Sunday was the day of a grand adventure, traveling from Punta de Mita to the area of Alta Vista for hiking and checking out a sacred indigenous site filled with petroglyphs, then down to Chacala, a local surfing and fishing town on the coast for lunch, boogie boarding, and swimming. Starting early, we had an advantage over the heat, but the rain from the night before had completely saturated the ground we were about the hike on. We got a taste for the trail as the ten of us drove down the muddy and stone ridden drive, packed in a van, heading closer to where we were going to hike. We saw “Gringo Trees” (trees that are white, with peeling, red bark, just like me!), bulls, geckos, frogs, and other wild plants.
We parked and headed down the muddy path, avoiding deep puddles and slippery mud as we made our way down towards the Piletas Creek. As the mud caked on the bottom of our shoes, we slid down some rocks, and eventually made it to an all rock path.
From there, we crossed through the creek (yes, through it – the cold water felt amazing on our sweaty feet!), and made our way to the opening of the Petroglyph path. We climbed over and around huge boulders, through the water a few more times, while stopping to check out the rock carvings we were surrounded by.
The Petroglyphs are an amazing collection of rock carvings created by a Mexican indigenous group known as the Tecoxquin (“Throat Cutters”). Spreading across an area of 80 hectares, this group of rock drawings is one of the largest concentrations in the area, dating back to 1612. Living in the entire southern region from Nayarit to Jalisco, the Tecoxquin people made a living from farming, fishing, salt producing, and trading cacao and cotton.
The exact meaning of the drawings are unknown; however, some people have tried to figure out what the symbols may mean. The spirals, wavy lines, and other symbols carved in the rock of Alta Vista probably represent a ritual language of prayers to the Tecoxquin Gods concerned about the fertility of the earth, abundant rain cycles, and the continuous seasons they depended on. The spirals have most commonly been interpreted as the sun, rainstorms, wind, coiled snakes, or as a symbol of the natural rainy and dry cycle.
Modern day Tecoxquin people come to the Altavista site often, performing ceremonies and leaving offerings for Nakahue, “Our Grandmother Of Fertility”, and also Tatevari, “Our Grandfather Of Fire”. Often, the people will travel to Chacala, where carvings are located, and leave an offering for Tatei Aramar, “Our Mother Ocean”. Needless to say, it was a very mystifying place deep in the rainforest.
Chacala, a neighboring surf town, was our afternoon getaway for lunch, swimming, and boogie boarding.
And to top it all off, we stopped at one of the many fruit stands along the road to get some coconut, mangoes, and pineapple.
Couldn’t get any better than this.