Originally published in Pique Newsmagazine
Somewhere near the middle of the Pacific side of Mexico lies a beachside village that has more or less escaped the attention of large scale resort developers. It draws a certain breed of visitor, even converting some to part-time residents. For those with a sense of adventure and a desire to partake in the daily life of an authentic Mexican community, Troncones is probably the beach destination you have been looking for.
We found it the best way — by word of mouth. We had spent two nights in Zihuatanejo before the call to move came upon us thanks mostly to the fact that the harbour town had no waves to speak of and we were looking for surf. We would have spent much more time there if decent waves were close. The town has a rich history of pirates and conquistadores, and the warm hospitality we received from the community was second to none. But being a harbour town, the only waves inside the bay were quick closeouts that rarely went over the head.
Despite no surf in the town, there were a few random surf shops nearby, a sure sign that there were enough waves in the area to keep the locals stoked. One of the shop clerks was more than happy to share knowledge about nearby breaks, especially after we make a few purchases. He mentioned Troncones and gave the number of his friend Luis who owned a set of bungalows on the beach. All that sounded good enough to set a course to the village.
The only information we had was which bus to catch from the central depot. We told the driver to let us off at the stop toward Troncones, and hoped that he would remember to tell us. What ensued was probably the most fun I’ve ever had on a bus. The only parts on the bus less than 20 years old were the CD player, a 10″ subwoofer, and a half dozen 6×9 speakers. For an hour the roof of the bus resonated with Reggaeton and Mariachi-Moderna, as well as the usual top 40 crowd-pleasers. All the while screaming down the road as fast as the old bus can handle — though we had our doubts about safety a few times along the way.
Finally the bus driver stopped and signaled to the only gringos aboard, us, that this was where our trip with him ended. We transferred to a van to take us to the coast. The van stopped at a village with plenty to offer to a tourist. English signs pointed to several mini-resorts, each one with no more than 20-30 beds. Of course, some were nicer than others with private pools and cantinas.
Luis’ place ended up being everything we would need — a half dozen bungalows each with a double bed, outdoor shower, a communal kitchen, and enough hammocks on the property for everyone to have a siesta in peace. More importantly the front yard of the property was an immaculate beach with eight-foot barrelling breaks thundering offshore. This was exactly what we were looking for, and had it been featured in a guidebook, the hostel crowd probably would have overrun this place long ago.
Troncones has two main streets: the one that led into town from the main highway, and another that intersects that road and parallels the beach. The road along the beach boasted all the tourist activity. The local residents lived in the nearby hills but would congregate near the intersection, choosing between a community volleyball court, skate park, and pool tables for afternoon social activities.
Back at the bungalows we met three couples: one from Vail, one from Fernie, and one from China Peak. All had the same intention as we Whistlerites: escape the dead season doldrums for a few weeks, wait for the snow, and get some final shots of Vitamin D before the long winter ahead. The couple from Vail had rented a car and offered to take us along while they explored the local surf spots. Over the next week we went north to El Rancho and south to Playa Linda, rejoicing in perfect, fun waves that we had all to ourselves, meeting the random local every so often. The vibe behind the breakers was very relaxed, without the hint of possessiveness found north of the border where the waves are much more crowded.
At night a local family would open up their carport as a restaurant, and for less than $3 we fed ourselves until, stuffed on authentic home-cooked Mexican food, we trundled back to our bungalows.
Troncones might not be for everyone, but for those looking for an active vacation where you live the simple, unpretentious life of a beachside Mexican, then leave your worries at home and enjoy the opposite definition of “all-inclusive vacation.”