Driving your RV to Nayarit you’ll want to know which RV Parks to expect and how to get to them. Heading south of the state of Sinaloa, the scenery begins its transition to semi-tropical. The turnoff for San Blas is well-marked. It’s 58 ½ miles (94 KM) south of the turns to Playa Novillero and Acaponeta, Sinaloa. When you turn off the major toll highway MEX-15D for NAY-54 to San Blas, the semi-tropical effect becomes more pronounced. Thick greenery grows to the edge of the road. Though not a rainforest, in a few spots, trees arch over the 2-lane blacktop, forming a canopy, briefly blocking the sun.
There is an autopista from Tepic to San Blas, but if you are coming from the north, this is the way to go. If you are coming from the south, take the bypass of Tepic. In about five minutes (KM 6.5), just before the Trapichillo toll booth, follow signs for San Blas. If you are coming from Pto. Vallarta, you could turn north at Las Varas and take the coast road to San Blas.
After 20 miles, you’ll come to the strange pueblo of San Blas. It has not fundamentally changed in thirty years. There are a few hotels, a few restaurants, a few RV parks and an air of resigned expectancy blanketing the village. The people are neither friendly nor unfriendly. They are indifferent to tourists’ presence. Come or go as you please, but leave us alone. San Blas is designated a Pueblo Magico and I believe it qualifies. There is some sort of magic in the air, whether for good or ill depends on you.
San Blas–Love It or Leave It
Few foreigners feel indifferent about San Blas. They seem to be divided into the “Love It” or “Leave It” camps. One of its premier attractions is birding–among the best in Mexico. So if you are a birder, you’re a “Love It,” without a doubt. It is the lowest-cost option, hotels, and food, on the Pacific Coast. So your wallet will love it.
On the “Leavers” side firmly flit the jejenes. These sand fleas have kept beach development at bay for centuries. I imagine that even the Spaniards complained about them when San Blas was a strategically important naval port. These little buggers (the fleas, not the Spaniards), swarm at dusk on the beaches. They voraciously devour and exposed flesh of any color, causing welts and swelling. Locals swear Avon Skin So Soft is a deterrent, but that has pretty well been debunked. Nothing I know of consistently deters them except vacating the beach before sunset. A few blocks from the beach and they are not a problem.
With the addition of the upscale hotel and RV Park, Playa Miramar, more winter tourists are coming to the San Blas area. There is a diehard group of winter ex-pats who return to roost here every year. There are the fewest gringos and the fewest services. These birds prefer it that way to the overwhelming flocks of white-skins in Mazatlan and Vallarta. The regulars are isolationists who come to sit out the northern winters. They are not the friendliest bunch.
There is also a small cadre of gringos who live year round in San Blas. They mostly have assimilated into local society, generally through marriage. They, too, appreciate the lack of gringos here, for different reasons. They just want to live far from the madding crowd of places like Vallarta and Mazatlan.
So there you have it. Visit San Blas by all means. Make up your own mind.
RV Parks Nayarit
Playa Amor RV Park–Beautiful spot right on the ocean, but a little back from the beach. Inquire locally if the jejene problem affects them. They are very popular so I suspect not.
Paraiso Miramar Hotel & RV Park — Newest and nicest. It is 18 KM south of San Blas on the Las Varas beach road. More upscale than anywhere else. They have 8 spaces with EWS and 15 amps, 12 with E 15, 12 no connection. Two swimming pools. GPS 21.44028, -105.1916670.
Stoner’s Surf Camp – on the beach. It’s exactly what it sounds like. You may be tempted to dry camp on the beach. Who doesn’t dream of camping on the beach? That dream will quickly morph into a nightmare when the sun goes down. The jejenes are voracious here.
Los Cocos RV Park in town on Virgilio Uribe 2 – really quite a pleasant place with amenities. Friendly. GPS 21.532406, -105.283343.
El Chaco is closer to beach & family-run. Very nice hotel and has spaces for RV’s. May not reopen in 2020. GPS: 21.494099 , -105.198618 PH: 323 231 2229.
The nicest hotel and where birding groups (and I) stay is the Hotel Garza Canela. Swimming pool and pet-friendly. Paredes No. 106 Sur. PH: 323-285-0480. www.garzacanela.com Booking: 01-800-713-2313.
Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit
This is a unique spot in a country full of unique spots. The town of Sta. Maria is set on the edges of a volcanic lake, a rarity in Mexico. From a hilltop overlook coming into town, the layout is picture-postcard-perfect. Deep blue water, terra-cotta roofs on villas ringing the lake. Few foreigners know about Sta. Maria. Most are in a hurry to get to the familiar arms of Puerto Vallarta. They whiz right by the exit for Sta. Maria just south of Tepic on the toll road. It’s their loss and your gain. Should you come to visit, tourists like you won’t overwhelm you. On weekends, the town will be lively and crowded with upscale Mexican tourists from nearby Tepic. During the week, it will be quiet and serene.
Getting to Santa Maria
From San Blas or Mazatlan, keep on MEX-15D to the bypass of Tepic. Take the bypass. Continue southeast for 21 ¾ miles to the exit for Santa Maria del Oro. Go under the highway to your left and continue on a winding two-lane paved road. It’s only four miles, but quite curvy. Rigs over 30 feet should probably forgo the pleasures of Santa Maria.
There are a couple of villages before the town with hotels. Don’t be fooled. The actual village is all the way to the lake. When you have to turn left or right, you have arrived. The only RV park in town is to the left 300 meters. PH: 311-134-7178. Web site: http://www.koalabungalows.com/index.html
Koala has several RV spaces with and without hookups and cabins as well as an area for tent camping. The prices are reasonable and the staff is friendly. I know the owner, Chris, for many years and his attention to detail showed in the way the park was run. He has retired and his son is carrying on the tradition. Koala is unique. So are its customers.
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