Surfin Safari

 ImageSurfers at Playa Lanchas (not us)

First, let me apologize for the cliffhanger on the last blog. Apparently Mike believes I made it sound more exciting than it was. OK, maybe I did, but you have to build a following somehow! Now time for the story…

So we were at Barchelata Beer Bar… a whopping 5 houses down from our apartment, when Julio (owner/manager – I say manager Mike says owner but whatever you get the point) tells us about how his girlfriend, Karina, liked our short board, but she was good so “Santa” brought her a new board for Christmas. So the conversation progressed, and suddenly, while we are trying to figure out our route to Guadalajara and then south across central Mexico, we were invited to surf with Karina on Saturday at Playa Burros. Travel to Guadalajara (or anywhere inland for that matter) was officially put on hold.


The new route – well the southern part of the last week. We are in Playa Azul now

We were not so sure of our short boarding skills (aka: we have none) so we ran around the next day looking for a leash and ended up buying a used 7.5 ft mini longboard. Our short board was only 1 ft shorter but the shape and width were narrower so it would have been harder to use, especially to learn. Ok so, leash?, check, wax?, check, board?, check. We were all set to go with our alarms set and everything. Too bad the next day was Friday and NOT Saturday. Woops! So, anyway, we went to Sayulita instead and started practicing in the shallow surf there (great beach to learn if you’re looking FYI), and even managed to sell the short board.


Valiant attempt on day one


Mike got bored waiting for me to do something cool


Mike’s valiant attempt


After leaving Sayulita, we (ahem, Mike) liked to take to route across the seco river (the river is dry in dry season but it’s still kind of creek-ish right now) and came across a stranded fellow Jeep owner. Oh No! So, being good samaritans/Jeep owners, we grabbed a rope and yanked them out.


Some Jeeps only have two-wheel drive. Who knew?


When we finished pulling them to safety, as a thank you, we got a lovely bottle of Tempranillo. YUM! I love me some good wine. And this was “The best selling Spanish wine in the world!” so it had to be good.

Ok so Saturday (the real one) rolls around and we get up super early to take the dogs on a long walk, and get ready to go. Karina is supposed to meet us at 8am. We waited, and waited, and at 8:45 we left, only to turn around out of guilt to message Julio on Facebook. In any case, we left shortly after that, and since we had no idea how to get to Burros (a lot of the surf beaches have weird parking situations) we went to Playa Lanchas instead.

Arriving at Lanchas, we were excited but when we got to the gate, security said, “Una tabla y una persona” (one board per person). What? Oh or a boogie board. Shoot. Ok so we could either go back and get the boogie board, or go to Sayulita again.  Luckily, the guy from Buklaz Surf where we bought the board was working for Vallarta Adventures giving group lessons that day, and they happened to have an extra board on their truck, so we could “borrow” it until we got through the gate. Yippee!


Someday, I hope to be able to surf wearing a hat. This guy is just showing off.

Surfing Playa Lanchas was very different than surfing Sayulita. The surf was bigger and rougher and, while it wasn’t as crowded as Sayulita, there were a LOT of experienced surfers. So, needless to say, after a few attempts at smaller waves, getting pounded trying to get back out, and cutting my toe on some rocks while tossing about in the undercurrent, we left. Mike was bored watching, and I couldn’t get much done. I did, however manage to stand for the first time so I was pretty stoked about that.


WooHoo! Almost looks like I know what I’m doing.


Playa Lanchas is very pretty too! But watch out for the rocks… they hide underwater.

We went back to Sayulita that afternoon for some more surfing. We were trading back and forth with the board, but the camera was locked up… but I SWEAR Mike stood up and made me look stupid. Its really simple: You just stand up. (Some advice from my sister I’d gotten a while back referring to wake boarding – I never mastered that one)

That night, we checked our FB messages, and Julio said there was some problem with Karina’s board being ready, but to go to the bar and the first big beer was on him (something to that effect, his English isn’t great, but its better than my Spanish). So, after a quick clean up, we end to the bar to find out that A) Karina’s board wasn’t ready because she was waiting for her fins to get put on (the permanent type), and B) Julio is either forgetful or “first Cayuga Corona for my count” doesn’t mean it’s on him. Either way, we didn’t get our free beer (BOO!), and decided depending on someone else to teach you isn’t the best idea (especially if you’re not paying them). In the end, we lost a beer and gained a bottle of wine. I will take the wine, thank you very much!

The next few days were spent at Sayulita. After buying a larger, used board for Mike we went back to Lanchas. We got thrashed and tossed and exhausted ourselves, but overall had a good time and were learning (sorta, kinda, at least we stood up more). In the end, we spent approximately $800 USD (and counting) between buying the two boards, a bag, leashes and wax, selling the other board, and paying to have an additional rack welded into the existing rack to cart the boards across 9 countries. Merry Christmas to us! Consequently, this also destroyed our budget so we will be spending the next few weeks EXTREMELY budget conscious and camping for free whenever possible.


FYI Future surfers in Sayulita/Bucerias area:

To get to Playa Lanchas: Head from Bucerias toward Punta de Mita. Almost to Punta de Mita you pass a Pemex/Oxxo (last bathroom break if you need one) and then there is parking on the road for Playa Lanchas. There is a gate with a security guard who lets you through if you have a board (or a boogie board). Walk down the road a little then veer left when the dirt road appears. The beach is a few hundred yards from the road.  

To get to Playa Burros: While we did not go here, the directions we got were: Turn down the road for “Palladium” (before Lanchas when heading from Bucerias toward Punta de Mita) and just before the gate for the resort there is a small parking area and a dirt path. This one we heard is a longer walk through the jungle to the beach.

As I mentioned, Sayulita is a great beach to learn on but it is not without its risks. A lot of inexperienced surfers crowding one small section of beach makes ample opportunity for accidents.


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