Lo De Marcos
The tourist crowd is an interesting blend of Mexican and international visitors. Many of the rental properties on or near the beach are owned by Mexicans from inland, most of those from Guadalajara. Probably 60-70% of the tourists in Lo De Marcos are retirees that are there for part or all of the winter. Many of those are recreational vehicle owners that live in the 5 main RV parks situated on or near the beach.
Of the non-Mexican tourists, the split seems to be around 80%-20% Canadians to Americans, judging by the license plates in town. Americans are most likely to be from Northern California, Oregon, or Washington State. Canadians are most likely to be from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec. One of the jokes in town is that there are about as many Saskatchewan Roughrider flags flying as there are Mexican flags. The notable Quebecois tourist population in Lo De Marcos is primarily located on the north end of the beach. Seasonal residents sometimes refer to this jokingly as the 'French Quarter'. So yes, you can be misunderstood in at least 3 languages in this little town.
Getting to Lo De Marcos (or anywhere on the Riviera Nayarit), is easy. Direct busses up highway 200 are available from the Puerto Vallarta airport. It's about 45 minutes to an hour from the PV airport to Lo De Marcos. An excellent how-to guide for finding your way can be found here
At about 2 square kilometers, all of Lo De Marcos is very walkable, even with a beer in hand. Visitors often travel to nearby towns such as San Francisco (San Pancho), Sayulita, Rincon de Guayabitos, and La Peñita for additional sightseeing. This can be done via taxi or bus. Busses run frequently along highway 200. The bus stop for Lo De Marcos is near the convenience store on the highway.
Lo De Marcos' biggest draw is obvious- It is blessed with a long, wide stretch of near-perfect, and almost completely empty, beach. There is a river outflow on the north end of the beach near the Tlaquepaque RV park and resort, and tidal pools at the south end. Humpback whales are commonly seen off of the beach. Lo De Marcos is built around a central natural wetland, where turtles, waterfowl, and other wildlife can be spotted. Iguanas are not uncommon.
There are festivals several times a year, including independence day and Semana Santa (Easter week). On these holidays and long weekends, the beach swells with tourists from inland.
What not to do is more like it. Hanging out in a chair on the fantastic beach with a beer and friends should be this town's logo.
The surf break at Lo De Marcos can range from lake calm to large angry breakers. The southern end of the beach is suitable for surfing, and it's not uncommon for the local kids to show up with their boards after school. Most of the surf break at Lo De Marcos are large breakers that crash quickly and produce a long, strong churn, very suitable for boogie boarding by people of all ages. Kayaking is popular here.
Many species of fish inhabit the waters just off the coast here. Sierra, Dorado, Huachinango (Red Snapper), sea perch, and Bhota (blue triggerfish) are commonly fished for because of their abundance and excellent taste. If you're interested in angling or catching your lunch, many local fishermen are open to taking on passengers, and both the rate and company is always good.
Golf- The town is blessed with a lovely little golf course 15 minutes away. For $15 a day, you can golf to your hearts content at Campo de Esuenos (Field of Dreams). This lovely executive course recently expanded to include a new par 4 and a new signature par 5 with an island green. In addition, a new open air clubhouse with state of the art kitchen, dance floor, and Canadian satellite tv on the big screen ensure that this will be a well-used party destination for the Canadian and American snowbirds.
There are a few souvenir shops with handmade crafts. Several stores specialize in beach gear (towels, beach toys, inflatables, etc). There are several clothing outlets. In general, Lo De Marcos has all of the staples of day-to-day living, but does not have the overdeveloped (and expensive) retail of traditional travel destinations.
There are also some beach vendors selling jewelry and local handicrafts, but you certainly won't be harassed by them like in established tourist destinations. If you're looking to shop, the 15 minute drive to Rincon de Guayabitos or La Peñita to the north, or Sayulita or Puerto Vallarta to the south are in order.
There are 3 or 4 liquor stores in Lo De Marcos. Liquor prices are, on average, about 10% higher than in discount chains or outlets in larger towns.
There are 4 or 5 great restaurants in Lo de Marcos, most offering excellent traditional Mexican fare. The restaurant at the Tlaquepaque hotel is excellent. On Saturday nights, the number of food service outlets triples as the town square comes alive with taco wagons and entertainment. 'Taco Hopping' is a common Saturday activity amongst seasonal visitors. The puerco con piña (roasted pork with pineapple) and tacos lengua (beef tongue) are local favourites. Ground pork is the most common taco served. Because of the abundance of fresh seafood, excellent ceviche is abundant.
Lo De Marcos also has a fantastic rustic clay oven bakery, producing a wide variety of breads, cakes, pastries, and other delectable treats. There are several grocery stores with all the items required for daily life, and also a local produce wagon that will bring all varieties of produce to your door, including tourist imports like potatoes and apples. And no trip to the town square would be complete without a slice of Arcelia's world-famous chocolate tres-leche cake.
Homesick for some western fare? Burgers and dogs abound in Lo D, but many visitors head up to Rincon de Guayabitos to someplace like Jaimie y Tequila Willie's on the south end of the beach. Here the Western Canadian influence is in full effect, since you can watch an NHL hockey game and chow down on very reasonably priced prime imported Alberta beef.
There are 4 or 5 small hotels in Lo De Marcos. However, it's common for residents also have bungalows for rent above their primary residences. Many beach houses can also be rented, either short or long term.