There are two ways to get to Playa las Tortugas from the Fletcher’s house, Casa Corona del Mar. You can make your way down the hill to Platanitos and then drive for about six miles down a rutted dirt road through Mexican cowboy land (cattle, mango groves, and fields of tobacco) until the roads ends at a huge grove of coconut palm trees, part of a former plantation, that delineate Turtle Beach. Or, if you’d rather, you can wait until low tide and just walk across the estuary.
The latter approach might take you two minutes of wading through shallow water as opposed to a 30 minute drive. But there are risks. When the tide is up the current is strong and weak swimmers can easily be pulled out into the ocean where currents will quickly sweep you up along the coast where it is almost impossible to exit the water because of crashing waves and a rocky coast line. So you need to time your visit properly so you don’t get stuck on the wrong side of the estuary.
But one way or the other, you have to go to Turtle Beach. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Yesterday, around noon, I crossed the estuary in knee-high water and combed the golden beach for miles, collecting shells, and saw only three or four other beach goers. Later, I just plopped myself down in the shallow water, barely deep enough to cover my body, and closed my eyes as the small waves washed over me. It was as close to an all-natural massage as you’re going to get.
I haven’t done this yet, but Babs, a friend of the Fletchers, says I absolutely must take the estuary birding trip with Armando. She says Armando is an autodidact who knows all the flora and fauna here in Nayarit.
“At one point,” she said, “Armando whistled to a hummingbird and it came out to talk to him—just like a Disney movie.”
Hmmm….The Hummingbird Whisperer?