Saturday, January 3, 2015

Isla Islitas, Mantanchén and San Blas


Touring Mantanchen/ Las Islitas and San Blas

We slept in a bit and after checking in with our family decided we'd better get going on our exploration day.  We headed into the playa called Las Islitas and locked up the dinghy.  We weren't exactly sure where we were going except that we were heading up the road.  Our mission was to take a panga Jungle Tour up in Mantanchen.  A mile or so up the road we found it, and bought our boletas for the tour.
Ready for our adventure

 Each panga held 10 people, so we joined a big group and shared their boat.  The guy sitting in front of us had a Denver Broncos hat on.  Imagine that.  After the first part of our trip of seeing crocodiles (crocodillos), turtles (tortugas) an owl, osprey and a white and blue heron, we got off the boat and walked around a little mini zoo.  It was then that we discovered our Broncos fan actually lived in Denver.  Thornton, to be exact.  He and his wife were from Mexico and were with their family celebrating their 25th Anniversary.  Another couple with us was celebrating their 40th.   We spoke with them mostly in Spanish, until we realized the wife spoke English.

Broncos fans in front of us (see the Broncos hat?)

The tour was fun!  We are not sure whether we enjoyed the scenery or the people on our boat more.  Mexicans are so much fun!  They are happy, gregarious, loquacious and carefree.  Every time the boat rocked or the tour guide commented on a crocodile and reminded us to keep our hands in the boat we heard cheers!  They all recorded the experience on their phones or iPads.  They accepted us and welcomed us into their lives for an hour or so and we were happy to be sharing in it.

Private huts on the Jungle Tour

Hungry Crocodile
Large Crocodile

Our Blue Heron found us!

We walked back to the beach after the tour to find a taxi so we could explore San Blas.  On the way back, we stopped at a little stand selling pan de platanos (banana bread).  We bought a couple banana chocolate chip muffins for lunch.  Yummy!!

We found a taxi and went into town.  We drove back through Mantanchen and our driver took us to the Zocolo or center of town where we took off exploring.  It was a traditional Mexican town...the Zocolo, with a big church off the square, surrounded by mercados of fruit, flowers, fish/seafood, clothing and other wares.  We wanted to see the old fort, but it was up on the cliffs overlooking the city and not within walking distance.

A quick taxi ride brought us back to Mantanchen where we walked back down to Las Islitas.  There we decided to stop at a palapa and enjoy a cold cerveza, coconut water (out of the coconut!) and a yummy grilled fish called  Pescado Sarandeado.  Of course, sitting at a palapa also proves for very good people watching.  We enjoyed watching ninas and ninos building sand castles, people selling food and jewelry and the lifeguards in full naval uniforms.  We were wondering if they had swimming suits on under the uniforms or if they would jump in fully dressed if they needed to perform a rescue.  Fortunately, we never got an answer to our question.

Fiah on the grill and coconuts for Agua de Coco

Gotta love the Pirate and Pirate Queen art

Naval Lifeguards

Coconut water....the way it was meant to be enjoyed!
Mike enjoying Agua de Coco

We took the dinghy back to the boat and did a little sunset paddle and swim.  After hot showers we made homemade chicken noodle soup and watched a little more Big Bang Theory.

An excellent day!

First Mate Kate

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