Monday, February 19, 2018

An Hour on Playa Cochorit

We took a field trip Friday to a place that felt like Old Mexico.  I'm constantly wandering Playa Algodones in front of the condo picking up shells, so we decided it was time to check out some different beaches in the area.  A neighbor down the beach had told us about some 'wild' beaches south of the town of Empalme in Sonora.  She said one, Playa Cochorit, was loaded with amazing shells.  I had to go!

I wrote down instructions I found on Trip Advisor to help us find the location.  We followed Highway 15 down through Guaymas to Empalme, then started looking for the road that would take us west to Playa Cochorit.  After wandering for awhile and dead ending into a port area, I finally decided to turn on my phone data and use Google maps for directions.  Lo and behold -- it worked!  We had turned off the main highway 5 kilometers short of the location, so we never would have found it without the wonders of Google.

When we finally arrived at Playa Cochorit, we found a windswept abandoned beach destination on the Sea of Cortez with one remaining palapa bar.  Someone else had arrived before us and created this happy face in the sand with clam shells for eyes. 

It appeared that the palapa bar El Tiburon might still be in operation, but the rest of the Cochorit fishing village looked like the photo below. 


Several fishermen's pangas were pulled up onshore.

And a gull was perched on this fisherman's truck.
It was a windy day with rough surf, so I imagine that's why the fishermen's camp was uninhabited.

Love this fish mural on the wall of the one remaining palapa restaurant.
After snapping some photographs, we busied ourselves with the main event.  Playa Cochorit is shelling/beachcomber nirvana.  I've never happened upon a beach like this!  As far as the eye could see, the beach was littered with a huge variety of spectacular finds, including murexes, augers, towers, olives, scallop and clam shells, limpets, and on and on.  The photo above is just a sampling.  We spent less than an hour plucking all the shells we could take with us, leaving thousands behind.
The patio coffee table is completely covered with piles of shells.  I've collected shells for years, but I've never seen anything like this.  No words!  I'm in love!

As we were headed back up the beach to the car, a couple roared by on a moto -- the first humans we'd seen.  Nearing the car, a little girl ran out of the empty palapa restaurant carrying two black murexes.  She wanted to know if we'd buy her shells for 7 pesos.  Craig dug all the change out of his pockets, a little over 20 pesos, and handed it to her.  She was thrilled with the pesos (for me???), and I was thrilled with the shells!  We'll take more pesos with us next trip!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Other Soggy Peso

No, I'm not posting about the Soggy Peso on Isla Mujeres.  There's actually another Soggy Peso in San Carlos on the other side of Mexico!

After we booked a month at Playa Blanca on Playa Algodones in San Carlos, I found out the other Soggy Peso was just a short walk away from the condo.  I'd actually liked the San Carlos Soggy Peso long ago on Facebook (maybe by mistake).

The day after we arrived, we decided to stroll down the beach and check out the other Soggy!  We found a fun palapa bar with great views of the water and sunset, good food, and live music.

Our first outing, we split an order of shrimp ceviche and a huge bowl of guacamole.  The grand total for the ceviche, guac, drinks, and 20% tip was 300 pesos, which converts to $16 U.S.

By the way, that tall building in the background is the condominium resort where we're staying -- Playa Blanca.  They have smoking hot deals for snowbirds in the winter season, and we often run into our new neighbors from Canada and the U.S. down the beach at the Soggy Peso.

The gorgeous water view from the bar at Soggy Peso.

Craig and I may have to buy Soggy Peso t-shirts here in San Carlos to confuse our friends on Isla Mujeres.

Once the sun sets, we love walking down the beach towards our home for the month watching the colors progress in the sky.

A few nights ago we just happened to run across a mariachi photo shoot on the way home. 
I love the twilight colors we see around the bay on our evening stumbles back down the beach. 
Just to update, Craig and his partner won a gold medal in the men's doubles 4.5 Sombrero Showdown.  He's a happy camper! 
I, on the other hand, wasn't quite as fortunate.  I got stitches after trying to walk through the glass sliding door here at the condo.  Not to worry!  The wonderful management and staff here took great care of me.  Jorge accompanied us to the Rescate (basically the local emergency medical services here in San Carlos) to serve as our translator.  After finding out I needed to go to the emergency room in Guaymas to have my face stitched, Sofia at the front desk called a doctor and arranged for her to meet us at her clinic here in San Carlos so I wouldn't have to spend hours waiting.  A week later, the stitches are out and my face looks almost untouched.  Any scar I end up with will be hidden by my eyebrow.  So I'm a lucky girl too!
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A Month in San Carlos

It all started with pickleball.  Of course it did.  The minute I heard there was a strong pickleball club in San Carlos, Mexico, 7 hours south of our home in Arizona, I knew I could trick my husband into another month at the beach in February.  The only obstacle (all in our minds) was our first drive trip south of the border.  We've lived in Arizona 12 years and we'd never driven a car into Mexico.  Big babies!!!

