June 24, 2015, I took my first day trip which I booked with the local tour operator on the beach at La Punta (Jonathan). I was picked up by a small minivan about 8 a.m. this morning at my apartment. The schedule was to go to an Iguana Breeding center, La Ventanilla crocodile ecologica reserve, then onto a cosmetic workshop in Mazunte; a turtle center and visit a couple of beaches Zipolite and Puerto Angel.
On the minibus there was myself and a young couple from Mexico City. The driver and his young son to interpret. The young couple from Mexico City and I soon started chatting, they spoke excellent English. During our conversation they asked if I had eaten Iguana, I said no I’m a vegetarian, well there was some rapid Spanish between the couple and the driver and it seems we skipped the iguana breeding place ??? and soon arrived at Playa Ventanilla which is 2 miles west of Mazunte. Playa Ventanilla is a small remote seaside village. When we arrived we were greeted by a representative from Sociedad Cooperative Servicios Ecoturisticos de la Ventanilla www.laventanilla.com.mx who operates tours as well as participates in projects to protect the ecosystem. He told us the income from the tours supports these projects.
We were told we would walk for about 10 minute along the beach to a boat wherein we would see some crocodiles and birds in their natural environment and mangrove trees. Well I hadn’t researched this tour before embarking, and after what seemed like 20 minutes of the 10 minute walk along the seashore, I was wondering about crocodiles in the Pacific Ocean!!!! Then I spotted an estuary with lots of pelicans as well as other water birds feeding. Shortly we came to a small rowing boat with a local to do the rowing.
The guide who spoke excellent English told us we were going to Mangrove Island where there is a museum, rescued animals, tree nursery as well as refreshments. We all boarded a small boat rowing boat, it was magical, there were crocodiles, and numerous species of water birds all in their natural environment. It seemed that time stood still, I was in my element, crocodiles, baby crocs, Egrets nesting and many other birds as well as a green Iguana, all in their natural habitat. See photos.
I’m not sure how long the boat ride was but I would guess at 30 minutes before we arrived at the Island. When the guide told us we would see some exotic animals, I must admit I started to visualize some pathetic creatures penned up in cramped spaces. To my delight the animals on the island which were being rehabilitated were all in excellent condition and had large spacious enclosures. While on the island I tried my first cold glass of Hibiscus tea, it was wonderful, admittedly at this point I had sweated about 2 liters of fluid and needed to hydrate, and this teas was perfect.
Next up on the tour was the Natural Cosmetic Factory, Mazunte Cosemticos Naturale http://www.cosmeticosmazunte.com, we were given a brief tour and purchased some items such as soap, insect repellent, shampoo etc. reasonably priced, which turned out to be wonderful products and I ended up at a later date going back for more.
Next up the famous turtle center in Mazunte https://www.tomzap.com/turtle.html. I am very interested in the turtles unfortunately the heat was starting to get to me and I wasn’t in as good a shape as I’d like. Anyway saw so many different types of sea turtles, from one week to adult. Only three (3) more stops left on the tour, I should have brought a snack.
Next we went to Zipolte Beach, the first nudist beach in Mexico, no I’m not kidding it was listed on the tour. So there was this kind of look-out where the tourist go look at the beach, another lovely beach (no nudist though). Apparently the nudist were up the west end of the beach out of the way of tourist….what I can say??
Next onto another beach, now these are beautiful beaches but I just wanted to get to the last one where I could get something to eat and drink (even iguana was starting to sound good) I was very hungry.
On to the final beach, Puerto Angel. Beautiful beach I sat at a restaurant on the beach with my two new amigos from Mexico City, I ordered a sparkling water, glass of white wine (with cork piece in it) and a cocktail de camerons, shrimp cocktail, it all tasted wonderful. The young Mexican couple were a lovely couple, both lawyers, the conversation was uplifting and fun, very refreshing.
Time to head for home it was around 4:15 p.m. we’d been touring since 8:30 a.m. this morning I was beat. About 30 minutes from my apartment and a nice cold shower, another stop, this wasn’t on the agenda!!! A Mezcal distillery,, we did a quick tour of how they make Mezcal, it was very interesting, no photos as this caught me unaware, but here’s a video from youtube if you’re interested, it’s in Spanish but you can get the gist https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjqR2ImMhB8, Mezcal is something like Tequila. After our tour we went to their store for samples. I tried only one, the Mocha Mezcal which was chilled. It was very nice tasting, suddenly fatigue left me, (and that was just a small shot), I purchased a small bottle for about $7.
Back into the minivan and home, told my two new amigos bye,,,,, had a wonderful time, the day tour was approximately $40 which included everything but the meal.
Note about the sand on the beaches. The guide at Ventanilla explained to us that the sand on the beach wasn’t dirty but in fact the dark sand was iron, he showed us by placing a stick with a magnet on the end in the sand and the dark sand stuck to it.