La Cruz is a Mexican fishing village situated on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahia de Banderas in the state of Nayarit. It is situated approximately 25 km from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. The town name comes from a cross that is made of Huanacaxtle wood which is located at its entrance.
With a population of about 1,600, the village is very traditional—consisting mainly of aging concrete buildings along cobblestone streets. Most are residential, with a some small family-run restaurants and mercados. There are a few retail establishments along the main road that leads to town.
The literature states that La Cruz is a quiet village. Actually, it is anything but. It teems with the noises of everyday living– children playing, dogs barking, roosters crowing, delivery trucks passing, occasional merchants selling their wares from the back of old vehicles, construction sounds, and a lot of music—some of it pleasant, some of it not so much especially late into the evening.
There’s a traditional village square with a bandstand in the middle and a lovely church on one corner.
Every Sunday, there is a huge outdoor market along the harborside with dozens of vendors from all over.They sell mainly crafts, clothing, and prepared food items, with some produce.
On Wednesday, there is a small local market in the middle of town where household goods, clothing, miscellaneous sundries, and produce can be found.
The Mercardo del Mar (fish market), which features fresh catches of the day is part of the original harbor. Fisherman come and go from there each day, selling their catch. One can literally buy a whole fish or a fillet directly from the fisherman as he is cleaning it. There is also an excellent seafood restaurant at this location, as well as a smaller one that features traditional Mexican food.
In 2008, a major renovation of the harbor was completed and it now boasts a beautiful marina capable of handling vessels up to 400 feet in length. Fishing boats line the docks on the fish market end of the harbor, while pleasure boats of all types and sizes fill the remainder of the marina. There’s also a boatyard and a fuel dock.
On the opposite side of the harbor, there is a beautiful yacht club with two excellent restaurants. Many pleasure boats as well as some tour boats dock there.
We had been to La Cruz before–once to visit the Domingo Mercado del Pueblo, and another during a private tour of the area. It seemed a quiet as well as picturesque locale (we did not go throught the town either time), so we decided to spend some “real Mexico” time here (much as we had done in Sayulita on a previous trip).
Sayulita is an exciting Mexican village, with many interesting retail and eating establishments as well as a significant population of American and Canadian expats. Its best features are the several beautiful beachfronts, where the “surf is up” a lot of the time. La Cruz, on the other hand, is a more typical Mexican village, with few attractions other than the marina. There is a small beachfront that doesn’t appears to be very popular.
What we’ve learned from our exploration of Sayulita and La Cruz is that, for us at least, these are nice places to visit for a day, but not to stay for any extended period of time.