Life in La Cruz: Passionate about the Marina and people and he serves in La Cruz; Rafa Alacantra

As the La Cruz malecon gets cleaned up and remnants of the very successful RHA festival get taken down I interviewed Rafeal (Rafa) Alacantra about the many events on the marina property this season, not realizing there are more to come.

The boom, boom base of the DJ festival will be replaced next weekend with delightful happy children. Rafa’s favorite event is the fishing tournament for children, which happens to be this weekend, Sunday May 5th starting at 8:00 am. Kids from all over are invited. It’s free and they receive T-shirts, a fishing rod, bait, a meal and more. The prizes are grand; bikes and scooters! Split into two age groups children four to eight and eight to twelve; fun for all! Rafa shared his passion about the event, “In a fishing village like La Cruz many of the children’s fathers are fishermen, to fish like their Papa lights them up as they get to feel what their father feels.”

The Festival of Wind takes place starting in La Cruz and sailing to Bucerias, May 16 and 17 followed by the Junior Olympics where the best Mexican young sailors sail Optimists, Lasers and windsurfers May 16-18. These young sailors represent 14 states of Mexico.

Rafa says, “The events are my opportunity to meet new people, show my place and are the opportunity to learn what I need to improve for my clients. Nothing like happy clients and receiving compliments; I’m always listening for feedback.”

World-class Marina meets small Mexican fishing village = La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. I asked our Harbourmaster, Rafa, what brought him here? “Heading up the Marina Riviera Nayarit team has been very interesting. My goal 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 our clients and respecting the environment and preserving the tranquility of the town and the people living here.

My arrival to this position was step by step. I worked at Marina Vallarta, creating the first “cruzers club” at the Flamingo hotel in 1999. Running the restaurant I invited boat owners and we created a sailors club. A few people looking for a place to create a real Yacht Club invited me to join them to create and run the first yacht club in the bay. That was the Vallarta Yacht Club, which I ran before day one; creating, hiring, and training everyone. We opened in November 2002 and I worked there until 2008 when a friend invited me to join Marina La Cruz. I didn’t realize the commitment until I comprehended the dimension of the project a few months after I started to work here.”

I also asked Rafa about how he and his team positively impact the waters of La Cruz. “Although its not in our jurisdiction its 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. We’re so confident of the health of our water that every year in April we host the open water swimming competition.”

The marina staff works hard as a team to renew their Blue Flag certification each year. 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.
Rafa’s favourite quote: “More action, less talking.”
Visit La Cruz, walk the malecon and if you see Rafa, say thanks!

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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