Sunday, August 31, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (SAN PANCHO), NAYARIT: Colorful, Fun Little Pueblo

Abandoned Building Near the Lagoon


     We were so busy enjoying the sights, sounds and colors of San Pancho while we were there that I didn't write a single word about the experience at the time. I took numerous photos though, and looking back through them, I am reminded of the many reasons why we love San Pancho. Maybe this is a case where a picture is worth a thousand words. I think I'll just let the photos paint the many colors of San Pancho.

Iguana Watching During Morning Coffee Time
Jon Teeing Off In San Pancho's Golf Course
Baby Turtle Release at Sunset
Swinging From The Palm Fronds on the Beach
Jon and Terry Relaxing on the Beach
EntreAmigos Kids in Painting Class
Polo Horses Being Exercised Around Plaza del Sol
Our Lady of Guadalupe Day in Church
Dancing on the Beach at La Playa Restaurant
Fisherman Taking Their Catch to Town
Recycled Metal Tree at EntreAmigos
Bird Watching in San Pancho Lagoon
Cool Bicycle on San Pancho Beach
Folk Dancers at La Patrona Polo Club
Las Huertas Golf and Beach Club
Children's Christmas Festival at EntreAmigos
Tranquil San Pancho Beach at Sunset
Tree and Vines at Orchid Farm
Zumba Class at Plaza del Sol in San Pancho
Bougainvillea on Brick Wall in San Pancho
Every Evening Games in Plaza del Sol
Beach Volleyball on La Playa
Amazing San Pancho Sunsets
Visiting the Orchid Farm Near San Pancho

Friday, August 29, 2014


New Malecon in La Penita de Jaltemba

    La Peñita de Jaltemba is very much a Mexican town, including cobblestone roads, and my first impression of it from Highway Mex. 200 has never been very positive as we would zoom past on our way to prettier places south of here. But, we decided to stay for a few days this year and get to know it better. We discovered that the state of Nayarit has allocated funds to give the Malecón a face-lift, including the Nayarit logo, geometric patterns painted in the colors of the Mexican flag, green, red, and white, and the result is that the beachfront area is much more inviting. We found that La Peñita is a lively town with plenty to do. We also discovered that the locals here are very laid back and friendly. That’s probably why we have grown to love it.
     La Peñita, as it is known by the locals, is a beehive of activity at 6:30AM when it is waking up and the school kids are walking to school dressed in their uniforms, carrying backpacks.
Things are quiet during siesta from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, when everyone goes home for the main meal of the day and a rest period. Then things come alive again after sunset, around 6:00
Palapa & Beach at Little Rigs RV Park
when the downtown main street, the Malecón, and the Plaza are full of people watching people, couples strolling along, men sitting in groups talking, people eating ice cream cones, and some going to dinner.

     Our first impression of La Peñita was not a very positive one, mostly due to the narrow dirt roads, low hanging electrical wires, and piles of garbage on some corners. We decided we wanted to see if we could squeeze our 32 foot Class A motorhome, under the hanging electrical wires, down the narrow cobblestone streets, and around the tight turn into the gate of the Little Rigs RV Park. The first obstacle was a TV cable that hung between second story windows on opposite sides of the street. Jon got out of the motorhome to survey the situation. Several friendly locals came out of their homes and offered to lift the cable up so we could drive under it. Jon climbed up on the motorhome roof and eyed our air conditioning unit and decided it would barely clear the cable. 

Lovely Pool at Little Rigs RV Park
     When we got to the gate of the RV Park, I got out of the motorhome to direct while Jon drove around the corner and through the gate without hitting any walls or their gate. It is called Little Rigs RV Park for a good reason—our 32 foot motorhome was the largest that had ever entered that gate! We had quite a crowd of RVers and the owners watching as Jon expertly maneuvered into the small Park. We hoped that we would be able to fit into one of the few full hookup sites at Little Rigs RV Park. The owners of the RV Park, a Canadian couple, Brian and Carole Francoeur, were happy to accommodate us, and even pruned a tree back to give us the extra 2 feet of space we needed. That was when our opinion of La Penita began to change for the better.

