This Los Ayala/Punta Raza trail update was submitted by Lori Schneider-Wood from Sicamous, British Columbia. Lori leads this hike nearly every Tuesday between January to mid-April. On average, she has 6-20 hikers who join her each week. The group meets promptly at 8:30am at the south end of Los Ayala Beach, before the trail begins, and everyone is invited to join her.
Lori also organizes a group to clear these trails after rainy season ends. She welcomes anyone who is willing to help and as she says, “it’s fun!” This season, because rainy season ended so late, she was able to see several mature plants she had never seen before.
If you decide to go without a guide, Lori asks that you please be respectful of the gate at Playa del Beso (Kissing Beach), as the owners generously allow hikers to pass through their property – in other words, if the gate is closed, be sure to close it behind you!
The last hikes of the season are scheduled for March 25, April 1 and April 8. If you are interested in participating or would like additional information, please leave a comment for Lori below.
Enjoy Lori’s very detailed hiking notes…
Before You Begin – Important Notes to Remember
- Each Trailhead and Junction will have two red or orange flagging tape tags (one each side of the trail) indicating a trailhead or a junction. The rest of the trail will have pink flagging tape tags indicating that you are not lost, but are in fact, still on the trail.
- Since this is the jungle and it is a live, ever-changing environment, these directions and the map are current as of February 2014. Weather conditions, can and do, rapidly result in changes to the trails.
- As of March 2014, Trailhead #1 to Playa Punta Raza (white line on trail map) is a single track trail from local fisherman and us trekking through it and has not been cleared. This is due to the length of time it took to clear the other sections of trail this year from all the extra rain and growth. Trail #1 is still doable.
- Use of any of these trails is, as always, at your own risk.
- Pack out what you take in – leave only your footprints – only take your memories.
- Make sure you let someone know where you are going.
- This map and directions are not GPS tracked or to scale. Feel free to send GPS coordinates to Lori.
These directions are in order of the loop hike Trailhead #1 to Trailhead #2.
Starting at the west end of the Los Ayala beach, hike up the hill towards the small restaurant at Playa Freideras (also known as “Kissing Beach”), which will take you approximately 5 minutes/.4 km. The owners, Henry and Mary, have given hikers permission to pass through their property. If the entrance gate (see Figure 1) to the restaurant is closed, please ensure that you close it behind you! This is a very generous offer from Henry and Mary so it is very important that we keep the gate closed if closed when we arrive. They have a watch dog that Henry ties up when he opens the gate. Once across the footbridge stay to the left then rear of the building stopping where the chain link fence ends. Once there and directly in front of you, you will see an area in the chain link fence where you pass through (see Figures 2 & 3). Please note the red and orange flagging tape markers indicating the Trailhead entrance.
To show our appreciation to Henry and Mary, we always stop on our return for a cold drink (excellent food as well).
Kissing Beach to Trailhead #1
Approximately 10 minutes/.6 km
- Single track of switchbacks for approximately 5 minutes where it changes to an old overgrown skid road (see Figure 4) for a further approximate 5 minutes.
Trailhead #1 East to Playa Punta Raza (see Figure 5)
Approximately 45 minutes/1.9 km
- Great views of the estuary, Playa Punta Raza (see Figure 6) and the farming valley (see Figure 7).
- Trailhead #1 to Playa Coral sign/trail junction (see Figure 8; approximately 35 minutes).
- Turn left at the sign to continue to Playa Punta Raza (approximately 10 minutes).
- This is a great spot to have a snack break and do some exploration of the area where you will see the estuary to your left and some great bays to explore once you cross the volcanic rocks (see Figure 9) on your right.
- This beach (see Figure 10) is slated to become a tourist development, so enjoy the time to explore this beautiful spot in its natural form.
- El Monteón and Lo de Marcos are accessible by walking to the south end of the beach and over the hill.
Trailhead #2 West to Playa Punta Raza to Mirador Lookout
and Playa del Toro
- Backtrack along the trail from Playa Punta Raza (see Figure 11) to the Playa Coral sign/junction (see Figure 8) and turn left to continue on the loop trail (approximately 15 minutes/.6 km from the Playa Coral sign/junction) to the Mirador sign/junction (see Figure 12). Note: This is also the way to Playa del Toro.
