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.