We pulled into the little cove at Chacala just after sunset and were surprised to see, not only fancy homes lining the point, but a fat RV park glistening in the dusky air in all its green-tinted windowness. Charlie’s Charts (we must have an outdated version) had us thinking we were pulling into a sleepy fishing village with a few palapas on the beach where you might be able to scare up a cold beer or inquire about water or something. Rather, there are a lot of resorty-looking homes and new agey hotels (the one at the end of the beach features a Zen master behind the bar and yoga workshops), of course the RV park and campground, several palapas, and a streetful of souvenir shops and mini-supers. So basically, you can get pretty much everything you need here, travel-wise: veggies, water jugs (garafones), beer, ice (block as well as purified cubes), sarongs from Bali, lacquered seashell plaques that spell out “Chacala,” and the luxury of having others cook for you while you sit on the beach with your beer. We had a fish cooked for us for lunch today and it was excellent. It was a snapper cooked “sarandeado,” which means they split open the fish (hard to describe) and place it between two wire griller things, then slowly cook it for ~25 minutes in a smoky fire. It is tender and crispy with a great smoky flavor and they put a tasty barbecue sauce over it. Very good. It seems to be the thing here because we saw a couple of the restaurants cooking fish in this manner or advertising ‘pescado sarandeado.’
Despite the tourist mania in Chacala, we like it and give it a thumbs up. It is a really nice cove, has a calm clean beach perfect for swimming, and the food (at least what we tried) from the beachside palapas is reasonably priced and very good. All supplies are right on the beach so you can get groceries/garafones/ice and not have to lug it across town. There are no jejenes to speak of here either.