Casacada Palo Maria

The other day I decided it was time to avoid the house for awhile. I had spent a moment on Pinterest, you see, (sometimes I like to see what my arch-nemesis is up to) and realized that some people do more with their homes than simply wiping the handprints off the walls. You may already realize that I am not one of those people.
If I started wishing that I was, I might go as far as dragging out the Christmas lights from the top of my daughter’s closet and scrounging around for an empty wine bottle. I might even make a half-hearted, embarrassing attempt at a DIY yard light that my husband would throw out while I was at work.
I decided we needed a family day trip to avoid this hassle completely. My husband saw on his Facebook feed that a friend had spent the day at the Cascada Palo Maria. The photos looked amazing; a tumbling waterfall and a crystal green pool below, giant boulders for sitting on and drinking cold beverages. Everyone was smiling. Everyone was relaxed. No one was sweating.
Gil’s friend told us that there was about a twenty minute walk from the highway to get to the waterfall. The GPS told us that we could drive in a short way from the highway. So we figured a ten minute walk sounded just about great.
We drove up the Mexico 200 toward Mismaloya. We almost reached Garza Blanca Resort when the GPS told us to turn left. This was a dead end. We asked several people where we would find the Cascada Palo Maria.
The first one told us we had to park our car and walk, following the Palo Maria River to the waterfall. I did not like that answer so we asked three more, who told us the very same thing. I finally gave in when the last person told us it was a fifteen minute walk to the falls.
I’m going to tell you something. Nearly everyone I have met in Mexico, including my own husband, is an extreme optimist when it comes to time and distance. I’m going to tell you something else. It is neither fifteen minutes nor is it a “walk”. At some points we were climbing over boulders that were almost as tall as I am. It took our family at least forty-five minutes. Upriver. Both ways (ok, well, it seemed like it).
However, if you are prepared for a hike and you enjoy a bit of cardio, this is a really wonderful experience for you and your school age children. Within about fifteen minutes we found a cool, tranquil pool in the river where local families were enjoying a dip. It’s surrounded by lovely large rocks for sunning, jungle-y vegetation, and friendly faces (if you go in the afternoon. In the morning there will be fewer people).
If you leave this pool for the waterfall itself, be prepared for about thirty minutes of climbing over river rock, getting your shoes wet, and trying to find the path. In theory there’s a path, but it gets tired of being a path sometimes and hides for awhile while you slosh through the river.
Eventually we hit the waterfall. I was exhausted. I was hot. But then I looked up, because, to my surprise, a work colleague was joyfully screaming my name as she perched on a rock about twelve feet above me, getting ready to leap into the clear emerald pool below.
Our family laughed, took some photos, and went for a swim, one of the best we’ve ever had in Puerto Vallarta. It’s nearly impossible to describe the kind of beauty that surrounded us, so you may want to come and see for yourself.
Apparently there are more waterfalls to be found if you continue on, but we were warned that it can be dangerous. Considering what we had already experienced, we stopped there for the day.
Easy? Absolutely not. Worth it? Oh yes. If you are bored and feel the way I do about home improvement, take a day to get away from it all and enjoy just one more of Vallarta’s jaw-dropping, heart-healing gifts of nature.

One comment

  1. Liza,

    You must be a great mother and school teacher , for you have such an interesting way of writing even on the smallest of things. Having a child’s perspective even as an adult and mother is one of those magical abilities. Many of the adult writers of children’s stories had this ability. I collect the Wizard of OZ books, Raggedy Ann and Andy books, Wind in the Willows , Old Mother West Wind, Little Black Sambo, Uncle Remus , and many others. Many are first additions. Some of these my mother read to me as a child..

    Also my recent collection of Golden and Silver age comic books (1940-50) , all of which helps me to recall my youth and maintain a younger mind.

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