     The Little Rigs RV Park was very enjoyable, situated on the beach, with a nice sea breeze. There was a sweet little swimming pool that the owners kept very clean and was naturally warmed to about 84 degrees, a great place for an afternoon dip and a chat with the other campers. Brian and Carole’s home is on the property, surrounded by pretty gardens and grass planted on the sand to keep the dust and dirt to a minimum.  The palapa next to the beach was the gathering place at happy hour to watch the sunset. Everyone we met there was very friendly, and we added this to our list of places to return to each winter.
Zumba with Nicole at El Studio
   ZUMBA WITH NICOLE IN LA PEÑITA: Nicole teaches an excellent Zumba class at El Studio in La Peñita and the music is great. I especially appreciated the tile floor in El Studio. After doing Zumba on concrete basketball courts in many Mexican towns, the smooth surface of this dance floor was a real treat. I also liked that Nicole led us in some floor exercises for toning and stretching near the end of class. The day after my first class with her, I felt some muscles that hadn't been exercised in a while! I really enjoyed Zumba with Nicole and look forward to going again!

     Nicole gives several classes daily, Monday through Friday.  No wonder she's in such great shape! The schedule changes periodically, so check for updates at or stop by El Studio on the main Avenida in La Penita. You can also check for information on the Jaltemba Jalapeno Forum at or call El Studio at (322)171-5810 or (322)137- 5721 or (327)978-8378.
     Jon and I had dinner our last night in town at El Rincón del Árabe. It is located at Avenida Emiliano Zapata #72, specializing in food from Arabia, France, Mexico, Italy, Spain and the Orient. This restaurant was a great place for us to have dinner when we needed a change from the usual Mexican dishes. I had the Chicken Curry and it was delicious! Jon had the Shrimp Alfredo and it was such a large portion, He ate until he was satisfied and took home enough for his lunch the next day. The salad served before the main course was exceptionally tasty and fresh. I highly recommend this restaurant in their new location near the Malecón. Contact owners Haitham and Lucy Dlensi at or (327)107-0388 or cell phone (322)111-8718.


     For more information on La Peñita de Jaltemba and other great places to visit or live in in Mexico, look for my book later in 2014: "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico: A Search for Sunshine, Sassy Exercise, Savory Food, and a Simpler Life".

COPYRIGHT © 2014 by Terry L Turrell
No part of this publication May be Reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or Transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, scanning, photocopying, recording, or Otherwise, without prior written permission .

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Long, Clean Sandy Beach in Mazatlan


