Playa Patzcuaro: A New Family Hiking Record

Starting the year off with a long hike is something of a tradition with us. Last year, it was Kep National Park on the other side of the world. It wasn’t much of a hike, but living in Phnom Penh, beggars can’t be choosers.

In and around Sayulita, it’s a different story.

Today, we’re attempting the longest hike we’ve ever done with both boys. Just under six miles with about 300 feet of elevation gain.

Noe actually did this hike with me about a week ago, but we took the dirt road/ path route to Playa Patzcuaro and back. In the interest of avoiding some of the bigger hills this time, we’ll be walking on the path along the highway on the way back. Not as picturesque, but flatter.

This is Lori and Riley’s first time doing this hike. Lori and I will take turns carrying Riley. Noe will be walking on his own. Here we go!

This hike would be almost twice as long if we attempted it from our house, which is on the far eastern edge of town. Instead, with the golf cart, we’re able to shave off a few miles, getting the loop down to just under six.

The route down to Playa Patzcuaro is a combination of rough dirt track and cobble stone roads. There isn’t a whole lot out here. The first half of the hike is dominated by the densely-forest property owned by Villa Mis Amores. Motorized vehicles are prohibited through the property, but the the public is permitted on the trail.

The second half of the hike is very hilly, with jungle-covered cliffs on your left, and a smattering of luxury vacation properties facing the sea on the right.

Just under an hour after we started, we arrive. Playa Patzcuaro, the farthest beach from Sayulita that we can reasonably reach on foot. And one of the most desolate.

You might have noticed we’re all wearing long sleeves and pants. We woke up to a chilly 50-degrees (F) this morning. It’s been pretty chilly lately, but 50 might be a new low. I looked up the low in Phnom Penh in the past 24 hours and it was around 72 degrees around 4am.

Our bodies (and our wardrobe) were not adequately prepared for this sort of thing moving here. But perfect weather for doing a moderate hike with a baby on your back.

Playa Patzcuaro and Patzcuaro Sur are separated by this lagoon/river. Lori and I have plans to come back to explore the other side once we get a little deeper into dry season.

Lots and lots of sticks and debris on this beach, perfect for building.

After a nice extended rest, we start our way back. This time, we’ll continue on Calle Patzcuaro, which, believe it or not, leads right into the river. In fact, on maps, Patzcuaro Road and the river are one and the same. Don’t believe me?

This guy has a better idea.

The return trip was a long, slow trudge up the highway. Punta Mita highway was surprisingly busy for noon on New Years Day, especially given that New Years Day fell on a Friday this year.

Most of route along the highway traces horse trails along the shoulder. But there are some hairy portions, particularly if the road is on the busier side like it was today.

By this time, the crew (understandably) was getting pretty tired and hungry. But Noe was a trooper and didn’t complain too much. Riley, on the other hand. Seems, the sherpas were not up to his standards.

Three hours after we set off, we returned to our start point. Well, not quite. I volunteered to jog the last half mile back to the cart and pick up everyone, to avoid having to backtrack.

Still, a pretty impressive feat for Noe, if you ask me. Though we carried Riley most of the way, he’s was still a pretty good sport almost up until the end, which is about all you can ask from a two-year-old.

Just before sunset, we round off New Years Day with street tacos and quesadillas on the beach.

On the way home, we couldn’t resist one more special treat to share to mark a fun filled first day of 2021.

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