Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Playa San Augustin

I read about a beach that is 25 km (15.5 miles) outside of La Crucecita, just past the airport, that is supposed to be good for swimming and snorkeling. Finally, maybe someplace that the waves wouldn't knock me down or suck me out to sea to become shark bait! So we grabbed our new friends and off we headed for another day at the beach!

To get to this beach, you have to leave the main, paved road and travel 13 km (8 miles) down a dirt road. A very bad dirt road! Oh, it starts out deceivingly simple, but don't you believe it!

We soon discovered that it has many hills with washouts and gullies and a lot of turns. I had to pick my way very carefully along to avoid bottoming out or slipping off the road or sliding into one of the deep gullies in the road. Taxis traverse this road to take people to and from the beach. They must have great shocks or something because they just come whizzing past you. Get out of the way or get run over!

The scenery, or what I could see of it when I dared take my eyes off the road for a second, was really interesting. There were actually houses of sorts along this road. I could not imagine living on and depending upon a road like this to always be passable. I heard later that they also just got electricity back here a few months ago.

One of the little local stores we passed along the way. Wouldn't want to depend upon this place to meet my grocery needs!

Occasionally there were open spaces with large coconut trees in the distance.

I knew this was coming somewhere up ahead and I was dreading it. I had no idea how swift or deep it was going to be. With my dislike of bridge crossings, you can imagine the zeal I had anticipating an actual river crossing!

It was only about 6" deep and was covered in cement where we had to cross. I just kept telling myself during the crossing to look straight ahead, look straight ahead! The right side was like a little delta. Full of sand and mud ready to suck you down if you drove off. The left side was who knows what. It was brown and murky and looked to be deep. Gulp. I was plagued all day in the back of my mind that I was going to have to repeat this crossing.
We passed a few little farms along the way. We saw cows, horses, pigs, chickens, turkeys and peacocks. The latter kind of surprised us. I don't think (but have no way of knowing) that they were being raised for meat. It seems unlikely though that a family would waste valuable money on a bird solely for adornment to the farm.

Corn and coconuts. An unlikely combination but here's the proof that they can co-exist!

And what would a trip down any road be without the obligatory church?

Once in awhile we would crest a hill and see the lush, verdant and green landscape around us. Breathtakingly beautiful.

We finally arrived at the beach. It had taken an hour to drive those 8 miles! There was a long line of comedores (sea side eateries) in both direction. We were surrounded by vendors trying to get us to park our car with them. We chose the closest one, pulled the car in under a protected palapa roof and headed for the water.

The beach is another one located in a protected cove and stretches for 1.5 km (.9 miles) from end to end.

I later learned that the large island you see in the picture below is called "Sacrificial Island". I never did understand what the guide said was sacrificed here. Hopefully not people!

Right next door to Playa San Augustin is another, smaller beach. You can only reach it by boat, even though it is so close. There are dangerous and large rocks jutting out into the bay that prevent you from swimming or walking to it.

The water is fairly calm. No waves to speak of, just swells. The dark bit that you see in the picture below is the coral. It starts very close to shore and is in water only about 10' deep. I actually put on a mask and looked at it! I can't actually say that I snorkeled since I had the equipment on for such a very short time. Baby steps!

This the view we had from a shaded table in front of the restaurant where we parked the car. It is very typical of how beaches are run around here. Line after line of restaurants, all vying for your business. To say that it is a cramped space is to put it mildly.

Here's a view from the top showing how close everybody is.

Every inch of space is used for something. Even the life jackets you can rent.

Or the t-shirts you can buy for ridiculously jacked up prices.

The construction of the palapa roofs is not what I am used to seeing on the Caribbean. There they use the entire palm frond from, mostly, coconut trees. Here they use the entire frond from a different kind of palm tree. It makes for a more interesting pattern.

We spent a most enjoyable day. Playing in the water, snorkeling, drinking, eating and walking along the beach. And some great conversation along the way too! But, finally, we had to pack up our stuff and head back to the main road and home.
I was not looking forward to that stressful drive and especially the river crossing! But the drive out, for some reason, was easier than the one in. I actually cut that one hour down to 45 minutes!
Tomorrow I am going to show you what we saw on the drive out to the main road.


Coby said...

That area is amazing! The combination of lush mountains and the beach is a double whammy of natural perfection. Great pics!

Life's a Beach! said...

Beautiful beach Wayne! I bet the road deters some people. That puddle (cesspool) looked nasty!

Linda Dorton said...

Those beaches ar SOOOOOOOOOOOO beautiful, can I take my hammock and live there?

Calypso said...

What kind of temperatures are you finding this time if year? Does it cool off at night?

Have fun Amigo!

Joy said...

If you really want to see the perfect beach, go to Playa Boquilla where the small Bahia da la Luna resort is located (and that's it, no vendors, nada, so arrive prepared). A 4x4 is preferred, although we did it in a crappy rental car, and only nearly crashed several times.

The better snorkeling is on the right side of the little cove.


I have not found a better beach in all of Mexico, and I've been to a lot of them.

Islagringo said...

Coby: you are so right. I am going to hate to leave.

LAB: you are right. The beach is not crowded at all, but tours boats do drop people off. Cesspool??

Linda: actually there are beaches here where you can camp with your tent or just rent a hammock! The surfer beach just down the road has a hostel that rents shared rooms for 2.50 USD per day!

KfromMichigan said...

That is my kind of beach. Nice and calm .. beautiful!

Steve Cotton said...

I always enjoy it when you metamorphosize into an Edwardian adventurer. Every turn promises a tiger or cannibals.

CancunCanuck said...

Wait just a minute, YOU snorkeled?? Where's the evidence? Teehee.

Gorgeous spot, thanks for sharing it with us!

Islagringo said...

Calypso: Temps here are in the high 90's with no clouds during the day. It cools down at night to the low 90's/high 80's and the humidity increases! I have never been someplace where I sweat so much!

Joy: thanks for the heads up. Looks like another nice little beach.

K: I think this will go down as my favorite beach in this area. If it were not for that road, I would probably go every day.

Steve: LOL! I hope to get back to my other blog once I get home.

CC: yup, I did. Not very much but I sure had my face in the water with mask and all!