     I want to analyze what makes Jon and I yearn for our return to Mazatlán each winter, and what makes us want to linger there for weeks in the spring, reluctant to return to the United States. I want to list the things that Jon and I love about living in Mazatlán. In writing that simple sentence, I have admitted to myself that we do live in Mazatlán when we go there. It is simply a matter of how long we live there each time we travel to this, our current favorite city in Mexico. 
     Some of these items on my list seem simplistic, even unimportant at first. For instance, does anyone care how we got our laundry done? This became an important item when we lived in a motorhome without a washer and dryer for 6 months of the year. Does anyone care where we went to get our pesos, the Mexican currency? When we were trying to stretch our dollars, we wanted the best exchange rate with the lowest fees, and we wanted to withdraw the maximum number of pesos possible so we didn't have to visit an ATM more than
Longest Malecon in the World is in Mazatlan
once a week. We always paid in cash in Mexico to eliminate the risk of credit card fraud and international credit card charges. We also tried to avoid ATMs that were not at actual banks whenever possible, such as the ones at grocery stores, mini-markets, and Pemex gas stations, as there have been cases reported of Debit Cards being cloned at some of these ATMs. So where the banks were located, in relation to where we lived, became important to us. Other foreigners who live in Mexico part-time or full-time would agree, I believe.
     Our list of things we love about Mazatlán is based on living in an RV Park. But hotels, condos, and apartments surround the area that we lived in, so this list applies to living or staying in these types of places also. So, here is our list of things, small and large, that we love about living in Mazatlán during the winter:
     ·    Warm, sunny weather with relatively low humidity, average maximum 79.3 degrees F/ 26.3 degrees C in December, 29.1 and 84.4 degrees F /29.1 degrees C in May
  •  Longer hours of daylight than north of the border
Beautiful Mazatlan Sunset
  • Warm ocean water, Average: 74.6°F /23.7°C in December, 79.9°F/ 26.6°C in May
  • Gentle waves, yet strong enough to get some great boogie boarding rides most days·         Ocean in the Golden Zone is safe for children to play in on most days, as the beach is protected here by the nearby islands and the tip of Baja California across the sea, so that the waves and undertow are seldom dangerous.
  •     Sunsets that never cease to amaze us in their beauty, different every day
  •     Many good restaurants along the beach, serving a variety of seafood
  •     Most restaurant prices are relatively low for a resort area.
  •     Many dog-friendly places to take dogs, including the beach, parks, and many restaurants
  •        A family-friendly city. Mexican families and international families alike enjoy coming here for vacation and to live.
  •         RV Parks next to the beach with 24 hour security
  •        Many good restaurants within walking distance of our RV Park, and many more within an easy bus trip or taxi ride in the Golden Zone and Historical District
Living at Mar Rosa RV Park on the Beach
  •     Buses stop frequently in front of our RV Park and are inexpensive. The bus system is easy to use to get to the Historical District, the Central Market, the Malecón, and anywhere in the Golden Zone. (Tourist district)
  •        A very long, clean, sandy beach is perfect for taking long walks
  • Great people-watching city, whether on the beach, in the parks, in the Plazas, or on the Malecón.
  •       Laundry service at the RV Park is great! I dropped my bagged laundry off at the RV Park office in the morning and we received it delivered to our motorhome in the afternoon, washed, dried, and neatly folded. I got very spoiled with this service!
    ·         The Palms Resort is next door to Mar Rosa RV Park. The staff is very friendly and welcomes us when we drop in for a margarita, lunch, and a dip in their inviting swimming pool. The palapa bar/restaurant overlooks the beach and is a good place to watch the sunset. They don’t mind if we bring Bella for sunset cocktail hour, as she sits quietly under our table on the balcony.
    ·         Great internet service at Mar Rosa RV Park—it was an additional charge of about 200 pesos per week ($15 U.S.), but well worth it. Internet was not good in many RV Parks in Mexico.
    Zumba with Penny in the Park
    ·         Great Zumba classes within walking distance of our RV Park!
    ·         Many fitness centers in the Golden Zone
    ·         A good Mexican Central Market for purchasing quality produce, meat, and other supplies
    ·         A Produce Truck comes to the RV Park at least once weekly with good quality fruit and vegetable for a very fair price. This is a fun way to shop without leaving home!
    ·         Many good supermarkets and Wal-Mart within driving or taxi ride range
    ·         Banamex and BanNorte Banks within walking or bus ride distance of our RV Park on Avenida Camarón Sábalo, the main boulevard that runs in front of our RV Park and through the Golden Zone
    ·         The longest Malecón (walkway along the beach) in the world! This promenade is nearly ten miles long (twenty-one kilometers) and wide enough for plenty of traffic including bicycles, pedestrians, strollers, dogs, and people on rollerblades. It is a place that couples, singles, and families come to spend time together, both during the daytime and in the evening when it is well lit. Along the Malecón, there are cliffs, monuments, gazebos, old buildings, hotels, shops, restaurants, bars, sculptures, street vendors, and benches for resting and watching people.
    Listening to Music on Plaza Machado
    ·         We have met many friendly and fun people while living in Mazatlán, mostly other gringos who live at the same RV Park, go to the same Zumba classes, hang out at the same restaurants and bars, and return to live in Mazatlán every winter.
    ·         Great live music at restaurants in the Historical District and Golden Zone. 
            I could go on and on with this list. It has become clear that we love Mazatlán and that it will definitely be on our list of places to live part of each winter. We can't wait to return to Mazatlan in December!

COPYRIGHT © 2014 by Terry L Turrell
No part of this publication May be Reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or Transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, scanning, photocopying, recording, or Otherwise, without prior written permission .

