We had loved our six weeks in the little coastal village of La Ventana, in Baja California Sur, on the Sea of Cortez. Now, as our tour continued, we would have the opportunity to experience another little village, Lo de Marcos, in Nayarit, about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific Ocean. While Baja was majestic, with mostly barren, expansive landscape, harder edges, and gorgeous contrasts, Lo de Marcos was vivid, infused and saturated with color. In Lo de Marcos even the air was thicker and carried with it the smells of the jungle. Lo de Marcos had a more obvious density of life than Baja. Baja had vast emptiness to appreciate, punctuated with stunning vistas, while Nayarit was filled in.
Lo de Marcos is a small place. From our rental home, we were able to walk to the town square in a little more than five minutes, and to the beach in about three minutes. Even though we were only in Lo de Marcos for eight days, we got to know quite a few people by name, not only because they were friendly, but also because we saw many of them regularly.
Lo de Marcos was even less expensive than Baja California Sur. Something that looked like a tostada that they called a volcano and was enough for an entire meal was 15 pesos (about 82 cents). A half-kilo of corn tortillas (more than a pound) was 7.5 pesos (about 41 cents). Fruit stands were everywhere along the main road to and from town. One of our favorite purchases was star fruit, which cost 5 pesos for two. In the States, one star fruit would cost more than a dollar. Here, it was about 13 cents, and even then, I believe the Mexicans may have thought they were overcharging us because, as we were told after my wife Jet asked, star fruit grew on the trees in many of their yards. Personal services were cheap, sometimes ridiculously so. I got a really good haircut for 50 pesos (less than $3).
We ate creatively prepared, very tasty, complex and fabulous food in Lo de Marcos, as well as freshly squeezed juice every day. My favorite was a green blend the ingredients of which I couldn’t make out from the Spanish-speaking proprietor of the juice stand. There was also a lot of carrot juice, orange juice, and nanche juice, which is made by putting the entire nanche fruit in a standard blender, pits and all, then adding water and a little sweetener. They put it in a big container and spoon out the juice. It has a unique and interesting taste I really liked.
Like all the beaches we saw in Nayarit, Lo de Marcos was bracketed by two hills that extended into the Pacific. The hills were completely blanketed with jungle growth, right down to the water. In between the hills was the sandy beach that, if you were walking briskly, you could span in about 20 – 30 minutes. Up from the beach was the town, which measured a little more than half a mile from the main road to the water. The town square was roughly in the middle. That was it.
Our house was one block from the ocean on a road that paralleled the beach. I could walk onto that road facing towards the ocean, and see the hills on each side. On this un-crowded road going in either direction were people, un-accompanied dogs that walked with an earnestness that looked like they were late for an appointment, the occasional car, ATVs, and people on horses. Our realtor, Armando Contreras told us that, if we followed this road a mile or so to the south there was a very nice, secluded beach called Venado that you couldn’t get to by walking along the beach. So off I went, down the road, with our two dogs...
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