Hi, my name is Lance Thorne and I own and manage the Fresh Breeze Inn (La Posada Brisa Fresca).
I first spent time in Mexico about 36 years ago. I traveled by bus and train around many parts of Mexico and Guatemala for six months. I studied Spanish by compiling vocabulary words and verb tenses in a notebook and then studied in Antigua Guatemala for 6 weeks. I fell in love with the culture, the people, and the land. I have returned many times to the mainland and took two Baja camping trips in my old Toyota pickup.
Most of my adult life I have been a woodworker in Southern Oregon. The last 20 years before moving to Chacala I was designing and creating one of a kind high end furniture.
Eight years ago I decided to see the coast surrounding Puerto Vallarta, having missed this area in the past. I arrived in Chacala after fleeing the noise, bustle and crowds in Sayulita, a “surfing” town of several thousand people that lies about 30 miles south of Chacala.
Upon arriving in Chacala I was struck by the physical beauty of the Bay, the incredible friendliness of the local Mexican people and the tranquility of the beach and the town. There was and is a large majority of Mexicans who live here. Many of the International people I meet are alternative types, like myself, looking to get away. There are only around 400 full time residents here. About 40 are expats, like me.
Chacala has traditionally been a fishing village. Due to the protective shape of the cove it was one of the first harbors used on the west coast of Mexico when the “white” man first came to the west coast of Mexico. Slaves were brought through, gold was shipped out, pirates came and went, and of coarse the natives suffered.
There are still around 20 pongas (20 foot long, open hulled, gasoline powered boats) that go out to net or hook fish most every morning when the sea is calm. So fresh fish is available here daily.
The palapa structures you see along the beach are mostly restaurants that specialize in, yes of course, sea food.
Our marina is not large enough to accommodate the shrimping boats so they dock at San Blas, a large town about 30 miles to the north.
Although Mexico has gotten a reputation for being dangerous, as in most large countries there are “safe havens”. Chacala is exceptionally safe. Many visitors have commented on how safe and secure they feel here, even compared to where they live.
There is quite good rapport and cooperation between the local Mexicans and the small “expatriate” population. Rotary club and individuals have provided a school, medical clinic building, and an on going scholarship program for the kids growing up here called Cambiando Vidas (Changing Lives).
We now have a full-time medical doctor here who provides medical care for everyone in the village including visitors.
The village has three small grocery stores where you can buy most staples; but pretty much no meat or poultry. Fresh fish is available most days at 2 fish markets or right off the dock in the early morning.
The closest bank, with an ATM machine and a variety of other types of stores are available in Las Varas which is 8 miles east. Take the Colectivo (vans taking several people at once) for around a dollar, or a taxi for around 10 dollars.
A funny thing happened to me about a week after my first arrival in Chacala. I began thinking about buying land and staying here. This was rather amazing since up until then I had never considered doing so, in fact, I had lots of reasons why, “I would never buy land in Mexico”. Funny how malleable our beliefs and perceptions can be at times.
Within two and a half weeks of arriving here I was in process of buying a hill of boulders which overlooked the town and the bay. I designed the Inn and was quite involved in the Inn’s construction. What was to be a six month process stretched out over three years. Ah, Mañana Land. I live on the second floor of the Inn so I am generally available to answer questions and solve problems.