Important Note: This is a major junction on the trail coming from Trailhead #1 West taking you to Trailhead #2 East (i.e. doing the loop). Facing East, if you turn right at this junction you will continue on to Trailhead #2 East and Kissing Beach; If you turn left the trail will take you to Mirador Lookout and Playa del Toro.
- From Mirador sign/junction turn left to Mirador Lookout (see Figure 14; approximately 10-15 minutes/.73 km).
- This a great view to see humpback whales, manta rays jumping in the surf, a variety of birds including turkey vultures, so make sure you bring your camera.
- Prior to reaching Mirador Lookout, you will come to a little junction that will take you to Playa del Toro (see Figure 15; about 15 minutes) if you go to your right. Look for a large freshly fallen tree and the orange or red Trailhead tags.
Mirador Lookout and Playa del Toro Junction to Trailhead #2 East
Approximately 45 minutes/2 km
- On returning to the Mirador Lookout junction continue straight across (see Figure 16). Do not turn right, as it will take you back to Playa Punta Raza (see Figure 13).
- Continue to follow the trail paying attention to the flags. Approximately half way back, you will come across an overgrown skid road, where you will take a slight jog to the left and go straight across that skid road (see Figures 17 & 18). There will be two red/orange flagging markers on each side of that skid road in case that road ever gets regraded.
- Continue following trail (pink flagging tape tags) until you come out at Trailhead #2 East (see Figure 19).
- Turn left and follow old skid road (you started on this trail). Turning right will take you back to Trailhead #1 West entrance.
Trailhead #2 East to Kissing Beach
Approximately 10 minutes/.6 km (see Figures 19 & 20)
- Follow flagging tape tags until you reach the switchbacks down to Kissing Beach (see Figure 4).
- Congratulations you have returned to Kissing Beach, and it is now time to enjoy that cold beverage you’ve been looking forward to!
Overall, the total loop hike will be about 2.5 hours of total hiking time depending your speed and is approximately 6 km return in total length. Stopping to take photographs, eat, rest or appreciate the scenery will add to the length of time you are out there. Only doing a portion of the hike is also an option. Allow yourself 5 hours to leisurely hike the trails on the map.
Note #1: The times noted were from experienced hikers. Actual times may vary depending on your pace and experience level.
Note #2: Excess flagging tape tags are not for hikers, but to assist the guides in finding the trail again next year.
Recommended Things to Bring With You
- Water is very important, but many people find that one bottle is not enough. Even though you are in the shade of the jungle, it is hot in there!
- Good footwear is necessary. Flip flops are not recommended.
- Pesos for that cold drink and snack at Henry’s on your return, if desired.
- Bug repellent. It is also good to oil up over top of the repellent (olive, coconut, sunflower oil works well) to help keep off any ticks or chiggers that may be around.
Figure #1 – Kissing Beach entrance
Figure #2 – Trail entrance behind Kissing Beach restaurant
Figure #3 – Trailhead behind Kissing Beach
Figure #4 – Top of Kissing Beach switchbacks to old skid road
Figure #5 – Trailhead #1 entrance
Figure #6 – Trail #1 beach view
Figure #7 – Trail #1 farming valley view
Figure #8 – Junction to Playa del Coral
Figure #9 – Playa Punta Raza volcanic rock
Figure #10 – Playa Punta Raza looking south
Figure #11 – Trailhead from Playa Punta Raza back to trail
Figure #12 – Major junction to La Mirador and Playa del Toro
Figure #13 – Major junction to Playa Punta Raza
Figure #14 (shown at top) – La Mirador, which translates to lookout or vantage point
Figure #15 – Playa del Toro
Figure #16 – Major junction to Trail #2 East end
Figure #17 – Old overgrown skid road (west end) on Trail #2
Figure #18 – Old overgrown skid road (East end) on Trail #2
Figure #19 – Trailhead #2 entrance
Figure #20 – Kissing Beach Restaurant
by Lori Schneider-Wood and Leah Berkhoff
This story was submitted by one of our readers. 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