So here we are.  And loving it!

Craig plays pickleball every morning for three or four hours with fun people, and even plays in a four day tournament starting the end of this week.

Meanwhile, I spend my time beachcombing.  That's our condominium building on Playa los Algodones in the photo above.

My shell/seaglass collection is growing after the first few days. 

Even the seaweed is beautiful here.

I snap a few pics on every walk.

This particular morning, the water was like glass and it was hard to distinguish the sea from the sky. 

The topography of the area is outstanding.  The views are spectacular from dawn to dusk.

After the exploring, we return to this gorgeous seaview condo.  I could live here.
Here's a short video of a 360 degree view from our area.
Stay tuned.  I'll get back to Roatan, but February is all about San Carlos.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Monday Lobster Special

I love lobster.  And I really love ordering lobster when the restaurant has a magical location right on the water with beautiful sunset views and a Monday night special including three tails and your choice of two sides for $18 U.S.

The restaurant is Beachers.  They have multiple locations on Roatan, including one on the beach in West Bay and another one on the main road in West End.

Our favorite location for a sunset dinner is Beachers on the dock in West End.  We try to arrive late afternoon and grab a table next to the water as the sun's starting to drop from the sky.

Craig usually orders a SalvaVida, his preferred beer on the island.

Beachers also runs a 2 for 1 all day special on other drinks, so it's a great place to hang out!  At their West Bay location, they also provide loungers on the beach if you eat and/or drink there.
Captain Brooks ties his boat up at the Beachers' dock in West End later in the day, so if you need a ride home after dinner (before dark), he can take you back to West Bay.

This year we decided to eat our Christmas dinner at Beachers in West End.  We'd forgotten it was Monday!  Instead of turkey, we celebrated Christmas with three lobster tails.

The lobster special is $18, but this ending to your day in Paradise is free!  Wish I was there right now eating a lobster dinner.  Yum!
We'll be back.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Love the Blues


Early morning West Bay Beach shoreline.

A cruise ship passes West Bay Beach headed to dock in Coxen Hole.

The quiet calm blue waters of West Bay before the tours arrive.  

  The leaning tower of Roatan. 

Late afternoon on Half Moon Bay in West End.

Captain Brooks' wooden boat at Beachers' West End dock as the sun begins to drop.

The dark pastels of Half Moon Bay at sunset.

Twilight blues.

Monday, January 15, 2018

El Paraiso

Roatan is a paradise (el paraiso) where the lush jungle meets the turquoise sea.  The flora and fauna are a large part of the charm that drew us back to the island again after our first trip in December 2015. 

The view from the patio. 

You could fill your morning breakfast bowl with fruit found on Roatan.   We walked past this papaya tree everyday on our way to West Bay.

Speaking of breakfast, we enjoyed the bounty from the local fruit stands during our month on Roatan.  Watermelon, papaya, bananas, and pineapples were a daily treat. 

This banana tree was very tempting, especially during the period when shipments from mainland Honduras were being slowed by blockades in December. 

This coconut stand, located on the main roundabout in West End, had a ready supply since there are plenty of coconut palms on Roatan!

These two guys utilize the local bounty to sell coco frios on West Bay Beach everyday.

The local neighborhoods around West Bay are lined with beautiful gardens.  Love these peach colored hibiscus!

  I'm not sure what this pink and white spotted plant is, but it looks like a variety of elephant ears. 

A beautiful tropical garden in West Bay behind a picket fence.

The path to Kismet is lined with banana trees and palms.

Beautiful Heliconia in the community where we stayed in West Bay.

The island's fauna are as exotic as the flora.  A lot of locals have parrots as pets. The parrots at Celeste's in West Bay wolf whistle and call out to pedestrians passing by. When we stayed at a rental adjacent to Gumbalimba Park in 2015, scarlet macaws would fly over from the park in the mornings and early evenings.

The local iguanas usually blend into their locations.  I've read the black iguanas that lurk on the ironshore cliffs are an endangered species on the island, primarily because they've been a food source for locals.  This one was perched on the wall at the end of West Bay Beach.  There are various animals farms and preserves on the island for tourists to visit, including the Iguana Farm and another preserve with sloths and monkeys.

I see these signs on a lot of Caribbean Islands urging drivers to watch out for iguanas in the road.

A ride in a water taxi is a great way to view Roatan, that paradise where the jungle topples down the hillside to meet the blue Caribbean Sea.  I wish I was back in the boat!
We're off for a week to visit family in the Pacific Northwest.  I'll be back.  Stay tuned!