Tracy, Hamish and I met John around 9am and started our day with a hearty breakfast at the wonderful Mi Cafe in the Emiliano Zapata area of town just a few blocks from the beach. From here we walked a couple of streets to catch the bus for a 30 minute ($8 Peso) ride to the nearby fishing village of Boca de Tomatlan. The journey on the old charabanc was crowded and slightly uncomfortable, the hard plastic seats offering little cushion to the twisting, turning, bumpy road that battered our manicured posteriors as the driver sped along like a raging Herbie Goes Bananas.
Despite the bus being old and somewhat dusty the driver insisted our dog Hamish sit on one of our knees for the duration. Lap-dog duties fell to me and on reflection white shorts was probably not the best attire under the circumstances; my gleaming pantaloons soon became imprinted with dirty paw-prints.
Sitting about 10 miles south of Puerto Vallarta, Boca, being the last stop on the bus route sits at the end of the Horcones River and is surrounded on three sides by palm covered hills and an abundance of wildlife.
Arriving unscathed we hopped off and headed down the hill on the short walk towards the beach, stocking up on bottled water and a couple of snacks from one of the few stores that serves the village. A scattering of restaurants and taco stands are ready to feed the hungry visitor after a long day of beach combing or hiking.
For us though the day was just beginning and we decided to go to the isolated beach of Las Animas.
John and Tracy decided to take the water taxi whilst Hamish and I would hike the jungle/coastal trail arriving about 50/60 minutes or so later.
Water taxis can take you to any of the isolated beaches of Colomitos, Las Animas and further south to the village of Yelapa with prices ranging from 50-180 pesos. Walking is the only other way to get there and is of course free.
Ever the land-lubbers Hamish and I waved our compadres adios and set off along the beach before wading across the low lying river, starved by the dry season, to start off our journey. The official hiking route sees you head back along the river and cross a swing bridge before going back towards the beach.
The well trodden path skirts past a few homes at the start of the walk and is part costal, part jungle. Very well sign posted and easy to follow, Hamish led the way occasionally allowing himself to be distracted by various rustling noises under and on top of fallen leaves that covered the jungle floor. Iguanas, lizards, birds and butterflies accompanied us along the way.
We walked for nearly twenty minutes or so until we arrived at Colomitos beach and a beautiful, almost hidden cove with crystal clear waters and an exclusive restaurant called Ocean Grill. Hamish waded into the sea to cool down for a few minutes before we clambered up a set of steps carved into the cliff to continue our walk.
After 6 months of dry season the jungle was parched and screaming for moisture from the impending rains due in another 4 weeks or so. It was thirsty work and the palm trees gave little protection from the hot sun. We passed another couple of beaches and a bar restaurant called Medusa, and though tempting Hamish and I carried on past. Within 15-20 minutes we arrived at Playa Las Animas.
At the far end of the beach after a few bars and restaurants we found John and Tracy relaxing on sun loungers with a cold drink. A well earned beer and some fresh water awaited us, it was time to kick off the shoes and put the feet up.
We stayed for supper before getting the water taxi back to Boca, the skipper sailing almost as recklessly as his four-wheeled counterparts. The return bus journey to Puerto Vallarta was just as crowded and bumpy as it was in the morning but we were happy to be home, the sea air tiring us out. We had one last beer for the road…. until tomorrow.
A fantastic but inexpensive day out choosing to go beyond Vallarta to an isolated beach only accesible by boat or hiking through the jungle.
We were told another 3 kilometers past Las Animas takes you to some waterfalls within a clearance in the jungle. Maybe next time.