Mexican Vacation: Alta Vista




Less than an hour from Sayulita, you can hike to Alta Vista, where spring-fed mountain waters tumble through a magnificent rock ravine, forming natural swimming pools under gentle waterfalls; where the Huichol, today, still make offerings on altars among rocks carved with 2000 year old petroglyphs–carved not by their tribe but by the Tecoxquines, earlier residents of the region. 

More recently the Huichol adopted these ritual sites; you’ll find their offerings, and those of others, on little altars along the ravine. If you’re interested in a compellingly beautiful day hike, follow the fluttering white butterflies (they’re called “spirits of the forest”) and they’ll lead you up to Alta Vista, where you can cool off in the pools, soak up the mystic ambience, and commune with the petroglyphs, there to remind us how deep are the roots of Sayulita’s people.
With an 8:30 AM meet time we raced out of bed and out to door to meet our Mexitrek guide, Steven. Mexitreks was founded in Sayulita by Stephen Pomeroy. A native of California, Stephen discovered his love for the natural environment while studying environmental sciences and guiding for his university adventure company. From there, Stephen moved to Costa Rica where he studied eco-tourism at the University of Costa Rica and worked on conservation projects in the Osa Peninsula which assisted in the protection of local jaguar populations.

Stephen moved to Sayulita, Mexico in 2007 and fell in love with not just its surrounding natural beauty, but with the amazing community of people that makes Sayulita the special place that it is today. During his first four years in Sayulita, Stephen developed and taught the environmental education curriculum at a local primary school (CVIS). This allowed him to spend countless hours hiking through the back country while learning from the locals who have a vast knowledge of flora and fauna of the surrounding forests.
 
Stephen has years of experience as a field guide in many different countries, climates, and terrains. He is Wilderness First Aid certified and bilingual in English and Spanish. Stephen also has a wide knowledge of the local flora and fauna and knowledge about the historical culture of the area. Now he wants to share this knowledge with you! Stephen is also deeply committed to giving back to his community; this is why Stephen is not only an active member of the community, but he also donates a portion of all tours to various environmental initiatives and community non-profits in Sayulita.

Our tour was going to be of Alta Vista which is less than an hour from Sayulita, you can hike to Alta Vista, where spring-fed mountain waters tumble through a magnificent rock ravine, forming natural swimming pools under gentle waterfalls; where the Huichol, today, still make offerings on altars among rocks carved with 2000 year old petroglyphs–carved not by their tribe but by the Tecoxquines, earlier residents of the region. More recently the Huichol adopted these ritual sites; you’ll find their offerings, and those of others, on little altars along the ravine. If you’re interested in a compellingly beautiful day hike, follow the fluttering white butterflies (they’re called “spirits of the forest”) and they’ll lead you up to Alta Vista, where you can cool off in the pools, soak up the mystic ambience, and commune with the petroglyphs, there to remind us how deep are the roots of Sayulita’s people.
This kind of tour is exactly what I love – learn more about the culture and locals and also talk to someone who lives in the area.  It was a great hike and we both learned so much.
 




This is a termite nest – had no idea how many millions live together or how much “damage” they can do.

Steven thought this could be a sacrifice alter. They are currently researching to find out as some land wars are going on.


There were explanations all along the hike that Steven pointed out and narration.  With these you COULD do the hike alone but to be honest I would be a little scared to do that as this is an active worship site and I was glad to have someone there to fill us in on customs and talk to the locals along the way


As you can see this is an active religious ground where gifts are left to the Gods.  This was the God of fertility and had many offerings around. 


Another spot where gifts and offerings are made to the Gods – this whole area felt  like a Church

Steven through this could have been a sacrificial alter as well

Nuts that are similar to Coco Beans.  They used to be a very large export but now are not as common

2000 year old petroglyphs – it is unbelievable to think these were being carved around the time of Jesus and when our year system started

Made it to The Alta Vista

On the way back we saw something we have never seen before – and the tour guide Steven had never in all his years either.  We felt very honored!  Two iguanas having some afternoon delight!

After we got back to town we had a quick bite at Wanda’s (and confirmed that my Moijitas are better than anything in Sayulita– they grind up the mint too much so you are drinking mint pieces) of wings and a hot dog (I had to!) the wings were actually amazing – the hot dog, what you would expect in Mexico.  We headed back to the villa for a much needed siesta.  I sleep wonderfully but around 5:00 Derek came in and said he was not feeling well.  The next 5 hours were horrendous for him – poor guy.  I will not go into details, but lets just say it was classic food poisoning. No idea what it could have been from as we both ate mostly the same thing, and if we got something different, we usually still had bites of one another’s.  It could be Nora or Norwalk or something he got on his hands.  I felt horrible and made a couple runs to the store to help replenish his electrolytes – but other than that there was not a lot to do; so I got caught up on some emails and thought into every sound my tummy made.

 

Around 9:30 he turned in for the night and sadly said there was no way he would be able to go tomorrow on the catamaran tour we were both really looking forward to.  Once again, never book a tour on the last day you are on vacation!  We did this in the Philippians and the weather was bad the last day.  We didn’t want to have to do the tour here on the last day but this tour company came highly recommended and the only day left was the last day here. 

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