Chacala: an ideal micro-destination for recharging your batteries
Begin the adventure before sunrise, breathe in the fresh morning air while on the road and look through the car window as the dawn light begins to tint the sky with pink tones and reddish merging is an experience that accentuates the urban and natural landscapes of Riviera Nayarit which begin to light up little by little.
Continuing the journey north, passing through the natural green tunnel that envelops the Carretera 200 between Sayulita and Lo de Marcos, you drive another 60 minutes until you reach a place of peace, serenity and mystery surrounded by a jade-colored sea: Chacala, Nayarit, a picturesque fishing village with a harmonious atmosphere, its inhabitants transmit warmth, confidence and respect to visitors.
Visiting this micro-destination of the Riviera Nayarit is an ideal getaway for explorers looking for a liberating experience, unpretentious and in harmony with nature, where calm and relaxation blend in this site rich in ancient memories and cultural traditions. .
Among its attractions and points of interest are Los Petroglifos de Altavista and beaches such as Chacalilla, Caletas and Las Cuevas. For a more complete experience, it’s best to be accompanied by a guide who knows the area, as well as the history and mysticism surrounding these amazing sites.
Los Petroglifos de Altavista
To get to the petroglyphs from Chacala, drive south on Carretera 200 for about 15 minutes, until you see a sign on the left that indicates the entrance to Altavista, an archaeological area hidden in the jungle. After you have walked a dirt road there is a small hostel where you can leave your vehicle and start a walk of about 30 minutes.
The trail is well marked, with several posters telling the story of this mystical place which holds, among its flora and its huge engraved volcanic rocks, part of the history of the Tecoxquines, one of the first pre-Hispanic ethnic groups who inhabited this region about two thousand years ago.
This place is made up of four ceremonial centers, three small that lead to a main one known as La Pileta del Rey (The King’s Pool). So, along the way, you will see offerings such as fruits, candles, decorative items, ribbons and colorful handicrafts of the WixÃ¡rika ethnic group, who consider it a sacred site and are responsible for preserving these traditions. ancestral.
The last and most important ceremonial center is a series of huge volcanic stones that appear to be perfectly aligned and contain the water that flows down from a hidden site. After the walk, a good dip here is ideal for cooling off.
Arriving on this site becomes a unique spiritual experience, because being in communion with nature and appreciating the offerings which are part of ancestral traditions will undoubtedly captivate those who are looking for an adventure full of feelings.
Las Cuevas Beach
Once you’ve tuned in, it’s time to switch to salt water. On the way back to Chacala, about five kilometers before arriving, there is a left turn that connects El Divisadero, a small town which is home to one of the gems of the region: Playa Las Cuevas, with fine sand and soft covered by the crystal clear and calm waters of the Pacific.
The name of this beach comes from the fact that over time the sea has formed small caves in a rocky outcrop covered with thick vegetation. Interestingly, when the tide is low it is possible to cross them in the company of an experienced guide.
Once back in the heart of Chacala, to recharge your batteries after a morning full of activities, enjoying a delicious reward is ideal. There are several restaurants here with seafood specialties and traditional Mexican cuisine, though some hotels are starting to make inroads with more elaborate dishes.
A recommendation is to try the typical Pescado Zarandeado, whose sauce is lighter, because it is prepared with less spices, leaving a pleasant taste on the palate. It is served with refried beans, rice, Mexican salsa and handmade tortillas.
The origin of Chacala dates back to 1524, when its coast was discovered by Captain Francisco CortÃ©s de San Buenaventura, nephew of the Spanish conqueror HernÃ¡n CortÃ©s. This port was one of the most important in the region, especially before the activity of San Blas, because according to the accounts of the inhabitants, this coast saw the arrival of various Dutch pirate ships, as well as the departure of Father Kino, explorer and Jesuit. missionary who brought cattle and some knowledge of agriculture. In fact, during his stay in Baja California, he took advantage of the merits of this land to begin to develop wine culture in Mexico.
There are several accommodation options in this town, mainly in front of the beach or within walking distance. An example is Mar de Jade, a hotel with a selfless history, founded by Dr Laura Del Valle, who came to this region 30 years ago and started this project as a hostel to offer stays to young doctors, mainly from the United States, who came to providing clinical services to the community on a voluntary basis. At the end of this medical residency program, the facility continued to provide accommodation until it became what it is today: a place of rest and well-being, where there are various yoga and meditation retreats.
In addition to the beach, petroglyphs and wellness activities, several excursions are available during the winter, such as the observation of humpback whales and different migratory birds, as well as a visit to the Laguna Encantada (enchanted lagoon ), the crater of an inactive volcano that filled with water, to which locals attributed extraordinary events that are now part of local folklore.
After a few days full of tranquility and contact with nature, it is time to pack your bags, get in the car and start the journey home, with renewed energy and a calm, liberated mind.