Rural tourism: An insider’s guide to the real Mexico – Cabo Corrientes, Costa Alegre, Pacific Mexico

David Simmonds, Special to
Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The year was 1970, and I was about to turn 21. The Chicago Seven Trial was winding down, the Vietnam War was in full rage, Nixon had lowered the voting age to 18, and the Beatles had released their final album, “Let It Be.” The message to my generation was “Keep on Truckin’.” So naturally, I figured it was a good time to take a Mexico road trip.

I called an old boyhood friend, regaling him about a place in the jungle called Puerto Vallarta. The first paved road there from Tepic had just been completed. Using advanced calculus, with gas costing 15 cents a gallon and sleeping on the beach costing nothing, I estimated we could do a two-week trip from San Diego for about $100 each. So off we went in my 1966 VW van with no jack, a case of beer, and four bald tires. I had no idea then that this trip would come to define my life.

This was long before all of the freeway-like toll roads in Mexico, so we drove through every town and village along Highway 15 heading south. The term hadn’t been invented yet, but this was “rural tourism.”

Beyond Puerto Vallarta: Cabo Corrientes

That first trip I took to Puerto Vallarta spurred a life-long fascination with Mexico that endures today. I recently went back to Puerto Vallarta for about the hundredth time, exploring an area a short distance south of town called Cabo Corrientes. You may know it as home to the town of Yelapa, which was once primarily accessible only by boat. Today, the entire region can be reached by auto, although most of the roads are dirt.

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