Having retrieved the anchor safely we set sail for San Blas, a mere 42 miles. The seas were calm but there was just enough wind to sail for some of the way at least.
San Blas is a very old town dating back to 1530, with an historic center and plaza but not many people seem to visit because it has a reputation for having an abundance of very small flies called no-see-ums or jejenes. We were nervous about this as it can be unpleasant stuck on a boat being eaten alive but we thought we should give it a go.
We anchored in the large bay of Matanchen with its tropical setting with coconut palms, long beaches lined with palapas and warm waters. There were about five other cruising boats in the anchorage but it could have taken hundreds more.
We took Little George to the beach and had something to eat at a restaurant owned by a man called Edwardo. He spoke passable English and helped us understand how we could get into town and do the river trip to the natural springs at La Tovara. This is more like it! Mexico in the raw, tropical, all locals and not being pestered by people selling catapults and straw hats. Its Tropical Man!
Our Friends from Anacortes were also here and we all decided to take the river tour to La Tovara together so we dinghied ashore again the following day and walked the dusty road to find a panga to take us to the springs. We walked passed shops selling homemade breads and cakes and the girls bought some to eat along the way. The panga took us up the swampy mangrove river that was at first enclosed overhead by the mangroves and then opened up to lush tropical lands with high mountain backdrops. The panga driver pointed out various birds – owls, herons, eagles and vultures and then crocodiles! I was amazed at how many there were.
We arrived at La Tovara and ordered some food and drinks from the small restaurant which was excellent, all homemade and very tasty. We all went for a swim in the clear fresh spring water leaping off the rope swing. Everybody there seemed to be having so much fun all laughing at everybody falling in the water off the rope.
The following day we took a taxi into town. It’s about 8 miles and cost us $4. We loved the old town with its historic plaza and church and small shops and markets. I managed to get the Mexican phone topped up so we could make some calls and we walked around town. On the way into town we passed a group of restaurants selling seafood including lobsters and oysters and we decided that this would be a good place to have lunch. We walked back to this place and found a place to eat. We tried our best to understand the menu asking the waitress what different dishes were. Shrimp, Lobster, fish etc etc. When the food came we had every dish that we had ordered. They kept coming! We did not have the heart to send them back so we boxed some up to take home with us. Clearly we need to work on our Spanish.