By Tommy Clarkson from the August 2013 Edition
Wanta’ get away from most of the tourists? Looking for good, authentic Mexican seafood? Seeking a sea breeze with a great vista? Searching for a cold, sweet – and potent- margarita?
If so and you seek to experience Mexico at its leisure and have fun “up close and personal” then La Boquita is the place to do so!
With a variety of similar appearing places to choose from – right on the beach – we suggest you first try “Don Silvestre” as, fo r our taste and preferences, it seems the best. There are four parking places directly in front of the restaurant and a small lot across the street. (And, perhaps just as importantly, it also has restrooms on that side of the road.)
We always enjoy a table, under a large beach umbrella, directly on the beach. But be aware that if the tide is coming in your toes may get wet . . . part of the fun of it all for us!
As you enter and even before selecting your table you might want to inquire if Efran or Leo (pronounced Lay-o) are there. They’ll take good care of you. Then – keeping your priorities in order, get a drink! Select whatever you wish but, for what it’s worth – and this is Mexico – so we generally have margaritas . . . “rocas sin sal” on the rocks without salt.
Now proceeding to savor your visit, notice that there is a good likelihood that you are the only gringos around!
This is no touristy time share or walled in all inclusive. This is Mexico with Mexicans enjoying the ocean, her beaches and great sea food.
As to sights: The vista itself is wonderful. Note the Santiago Bay before you; the long expanse of magnificent beach with families playing in the water and small children building sand castles on the beach; the small fishing or recreational boats moored just off shore, bobbing in the waves; at low tide, the top of the ship sunk in a hurricane several years ago and around which scuba divers sometimes gather; and the beauty of Elephant Point to the right (From the correct angle it looks like and elephant’s head, ear and protruding trunk.)
Sounds? Many! There are wandering mariachi bands whose tuba and drums seem to comprise the preponderance of their happily presented musical fare (ask their fee first before consenting to a serenade); or the have a “tin can concert” by one of the more imaginative “musicians” who will give you a lively performance table-side; the older gentlemen who lacks no enthusiasm but isn’t, shall we say, quite yet ready for Carnegie Hall; and then, of course, there are the ice cream vendors playing the looped Henry Mancini tunes.
Smells and tastes. These too are in abundance and generally found together! From the hand pushed cart of candies and nuts to Juan and his hand carried, large basket of “Oh so great” pastries (I really recommend you save space in your tummy for at least one of these). The ajo (garlic) will delightfully assail your senses from the freshly caught fish cooking nearby. And, then, of course, there is that which is simple pure nature in the sea breezes.
If its summer time a splash in the surf will cool you down. I generally wear old sandals or flip-flops because, depending on the season and wave conditions there may be a few rocks underfoot.
But one of the biggest draws is that of the people around you. Smile and acknowledge them and you might just well have instant new friends who may or may not speak a word of English – but that doesn’t matter!
Recently, of the family to one side of us, Fernando – whose nickname was “Rooster”, born in Guadalajara and married to a girl born in Chicago, chatted with us about his time spent working in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. On the other side, we were soon asked if we would join them in a family picture . . . and this only after but the briefest of Spanglish conversations!
So just how do you get there? Just in case you don’t know, start at the intersection below Los Hades with the golf course, OXXO, Chipotle restaurant and the new Toyota dealership on the four corners, proceed 3.3 miles through Santiago – heading in a northerly direction. At that stoplight turn left and enter the gated community of Club Santiago.
Drive .6 of a mile straight through the Club Santiago housing – with a slight wiggle in the road toward the end and then a jog to the left to stay on the cobblestones – until you arrive at a dirt road straight ahead. In a few feet is a T-intersection, turn left and twist and turn .3 miles where you will see a blockish, brown house on your left.
Go another .2 mile passing eight of the ten palapa
(“Ramada” – you’ll see it on every sign) restaurants. All of these establishments have the same Corona Beer sign with their individual restaurant’s name at the same size, height and location out front. The next to the last is Ramada Don Silvestre Restaurant!
If you’ve a larger group, call ahead (335-1799) someone might – or might not – understand you and be waiting!
This – one of our “regular ‘go to’ places” – is an experience not to be missed!
Tommy Clarkson is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s lived and worked in locales as disparate as the 1.2 square mile island of Kwajalein to war-torn Iraq, from aboard he and Patty’s boat berthed out of Sea Bright, NJ to Thailand, Germany, Hawaii and Viet Nam; He’s taught classes and courses on creative writing and mass communications from the elementary grades to graduate level; He’s spoken to a wide array of meetings, conferences and assemblages on topics as varied as Buddhism, strategic marketing and tropical plants; In the latter category he and Patty’s recently book, “The Civilized Jungle” – written for the lay gardener – has been heralded as “the best tropical plant book in the last ten years”; And, according to Trip Advisor, their spectacular tropical creation - Ola Brisa Gardens – is the “Number One Tour destination in Manzanillo”.