Playas Bonitas and Buenas Olas (Waves) on the Nayarit and Michoacan Coast

We are currently in Guanajuato taking 2-3 weeks of intensive Spanish (at Escuela Falcon) and loving this amazing university town.  It’s nice to enjoy the cool air and experience city life again, but the last two weeks we explored some of the best surf and coastline we have ever seen.  This patch of paradise was the coast route from Mazatlan down to Rio Nexpa in the states of Nayarit, Colima, and most impressively, Michoacan.

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Maruata beach, Michoacan


After arriving in Mazatlan from the ferry, we thought we were going to head down to Sayulita and spend a few weeks surfing and hanging out, but we were diverted instead to a town north of there named San Pancho / San Francisco (the “other” San Francisco).  Everyone told us Sayulita was too packed and crowded and San Pancho was a much better option, and it definitely turned out that way for us.

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San Pancho AKA San Francisco had an amazing vibe with incredible sunsets

We arrived in San Pancho after driving and spending the night in some tropical beaches mainly visited by Mexican tourists (San Blas region), and found the only campground in town.  It definitely was lacking in facilities like running water, but it was right on the beach and we were excited to get Titus parked and explore!

There is a nice wave, great beach bars and amazing restaurants in San Pancho.  We spent the better part of the week loving it, except for the part where I was harassed by Seahawks fans during the NFC championship game; we are both huge Packer fans.  We were told that San Pancho is what Sayulita felt like 10 years ago, but the all signs look like San Pancho is well on its way to being widely discovered as well.

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San Pancho is also named San Francisco, and this is their Golden Gate

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Seeing an awesome band at night in San Pancho

Once we felt we had our fill of smoothies and organic al pastor tacos, we knew we had to leave.  We actually tried to stop in Sayulita, but as warned, the camp grounds were full and the place was packed.  Plus, I saw a bunch of tourists with Seahawks jerseys driving a golf cart as we drove in, and that was enough for me.

So we went to La Cruz by Punta Mita to stay a night.  La Cruz is an awesome town with great access to the resort town of Punta Mita.  About 10+ years ago my buddy Ryan and I surfed an awesome reef break in Punta Mita and I was dying to go back.  Punta Mita has changed immensely since then, with $1000/night hotel rooms, but it was still fun for us.

On our first day in Punta Mita, we found a surf shop on the main drag where they told us we could “camp” (park) in front of their store and use their bathrooms/showers for free.  Score!    We had a fun few days street camping and I made it back to surf the cove which is a 45 minute hike from town (or $50 boat ride if you wanna splurge).

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Morning in Punta Mita, great beach food on the beach

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Our camping spot in Punta Mita in front of the surf shops

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hiking out to the surf spot

After Punta Mita, we REALLY needed to get away from the resorts and find some cool authentic mex surf towns, and we found them in Colima and Michoacan.  We had some concern about driving this part of the coast, but everyone encouraged us to go, and it turned out to be so safe and the beauty on this part of the coast was amazing. Best beach experiences of our trip so far.

But before we hit more surf and beaches, we actually needed to head over the mountains just past Puerto Vallarta to get back to the coast.  We flew past Puerto Vallarta and started to climb into the lush mountains, the likes of which we hadn’t seen in a very long time.  We needed to find a place to camp along the way, and found the best place ever.  A raicilla distillery named Hacienda Divisadero (its pretty much like Mezcal, but handmade from yellow or green agave, instead of blue).   We had an awesome lamb dinner here, camped for free on their property and got a private tour in the morning from the 4th generation owner.  It was great, and of course we bought some of their product.   In typical George fashion, we turned free camping into a pretty expensive bill once all was said and done.

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Maybe we can camp here?

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This is were the agave is roasted. Definition of small batch, hand crafted!

