Mex Life | Carricitos Beach: 5-Mile Beach Hike With Riley

Riley and I brave the jungle and the unknown in search of another mysterious beach on the windswept Pacific-facing side of Sayulita Point.

4 November 2020

Into November now, the rainstorms are already tapering off, and so is the humidity. Daily highs have decreased to the upper 80s with mostly clear skies.

Most importantly, perhaps, sea surface temps continue to hover around the mid-80s.

Perfect beach weather, particularly around sunset.

 

We showed up to the beach in our street clothes, but that didn’t stop Noe and me from chucking off some layers and taking a dip.

 

Happy Hour!

Around Sayulita. Mornings are always quiet around here.

 

This is where one of the main roads in town crosses the Sayulita River…literally. Or, should I say, the river crosses the road.

Sayulita’s “Hippie Market” along the river.

Eating lunch and watching a Marco Polo video from the grandparents.

Tea time! Noe checking out Riley’s new tea set.

Today, while Noe’s at school, I’m taking the other little rugrat for a long hike.

It’s hard to tell who’s more excited about this, Riley or me.

We’re still learning the ropes and getting our bearings around here, so this hike promises to be another adventure, which I’m looking forward to (and I know Riley is too, even if it doesn’t translate to the camera ⏤ I also know he misses mommy, but he’ll come around…in a few years).

I’m also looking forward to a good workout, but maybe not as good of a workout as our last hike together. Fortunately, this time, I only have to carry water and snacks for two.

We’re headed to Playa Carricitos today, which isn’t terribly far from town, but a bit of a round trip haul walking from our house on the far North Side with a baby onboard.

Most of today’s mileage will be from pavement pounding. Who knows, it might be that way all the way to the beach. It’s hard to say what the roads are going to be like from one block to the next around here.

Passing a typically packed Cafe Yah Yah in the rolling hills of South Side, we follow stone-paved Calle Niños Heroes up the hill until the cobblestone runs out. After passing a very large construction site in the middle of an otherwise densely wooded area, the road suddenly descends into what appears to be dense jungle.

This is the other route we’ve heard about to Playa de Los Muertos, the “back way”. But we’re not headed for the Beach of the Dead today.

After walking along the dirt track through the jungle for a while, we come upon a well-signed fork in the road. A rarity around here.

Unfortunately, the signage lists everything except Playa Carricitos. But we know we’re not going towards Los Muertos, so left it is.

It’s fun doing these hikes in places like Mexico, where even well-known beaches and viewpoints aren’t marked or signed at all.

You never know what sort of conditions to expect along the route, or if someone will suddenly decide they want to fence off a part of the route and block access to visitors.

Which, thankfully, is getting harder to do here in Mexico.

Mexico’s beaches have long belonged to the public. All of them. No private beaches here.

But that hasn’t stopped property owners from doing their best to bar access to everything from small idyllic coves to long stretches of golden sand that fronts their property. Many well-known resorts here even advertise “private beach”.

In response, a new law was passed last October, stating that property owners cannot restrict public access to any beach and will be fined up to US$49,000 for doing so. Property owners will be reimbursed for any easements they have to make to comply with the law.

With that in mind, if you ever come across a resort advertising a “private beach” in Mexico, proceed with a healthy dose of skepticism knowing that they may in fact be breaking the law and paying guests would be complicit in that, at least from an ethical standpoint.

Fortunately, no access restrictions to contend with today along our route.

After some time walking along the dirt track through the jungle, the road again turns to paving stones. Suddenly, we find ourselves in a residential neighborhood adjacent to a gated community. Here, the road bends left, just after a small parking lot. A sign advises no motor vehicles past this point. Riley and I don’t have to worry about that today.

Just past the sign, the road begins to climb steeply. Here, we gain about 100 feet of elevation in just over the length of a football field, climbing a steep grooved paved driveway. This is the most strenuous part of today’s hike.

Taking a breather midway up the steep hill, looking back at our progress and taking in our jungle surroundings.

After reaching the top of the hill, the road once again turns to dirt and immediately heads downhill. We follow a crumbling bright red wall with gaping holes that allow views of the surrounding jungle, and the deep blue of the Pacific, beyond.

Coming up on an hour of walking, we reach a promising group of signs.

I’m happy to see that a) the beach does exist, b) there’s a clear access point for getting there. I wasn’t so keen on hopping a chainlink fence with a baby on my back today, so this is welcome news.

On the other side of the doorway, we follow a steep and slippery trail down into a ravine.

 

And through another passage way, beckoning us to keep going.

Moments later, we get our first glimpse of Playa Carricitos.

Not too shabby.

 

Looks like we’ve got this one to ourselves, Riley.

 

Playa Carricitos is an interesting place. It’s our first visit to one of the beaches on the western side of Sayulita Point, and the vegetation is noticeably different. It’s evident that this side gets a lot of wind and weather.

There are also mystery remnants of former structures and dwellings. It’s hard to tell whether the structure in the picture above was originally intended to be some sort of residential property or public restroom and shelter. Either way, it’s obvious it hasn’t been functional in some time.

In the center of the beach is a large lot for sale. Only US$7,999,999 if you happen to have that kind of cash laying around.

Heck, if you had a buck short of $8 million laying around, you could probably afford your own island in the Caribbean.

In a decade it will either be an extremely swanky resort or nothing at all. No two ways about it with that kind of asking price in a place like this. I’m hoping for the latter.

Sand, snack, and a happy boy.

Despite some misgivings in the beginning, Riley was a pretty good sport through it all.

When the four of us are out together, he’ll babble, talk, and sing almost constantly. When it’s just him and me, he’ll go long stretches without making a sound.

On the walk here, there were several times where I used my forward facing camera to check up on him because he had been so quiet.

 

 

 

The rocky headland to the south is dominated by a sprawling luxury resort, apparently a popular wedding venue. And not cheap, to no one’s surprise.

After a nice long break, snacking and exploring our newfound beach, it’s time to head back.

To our right, nothing but undeveloped jungle as far as the eye can see. And blue sky! But that’s no surprise. Sayulita averages 345 days a year of it!

Back home, my feet and back are ready for a break. And Riley’s ready for a nap. All in all, a successful and satisfying 5 mile urban/jungle/beach hike on another beautiful day.

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Shirley Northcraft
Shirley Northcraft

Just keep those sandy beaches and snacks coming, Dad!

JAN FULLERTON
JAN FULLERTON

What a wonderful day hike and all of those sunny days!! You’ve found a paradise!!