Adventures

Playa Hermosa
And Roca Partida

Photographs and Text by John Todd, Jr.

Espaņol

Map
How to Get There
How to Get there from Veracruz
South from Veracruz through Alvarado, past Lerdo and Angel R. Cabada.

Just after the little sugar cane town of Cabada, take a left when you see the sign to "5 Chorros".

The road is paved all the way to the coast, and becomes a dirt road to Playa Hermosa and Montepío.

The trip from Veracruz to Playa Hermosa has a lot of scenery, and takes about 2 hours.
Bus
Our Bus
The Trip
My friend Moises Hernandez had invited me along with his family on Easter Sunday to visit his cousin Faustino in Playa Hermosa, near Roca Partida. He had rented a city bus for the occasion.

We figured the trip would take two or three hours, and to take full advantage of our time, we would have to leave early.

It was still dark when people started arriving.

Sleepy kids sat quietly staring at their mothers while they packed away sandwiches, cokes, and blankets for the trip.
Bus
Our Bus
Bus
Our Bus
Bus
Our Bus
Technology Pushed to the Limit
In Mexico, bus drivers are kind of like a king on his throne, surrounded by red velvet trimmings to protect the eyes from the glaring noon day sun.

When it began to sprinkle on the way back, the windshield wipers wouldnīt work.

At the toll bridge in Alvarado, I watched while the driver reconnected the wipers, disabling his new Hadley air horns.

As the sun came up, we bounced down the highway and everybody settled into the routine of the trip.
The Trip
The Trip
The Trip
Moises and his daughter
The Trip
Moises and his daughter
Breakfast in Alvarado
By the time we got to toll house at Alvarado the kids were beginning to wake up hungry for breakfast.

A young man was selling fresh "volovanes" which are typical of the area around the port of Veracruz.

They are pastries filled with crab meat, pineapple, or shrimp that sell for about 5 pesos.

I was hungry too, so got one filled with pineapple, and a coke across the street at one of the little booths selling "refrescos".
Volovanes
Volovanes
Volovanes
Volovanes
Road to Roca Partida
Road to Roca Partida
Off the Beaten Path
Once we got off the highway, and drove around the San Martin Volcano, the land became very green as we wound our way down to the Gulf.

Most of this area wasnīt settled until the Agrarian Reforms of the 1960īs.

We didnīt see many people until we got closer to the coast.
Road to Roca Partida
Road to Roca Partida
Road to Roca Partida
Road to Roca Partida
Road to Roca Partida
Roca Partida
Roca Partida
When we got to the coast we could see something off in the distance that looked like the Rock of Gibraltar.

Itīs "Punta Roca Partida", or Split Rock Point.

Around the bend are caves.

Itīs rumored pirates used to hang out here, waiting for Spanish galleons laden with gold from South America, slowly cruising across the Gulf on their way to Veracruz.
Road to Roca Partida
Road to Roca Partida
Approaching the Coast
As we got closer to the coast, we began to cross little streams.

Crystal clear. From the mountains off to the right.

Further down the road, closer to Playa Hermosa, we began to see people who live in the area.

The kids were now looking out the windows at all the new sights.

I donīt think they had ever seen a beach without people.
Road to Roca Partida
Road to Roca Partida
Road to Roca Partida
Road to Roca Partida
Beach
Playa Hermosa At Last!
Playa Hermosa at Last!
Over the hill were the beaches of Playa Hermosa! We had arrived! The kids excitedly scrambled out of the bus to take a look in wonder at the beautiful scenery unfolding before us.

One of the men asked permission of the people in a house nearby to set up a temporary camp, while Moises went looking for his cousin Faustino.

About 15 minutes later Faustino came back to invite us to his house.

He said we were probably hungry and he had a fire going with some fish ready to fry.
Beach
Settling In Under the Trees
Beach
Packing Up Again to Go to Faustinoīs House

So, we piled back on the bus and drove the 3 blocks to his house to see what awaited us.

Tortillas
Tortillas
Easter Sunday
Faustino invited us to spend Easter Sunday at his house in the country in Playa Hermosa, Veracruz.

Faustino's tortillas cooked on a wood fire give them a special smoky flavor you can't get in most Mexican restaurants.

Everybody in his family helped.

We just kind of watched and talked with Faustino while he cooked.
Tortillas
Tortillas

Tortillas
Tortillas

River
Creek
The Creek
Nearby is a small creek with cool refreshing water.

Faustino had invited us to take a swim while he finished cooking lunch for us.

The day was warm and the water was fresh and cool, coming down the mountain from an extinct volcano called "San Martin".

River
Creek

river
Creek
Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa
The Beach
After lunch Faustino took us for a walk to the beach with his kids which is about 2 blocks from his house.

It was lots of fun!

The pelicans were tame and enjoyed being fed.
Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa
Pelicans
Tame Pelicans
Roca Partida
Tame Pelicans
Campers
Campers
The People at the Beach
The people in Playa Hermosa are friendly and let you have a picnic in front of their homes. Or if you want to camp on the beach they will keep in eye on things.

The fishing is always good and cleaning them in the fresh stream nearby is easy.

We saw some ladies preparing fruit and vegetables for lunch for their large family.
Campers Cleaning Fish
Campers Cleaning Fish
Campers
Preparing Lunch
Fixing Lunch
Preparing Lunch
A Bucket of Fish for Lunch
The local men were pulling their nets in, full of fish One of the older kids asked if he could pull, too.

When they finished, the men gave him two large fish for helping them.

We brought back a bucket of fish from the men on the beach.

By that time the cooking oil was hot on the stove and everybody pitched in to help.

The fried fish were great! I ate 3 all by myself.
Fixing Lunch
Preparing Lunch
Fixing Lunch
Almost Ready
Fixing Lunch
Preparing the Caldo de Pescado
A "Caldo de Pescado"
Faustino stayed busy.

He is preparing the fish we brought back from the beach for a "Caldo de Pescado", or fish stew for later in the afternoon when we get hungry again.
Fixing Lunch
Fresh Fruit for Lunch
Delicious
A Delicious Lunch!
The Stream
The Rock
Back for a Swim
Some of the older people went back to the stream to relax in the cool fresh water.

You could hear them splashing and talking, like we did earlier in the day.
Fixing Lunch
Time for a Siesta
Siesta Time
After a full lunch, some people took a siesta in the shade.

Soon it would be time to go back to Veracruz.

It was something nobody wanted to think about.

Many years later, back in the States, I remember that Easter Sunday in Playa Hermosa, and want to go back.

There's no place like it!

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