Golden Age Backpackers: Petroglyphs near La Luz del Mundo Church in Los Ayala

Visitors and snowbirds wintering in the Jaltemba Bay area have probably visited or certainly heard of Alta Vista, a fabulous Tecoxquin (“Throat Cutters”) archeological site. What most visitors do not realize is that there are numerous, but smaller ancient sites displaying petroglyphs located right in our own backyard.

One such Tecoxquin site can be found just off Highway 200 and behind La Luz del Mundo Church in Los Ayala. Not having visited the goat field since the 2012 season, I decided to revisit the field and update my notes prior to publishing. Well, part of the plan fell apart when I discovered that the goat pasture containing the ancient art had been left to the goats and the ancient stone carvings were difficult to view being hidden in tall grasses and vines. Fortunately, I was able to locate most of the spirals and mysterious carvings. However, one decorative rock segment containing a beautiful spiral shape had been chiseled free and carted off. A difficult feat because the missing stone slab must have weighed well over a hundred kilos!

The exact meaning of the rock carvings has never been fully explained, but the spirals have been interpreted to relate with the weather and the seasonal weather cycles. I’ve also noted that an article suggested a coiled snake or comet as a possible explanation. A few seasons ago a Huichal Indian convinced a friend and me that one rock shape represented an eagle in flight. At the time his explanation was convincing. You’ll have to decide what you want to see! With each visit over the last four or five seasons, I’ve noticed that homes and pastures are slowly encroaching and damaging the number of boulders inscribed with petroglyphs. Continued attrition is probably in the works because the ancient historical site is neither government protected nor guarded in any fashion. It’s time to visit before the ancient rock art disappears.

 

If you have time, and don’t we all, take a stroll through the lower goat pasture to the top of the sloping field and you’ll find spirals and other shapes carved onto the large boulders. The small site where you’ll find goats grazing is located in a grass filled pasture within easy walking distance from your parked vehicle. As well as observing the ancient symbols you’ll be rewarded with a view of Los Ayala with the sparkling azure waters in the background.

How To Get There

Take Highway 200 driving toward Puerto Vallarta past the Los Ayala turn off and past the Oxxo store and church on your left.

Continue on about a half kilometer from the traffic light and turn off to your left just past a large steel traffic sign and park at a new palapa restaurant, La Ceiba.

Walk up the gravel road passing on your left a home and goat pens until you reach a fence.

Follow the path along the fence line to an iron wire gate. Pass through the gate into the lower pasture and walk diagonally uphill to the left hand corner of the field. Once you reach the green belt of palms and scrub growth look to your left for an opening in the fence into the next or adjacent field. It’s in this pasture that you can search out the large rocks with the shapes cut into their surfaces.

While this is private property the owner has never minded us visiting the site. Just make sure you close the gate coming and going and a “gracias” or two will never hurt.

Running shoes, long pants, hat and water are suggested plus bring your camera! Enjoy the ancient stone carvings before they completely disappear. Returning to your vehicle stop at the new birria restaurant and enjoy a cool beverage of your choice. Possibly a snack or a cerveza!

We love to read your comments!

by John and Doreen Berg

This story was submitted by one of our regular contributors. To learn more about the author/photographer, click on the “Contributors” tab near the top of the page. If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

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2 Reviews on “Golden Age Backpackers: Petroglyphs near La Luz del Mundo Church in Los Ayala”

  1. :

    Hola, Thanks for your comments. We'll need to check one or more of the thesis. If you're interested view "Stories by Alex". We spent time looking for spirals in the Nayarit and he published 3 or 4 books.

  2. :

    Hello John and Doreen Berg, excellent photos. Since as I know, the spirals, mean the "Ollin Yoliztli" or, " Life and Movement", The symbolism of the Godess, but you can found the professional explanation at the Anthropological Museum in Tepic. There are more than 20 Doctoral Tesis about the indian petroglyphos in Nayarit, made it by Schollars of the U.C.L.A.

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