|The New Pier at Puerto Lopez|
Last month we visited Puerto Lopez and stayed at our favorite place – Hosteria Mandala – and got to finally see the completed malecon (boardwalk). It’s been three years since our last visit and I couldn’t believe the transformation. There are bike lanes, pedestrian lanes, roads and bridges, where dirt and sand used to be. They landscaped the areas with palm trees, flower beds and street lights. The bad news is the side roads—off the malecon--are still dirt (aka sand).
|New Bike Lanes in Puerto Lopez along the Malecon|
The dusty streets never bothered us much, but it rained the entire week we were there so Puerto Lopez became Puerto Lodo (Mud) and so we sloshed through the streets with our flip-flops—nearly sliding down most of the sidewalks and kicking up mud wherever we went. We’ve always gone in June, July or August because it’s cooler with no humidity and often overcast, but it’s never rained. This time we got lots of rain, so much so that I was walking on the beach in my bathing suit and holding an umbrella (if you can picture that!).
Our favorite beach—Los Frailes—was the same (rain) with one notable exception, the sun peeked through the clouds for a couple of minutes before it started pouring down rain. And we noticed there were tighter restrictions at the entrance; they searched our belongings before heading up the path to the beach. We remember seven years ago, when there was just a dirt path, no signs, and just paradise awaiting you.
Los Frailes is still paradise, but there are signs posted everywhere about not picking up shells and coral and to dispose of garbage properly. No food or drinks allowed on the beach. There’s an area where you can have lunch near the entrance. I’m all for keeping Los Frailes pristine, but I felt like I was going through airport security.
The last day before we left there was a beautiful sunset and the following morning the sun came out and the sky was gorgeous—just like we had remembered it. I think it will be quite a while before we return and if we do, we’ll be sure to go in March when there’s a guaranteed sunset every evening and no rain!
|Sunset at Puerto Lopez|
|Sunrise from Our Balcony|
|A Sunny Morning -- Our Last Day!|
|Introducing the New Malecon!|
But one thing has remained the same—Hosteria Mandala, which is the only place to stay in Puerto Lopez. It’s an oasis of tranquility, fine hospitality, and excellent food! Pasta Aurelio (cream sauce with shrimp, garlic, and walnuts) is a must and we had it twice and for dessert—freshly made coconut ice cream. Life doesn’t get any better than that! We always enjoy meeting people from around the world and some have become lifelong friends. Staying at the Mandala is like coming home!
|Hosteria Mandala at night (our home away from home)|
|The New Malecon -- almost reminds me of Avila Beach in California|
|Our Balcony at the Mandala (aka Connie's reading spot!)|
|The Pathway to our Room at the Mandala -- magical!|
|Exotic Flowers at the Mandala|
|The Dogs of Puerto Lopez|
|The New Malecon with lots of seating areas and beautiful new brick walkways.|
|View of the Ocean from Our Balcony at Hosteria Mandala. I can still hear the ocean waves...|
Puerto Lopez has undergone an amazing transformation and we'll be back.
|The sun came out for us on our last day!|
Until next time...hasta luego,
Just in time for National Dog Day, Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Really Did That? will be hitting the bookstores on August 8, 2017. My story is titled "Two Marines." I'm excited about this book and all royalties go to The Humane League.