Mar 142014
 
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The movement and sounds that greet me each morning upon awakening are all around me as I begin my routine of making a cappucino.  I am in tune with each living thing whose day has begun.  Listening to the percolating of water pressing through the grounds of dark, aromatic coffee, I am aware that the birds too have their morning routine.

The sound of tires rolling over the cobble stone street announces the arrival of the gardener of Casa de Tortugas.  He walks through the gate, looks up at me and waves, "Hola!"  Each morning when he arrives, he smiles, then gets to work, or is it work, I wonder.  From my perch, over-looking the fisherman's dock, and shimmering blue sea, I watch as he takes the pool scoop with its long handle into his strong, brown hands, and starts methodically pushing the basket net along the bottom of the pool, and ponder that perhaps he is meditating, that this is not work.  Gentle movements back and forth, I am drawn into the rhythm, feeling him breathing in as he pulls the net towards him, breathing out as he pushes it away.  Leaf after leaf, he meditates on the ripple and swirls he is creating upon the once still water.  The dance upon the water, scooping up the leaves, becomes hypnotic and I too find my breath slowing down in sync with the gardener's motions.

In this tranquil state, I wonder what else has fallen under the gardener's spell and look around.  I notice that the fisherman's boats are gently rocking and swaying as if being lulled awake to be ready for rougher seas.  A still small breeze begins and the palm fronds shiver with the mixture of the warming sun and cool breeze. Suddenly, something splashes loudly in the water in the cove below. Startled from my reverie, did a pelican drive just now?  I watch, anticipating the brown head and long beak to pop up but instead I am surprised and delighted as a black lab energetically swims out to retrieve the item.

The melancholy waves against the shore are the basso continue of this ever present symphony of this day and resonate with the calm pace of life here. I watch the dawn sending golden rays across the water and their reigns in me a deep feeling of peacefulness, which in turn gives birth to a deep feeling of gratitude. I return again and again to this magical place knowing that we are all part of the great symphony of a new day, co-creators responsible for our part.  One can never know what the day will bring here in Chacala. But each morning, my senses are drawn to listen and stay in harmony with all that is around me.

 by Melinda Fouts 3/14/2014

Aug 122013
 
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Once the leaves fall from the trees at home, basking in the autumn sun on the uncrowded beaches of Chacala can warm one's soul.  September, October and November are great months to be in Mexico. It is the quiet season when visitors can almost have the beach to themselves and the summer temperatures have cooled a bit. Plus, some of Mexico's most lively festivals are celebrated during these months. The friendly locals in the village of Chacala welcome visitors to participate in their parades and potlucks. GRITO DE INDEPENDENCIA (Mexico's Independence Day) is September 16th. Chacala celebrates with colorful street decorations and a big civic parade with seniors wearing traditional Mexican clothing and children with painted faces of green, red and white. The night before, after the presidente's speech, there is much shouting of "Viva Mexico!" in addition to lots of confetti and dancing. It's easy to get caught up in the genuine charm of Chacala, especially during the fall festivals.

Jun 112013
 
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From the child’s pose to the eagle pose, yoga practitioners are stretched out along the rooftop palapa overlooking the Pacific Ocean as they participate in a the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Program held at Casa de Tortugas from June 1-22.  The Master Immersion is led by Chrisandra Fox and Katie Silcox of 8drops Yoga.

What an idyllic setting for a yoga retreat—the beautiful villa of Casa de Tortugas, in the quiet, friendly fishing village of Chacala. Casa de Tortugas is just steps off the beach and the Pacific Ocean, so yogis can practice their poses on the warm sand to the meditative sound of the waves.

Apr 072013
 
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Riviera Nayarit is a favorite destination among Coloradoans in the spring. Now that the ski lifts are closing, it's time to think about warming those bones in sunny Mexico. Chacala is the quiet, laid-back alternative to Sayulita. The Chacala beach is preferable and the local people are friendly, genuine and welcoming. For an authentic Mexican beach vacation without the crowds, try Chacala this spring!

Jan 292013
 
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If you plan to be in Chacala between mid-December and mid-March, your timing is just right for whale watching. Humpbacks and a variety of Dolphins inhabit the waters of Riviera Nayarit, an important breeding ground. Tour guides and fishermen are readily available to schedule a time to bring you to the ocean areas where whales can be spotted. You will observe these playful creatures as they interact with each other. You may also see a whale give birth to its young in the water. A tour takes about 1 & 1/2 hours.

