Hello again and welcome to OnVallartaTime! We have had a whirlwind few weeks! I´ll try to catch you up before we get to the subject of this post, our visit to Mascota.
Things are going along more or less as usual — beach, eat, sleep, repeat… with the punctuation of special dinners with friends, or fun side trips. But this time we have had visitors! Our friends Glenda and Mel Solomon from Portland visited for ten days. They rented a beautiful little apartment in a hilly section of town just to the south of us, Colonia Amapas. We showed them around, went out to eat (a lot, there are so many choices) and we even took a side trip north to the town of Sayulita.
In the middle of their stay, our friend Liep Liepins visited. He had decided earlier not to come down this year, but his daughter Karryn and her husband Joe, with friends, were on vacation here so he changed his mind and came after all. Liep booked a spur-of-the-moment week here, staying at his usual hotel nearby in Old Town but his daughter and friends were staying in Nuevo Vallarta, a distance away. So Liep joined Glenda, Mel, Peggy and me for quite a few dinners and activities. All in all, it’s been a busy time.
Now to the main subject, our trip to Mascota! Mascota is a town in the mountains here in the state of Jalisco, a little over 100 km from Puerto Vallarta, by way of steep, twisty mountain roads. We had been hearing about it from friends for some time as a relaxing getaway from the city. It’s a small town of about 15,000, largely agricultural. There are few tourist amenities which translates into “not much to do,” which is kind of the point.
Mascota is the blue dot.
Even though Mascota is in the mountains, there are a few nice little restaurants, comfortable accommodations, and some interesting museums and sights and we enjoyed ourselves for the two nights we stayed. The town is in a lush green valley (the tourist brochures call it the Emerald of the Sierra), with a beautiful central plaza and church. It’s at an elevation of 4,100 feet, which means the nights were cool and refreshing for us visitors from Vallarta who’ve become acclimated to the warmth and humidity of the coast. Hardly anyone speaks English, there are guys riding horses in town, church bells ring around the clock and everything shuts down for siesta in the middle of the afternoon. It’s like a step back in time to the “real” Mexico.
“Mascota” means “pet” in Spanish, like your dog or cat; the English cognate would be “mascot.” But that’s not where the town got its name. The name comes from Amaxacotlan-Mazacotla, which in the indigenous Teco language means “place of deer and snakes.” We didn’t see any of either.
At the ATM bus station in central Vallarta, early in the morning. Ready to start our trip!
Peggy waiting for the bus to load up.
At the entrance to our hotel, the Mesón de Santa Elena, an historic mansion converted into an inn.
The outside door to our room.
Inside the room.
View from the terrace outside our room.
Another view, looking towards the center of town and the church.
Looking down at the central courtyard from our room. They served us a really great breakfast here both mornings, included in our room rate.
A window latch in our room — I love the original historical detail.
The bandstand in the central plaza.
Another view of the plaza.
The 18th-century Church of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores.
The interior of the church.
Mascota street view.
Street view looking towards the church.
A farrier working in the street in front of the veterinary building.
This is Café Nápoles, an Italian-themed coffee shop and lunch place. We had a couple of very good meals here.
A flower shop — we could smell the flowers a half a block away!
One of the highlights of our visit was spending some time in the ruins of the unfinished Church of the Preciosa Sangre. This immense structure was begun in the 19th century, but construction was halted in the early part of the 20th as the Mexican Revolution loomed. The revolution, followed by the vicious Cristiano Wars in the 1920’s continued to delay construction and the church was never finished. Today, the grounds are maintained by the seminary next door. It’s a popular place for concerts and weddings, or for quiet reflection and contemplation as it was for us.
At the entrance to the gardens of the unfinished church.
Peggy next to some beautiful bougainvillea.
Another view of the ruins. The scale of the place is enormous.
Peggy at happy hour at El Refugio, another historic house converted int a hotel. It wasn’t easy to find a bar in this town, so unlike Puerto Vallarta!
Remains of our happy hour.
Me at our other bar find, Navidad. It was a huge place, with no customers other than us.
Peggy at our favorite dinner place In Mascota, Casa de la Abuelita (Grandma´s House). We had dinner here both nights.
We were in the front seat for the bus trip home. Here’s a link to a quick video. I hope it works –videos are kind of clumsy in this program. Turn up your speakers so you can hear the brakes! trim.C3ECEF19-F1C7-4616-8DA2-F282F90D595D At least on my iPad, you have to press the ¨back¨button (<) to return to the post.
Back in Puerto Vallarta, Mel and Glenda on the patio of their Amapas apartment.
Beside me is Mel, then Liep, Glenda and Peggy at Capitan Pablo’s, our lunch stop in Sayulita.
Finally from the “Only in Mexico” file, a truck parked on our street.
Until next time! Thank you for following OnvallartaTime, and keep those comments coming!