Saturday, April 9, 2011

March 2011 -- Chacala, Nayarit, Mexico Adventure with Nomadsally

Chacala Beach

     Waking up to the boisterous songbirds of Chacala (frigate, pelicans, doves, crows...), warm air, beautiful tropical vegetation, and a lovely beach brought back the sweet memories that keep us returning every year.  Our cozy "Casa Magica" suite (renovated from a 1760's Spanish built ammunitions warehouse still wearing its original pillars partially covered with snake-like fig tree branches)  felt comfortable with easy access to both village and  beach life.

Our View of the Bay

 The Casa Magica

       That morning Jim and I walked up the hill to Susana´s Mauna Kea Guest House and roof top breakfast hangout.  With a blink of an eye we connected with friends from former years and were instantly immersed in Chacala happenings.   It felt so good to feel the human warmth and interpersonal connections that create the magic of the Chacala community.

     Our mornings usually included  reading, yoga, hiking, birding, and snorkeling.  We usually made lunches in our Casa Magica (lots of fish and great tropical fruit), then passed the afternoons swimming and reading at the beach.  Watching the rich sunset with friends at one of the 6 or 7 beach eateries or in homes of  local families and friends was the evening ritual.

A Chacala Dinner with Carol, Karina, and Sally

Artistic Embraceable Trees

Flowers Galore

     A unique feature of Chacala is its small population.  The native population that settled this Nayarit coastline were the Texcoxquin.  Unfortunately, we know little about them.   Later recorded history indicates that the Spanish developed the region as a plantation for coconut oil.  Thus, there were never many people living in the present village site.  After land reform in 20th Century, Mexicans began to settle to take advantage of the bounteous fishing opportunities. 

     Development has continud to be slow since there were no adequate access roads from neighboring areas.
     The 1950 official census describes the population as follows: 13 inhabitants, 6 homeowners, 6 more "qualifying" individuals, 6 head of cattle, 13 head of sheep, and 33 barnyard birds.

Jim on Chacala Main Street 

    The 1970's brought significant changes.  Puerto Vallarta (two hours south) was discovered after the filming of The Night of the Iguana and tourism began to flourish in the region.  Soon Chacala received electricity and a few gringos arrived landing their yachts in the Chacala Bay   And, eventually a road  connected Chacala to the highway.  Today there are about 500 permanent residents which include several dozen gringos.    Most Mexicans residents are fishermen or own and manage small stores to service the village and the increasing Mexican and gringo tourists.

Relaxing on the Beach 

     A unique friendliness and connectedness exists in tiny Chacala - one usually exchanges greetings wherever you go in the village.  This open attitude could be due to its size as well as a local program called "Techos (Roofs) de Mexico". The idea is that vacationers could "invest" in a local's house.  The locals would then build a room on the roof of their home with a separate staircase in exchange for a certain number of days free in Chacala or the option of repayment of loan (interest free).  Today there are seven vibrant "Techos"  homes functioning and available for guests.

     There's only one thing that I have missed in our little village -- the textile world.  Last year I learned that not far away and up in the mountains are many Huichol hamlets.  Can you imagine...  these indigenous people are fiber and bead specialists!

     You will be able to view Huichol art and lifestyle in my next post...  So long for now.  Nomadsally

Storekeeper Mayra and son Francisco

Chabela's Restaurant- Tuesday and Thursday Dinners

At Work 

Elementary School with Computer Facility for Community

Tropical Paradise

Good-by For Now  Chacala.   


  1. Sally - I just discovered your blog. Love it! Chacala looks and sounds like a little slice of paradise. Thanks for your great post and photos. Peggy

  2. Great job, Sally! You could be the head of Chacala's chamber of commerce!

  3. Your posts are so informative and interesting. I lived permanently in Bucerias, just north of PV, for almost 30 years. It has grown so much during that time. I have been looking for a small village to move to. Chacala sounds wonderful, and it has a beach which is a must for me. I will be be traveling up to check it out this fall, 2016. Any tips for me?