This booklet is an informal guide and checklist to the animals and plants a visitor is likely to see in a short visit to Playa Blanca, the wide white-sand beach lying south of Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast of Mexico. This is a spectacularly well-preserved natural area, and it features a much richer and more diverse environment than can be covered in a simple publication like this. But even having a little guidance in directing your attention to what you see here can boost your understanding and appreciation for this treasure of a place.
In choosing the entries, we tried to focus on things that are typical of the area. The idea is to help you identify a majority of the plants and animals you will see on a visit. If you are observant and a bit lucky, you readily can see almost everything listed here in only a few hours.
A Bit of History
The beach that bends and wraps Bahia de Potosi or the
People undoubtedly have inhabited this area off and on for thousands of years, and the nearby Maciel site on the way south to Petalan has some interesting pre-Columbian digs. Modern development of the beach area started in 1934 when Leonardo Garcia Chavaria and his four brothers came to Barra de Potosi to hunt sharks. The protected lagoon offered a safe place to launch and land small boats. His daughter “Dona Edelmira” and son “Nayito” still own enramada restaurants here and most of the families in Barra de Potosi are descendents of the early fishermen.
In 1985, a major earthquake stuck just kilometers away and the resulting tsumani washed away most of the wooden structures that made up the original
Big-time development has missed Playa Blanca, so far. Barra de Potosi remains a working fishing village; the pangas are launched from the lagoon or beach every day and the men go to sea with their nets and lines in search of huachinango, pargo and almost whatever else they can find. Elsewhere along the beach, the locals work in the coco plantations or as general laborers wherever they can find a job. Life is quiet and synchronized with the ocean, the sun and the rains. It is hard to spend much time here without noticing how powerfully nature influences the area. It abounds here. One goal of this guide is to help visitors get a bit more deeply in touch with it while they are here.