hi Tom, I have enjoyed visiting your site and thought I would share this information with your readers. While in Melaque this winter we had the good fortune of finding a great house to rent. The price was right and it was wonderful to be able to cook, entertain, shop, or just relax on the (huge) palapa terrace. The house is located a block from the beach and 3 blocks from the downtown shops in Melaque. Highly recommended and we can't wait to go back. Enjoy!

C.R. Sinden
July 2000

The information as follows:
House for rent in Melaque Beach Jalisco Mexico 5 Bedrooms - King and Queen size beds. Modern kitchen - fully equipped. Living/Dining room with a library of English and Spanish books. Air condtioned on the first floor. Housekeeping services. Pricing: $18.00 US (180 pesos) per couple per day or $10.00 US (100 pesos) per person per day. Group rates available.

Dr. Roberto Pimienta Woo - 128 Ramon Corona St. Melaque Jalisco, Mexico
Fax - Tel: 011-52-335-5-50-77 dial direct from Canada
email: drwoo@nautilus.melaque.udg.mx

Puerto Vallarta, La Manzanilla, Barra de Navidad

Just returned from 2+ great weeks by rental from PV to Barra. Stayed at Meza del Mar in Puerto Vallarta (recommended), Villa Montana in La Manzanilla which has some of the best views you'll find, and La Paloma in Melaque. The only hesitations I'd note we're problems with the water in the Villa, and since La Paloma isn't air-conditioned, you need the windows open. When (not if) the surf is LOUD, you may want to bring ear plugs! Otherwise, great places. Do see the caimans in the La Manzanilla lagoon, swimming, eating, basking. In our opinion, if you have mucho dinero to spend on a place, ($250+) go to the Bel Air Hotel in Careyes, north of Melaque rather than the ostentatious Grand Bay. What a beautiful place and setting, way better than G.B. Stopped for a great lunch. Gorgeous little clear, tranquil beach, nice staff. Found Tenacatita best beach in Barra area, great snorkeling on a calm day. If anyone going to these areas would be interested in detailed info send me a note.

John McKee

July 2000

Busco Por un Amigo

Por favor, busco por un amigo del que sé ,está en Barra de Navidad Jal., le ruego de la manera más atenta ne ayude a localizarlo, pues es integrante de un grupo de musica y me urge localizarlo, los datos que conozco son los siguientes: Vive en una casa conocida como la casa amarilla, por llevar dicho color en el frente, cerca de el club Monte Blanco (a una cuardra y media), y vende artesania en la esquina de el negocio Piperīs and Lovers, tiene contacto con un señor de nombre Eduardo de el pais de Chile, y esta viviendo con una norteamericana de nombre Nine, y el dueño de piper lo conoce, por favor si sabe algo de dicha persona por favor le ruego le haga saber mi dirección de e-mail: max.drums@correoweb.com. Gracias.

Atte. Maximo Rogriguez Montiel

June 2000

Bye Mary!

Sad to hear that Mary is gone...went last winter, and had the chance to saw her at least one last time... She even lent me her old blue VW van, so I could go spend some time in Melaque; that time, I convinced her to sell it, which she did... I could almost not recognize her, she had lost so much weight... She was a wonderful person, full of compassion, gentleness, and I will miss her deeply when I'll go back to Barra...

I own a bike shop here in Canada, and usually was fixing a bit her old three-wheeler bike, whenever I was spending some time in Barra... Rest in peace, Mary, your door was always open for me, and a cold beer offered... and I will never forget you... My sympathy to all the ones who loved her too!

Paul Savard
Alias "Pablocito"

ICQ: 64729437
June 2000

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The Pacific Coast of Mexico www.tomzap.com Tom Penick:  tom@tomzap.com