Anyplace that bills itself as a “handmade boutique hotel” gets our attention, so we hop on a small boat in the village of Boca de Tomatlan, 15 miles south of Puerta Vallarta, for the 30 minute ride to Yelapa where our luggage gets strapped onto mules and we hike up a trail to the hillside retreat that is Verana .
It is an oasis with an infiity edge pool and nine private architecturally unique casitas carved into and around the trees and desert on a hillside overlooking Banderas Bay. It really does have a handmade feel–handmade by experts at melding luxury and style with nature and privacy.
Our room, Palapa, was just that: an enormous open-air, two-level two bedroom spread with no walls at all, just a huge palapa (thatched palm) roof.
The pool was designed to blend perfectly with Bandereas Bay, below.
Lounging by the pool (those are Eric's feet not Karen's, btw).
We spent two serene and wildlife-filled days at Hotelito Desconocido on the gorgeous Costalegre in Mexico. Check out the previous post to learn all about our turtle encounters at the property. And read a news story we just published about the exciting renovation going on at this hotel.
In the meantime, we’re going to let these photos do the talking…
Hotelito Desconocido is a true eco-resort with plenty of perks. Our room, Pajaro (which means bird) which is fitting since the property is filled with birds, was a master suite with a view across the lagoon to the beach.
The Master Suites at Hotel Desconocido are right on the lagoon and come with their own rowboat to take across to the beach.
Since there are no lights other than candles at this eco-resort, the bar is very romantic.
Early one morning, during our stay at Hotelito Desconocido we were alerted that there was a female turtle on the beach laying her eggs. Though the area around Hotelito Desconcido is famous for its turtle visits (in season, this beach is so prolific the resident biologist informed us he has seen over 200 nests laid on a single night), they are very uncommon after February and they generally lay their eggs at night not at seven am.
Clearly our luck was changing after our heartbreaking run in with a taxi the previous afternoon!
The hotel has a fenced-in nesting area designed to keep baby turtle predators ( birds, raccoons, tejons, dogs, etc) away from nests and they rescue and re-nest all baby turtles they discover on the open beach near the hotel in order to give the little critters a fighting chance. They have collected and protected around 2,600 eggs this season.
Collecting the newly laid eggs so they can be re-nested in a protected area.
When we got to the beach, Mom was so focused on the task at hand she didn’t seem to notice us or the fact we were pulling the eggs out of the nest as quickly as she laid them. In the end 95 eggs were re-nested and will hopefully hatch in 45-50 days.
Though we had removed all 95 eggs that she laid, there was no stopping this mother turtle’s biological need to finish what she had begun. After all that work digging the deep nest and laying the eggs, she meticulously filled in the now empty nest and packed down the sand like a pro.
Video of the Turtle laying eggs.
Her hard work done it was time to head back home.
Video of the turtle returning to sea.
Not only did we get to witness a rare (for this time of year) turtle laying eggs on the beach in the morning, but there was another turtle treat in store for us that evening. Two protected nests full of eggs were hatching and we helpled Hotelito’s resident biologist dig them up and releaes the incredibly tiny and fragile-looking hatchlings into the ocean.
In the end we dug out almost 200 hatchlings from two nests of eggswhich had been laid 49 days earlier.
Karen holds a hatchling that hasn’t quite made it out of its shell yet.
Just 10 minutes after being dug out of the nest this guy (or girl) was ready to go.
Off to sea, hopefully to return in 20 or so years to this same beach to lay more eggs.
We were making our way up the Cosatlegre from the Las Alamandas Resort to our next destination, Hotelito Desoncido. After turning off the highway we weren’t sure if we were on the correct road so we decided to pull off the road to consult the map. We came around a corner and there was a side road on the left to pull off onto. I had seen the taxi in my rear view mirror approaching fast, but I figured he would see my brake lights and turn signal. One of the conundrums of Mexican driving is that a turn signal can mean “pass me” (handy when stuck behind a slow moving truck), or “Look out, I’m turning.”
As you may note, these are two conflicting interpretations.
Since we were on a corner in a no-passing zone we figured the taxi would slow down. Wrong. We started our left hand turn onto the side road but the taxi was already trying to pass, horn blaring and brakes screeching. Luckily, by the time he hit us as we were almost off the road he had slowed considerably.
End result? Not as bad as it could have been. Everyone was fine and the truck is fully operable except for the rear door that doesn’t really close well anymore. And now we have, as they say, our first Mexican tattoo.
Some of the damage done.
Luckily we invested in decent insurance. The only problem was that we had to wait for four hours on the side of the road for our adjuste from GNP insurance to come from Puerto Vallarta. Along with the police, the taxi driver, and most of a nearby village we sat on a dusty road in the heat waiting. In the end, after some negotiating, we had a choice to make: let them impound our truck, hang around this tiny village for a few weeks and wait for a local judge to assign blame (though the taxi driver was clearly wrong) OR suck up our $500 deductible, get the truck fixed at our leisure, at the repair shop of our choosing (even back in the states if we want). Guess which option we chose…
This is the genius (aka Mexican taxi driver) who thought it was wise to try to pass us on a corner over a solid no-passing dividing line while our turn indicator was on.