Since our first winter in Jaltemba Bay, we have always heard chatter among those from up-north about heading back to the US or Canada prior to Semana Santa or Easter Week. As Semana Santa is in late March this year, we are already seeing some folks hitting the road, to spend some time in the southern US before heading further north to spring weather in Canada or northern US.
So, should you stick around to see a true Mexican family Easter or is there sufficient fear to get-out-of-town before the masses arrive?
Staying in Jaltemba Bay, you will likely see some local traditions around this religious holiday, such as a parade or fiesta. Similar to the Christmas rush, you might find some people are only on the coast for a few days, depending on time off work and the family budget. I know a number of travelers who are used to arriving by bus and find a simple bungalow that fits their taste and budget. Usually, all rooms are booked well in advance so it is not worth the risk to simply show up and see what you can get.
A few days prior to Good Friday you will see traffic increasing and each bus dropping off another 30-40 people. Tents start going up on the beach or near the beach accesses. Buses start plugging the retornos in Guayabitos as people off-load into the beach hotels and bungalows, then many buses park on the lateral and side streets in Guayabitos for the duration. Despite the No-Parking “E” signs, drivers take the attitude that the yellow painted curb was set aside as their personal reserved parking space. The noise level increases as evening fiestas get underway, and numerous Mariachi bands arrive in town to play the beaches for propina. This can get quite bizarre as they fight for beach space, so you end up with two or three bands within a few meters of each other. The best advice here is get up and move to another area of beach, or simply get your beach-time in the week before the crowds arrive.
(top photo) Note the TWO Mariachi bands, foreground and background right, fighting for attention and a propina.
The best advice I was given, and we still use, is to do most of your provisioning for Semana Santa the week prior to the rush. Plan to ride your bike or walk to get your supplies or to get around town. You will quite often see basics, such as dairy products, cleared out of the shops early in the day. Heaven forbid, I even found some beer distributors were short of cold inventory at times! Grupo Modelo actually filled a garage/warehouse across the highway with beer, in anticipation of Easter week sales.
For those staying through Semana Santa, another piece of advice is to hold off your drive north until at least a few days after the vacationers are gone. I also heard this is a good time to check out the interior of Mexico, as most Mexicans from the interior are out on the coast!
by Rob Erickson
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