Followup: The "Un-Disney"





I went off on a tangent yesterday, talking about the pleasures of un-touristy places. So I thought I'd continue my meanderings. I mentioned Culiacan, Mexico. It's not that I think people should make that a destination though! There are plenty of more interesting and picturesque cities and towns in Mexico that haven't been spoiled by tourism. There are even beach towns that have avoided this. One that I have visited several times is San Blas. It's located halfway between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. There are no flights there, so you need to travel overland. Even then, it's a half hour from the highway down a winding road. It's a sleepy beach town built on a lagoon. An old Spanish fortress sits in ruins on a hill overlooking the town. The bay was once a haven for pirates. The streets are dusty, traffic is minimal. Most of the tourists are Mexican. There are no mariachis singing La Cucaracha, and English is less common that at the big resorts. What can you do there? Chill. But it's also worth a trip up to the fortress. Spend a few hours exploring ruins and enjoying the great views.

Another highlight is hiring a boat to take you up the river through mangrove swamps teeming with birds and crocodiles. This is the "un-Disney" jungle ride. Those are real crocs! The end point is a pond fed by a cool spring where you can spend a few hours swimming. There's a little palapa snack bar. After passing so many crocs, you might feel a little uneasy swimming. It's safe... probably.

Here's a fun video of San Blas in 1962 that shows the ride up the river. It hasn't changed a bit! YouTube Video

ELI doesn't work in San Blas. Dang! But we do work in Merida (see previous post on Merida) and villages in the Yucatan. Maybe even cooler that San Blas! You can check our programs here.

By Kevin O'Neill


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