La Cruz: Beachfront Living Cleanly

As I looked toward Vallarta today the surf was up and I delighted in watching surfers ‘catching’ waves. The swells even pulled a buoy from its anchor, it bobbed right by the surfers.

A family group complete with three squealing girls, a mama who had quite the laugh and friends or family set up for the afternoon, running in and out of the ocean, taking breaks for snacks and drinks. They appeared to love every minute of their day at the beach.

A gal was running the beach back and forth many times, and then I noticed her walking, bag in hand picking up garbage. We keep two garbage cans and a recycle bin at the beach and hang extra bags on it for people to use. We empty them regularly, so I guess others prefer a clean beach too!

There’s been some chatter lately about the safety of swimming in Banderas Bay. Some beach towns were noted in a recent article stating that the water was not fit for swimming. La Cruz was never mentioned yet we are one big bay and as a larger community we care for each other. So, let’s be clear, as I understand it, the water was tested in June after a heavy rainfall, the first of the season. The ‘pollutants’ are due to runoff from up the hills and drain down through rivers and channels created for that purpose, picking up any garbage in its path. Relatively quickly the runoff is clear via wave action and more rain.

I asked the La Cruz harbourmaster, Rafa Alacantra, about how he and his team positively impact the waters of La Cruz.  He said “Although its not in our jurisdiction, it’s important to us that all the beach water of La Cruz is clean and swimmable. At the marina, we encourage all boaters, to use our free pump-out service, including boats that are not using our slips. We understand that they need to discharge their tanks and they will do it somewhere, so we offer to do it for free, always, for everyone. We also monitor the ocean water inside and outside of the marina, through ITMAR University. We’re so confident of the health of our water that every year in April we host the open water swimming competition and in December of this year we are hosting a triathlon.”

It can be challenging overseeing the largest marina in Mexico in a small and quiet town like La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. Rafa’s goal leading the Marina Riviera Nayarit team is to develop and maintain a smooth running operation that includes many people with many interests while providing the best quality and affordable services to their clients, respecting the environment, preserving the tranquility of the town and the people living here.

For the fourth year in a row the Marina staff worked hard as a team to renew their Blue Flag certification. They’re proud to be the first marina in Mexico to do so. The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognized voluntary eco-labels awarded to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators. In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.

Thanks in advance for helping keep our beaches clean, abandoning straws and plastic and for recycling!

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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