San Carlos, Mexico
Confetti Easter Eggs, Hammock Swinging, Kayaking-It's the Best Easter Ever
By Lisa Harris


My four-year-old hunts for brightly colored Easter eggs underneath the hibiscus bush dripping with vivid red flowers. It’s hard to tell the difference between the candy eggs and blossoms. Behind her, the ocean shimmers and pelicans fly overhead, preparing to dive-bomb unsuspecting fish.

It is Semana Santa , Holy Week, in Mexico, and like other families, my two daughters, ages four and fifteen, along with my older daughter’s friend, spend the Easter break at the beach in San Carlos on the Sea of Cortez. The area may be best known from the movie, Catch 22 , where a portion of the film was shot. Catch 22 Beach, or Playa Algodones, is located on the far west side of San Carlos.

FESTIVE BEACHES

The town, usually sleepy with fishermen, American retirees, and scuba divers, morphs into a festive theater for the week. The beach bursts with people as multi-generational families set up camp in makeshift homes. Some are actual tents while others are thrown together with plastic and blankets stretched across poles. They are accessorized with mattresses, clothing, pots and pans. I watched two men wrestle a full-size oven into one tent and wondered how they were going to ignite it.

Once settled, men and women sit on chairs under protective canopies and look out at islands that dot the bay. Others play volleyball, the court’s boundary outlined in seaweed. ATVs dart through the milieu, with little kids squealing on the back seats, clutching the drivers. Catamarans, kayaks, and well-used fishing boats play in the surf. The air is filled with hovering shore birds and fluttering kites. Street vendors troll the beach, hawking hammocks, jewelry, and carved ironwood figurines. One man pushes a white ice-cream cart through the sand, crying " helados " to each family group he passes. Children flock to him, and he passes out coconut-flavored popsicles dipped in chocolate.

When not people-watching or hunting for eggs, we enjoy the setting at our three-bedroom condominium, at Condominiums Pilar, a complex tucked next to a protected estuary on the east side of the bay. There are a multitude of places to stay in San Carlos, hotels along the main road and vacation home rentals, but I prefer Pilar, a secluded development away from the hustle and bustle of downtown.


HAMMOCKS 'R US


After dinner, people sit on the sea-wall, sip exotic drinks made from Alejandro’s fruit, and watch the landscape turn a shade of lavender as the sun sets behind the mountains. In the darkness, my girls build a huge bonfire on the beach from collected palm fronds. They roast marshmallows and make S’mores.
"I can do it. I can do it," Ava screams, waving the browned treat stuck on a stick. She has managed to successfully roast her first marshmallow without charring it.
At bedtime, I wash Ava’s sun-kissed face, smeared with marshmallow goop and chocolate. Her hair is full of sand and cascarone confetti.
"This is the best Easter ever," she says.
*****

NOTEWORTHY INFO:


General Information on San Carlos, Mexico
: http://www.sancarlosmexico.com/
Diving and kayak rental
: http://www.surfacetime.com/
Places to stay
: San Carlos Plaza Resort, http://www.sancarlosplaza.com.mx/  
Fiesta Hotel, http://www.mexonline.com/fiesta.htm  
Vacation home rentals, http://www.sancarlosmexico.com/rent.html   Condos Pilar, http://www.sancarloscondos.com/index.php?a get directions or contact Melinda Louise Real Estate
1700 E. Fort Lowell Suite #107
Tucson, Arizona 85719
Phone: 520-615-9693
Fax: 520-615-8539

Lisa Harris travels often with her two daughters. She is a wildlife biologist in Tucson, Arizona and loves to expose her children to nature. This summer they plan to visit Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, to see moose and explore tide pools in the Bay of Fundy. This is her first article for BAFT.

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