“Do You Speak Tenacatita ?”

July 3, 2008


Just what is Tenacatita? Is it a strange almost forgotten Mayan language, named after a fish with tentacle like arms?   Or perhaps it’s an island in the South Pacific?  Well, you’re getting warmer. OK, let me tell you what it is… and, what it is not.


It is my newest favorite Mexican beach on the Pacific Ocean within an easy drive of Lake Chapala, Mexico North of Manzanillo and South of Puerto Vallarta.


Now, let me tell you what Tenacatita is not. It ‘s not overrun with people, it’s not overrun with fancy overpriced hotels, it’s not overrun with trinket hawkers, it’s not too far off the beaten path and it’s certainly not glitzy.


On a recent trip in February 2007, we decided to give Tenacatita a try; leaving around 9:00 a.m. and arriving about 3:00 p.m. We took the toll road toward Manzanillo  and from there on toward  Puerto Vallarta passing by Bara de Navidad and Melanque among other small villages to the North end of the Bahia (Bay) of Tenacatita.


After arriving and checking out the five less expensive hotels right along the beach we decided on the Hotel El Paraiso de Tenacatita on Av. Tenacatita .


The Hotel Paraiso is just across the street from the beach and has a large palapa shaded area on the beach itself with hammocks for afternoon siestas and tables and chairs for relaxing with a drink and a book all while watching the waves break a few yards away.


The hotel has a nice sized swimming pool, and 23 rooms, six of which have air conditioning.


There’s a  decent restaurant on the  first floor which sports a 19 inch color TV, where a breakfast of fried eggs, ham, frijoles, and coffee costs approx $3.00 USD.


The El Paraiso rooms were basic, but the beds were comfortable and of course one doesn’t go to Tenacatita to hangout in the room. And, the price was an almost unbelievably low $300 pesos (approx. $27 USD) per couple per night. Who says “Paradise” has to be expensive?


In February 2007 the nights were cool so no need for air-conditioning. The days were comfortably warm without being humid. I found that I slept a good 8 to 9 hours each night which is about 3 hours longer than usual for me. Something about the sound of waves crashing outside our room and the gentle ocean breezes combined to give me the best night’s rest I’ve had in a long time.


On our first full day at Tenacatita walking along Ave. Tenacatita to get the lay of  land so to speak we discovered a good sized Trailer Park (15 spaces) which had water, sewer and 30 amp electrical connections for about 175 pesos per night.


Speaking with several folks in the trailer park, most of whom were Canadian snow birds, we learned that they winter here regularly and they come prepared. One man was in a hurry to get his satellite TV antenna set up so he would not miss his favorite North American football game.


Another was sitting outdoors using the wireless connection on his laptop computer to connect with his Internet Satellite dish on the roof of his impressive motor home.


Walking along the beach one notices snow birds of a different kind; wintering pelicans, which glided overhead not far off shore until they spotted breakfast, lunch or dinner, as the case my be, swimming below at which point they would zoom almost perpendicularly “smack” directly into the sea to surface with the catch of the day tucked neatly inside their large bills.


One thing for sure, if you, like the pelicans, decide to visit Tenacatita  you will not go hungry either, as there are 20 palapa style restaurants, each one with its own specialty.


Prices of course vary, but the most expensive thing I saw on the menu was 75 pesos (just under $7 USD).


One restaurant was interestingly named “La Mosca”  (The Fly). No doubt it probably is a good place to eat; but I just could not bring myself to eat at a restaurant called “The Fly”. Maybe next time.


Finally, we were told that just over the hill from our hotel and west of the palapa style restaurants is a place called “The Aquarium” at Playa Mora; reported to be some of the best snorkeling in Mexico.


So there you have it, an inexpensive laid back beach get-away called Tenacatita only a half day drive from Lake Chapala Mexico. And, now you too can speak Tenacatita.



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