Casa Colibri, your private rental villa north of Puerto Vallarta, on the Riviera Nayarit, is in an isolated, rural area. The nearest town of any size is Zacualpan, about 25 minutes away by car.

Zacualpan is a busy farming town (tobacco, watermelons, beans, mangoes, tomatoes) where a good deal of the road traffic is heavy farm machinery such as tractors and combines. It’s not unusual to gas up your car right next to a farm tractor!

Though Zacualpan appears dusty, it’s a proud and well-knit community with its church, post office, police station and essential services, clustered around the central plaza. Shopkeepers and homeowners water down and sweep the sidewalks and streets every morning. There are many colorful festivals and parades, often with gaily decorated floats drawn by tractors.

Revolution day 2010: the 100th anniversary

Revolution day 2010: the 100th anniversary

queens of the festiva

queens of the festiva

Wednesday is market day in Zacualpan. It’s a street market, running along the north side of the soccer field. Here you’ll find many basic necessities except meat and poultry: clothing, kitchen implements, tools, replacement burners for your gas stove, fresh fruit and vegetables, herbal medicines for every ailment as well as pirated CD’s. There are a few little restaurants set up in the street, and at the entrance is a chicharrón concession: pork cracklings cooked in a huge tub of boiling oil over a wood fire.

Unaffected mexican friendliness.

Unaffected mexican friendliness.

People of all ages shop in the market, and despite the crowding and jostling, everyone is polite and friendly even though you may be a very obvious foreigner, to judge from your clothing and digital camera, if nothing else. You’ll find yourself welcome at all the stands in the market, even if you have no intention of buying anything.

cinnamon sticks, dried shrimp, garlic, raisins…

cinnamon sticks, dried shrimp, garlic, raisins…

flowers ready to set out on a stand.

flowers ready to set out on a stand.

the central vegetable and fruit stand.

the central vegetable and fruit stand.

making chicarrones

making chicarrones

If you're not fond of pork cracklings, you can always find a kid grilling chicken for immediate consumption.

Grilled chicken available at most hours of the day or night

Grilled chicken available at most hours of the day or night

So while you are vacationing at your exclusive private Mexico villa on the Riviera Nayarit, just 74 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, make sure to check out the local color! Your stay at Casa Colibri will make all this possible! On the other hand, if you fancy Big Cities, there is always Guadalajara, a megalopolis of 15 million, only three hours away.

Light traffic in guadalajara.

Light traffic in guadalajara.