After your tour, relax by the infinity pool at Casa de Tortugas. You may even want to schedule a massage under the rooftop palapa overlooking the Pacific. Javier, the property manager, can make the arrangements for you.

 

 

 

 

Dec 112012
 

December is a wonderful time to visit Casa de Tortugas in Chacala. The whale watching season has begun and lasts through March. You will also have an opportunity to experience the ways Chacalans celebrate Christmas. The locals in Chacala are very friendly and welcoming. Visitors are encouraged to join in!

 

December 12th is the Virgin of Guadalupe Day. The Virgin of Guadalupe is Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural image. In celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the people of Chacala gather at the church. They then spend the entire evening walking and visiting altars all around town while singing and carrying flowers and candles all along the way. Many from other towns walk to the church in nearby Las Varas. It is interesting to see all of the beautifully decorated altars throughout Chacala and Las Varas.

 

Las Posadas starts on December 16th and lasts for nine days until the 24th. Posada is Spanish for “inn”. The nine-day period represents the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy carrying Jesus. Each of the nine nights, the villagers of Chacala walk and sing from their homes to the church then visit different families throughout the evening. The children wear costumes and each family that is visited offers a piñata or something for the children to eat.

 

On December 24th, Chacala throws a big fiesta for everybody and the children are presented with gifts. Be sure to join in on the dance at la plaza on the night of December 31st! Of course, there will be hugs all around once the clock strikes midnight!

The folks in Chacala love to celebrate!

Nov 212012
 

The winner of the Yoga Journal International  Convention drawing at Estes Park for a free week at Casa de Tortugas is Yelena Brachman of Boulder, Colorado. Casa de Tortugas is ideal for yoga retreats. The casa comfortably sleeps up to 15 and the top level palapa view deck  has plenty of room to stretch out. Gazing out over the Pacific is a wonderful way to get centered.

 

"I am so excited and thrilled to eventually take my yoga retreat there! You made one yoga teacher and middle school science teacher very happy today," said Yelena.

Nov 152012
 

Chacala is a quaint fishing village of 300 people. The fishermen work as a collective to sell to the local and regional restaurants and markets.  From the deck outside the suites or from the rooftop palapa of Casa de Tortugas, you can watch the fisherman bring in their catch each morning and evening.

 

Breakfast at Chac Mool is a delicious selection of  Mexican and American fare. Arturo, the owner, recently brought on a new chef to expand the menu. Chac Mool has a wonderful, open-air coffee house atmosphere with a wall of bookshelves lined with paperbacks brought in by English speaking ex-pats and visitors. After breakfast, take a dip in the sun-warmed infinity pool and then head to the wide beach, only a two-minute walk from Casa de Tortugas.

Ask around for Trini who speaks fluent English and can arrange rides and activities. Trini's son, Gustavo, will happily take guests on a two-hour morning boat ride. While there are vast expanses of verdant, jungle-covered hills and vacant beaches along the coast, enclaves of private communities can be spotted along the way. There is a 20-year development plan for the Chacala area, so come now while it seems relatively undiscovered!

The happy people of Chacala are very friendly and welcoming. It is the last day of the nine day Festival de San Rafael in October (San Rafael is the saint of fishing).The parade participants gather slowly at the end of the cobblestone main street by Chico’s Restaurant. Although, it is scheduled for 9 a.m., the procession begins around 9:45 a.m. with a banner announcing the festival followed by four elderly men carrying a platform with a statue of San Rafael. Villagers of all ages, including a uniformed class of pre-schoolers proceed down the street carrying palm fronds and gladiolas. A group of women sing while a small band of musicians walk behind. Bringing up the rear is a very slight elderly man with a cigarette in his mouth. Every few minutes he uses the cigarette to light the end of one his rocket-like fireworks that would soar up into the air until it erupted in a loud “bang.” The procession continues to la marina then to a small, beautiful church where the priest is waiting to lead a service. If you're lucky, you could be invited to the pot-luck lunch of homemade local Mexican fare after the service.


In the evening, enjoy a beautiful dinner of very fresh Mahi-Mahi and shrimp (caught that day) at Las Brisas right on the beach.