So I was sitting at a little bar in old town Vallarta and overheard an older couple (probably our age) talking about how 5 of their friends became violently ill after swimming at the main beach in Sayulita. Apparently the sewage treatment plant for the area is overwhelmed and frequently overflows into the river that cuts through the middle of main beach and flows into the sea. Upon further research and hearing another similar story it seems Sayulita is in essence a bit of a cess pool. The area smells like poop, is overcrowded and apparently there is a lot of garbage left un-picked-up all over the place. We dug further and found a blog post from a month ago and although it tried to paint some lipstick on the town, the writer still could not deny the sad state of sanitary affairs that currently exists. Sadly for now sewage flows freely down the river and into the heart of Sayulita.
Our travel motto has always been to go with the flow however to this kind of flow we say no so decided it was back to Yelapa we go!
We booked another 7 nights at Hotel Lagunita and this time we were able to snag bungalow #6. It’s on the beach right in the corner of the beach and the bay and has a great little patio.
April 5th we bid the gals farewell after a great 12 days and hopped a very bumpy water taxi ride under high winds and cloudy skies to Yelapa, checked into our bungalow and immediately began to regret our choice. Without going into detail the deal breaker was the washroom/ shower area. The size of a coat closet, no place to put even a cup by the sink (the cup holder was either for a cup or for a bar of soap for the shower) and the slatted walls were missing a lot of slats making it less than private.
It never hurts to ask so we went back to the office, explained the situation and asked if bungalow #29 was available, the last one we stayed in a few weeks back. It was and was less money per night. Bonus! But the good luck was soon to wear off.
After a nap and a shower I headed over to the bar and soon learned there could be up 100 people arriving the next day (Saturday) for a two day music fest called “The night of the iguana”. Great, another bonus.
As it turns out, about 48 people trickled in on Saturday and Sunday. The music started several hours behind schedule and the first two acts were essentially karaoke. As Joyce and I sat sipping Pacifico cerveza we were approached by a tall lanky flunky with a clipboard and were told if we wanted to continue to listen to the quality entertainment in store for us for the rest of the weekend we would need to pay 500 pesos each. We said no, we’re not paying anything, we’re guests at the hotel and besides we didn’t even know about this until yesterday. Well, you should have been informed by management that this is a private ticket holder only function and you would need to pay if you want to stay on the hotel grounds for the rest of the weekend. Nope, we’ll make a couple hundred peso donation if we like what we hear, otherwise forget it. Off he huffed.
Apparently the 500 peso ticket also included a fajita dinner which the kitchen prepared during the day. As the large crowd of about 20 people slowly served themselves fajitas we decided we were hungry so decided to order chicken enchiladas from the kitchen because we didn’t want fajitas and we didn’t buy tickets etc. etc. so we ask to order our food to which the reply was, the kitchen is closed. Closed? So what do we eat? It’s pitch black outside the perimeter of the restaurant and nothing else is open. I don’t know but the kitchen can’t make anything.
Tee-up the “time to get upset and demand to see the manager” routine. The manager we dealt with,”Lucas”, was an inebriated idiot and through some mis-communication which was quite rampant at that point, we learned the next evening, which was also full of fun and surprises, he was actually the hotel owner. He proceeded to tell us he had blocked off all of the bungalows for this weekend 1 1/2 months earlier and somehow we got a room and somehow this is all our fault but, for 200 pesos each you can imbibe in this delectable spread of fajitas! We don’t want fajitas, we want to split a chicken enchilada dinner, enough for two and only 120 pesos you blathering SOB! I have nothing else to say to you. Everyone who worked there watched with distant care or amusement until the head waiter snuck over and made things right. Almost. I guess the kitchen has previously prepared enchiladas in the fridge. Pop them on a plate, cover in sauce and cheese, add some black beans and rice also stored in the fridge, put in oven for one minute, just long enough to make the plate hot and presto. Once the plate came the second time, the waiter made a point of showing us how how his fingers were blistering from the holding the plate for 15 seconds so now we know it is hot! Nope. I don’t mind lukewarm, Joyce, not so much.
As mentioned above, as all of this was going on the first two acts were solo “artists” singing along to canned music. It was surreal and we felt badly treated so we headed back to our bungalow with a bucket of Tecate cerveza on ice, sat outside looking out over the darkness, water and village lights and discussed whether or not to blow this popsicle stand tomorrow and go somewhere else.
We stayed and in the late afternoon we sat at the farthest end of the bar away from the action and then headed of to Manquidos, a great restaurant about 1km up the path along the river. It was Sunday and they would normally be open for dinner but not tonight. They were out of most of their menu offerings. Damn but no problem, surely our restaurant will be open to us tonight. Come on! What do you mean not open? Okay, that’s it, where is the Manager, blah, blah, Lucas, blah. We ordered two hamburgers, had two beer each and and to our surprise the bill was on the house. A good first step.
There was no good second step even though we saw the owner creeping around every now and then but Anna, Angel and unfortunately two other forgotten names tended to look after us a little more attentively for the rest of our stay.
We departed Yelapa on April 12th and spent 3 more nights in PV before heading home on the 15th, nicely tanned, relaxed and looking forward to some of our favourite non-Mexican foods. We’re home for exactly 3 months and then head out July 15th for another African adventure. Stay tuned.
The “Stone Hedge” water bottle
The local Uber, an ATV for 50 pesos each.
More fresh snapper
View over the river valley at Manguidos