Saturday, December 27, 2008

My experience in Chacala & the Petroglyphs of Altavista

A few days ago I visited Chacala for the first time. With friends, I am basking in the warm sun and enjoying the soothing ocean before returning to Alaska and the cold days of December, January and February. --from Marilyn C.

We loved the town of Chacala. People are friendly; the scenery is beautiful; and of course, the ocean beaches are mesmerizing. And ooooh, the espresso cappuccino!


Cappuccino made with organic locally grown coffee at the new terrace cafe Chac Mool

Leaving from La Penita in the morning, we were in search of a fine day of exploration. Our group of four would rent kayaks and take a beachside lunch wherever our whim found us; however, our day’s goal was to locate and see the renowned, but elusive, petroglyphs.

Several people had “heard” of them; few ever had actually been there. Upon sketchy directions, we embarked from Chacala to the main highway.

If you should wish to go, here is the “word map.”

Upon leaving Chacala, and meeting highway 200, turn south. Travel 7.3 Km and take a left, toward Alta Vista. Go 1.6 Km and you will turn left again on a dirt track. This is the tricky spot, easy to miss. A helpful ranchman aided us. There really is no special landmark here. Another 0.8 Km will bring you to a place where you must leave your car parked -- unless you are 4WD equipped. From here on, it’s rough. Captial R on rough! Take the sharp right-hand road and proceed carefully, whether afoot or bouncing along in your 4WD. At times you’ll believe the road is going to vanish, but then it picks up again, always tending more or less to the right. Eventually, you will ford the stream. Shortly after that, you will arrive at a cul de sac. This is the Petroglyph trailhead. It is 1.6 Km from were you left your vehicle. A 15-peso donation to the gentleman at the gate will allow you to enter.


Corn Man at Altavista, 8 km from Chacala

Wear shoes capable of carrying you over rocky ground with poor footing. Sometimes you’ll be walking on river-worn rocks, observing the ‘glyphs to your left and right. Keep a sharp eye. They are many, but they are subtle. If you stay tuned, you’ll “feel” their sacred, ancient power – too sacred for photographs, it would seem, as my usually dependable camera malfunctioned just before this trek. Nevertheless, I shall take home vivid mental images and the satisfaction of having been in the presence of Huichol Indian mythic power.

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Is the village of Chacala part of the Comunidad Indígena de Chacala which also has the village of Yelapa as a member?

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