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This is actually where and how they mash up the roasted agave

After the mountains, the first surf spot we hit up was Arroyo Secco.  The local surf pro Christiano was so helpful in getting us set up with free beach camping spots and later he gave Jenine her first surf lesson!  Arroyo Secco was some of the most beautiful beach camping we have done, although the surf was pretty large and closing out fast!

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Sunset over the swimming hole in Arroyo Seco

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Arroyo Seco camping

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Waves were great, but I had to be out in the water for this sunset.

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Jenine!! Getting up right away

Christiano also drew us up a surf map of all the surf breaks from here to the border of Guatamala.  After Arroyo Secco we headed south to one of first ones, La Ticla.   and. it. was. amazing.

We hit the little surf town of Ticla at the perfect time as a large NW swell was coming through, and this spot picks up great NW swell.  We found a palapa to camp under, and met some really cool people, many who were local surfers in for the weekend (some amazing surfers!).  I’ve been surfing for awhile, and still consider myself poor, but I had some breakthrough days in Ticla.  I even got to kitesurf when the wind picked up one afternoon.  The sunsets were unreal, and Jenine got some amazing shots.

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Look at that right, view from in town at Ticla

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Sunsets to remember for ever

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getting up on one

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post surf, feeling amazing

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Barrels at Ticla

 

After Ticla, the next stop on the surf town tour was Nexpa.  We loved Nexpa immediately.  Such a cool surf vibe and the whole beach is lined with little surf cabanas (which I was told rent for $300 a month – to live on the beach… at one of the best surf spots in the world!!).

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The beach at Nexpa is lined with cabanas for rent

We camped for about $4 a day by the river, where Jenine did yoga and the surf break was right in front.  There are some cool surf bars here, and we met surfers from all over the world.  Very cool.

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Jenine warming up for Yoga at camp

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waves in Nexpa

From Nexpa I wanted badly to keep hitting surf towns (next up was Saladita!) but Jenine was right to direct us inland to the mountains and the awesome town of Guanajuato, where we were to start Spanish lessons in a few days.  And that is where we are now until mid Feb.   Can’t wait to update you on our Spanish progress!

Hasta La Próxima!

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a welcome site

 

Song of the week:

Motel Baja, Nortec Collective 

Many more pics here:

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Wandering a local Mexican tourist spot on the way to Puerto Vallarta

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San Pancho AKA San Francisco had an amazing vibe with incredible sunsets

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San Pancho is also named San Francisco, and this is their Golden Gate

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Seeing an awesome band at night in San Panchy

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Our camp spot in San Pancho, looks nicer than it really was #sportsmobile

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San Pancho has a hippy drum circle feel to it

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catching a little guy in Panchy

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Morning in Punta Mita, great beach food on the beach

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It's a 45 minute hike to the "Cove" surf spot in Punta Mita. Totally worth it. Shout out to Ryan Dulon who I found this spot with 10+ years ago

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The Cove - Punta Mita

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The beach front at Punta Mita

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Our camping spot in Punta Mita in front of the surf shops

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hiking out to the surf spot

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Titus cruising through a little mountain town, not standing out

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Hen houses?

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Maybe we can camp here?

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The dining room at the Distillery

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The beautiful property at the distillery.

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That's a giant Pina! They chop off the agave leaves and this is the part that makes the Raicilla

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This is were the agave is roasted. Definition of small batch, hand crafted!

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Jenine and I taking a shot of Raicilla at 10am

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This is actually where and how they mash up the roasted agave

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Our front yard, Arroyo Seco

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Trying to catch dinner in the surf at Arroyo Seco

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Sunset over the swimming hole in Arroyo Seco

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Arroyo Seco camping #sportsmobile

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Whales (Ballenas) jumping right in front of us

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We got to this awesome camp spot without getting stuck. Air down early. Words to live by

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Amazing swimming hole created by the rocks in Arroyo Seco

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Tropical. The rivers flowing into the ocean create great olas (waves).

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Waves were great, but I had to be out in the water for this sunset.

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sunset surf, nothing beats it.

