La Cruz de Huanacaxtle started as a small fishing town located in Banderas Bay and was named after a cross, overlooking the town, made from the Huanacaxtle Tree. Over the year’s development ensued and it has become a tourist town and home to a marina catering to yachts cruising the Mexican coast and those preparing to cross the Pacific. The town has a multitude of small restaurants and nearly every night at least one will feature live music. One of the town’s major drawcards is its popular Sunday market with fresh produce, food stands and local crafts for local and international tourists. During January to March boats take tourists whale watching to see the humpback whales and their babies, the local area also offers fishing and diving.
I will admit La Cruz has disappointed me somewhat as it is filled with Gringos and isn’t really the place to see and experience real Mexican culture. However, during February while doing my required 20-minute walks for physio I started wandering off the main streets and exploring La Cruz and it was here that I encountered women, men and even a few kids painting murals. I was even invited to join in. I started photographing them as I went past to show how quickly they progressed. I thought I would start with my favorite mural/murals. Please note I have translated, with the help of my friend google, the signs explaining the murals to the best of my ability.
Los Recuerdos Viven Por Siempre/Memories Last Forever by Ramón Escobedo The mural tells the story of two humans united by love who have shared thousands of moments together that have become memories that they keep as a treasure and nobody can steal.
This is by far my favorite building, on one side you have scenes of the sea and farm where the couple have worked and on the other is the older couple. I love the story the mural tells.
I’m amazed at how the artists have incorporated what is done in the local area like whale watching, fishing, and boating, with what was once grown in the area like maize and beef and local faces. Most of the murals were completed in two or three days, some in a day. The tired and sometimes crumbling walls of restaurants, toilets, shops (tiendas), houses, toilet blocks and even a statue of a bull have colorfully transformed the local area.
The slideshow below shows how the restaurant Green Tomato’s walls were given a facelift with rendering and murals. Even the bull received a new color treatment.
So who did the murals you may ask? Well, the project, ‘Ciudad Mural’ or ‘Mural City’ was overseen by the Municipal Government of Bahia de Banderas and was done jointly by the Company Comex and a group called the Colectivo Tomate (Tomato Collective). The Collectivo Tomate and Comex Paints have spent the last 11 years working with artists from around the country, to create murals in 23 cities across 17 states to give town inhabitants a sense of identity.
Quauh Nacastl by Yorckh
In 1937 the Ejidal Commissariat was founded by Vincente Chavez Gonzalez and a group of natives, dedicated to fishing, agriculture and fruit cultivation of mango and Guanabana. These elements are fused in the composition of this mural, along with the town’s name sake the Huanacaxtle tree (also known by the Nahuatl language as Guanacaste or Oregon) which is alluded to through it’s colors and shapes in the mural.
Corazon del Mar/ Heart of the Sea by Isela Becerra
In the middle of the light blue life grows. It blooms with a ray of sun that illuminates, warms and turns this place into a safe space filled with love, ideal for caring, raising, growing and loving.
The slideshow below shows the school walls transformed over a week by a team of artists.
Mural Cacarea/We Parade Together
This mural is on the elementary school fence and its theme is celebrating being whoever we want to be whether it is a cloud, sun or a dinosaur. Let our imagination take us where we want to go.
Frutos del Fruto / The Fruits of the Fruit by Eduardo Cruz
Healthy growth process along with the cultivation of the soul, we are sowers of seed and harvesters of respect for life.
The project was brought to Banderas Bay by the Director of Economic and Rural Development, Claudia Vidal back in October 2019. La Cruz de Huanacastle was the chosen town to give it an identity and create a tourist attraction. The project began in La Cruz in November with the artists talking to schools, children, families and other organizations to listen to people tell their stories, talk about their jobs and their community. The artists were able to use those stories to inspire their ideas for murals unique to the town. Approximately 300 applications were received from residents and businesses who wanted to have murals on their buildings and from those applications 40 murals were created covering 1344 square meters.
Over 300 artists from Mexico and abroad applied to work on the La Cruz project and 25 were selected, among them were 3 locals and 4 from abroad; United States, Argentina, Russia, and Chile.
If you find yourself in the area, immerse yourself in the murals and wander the cobblestone streets off the main tourist drag to experience this wonderful Mexican culture in La Cruz. I’m looking forward to taking my son to see them when he arrives in a few weeks.