Thursday, June 21, 2018

Great Sleeps + Good Eats: Hotel Garza Canela + El Delfin Restaurant; San Blas, Mexico


Hotel Garza Canela  Paredes No. 106 Sur, 52 (323) 285 0112.  50 rooms.  Indoor parking.  Named in honor of a small endemic boat-billed heron, which is a light brown cinnamon color, this simple traditional-style Mexican hotel is one of the best in town.  A four-star property, it features grounds with extensive gardens.  Amenities include a swimming pool and children’s wading pool, as well as a lovely small chapel available for meditation or a wedding ceremony.  A large gift shop stocks a variety of crafts and clothing.  Beds are literally hard as a rock--the way Mexicans seem to like them--but I did enjoy a good night’s sleep, so no complaints here.

starfruit welcome drink at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
starfruit welcome drink at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


lobby at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
lobby at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


interior courtyard at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
interior courtyard at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


guest room at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
guest room at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


exterior of chapel at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
exterior of chapel at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


interior of chapel at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
interior of chapel at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


gift shop worker at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
gift shop worker at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


Renowned Mexican chef Betty Vazquez Gonzalez holds court in the property’s El Delfin Restaurant.  She studied at the Cordon Bleu in Paris and worked with chef Juan Mari Arzak at his three-star Michelin restaurant Arzak in Spain.  Chef Betty fuses Mexican ingredients with classic European cooking techniques and specializes in “sea to table” cuisine. 

exterior of El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
exterior of El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


exterior of El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
exterior of El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


dining room at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
dining room at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


chef Betty Vazquez Gonzalez at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
chef Betty Vazquez Gonzalez at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


A special dinner I enjoyed here included a tasty fine-chopped octopus-mango ceviche and a baked fish fillet with orange sauce over mashed potatoes.  When a gazpacho-style cold tomato soup with shrimp was served, we learned that tomatoes were introduced from Mexico to Spain.  Over a dessert of pineapple compote with cotija cheese ice cream we learned that the chef uses only organic produce--such as small and sweet local pineapples and Maya corn--and makes her own award-winning cheeses. 

agua de chaya at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
agua de chaya at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


appetizers at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
appetizers at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


octopus-mango ceviche at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
octopus-mango ceviche at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


baked fish fillet with orange sauce at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
baked fish fillet with orange sauce at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico



gazpacho at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
gazpacho at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


pineapple compote with cotija cheese ice cream at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
pineapple compote with cotija cheese ice cream at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico


Chef Betty says the “Mexican breakfast is very special, but the San Blas breakfast is more special.”  So we feasted on fresh mango juice, smoked fresh Marlin, tiny shrimp tamales, frijoles, and housemade yaca marmalade with sweet muffins.

fresh fruit breakfast plate at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
fresh fruit breakfast plate at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico



breakfast delicacies plate at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico
breakfast delicacies plate at El Delfin Restaurant at Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, Mexico



More things to do in Riviera Nayarit.

More things to do in Mexico.

More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sights to See: San Blas, Mexico


SAN BLAS, MEXICO 

Background:
Located on the Pacific coast of Mexico, between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, the small fishing town of San Blas is less than an hour away from Tepic, the State Capital of Nayarit.  It is 2 hours from Puerto Vallarta, 3 hours from Guadalajara (the second-largest city in Mexico), and 4 four hours from Mazatlan.  The village is surrounded by mangroves and features a tropical landscape dotted with banana, papaya, mango, tobacco, coffee, and sugar cane plantations.

Most visitors arrive by car or bus, but others arrive by air in Tepic or occasionally by sea on a cruise ship.

Founded in 1768, San Blas turned 250-years-old in February of 2018.  Once holding the most important shipyards on the Pacific Coast, this colonial port was the spot where Father Junípero Serra landed from Spain and from which he later left in 1768 to California to begin building that state’s famous Spanish missions (for this, Father Serra became a saint in 1988).  Nowadays it boasts 20 miles of beaches and is famous for deep-sea sport fishing and for winter surfing and whale watching.

The average temperature in winter is 70ºF, while in the summer it averages 86ºF.  Heavy night rains occur during July and August.

Stop along the way:
Los Kikis fruit stand  This thatch-roofed roadside fruit stand required a 5-peso coin to enter through a turnstile to a restroom.

Los Kikis fruit stand near San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
Los Kikis fruit stand near San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico


candied fruit at Los Kikis fruit stand near San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
candied fruit at Los Kikis fruit stand near San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico


restroom entrance at Los Kikis fruit stand near San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
restroom entrance at Los Kikis fruit stand near San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico


Important town historic site:
La Contaduria  Founded by sailors from Spain circa 1769, this colonial fort atop Basilio Hill is now a ruins but  provides a stellar view over the town of San Blas and the ocean beyond.  When ships arrived in port, a celebratory greeting was sent from the protective fort cannons.

La Contaduria fort in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
La Contaduria fort in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico


La Contaduria fort in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
La Contaduria fort in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico


La Contaduria fort in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
La Contaduria fort in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico


view from La Contaduria fort in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
view from La Contaduria fort in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico


La Marinera/Our Lady of the Rosary church, The Seafarer  Set back from the fort, this church is also now a lovely ruins.  It once held the bronze bells immortalized in Henry W. Longfellow’s “The Bells of San Blas.”

ruins of La Marinera church in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
ruins of La Marinera church in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico


ruins of La Marinera church in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
ruins of La Marinera church in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico


ruins of La Marinera church in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
ruins of La Marinera church in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico


Perfect lunch spot:
Las Islitas  This strip of casual open-air restaurant palapas is situated on the sand, beach front.
●At Garza Blanca, food is prepared outside on grills.  The regional fare is simple--make-your-own fish tacos, local fish, shrimp, banana-bread muffins--and it goes supremely well with a cold Pacifico beer.

Garza Blanca restaurant on Las Islitas in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
Garza Blanca restaurant on Las Islitas in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico


beach at Las Islitas in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
beach at Las Islitas in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico


grilled fish at Garza Blanca restaurant on Las Islitas in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
grilled fish at Garza Blanca restaurant on Las Islitas in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico 


Pacifico beer at Garza Blanca restaurant on Las Islitas in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
Pacifico beer at Garza Blanca restaurant on Las Islitas in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico 


basket of banana-bread muffins at Garza Blanca restaurant on Las Islitas in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico
basket of banana-bread muffins at Garza Blanca restaurant on Las Islitas in San Blas on Riviera Nayarit in Mexico 


More things to do in Riviera Nayarit.

More things to do in Mexico.

More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers