San Blas is a small town that was formerly used as a base to fight pirates in western Mexico. Perhaps because swashbucklers have ceased to be a threat for some time, the town has developed a forgotten, rather neglected personality. Some of the larger hotels resemble left-over horror movie sets as they are reclaimed by the surrounding jungles, crocodiles are increasing their numbers in nearby mangrove swamps, and the town is famous for swarms of tiny, biting bugs that adore the place. These are of course a few of the reasons why San Blas is such a great destination for the eco-traveler.

This might sound like a contradiction but because San Blas is not growing by leaps and bounds like seaside locales in so many other areas of the world, habitat for wildlife is kept safe from being converted into sterile, plastic-dominated resorts.

Boat tours are excellent for seeing a wide variety of waterbirds that reside in the mangrove forests and wetlands that surround San Blas. Most of these tours also include a visit to the Tovara Springs and a crocodile farm. The springs are a swimming hole in the middle of the mangroves while the farm is self-explanatory and the reason why crocodiles are frequently seen from the boat. The croc farm might also explain the presence of supposedly tame crocodiles in the springs and why more people hang out at the on-site restaurant than in the water (although no one has been attacked yet).

Back in town, other than enjoying a place that actively practices the art of taking it easy (also known as doing nothing), one of the other main activities is a visit to scrub-covered islands just across an estuarine channel. Most travelers get ferried across the narrow stretch of brackish water to hang out on the island’s beaches. Huichol natives from the highlands, however, trek down to San Blas and specifically go to this island for sacred ceremonies they have been carrying out since pre-colonial times.

Because of this, care should be taken to not disturb any prayer circles or otherwise obvious sacred sites on the island, nor should you touch any God’s Eye weavings or arrows found in the area as these are sacred objects that were purposely left behind after Huichol ceremonies.

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