Wednesday, August 20, 2014



     Playa Las Glorias is little more than a beachfront RV Park, Restaurant, and hotel named Mr. Moro's. We look forward to going there each winter on our way south to Mazatlan. Some people ask us “What do you do there?” The answer is “Not much, except enjoy the restfulness of this quiet beach”. Playa Las Glorias (The Glory Beach) is on the Sea of Cortez, so generally the water is calm, protected as it is by the land mass of Baja California on the other side of the sea.
     In the mornings, I enjoyed sitting in my beach chair on a gentle sand dune while I drank my coffee, watching the low waves break. This year, ours was the first RV to arrive at Mr. Moro's RV Park, so we had the first campsite parallel to the beach. The campground
had taken on a different look than I remembered from the last time we had been here about three years previously, as though the sand had crawled from the beach, over the low fence, and piled onto itself creating rolling waves of sand dunes. I dragged my chair to one of these rises in the sand in front of our camp to get a better view of the waves. The breakers were larger this time of day due to the high tide. It was so restful to watch the graceful pelicans flying in a line toward the north, gliding just above the water’s surface. We jokingly call them the “Mexican Air Force”, because this is as much of a flying squadron as we have ever seen in this peace-loving country. Pelicans soared by in a perfect line, following the top of the swell of a wave gathering energy, and then just as the wave began to break, they veered off to find another. One morning, I caught sight of an animal’s back breaking the surface, swimming lazily in the direction opposite of the pelicans. As I continued to watch, I saw several fins
moving in a graceful arch out and then back into the water and realized it was a pod of dolphins traveling south together, just outside the line of waves. How beautiful these marine animals were, not in any hurry to get 
wherever they were going. There is a lesson in that about healthy living, I think. Take time to do nothing. Even the beach dogs and Bella agreed with this concept here in Playa Las Glorias.
     We learned later in our trip that in recent years Mr. Moro’s has become more of an “Event Center” for Mexican families and businesses now. Since there have been fewer RVers traveling to Playa Las Glorias, the maintenance of the RV Park has been mostly abandoned. Renting the swimming pool, restaurant, and hotel rooms for parties is what is keeping this property afloat financially. Sunday is family day in Mexico, so the beaches are the most crowded on Sundays. Mexican families get together for the day for picnics and other outings, so Sunday is a busy day at
Playa Las Glorias and other beach resort towns in Mexico, and Mr. Moro’s is a favorite. The Sunday that we were at Mr. Moro’s there was a large party held by the Sanditas Company, a major tortilla chip producer. The employees and their families started arriving by the carloads about 10:30 that morning.  A Party Company showed up and soon they had set up a juke-box, a mechanical bull (it was actually a mechanical calf), and inflated jumping platforms for the kids. Mexican party music filled the air and refreshments were served. The swimming pool at Mr. Moro’s is a perfect place for a kid’s party, and soon it was full of children from age 3 to 15. The adults sat at tables around the pool eating peanuts and drinking soda, sometimes beer. Jon and I sat by the pool watching the festivities, and the children watched us. I walked over to watch people of all ages riding the mechanical calf, the operator spinning it back and forth, speeding it up until the rider fell off laughing good-naturedly! The
Mexicans know how to have fun! A couple of young women saw me taking photos and they invited me to take a ride, but I smiled and politely declined. One woman offered to take my photo, and it turned out to show me dressed in typical casual beachwear in front of our Southwind motorhome. Good memories...
     Zumba classes are plentiful in Guasave according to the Class Finder. There are six certified Instructors listed and we half-heartedly tried to find one of the fitness centers listed. After making the one hour drive into town, trying to figure out the one-way streets so that the GPS didn't send down a street the wrong way, we found the bank, the TelCel phone store, the Pemex gas station. Then, all we wanted to do was make the one-hour drive back to Playa Las Glorias. Who wants to Zumba here, when we can hang out at the beach and watch the pelicans fly by? Maybe mañana.....
COPYRIGHT © 2014 by Terry L Turrell
No part of this publication May be Reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or Transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, scanning, photocopying, recording, or Otherwise, without prior written permission .

Thursday, August 14, 2014


I definitely did NOT burn off the calories from my Bacon-Wrapped-Cheese-Stuffed Prawns with Zumba in Playa Huatabampito, but everything sure was enjoyable!

