Leaving LaVentana

Well, three months in Mexico and it’s time to leave LaVentana.  December was a disappointing wind month and we knew that we would need to give a month notice, so we made the call to leave at the end of January. There’s a lot to say about La Ventana–weather, lifestyle, things to do, the good stuff and the not so good stuff, so here goes.

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9 thoughts on “Leaving LaVentana

  1. The Weather….you can’ t say anything bad about the temperature during the winter in La Ventana. One of the first ‘stories’ we heard (especially from folks who never went there) was that it got very cold at night. We had a few cool nights, but as soon as the sun comes up, it warms up to the 70s. In three months, we had one night with a brief rainstorm. We weren’t even aware of it until we woke up in the morning and noticed the biking trails rode a bit better because they were damp. The sun is wonderfully warm and I think we put on shoes and socks a total of two nights when we went out to dinner in an open air restaurant.

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  2. The Wind… La Ventana gets wind two ways. One is the El Norte, a front that comes down from the north. The first day is usually gusty (it can be a challenging 10-23 mph) and difficult to sail in. The following two days are generally good wind and much steadier velocity. In November we had several El Nortes and sailed 24 days that month. Another way we get sailable wind is from the thermal difference between the desert to the south and the ocean water. As the sun warms the desert, it ‘pulls’ air that is over the cooler water and creates a thermal wind. That wind is intensified since there is an island offshore and the wind squeezes through the ‘window’ (La Ventana means window in Spanish) and accelerates. This is usually an afternoon wind and can shut off pretty quickly. In December we had the sun for thermal conditions, but they never developed as strongly as we needed to windsurf. Some longtime winter folks said it was because the desert was too green from the rain and was not heating up enough. There were other theories as well. Who knows? Anyway, it gave me time to kite in December. January was a good month for wind, the thermals kicked in and there was an El Norte as well. We had already made the decision to leave at the end of February, so we did.

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  3. The Lifestyle..nothing in Mexico is so important that it can’t wait and newcomers may have a hard time dealing with this attitude. Restaurants may or may not be open, the chicken man may or may not be there. Just learn to live with it. Things get done on their own time. Even the local livestock are laid back. They are loose and graze alongside the roads, in the mountain bike trails and you don’t want to drive at night, because they can be in the road.

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  4. The Food…there is no shortage of places to eat in town. Everything from multiple hot dog carts that cook handmade hot dogs (Butch’s favorite was hot dogs especial) to Las Palmas where a fantastic filet mignon was $8 US. Many times it was cheaper to eat out than cook. The ‘chicken man’ has a grill on the side of the road where, when he was open or did ‘t runout, you could get two whole grilled chickens, corn tortillas, rice and salsa for $150 pesos, about $8 US and it would last us for two meals! The main grocery store (mini super) was Oscarita’s. It was probably less than 1600 sq ft and on a dirt road, but they carry just about anything you need. Some ‘American’ items were pricey (half and half, peanut butter, ground coffee). The local foods were very reasonable. It’s hard to find low fat anything– yogurt,etc most things are full fat and I am sure a lot of the small restaurants use lard, mayo, etc. That said, it’s hard to find many overweight folks around.

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  5. Things to do…. There is a lot more than just windsports in La Ventana. You can go to yoga every day of the week at various spots. You can play pickle ball three or four times a week, mountain bike with the campground group on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, hike with the hiking group at 7:30 on Tuesday mornings, attend free windsurfing tips on Friday mornings in front of the campground, go to the Farmers Market on Thursday mornings, and find other things going on in the Ventana View, an email newsletter that comes out three times a week. There is a busy music scene here with Open Mike venues two nights a week (mostly acoustic guitars and singing, but sometimes with a few surprises) and seasonal shows put on by the winter visitors for Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Many of the bars-Baja Joe’s, Playa Central, Delaney’s and Bandidos have music. Christy Walton’s foundation sponsors monthly talks where scientists give presentations about the local reptiles, flora, in also and sea life.

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  6. Geography… OK, let’s start with the Baja. It’s a 1000 mile long peninsula (an extension of California) that is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the east by the Sea of Cortes, which separates it from mainland Mexico. The southern tip of the peninsula is Cabo (resort to the stars). Mex 1 is the main auto route north-south down the Baja. The nearest city to La Ventana is La Paz, with a big bay and the Walmarts, Home Depots, etc. It’s about a 45 minute drive. The Baja is a continuation of southern California and also the San Andreas fault. The area is mountainous. La Ventana is on the Sea of Cortes with a mountainous island (Isla Cerralvo) about seven miles off the coast. At the south end of town the coastlines curves to the east, forming a ‘catcher’s mitt’. With the prevailing northerly wind, if you get separated from your equipment or have a problem or lose your kiteboard, it will eventually end up on south beach.

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