Monthly Archives: January 2014

Boca de Tomatlán

Hello again and welcome to OnVallartaTime! In this post we’ll explore another small town to the south, Boca de Tomatlán, along with a wonderful restaurant near there, Ocean Grill. Meanwhile, our lives in Puerto Vallarta continue…

Peggy and I are almost on our own again.  Liep left last Wednesday, and since then we have been back to our original gang of three, and Eve winds up her time in PV on Saturday. After that, for Peggy’s and my last month, life will get back to “normal,” whatever that is on Vallarta time. While entertaining visitors, we have been going out to eat almost every night. Puerto Vallarta is a foodie’s paradise, and it’s certainly fun (and tasty!) to try different restaurants, but we feel the need to get back to a more low-key, healthy lifestyle. Still, it will be sad to see Eve go – we have had a great time during her month here.

Now to Boca de Tomatlán (which I’ll mostly just call “Boca” from now on). Boca is a very small town (570 people) on the same bus route south as Mismaloya and El Tuito. It’s the last stop on the municipal bus line south. Here, highway 200 turns inland to cross the mountainous Cabo Corrientes (Cape of Currents) before joining the coast again a long way farther south. At Boca de Tomatlán, a small river finds its outlet to the ocean (boca, or mouth) in a narrow canyon that becomes an equally narrow bay. “Tomatlán“ means “place of the tomato” or “tomatoland” in the Nahuatl language.

Because Boca is the last town for a while on the highway, it’s an important little port for passengers and small freight, serving the beach communities farther south that are most easily reached by water.  The roads to the southern beach communities are only passable in the dry season, and “passable” is stretching it. Here’s a map; Boca is the red “pin.”


Before leaving on our trip to Boca, we made a reservation at Ocean Grill, a restaurant we had heard about that clings to a cliff just south of town. Reservations are mandatory, partly because it’s a popular place and there’s limited room, but also because the restaurant sends a water taxi to Boca to pick up guests at specified times during the day. We made a reservation for one o’clock, and took an earlier bus so we could spend some time relaxing on the beach before the boat arrived.

Boca bus The bus to Boca de Tomatlán

Boca townThis is the town of Boca de Tomatlán. After getting off the bus on the highway, we headed down the hill to the ocean.

Boca beach 3Mouth of the river Boca beach 4The river meets the ocean

Boca beach 5On the beach at Boca

Boca beach 6Peggy and Liep waiting for drinks, passing the time until the boat comes from the restaurant to pick us up

Boca beach 7Loading freight and passengers at the dock in Boca. Those are sacks of mortar.

Boca beach boat 2Water taxi — soon it will be our turn.

Boca beach boat tripOn our way to Ocean Grill. That’s Liep in the foreground. The boat was really loaded down; glad the ocean wasn’t rough!

Grill approachApproaching the restaurant, Ocean Grill . Sorry the view is partly obstructed by Eve’s and Peggy’s heads! (Not their fault — it’s the photographer’s!)

 Grill interiorThe interior of the restaurant

Grill dockLooking down on the restaurant’s dock. The water is very clear and the bottom is plainly visible.

Grill islandA swim float near the dock. It’s called “Wilson’s Island,” named for (and obviously often claimed by) Wilson, the resident Great Dane.

Grill gangHere’s our gang at Ocean Grill: me, Liep, Peggy and Eve. Those green drinks are the house margarita, blended with mint.

Grill food 1Here’s the food! Liep had the fish fillet, topped with crispy mulato chile strips.

Grill food 2Peggy had the barbecued ribs, which she loved. Those fries are incredible, coated with lemon pepper.

Grill food 3Both Eve and I had the crunchy grilled shrimp, with the house garlic and butter sauce.

Grill bathroom 2The open-air bathroom at the Ocean Grill is special. It’s up the hill from the main restaurant. As you go up the trail, you lower this sign on a 2×4 to show the bathroom is occupied. Grill bathroom 3This is the bathroom itself Grill bathroom 1The view as you’re sitting there…

Grill viewSome beautiful foliage near the bathroom

Grill beachThe small beach near the Ocean Grill. There’s a trail to it and you can spend the day here if you want.

Boca approach 2Our restaurant adventure over, the boat approaches Boca de Tomatlán.

All good things must come to an end, and this ends this week’s post of OnVallartaTime. I hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a small teaser preview: tomorrow we will go south again, this time by a 45-minute water taxi ride, to the town of Yelapa. We will visit a friend of Eve’s who is staying there with the Love Choir, a group from northern California. The record of that trip could show up here. Then, I’d like to get back to in-town Puerto Vallarta activities. Until next time!