Amigos de la Cruz does much for many

When friends get together to make a difference lives are changed for the better. Today please help me thank the people of Amigos de La Cruz.

There were two entities that merged to become the organization it is now.

APERCH, the predecessor to Amigos de La Cruz, had its beginning in 2003 when the highway to Punta de Mita was built. Unexpectedly, La Cruz was left with an embankment and no entry into town. Residents and small business owners of La Cruz got together and petitioned the Municipal President for:

  • Construction of a town entrance
  • Protection of the Huanacaxtle trees
  • More frequent garbage removal
  • Investigation of the effectiveness of the sewage treatment plant
  • Improved communications through the Delagado (town delegate)

Their efforts were successful and La Cruz now welcomes visitors via the gorgeous cross at the Glorieta and the sparkling waters of Banderas Bay. Encouraged, they continued working to improve garbage collection, street cleaning and communication with government officials. The group is now known as Amigos de La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, A.C. In 2014, Amigos received the status of Asociación Civil or Mexican non-profit corporation. In 2015, Amigos received their Donatario status as a Mexican tax-deductible charity.

The medical program was originally called ‘The Friendship Club’ with its sole mission to provide medical support to the needy of our community by paying for medical expenses and medicine. Founded in 2005 by Kathleen Dobek and Philo Hayward to raise funds to buy hearing aids for a profoundly deaf little girl. After that goal was met, others asked for help, and through the years, they have spent thousands of pesos helping hundreds of people.

The good works of the Amigos de La Cruz board continues to impress me. They are passionate, committed and fun. I’ve asked them what inspired them to join and do all they do.


David Hibbard; President

Several years ago, friends visited my home here in La Cruz.  They had introduced me to Puerto Vallarta back in the middle of the 80s. Lazily floating around the pool as I slipped in and out, nipping a branch in my garden here, and adjusting something there, my friend calls to me “David, it’s alright to do nothing”. That’s not what I’m made of and at that moment I realized that my life here in Mexico needed to be fulfilled with committees, events and volunteerism, as is my life in Wisconsin.


Fast forward a few years, occasionally attending Amigos meetings assessing the organization, understanding its purpose, and giving input; it happened… I was asked to serve on the board of a new model Amigos de La Cruz.  With the full credentials of a registered AC, the mission was similar to the past, but the bar seemed to be raised higher in terms of contribution to our community.


Now as President, the bar keeps rising, higher and higher. Privileged to be surrounded by some of the most competent and giving people I have ever known we have a respect and friendship that “busy people” love and appreciate.  The challenges of planning and executing events, developing a Kids Club, sponsoring a summer school program, hosting a team of dentists to provide care to our grade school children, carrying out a very successful plastic recycle program and beautifying the main streets of La Cruz are all part of the mission of Amigos de La Cruz. If you are interested in a fun ride while making a difference, Amigos is the place to be.”


Patricia Spencer; Vice President

“The transition to retirement was not an easy one for me, as I feel compelled to have a purpose to my life. I also believe that humans are wired to help one another, we need to make our little corner of the world a better place for those less fortunate by using the gifts we have. Volunteering with Amigos, whether it is producing a fundraiser or directing a play, or just having fun makes me a happier human being… I have a purpose, and together we help our community. It’s all good, please join us this season.”


Amy Welch; Secretary/Treasurer & Communications

Humble Amy only shares the good of others. Since she won’t I must say, Amy is amazing, forever inspiring others, collecting donation items for fundraisers, updating the newsletter, communicating with all who need to be informed and so much more.


Inspired by meeting new and interesting people from different walks of life, Amy stays committed; she says “It’s fulfilling, interesting and at the same time, we’re working together to provide support to our community. I think that we all feel we are adding a small drop of help. Together we make a difference. This is why we do what we do – in service of others that touch our hearts and minds, and stir our souls.”


Joanna Varvos; Director & Membership

“My husband, Cam, and I had been wintering in La Cruz for several years, making the annual trek north for summer then escaping south before the first snowfall.  We quickly concluded that we are not multiple residence folks, preferring one home in one location; really, was there even a choice? We had fallen in love with the quiet, friendly fishing village of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and set down our roots here.  Soon enough we discovered that our lovely village and its amiable residents faced many issues which citizens in our northern home take for granted; such as schools with crumbling infrastructure, inadequate toileting facilities, a dearth of learning materials such as books, scholastic materials for both students and teachers, even such basics as crayons and pencils.  There are the families who cannot afford medical care for needed drugs or life-saving surgeries. We discovered the dedicated group called Amigos de la Cruz who commit much time and effort to assist with these issues and so much more. I am a proud member of the Board of Directors of Amigos de la Cruz.  We are always looking for more members and volunteers, and we welcome hearing from YOU!!!”


Lina Bureau; Environmental Chair

“I guess I do it for the love I have for La Cruz and for all the smiles I get on Monday morning when I collect containers full of plastic. After four years it has become a must, a normal thing to do just like sweeping my yard every morning. Hearing thank you from all my Mexican friends and the willingness they have now to keep our town clean and recycle keeps me committed. I feel I am now a part of La Cruz family.”


Carmen Tapia; Chair of education and medical

“I’m proud to be a member of an association focused on community service like Amigos De la Cruz. We all share the common goal of improving the environment and people’s lives. I’m a strong advocate of fulfilling children’s educational needs and Amigos de La Cruz make good things happen for the children in the community.”


We are so thankful for our silent benefactor from Canada and La Cruz who donated the Kids Club space for one year; fingers crossed we can use this great facility even longer; visit the Kids Club at Coral 5, just off Langosta at the glorieta.


Berenice Eugenia Uribe Guijarro; Director

Berenice and her husband Javier help in so many ways, always lending a hand when needed. They also help navigate the political landscape.


Joanna welcomes you to learn more out about Amigos de La Cruz. “Ask us questions or learn about volunteer opportunities; visit us at the La Cruz Sunday market where our friendly coterie man a table.  Satisfy your curiosity about our activities and/or sign up to receive our email newsletter.  We look forward to meeting you!”


The next event is a Black & White Masked Gala – A Night to Remember on December 8th.


Bravo, you’re all doing a fabulous job! Gracias Amigos!




Amigos de La Cruz ‘get ‘er done team’.


From left to right;

Front Row; Carmen Tapia, Joanna Varvos, Amy Welch, Berenice Uribe

Back row; Patricia Spencer, David Hibbard

Missing from photo; Lina Bureau

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Cindy Bouchard
Cindy Bouchard, an expat Canadian runs a Boutique Hotel, Villa Amor del Mar, in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. She and her husband Chris are living and lovin’ in Vallarta–Nayarit. If you want more info on La Cruz or desire… A very special vacation contact Cindy via