Read more about Tranquil Playa Huatabampito by clicking on the link below:


 Read more about our adventures in Mexico and Zumba Classes we actually found in my upcoming book "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico: A Search for Sunshine, Sassy Exercise, Savory Food, And a Simpler Life".
COPYRIGHT © 2014 by Terry L Turrell
No part of this publication May be Reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or Transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, scanning, photocopying, recording, or Otherwise, without prior written permission .

Sunday, August 10, 2014



Beautiful San Carlos, Mexico!

     San Carlos is a beautiful ocean-front resort town, located on the Sea of Cortez on the west coast of mainland Mexico. It is our favorite place to spend our first night in Mexico after crossing the border into Mexico, and it is always our last stop before we return to the United States. We find it to be an easy 250 mile, 4 to 5 hour drive from Nogales, AZ on Mexico Highway 15, a four-lane divided highway.
    We left Arizona during a winter desert rainstorm on November 23. The farther into Mexico we drove, the fewer clouds there were, and eventually the rain stopped. Soon after we took the San Carlos exit at KM 139, the view of the two rugged, red-rock peaks of Teta Kawi Mountain greeted us as we approached this community. It’s easy to understand why this majestic mountain was once a sacred site for native warriors. We arrived in beautiful San Carlos, Mexico in time to see the sun dipping behind Mt. Teta Kawi. The clear blue sky and
temperature in the mid-70s were a welcome contrast from the dreary gray skies and pouring rain that we had left behind in southern Arizona that morning. I felt my mood improving immediately with the change in weather.  Healthy living and traveling in Mexico begins with a good dose of sunshine!
     The four lane boulevard from Highway 15 to the city of San Carlos, with its palm tree and bougainvillea landscaped median, gives a preview of the resort area ambiance here.  The architecture in town varies from white-washed houses with red-tile roofs and mosaic tiled domes, to condominiums overlooking the sea, from motorhomes with small bungalows built around them to form a house to newly built three story stone-faced homes of the wealthy. Overall, this town feels modern and clean. San Carlos is a resort destination for the vacationing wealthy Mexican families, as well as a popular winter home for many snowbirds from the United States and Canada due to the warm, yet moderate weather.
    The moderately warm winter weather and low annual rainfall makes this town popular with golfers and tennis players. The Sea of Cortez offers good fishing, scuba diving, kayaking and snorkeling. There are two marinas, where many yachts and motorboats are docked. On one visit, I met some women in the laundry room of the El Mirador RV Park who were from a sailboat docked in the marina. They told me that San Carlos is a good stopping off place to wash clothes, buy supplies, and have a taste of restaurant food and a little action on land. That’s how I think of San Carlos, as a good stopping off place. Some gringos would argue that this is as far south as they need to go to be content.
     We always look forward to a Sunday afternoon at the Soggy Peso Bar, sitting on the beach with our feet in the warm sand, watching the kite-boarders surfing in the bay, and sometimes listening to live music. This year, the experience was as good as we remembered it!
We shared a lunch of crab and avocado salad with tortilla chips and a shrimp quesadilla.
Delicious, fresh food for a very fair price! Another step in our quest for healthy living. At the
table next to us, a Mexican family of five was having lunch. The baby showed us how to finish the afternoon off right, with a siesta in one of the hammocks always hung between posts in the palapa. This is nap-time, Mexican style. We can learn a lot from the Mexican National people about healthy living.
     San Carlos is a friendly, laid-back resort town that is close enough to the United States to travel to by car or motorhome in less than a day. This makes it a wonderful destination for a short vacation or a stopping off spot on the way to places farther south on the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico. We enjoy staying there for a few day on the way south and again on the way north to the U.S. For more information on San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico, see and and my upcoming book, "Healthy Living and
Traveling in Mexico: A Search for Sunshine, Sassy Exercise, Savory Food, And a Simpler Life".

COPYRIGHT © 2014 by Terry L Turrell
No part of this publication May be Reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or Transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, scanning, photocopying, recording, or Otherwise, without prior written permission .