Off The Radar On Mexico’s Coast
Mexico Correspondent Akaisha Kaderli writes:
“My husband Billy and I debated as to whether or not we should share details of this with you…but here goes…
“You know that one particular safe harbor, that majestic place where life is simple and straightforward, a location where you can kick back and let the world turn without you?
“That’s Caleta de Campos. You won’t find it on most Mexican maps. It’s a small village perched on high cliffs around a picturesque bay, a rustic but dazzling beach town about two hours north of Lazaro Cardenas, a major seaport in the Mexican state of Michoacan.
“From Zihuatanejo, we spent less than US$6 each to get to Lazaro Cardenas on a first-class bus. In the Mexican way, the 7:30 a.m. bus didn’t leave until 8, and, upon arriving in Lazaro, we were dropped off in the middle of a street with no bus station in sight. Not to worry, we were able to find a ‘Chicken Bus,’ which took us up the spectacular western coast of Mexico toward Caleta de Campos, our ultimate destination.
“First-class busses in Mexico are air-conditioned, have large seats that recline and bathrooms on board, and they almost always show movies.
“‘Chicken busses,’ on the other hand, are simpler and less comfortable but very functional. One tip: Check the tires before boarding!
“Beaches along the well-paved road from Lazaro to Caleta are reminiscent of Highway 1 in California, only more tropical. Some areas looked just like Waddell Creek, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, and even Big Sur as they whizzed past us.
“Reaching Caleta with only a notion of where to stay, vendors directed us to walk down the main road and take a left at the white church. Here we stumbled upon Hotel Los Arcos. Impressed, we took a seaside room with spectacular 180-degree views of the sea from a cliff for only US$15 per night. Giving the feel of a cottage, the bright room comes with TV, fan, and a large bathroom.
“After unpacking, we took a little time up on the rooftop of Los Arcos and enjoyed the spectacular scenery stretched out behind us. How enchanting this little town of Caleta is! This is the sort of place where the raw beauty takes you by surprise, and you can’t help but ask yourself: ‘I wonder what it would cost to own a place of my own here?’
“From our position on the roof, we discovered a wide expanse of beach nearby and what looked to be a harbor. Fishing boats came and went from the bay, and, when we saw the extraordinary beach in the background, we had to see it firsthand, up close, and personal.
“Beach, sea, fishermen, and restaurants are common themes when you travel the coast of Mexico, and here is no different. Several restaurants are located right on the shore, virtually alongside the local fishermen’s boats. It’s a wide-open, nature-filled life that goes on seven days a week.
“At the other end of this familiar scene is the impressive stretch of private beach begging to be explored. We half-expected Bo Derek from the movie ’10’ to come running by in her braids, but there was not another soul around. Private, beautiful, peaceful, massive…and all ours. What mischief could we get into here, we wondered…
“In Mexico, you can find any kind of beach you’re looking for, from beaches with vendors and tourists to beaches good for parasailing and water sports. This secluded, expansive, and filled only with the sounds of nature beach is the kind we prefer.
“Mist rose from the gently rolling waves. We waded offshore a long ways, but the ocean still only rose to our thighs. We were knocked out by the beauty.
“We decided to inspect the little town itself. Mixing a little work with all this beach pleasure, Billy and I visited a local Internet café, then explored the one-street town. Small stores carry everything from fresh produce to clothing. There are little restaurants, an ice cream place or two, and a hardware store, but no bank.
“Expats living here told us that for serious shopping and any banking needs, they travel to Lazaro Cardenas.
“With fewer than a dozen hotels and only local life for entertainment, this off-the-radar place is a peaceful break from the real world. If you see the rustic life as an adventure and not a bother, this enchanting town offers opportunity.
“Speaking Spanish and having an open heart and mind would be recommended.”