From Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas

The five of us were up early-ish and off down the highway on the standing room only Boca bus for our hike to Las Animas. Rather than walk all the way into town and over the bridge, we elected to take our shoes off and ford the river at Boca de Tomatlan.

Ty and I had done the first half of the trail last year so I knew that part of the hike. The first bit past the ocean front houses is easy walking right along the water’s edge.

I remembered this enormous fig tree from last year.

We saw lots of pelicans and frigate birds sunning themselves on the rocks, as well as this iquana.

There are some very nice oceanfront villas here, none of which appear to be occupied at the moment. Quite a few are for sale.

After the first bit, the trail winds up and up the mountain and down the other side. Catching a glimpse of the gorgeous emerald blue-green water from the hill on the way down is fantastic.

This small bay is as far as Ty and I got last year so I wasn’t exactly sure where the trail heading south was. One map I looked at showed it running along the water but another blog said to look for the high trail. We came to a fork in the road and, after Barb saw that the waterside trail looked a bit sketchy, we decided to opt for the 1,000 step staircase heading up the hill.

We traveled quite a ways uphill into what was pretty dry brush, with dry leaves and dry dusty ground making it a bit difficult to navigate in spots.

We got to another fork in the road and met a family coming up the hill who said that the boats did not come into the bay below and that we should continue upward. Unfortunately, this turned out to be incorrect advice. After some debate as we were standing almost at the top of the mountain on a trail to nowhere, we decided to cut our losses and head back. Thankfully, we met Tammi on the trail back and she told us that, yes, we were supposed to go down the trail that the family had told us was the wrong one. Feeling a bit more chipper now that we were back on the right track, we headed down the hill in a canter.

Walking the last bit towards Las Animas was like following a mirage in the desert; first one beach, then the next, then the next, Las Animas always receding in the distance.

Some of the group were pretty weary by this point, since by now, we had been walking for about three hours and one of our party didn’t bring enough water.

The first couple of beaches here are private, with no facilities available unless you’ve booked in to stay.

Coming into the home stretch, we crossed this vast expanse of sand, only to see yet another sign pointing the way around yet another corner to Las Animas.

At this point I was beginning to feel like the character in the Monty Python movie that keeps turning to the audience as he’s walking away, saying, “Follow me, it’s not much further …”

Finally, after almost four hours of walking, we arrived at our destination and met Tammi and her group of intrepid hikers at the Caracol restaurant.

This group of Canadians shared their bottle of raicilla moonshine with us, pouring out shots served with slices of orange. OMG was it strong!


Along with the people were two lovely dogs in their group, Chester the pointer and Chino the terrier-chihuahua mix.

Doug, Tammi, Larry, and the others offered us a ride back in their boat, and the free margaritas that went with it. They do this hike every Monday during the season and are the restaurant’s best customers, so they get a great price on the drinks and the boat.

At four o’clock we all piled on the boat and headed back to PV, stopping at Los Arcos along the way to feed the fish.

The one hour ride back is timed to arrive just in time for Happy Hour at Langostino’s on the beach, which is where our group rolled to.

It was a great day and now I have sworn off tequila for the rest of the trip …

See more photos here.


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