Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Villa Chuparosa in La Piñata, Mexico

This year’s holiday break trip took us to Villa Chuparosa located 30 miles N of P.Vallarta Airport in the coastal town of La Piñata. We rented two delightful guesthouses in a villa compound with vistas of Jaltemba Bay. The owners of the villa we Jerry and Libby Einem, they lived in a larger hacienda overlooking the La Casa Granda, where Mike, Rayelle, Kevin and Ali stayed and La Casita where Linda and I stayed. We arrived on Alaska Air December 18th. The airport was super crowded; four plans had landed and dumped a mass of tourists into Mexico. Everything went smoothly despite the crowd and we were able to get through customs and collect our baggage relatively quickly. We were met by our bi-lingual driver, Gilberto, and were ushered out to a small car. I had to smile as we stepped through the crowd and saw Gilberto standing there with "BENNETT" written on a sign. I have always noticed drivers with people’s names on signs in other airports; they make me think of the Seinfeld episode where George and Jerry get into a limo that was waiting for someone else because they knew that the guy, "O’Brian", would not be there. O’Brian turns out to be an Aryan (Thus the joke) and the whole cast ends up in the middle of a huge nasty protest aginst O'brian. A friend of Gilberto's drove us out of the airport area and about five blocks north, to a gas station. We then unloaded and reloaded into Gilberto's father’s taxi van and proceeded on to La Piñata and Villa Chuparosa. Turns out all taxi drivers must be licensed to enter the airport area and Gilberto could not drive his father taxi into pick us up. Our entry into Mexico felt very undercover like and if we were being followed, I'm sure we would have lost our tail by the change of vehicle. Our destination was about 30 miles north of the airport but is seemed a lot longer then that. The roads were very narrow with bad curves. The traffic was heavy due the holidays, Gilberto drove very carefully and we arrived safely. La Piñata, where we stayed is just north of the town of Recon de Guayabitos. Together they make up a population base of about 17000. I would consider the area more commercial then tourist based. Guyabitos having more tourists draw then La Piñata.

Our vacation was very different from any we have had in the past. One reason was the distance our Villa was away from the beach. It didn't occur to us that this would make as big of an impact on our trip as it did, but looking back at how we felt, it was a significant influence. Walking the beach in the morning and evening was a large part of winding down during our break. It also made fishing a chore and I was only able to get down to an area where I could fish once during our stay. On other vacations we saw people fishing right outside our front door each morning. If I wanted to fish it meant getting up very early and hiking down to the bay and then I would have had to figure out where to fish from there. It was just not convenient.

Though Villa Chuparosa is a distance from the ocean, it is still a very nice place to stay. The two casa's are very nice and very well kept. All our needs were met by our hosts, Jerry and Libby. Jerry is the little worker bee at the villa. He is somewhat forgetful but proved to be a very nice and interesting gentleman. A naturalist by trade, Jerry was very knowledgeable about the plants and birds of this region. He has built a bird sanctuary next to the main casa where he feeds the birds and provides them a safe haven where he can study their natural habits.