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Jenine!! Getting up right away

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Jenine did so great on her first lesson

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Jenine might become a surfer yet, look at that smile.

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Coconut water, the source of life

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A welcome sign, great surf ahead

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Coconut opener

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even I was getting waves

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birds at sunset

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La Ticla

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CiberTicla, probably still better than comcast

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In town at La Ticla

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Look at that right, view from in town at Ticla

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Jenine reads a lot of books in that hammock

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Even got the kite up when the wind blew the surf out

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Our neighbors

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Ticla

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Hermit crabs are literally everywhere down here

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fishing with nets

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Ticla surf

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Sunsets to remember for ever

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post surf, feeling amazing

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ticla knows how to wow you

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getting up on one

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Got the slack line going in Ticla

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I held that pose for maybe a second

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The panoramic of Ticla

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until tomorrow

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We had a grand beach bonfire on the last night in Ticla

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our spot under the Palapa in Ticla

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Barrels at Ticla

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Barrels

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empty waves

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empty beaches

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This beach is amazing, but aren't they all down here

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more deserted beaches in Michoacan

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Bienvenidos indeed. This place was amazing.

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Maruata

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Walking between beaches in Maruata

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Hike in Maruata

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No resorts here

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Top of our hike in Maruata

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This place is awesome

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Maruata beach

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Happy in Maruata

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cabanas for rent, $30 a night.

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The Michoacan coast

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Nexpa!

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First marg in Nexpa

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Nexpa

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waves in Nexpa

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small barrels

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at camp in Nexpa

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Jenine warming up for Yoga at camp

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The town of Nexpa

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Titus looking good @Nexpa

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How you flush in Mexico

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The village of Nexpa

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The beach at Nexpa is lined with cabanas for rent

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a welcome site

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Our trusty surf map of lower mexico

 

 

Posted in Mainland Mexico, Mexico Tagged with: , , , , , ,
13 comments on “Playas Bonitas and Buenas Olas (Waves) on the Nayarit and Michoacan Coast
  1. Make sure to get directions to “the ranch” before you hit saladita. Really fun wave, very few people camp there. No facilities, but you have the place to yourself and its a much better wave. About 20 minutes from saladita. I can give you directions via email.

    • George says:

      Hey Scott! looks like we won’t be able to make the ranch. We already heading inland and I think the next waves will be in Oaxca, which is supposed to be great. We want to somehow get back to do the ranch/saladita in the summer. When are you getting on the road?

  2. Tami says:

    How will you guys ever “TOP” this trip? 😉

  3. Patty says:

    I can’t believe how this trip just gets better and better! I am enjoying it through you two! I really do feel I am right there! Keep it coming: ) Logan is taking Spanish in school. He is really enjoying it. Buenas Noches!

  4. Guenter says:

    Wrll that was fast!
    Where did you pass us?
    We are stuck on the Michoacan Coast …..Superbowl at La Ticla…then La Manzanilla. …El Faro.
    Have fun in school!

    • Jenine says:

      How did we pass you!?! We stopped in Manzanillo and El Faro to see them but still managed to miss you guys. Hope you are loving the Michoacan coast as much as we did!

  5. Jane says:

    Jenine surfing! Looking like a pro.

  6. Carolyn says:

    Sounds amazing!
    XOXO

  7. Emma says:

    The beaches sound (and look) great, but it is the lamb dinner that is calling our names the loudest.

  8. Brendon Kraham says:

    George, is that you getting barrelled in pic 73? Amazing trip, photos, and report.

    • George says:

      Hey Brendon, that’s unfortunately not me getting barrelled yet. Lot of surfing coming up in April, May, June when we hit Oaxaca & Central America. hoping for some good pics there.

    • George says:

      Hey Brendon, that’s unfortunately not me getting barrelled yet. Lot of surfing coming up in April, May, June when we hit Oaxaca & Central America. hoping for some good pics there.