As far as I know, there are only two motels in the small town of Bahia Tortugas, the Rendon Motel, located in what might pass for the closest thing that Bahia Tortugas has for downtown, and the Motel Nanci, located on dusty Calle Indenpendencia. During my visit to Bahia Tortugas, in late September, 2008, I had the pleasure to spend three wonderful nights at Motel Nanci.
Photo: Looking west on dusty Calle Independencia, with the bay in the background. Motel Nanci is the blue building, hear the center of the photo, with the maroon Ford truck parked in front. My white F-250 is parked in back of the maroon truck.
Before my visit to Bahia Tortugas, I Googled the web I don't know how many times, but I couldn't surf more than a bit of scant information about the lodging available in town, as information about the town is very scarce. From what little information that I could find, I noticed that lodging, just like almost everything else in town, is basic, rustic, and a bargain by any standard. So I decided to stay at whichever motel I happened to come upon first, as directions and maps are as scarce as information is about the town of Bahia Tortugas.
Photo: You can't miss Motel Nanci, as its brightly painted, and is the only motel in the area.
Motel Nanci is easy to find, as its located in the center of town, which is marked by the huge radio tower, with the flat capacitance hat on top, which resembles a flying saucer. To find the motel, you pass the radio tower, and look to your right, towards the bay, and you'll spot the brightly-painted motel a scant 100 yards from the paved road, on dusty Calle Independencia. Various reviews on the Internet call the place Motel Nancy, but that's not the name of the place, as the real name, Motel Nanci, is painted on the side of the building, along with cartoon character sea horses, and other marine life. In keeping with the nautical theme of the motel, the building is painted a bright aqua, which makes the establishment easy to spot. The hue and cry of realtors, Location! Location! applies to Motel Nanci, as its located a scant three blocks from the beach, and within easy walking distance of everything that the town has to offer.
Photo: The motel is arranged around a courtyard, so you drive in and park in front of your unit. My white truck is parked in front of room #10, where I'm staying.
Nanci offers parking inside the motel complex, in keeping with the style of many small Mexican motels. It's a rather small motel, with a scant 16 rooms, but Bahia Tortugas doesn't receive many visitors. I'm getting quite adept at the Mexican motel scene, so I simply pulled into the courtyard, got out of my truck, and walked over to what appeared to be the motel office. I was greeted by a friendly lady, and when I made it clear that I was looking for a room, she asked me to wait a moment and she'd find Ernie, the motel manager.
Photo: Currently, I'm the only guest at the motel. Note the bench to the left of the photo, and the planter boxes, which make handy seats when you're in a beer drinking mood.
Ernie is quite a guy, as he's friendly, talkative, and always has a smile on his face. When I inquired about a room, he gave me a huge grin and offered to show me a room. I told him that it wasn't necessary, as I knew that I'd like the room, all I needed was the price and a key to the room. He took me into the "office," which was actually the living quarters for he and his family, and had me fill out the minimal paperwork; name, address and vehicle license. The price? Mex $220.00 per night, which translates in U.S. dollars to just a tad over $20.00 per night. How can you beat a price like that?
Photo: Ernie, the friendly manager and my gracious host for the four days I spent at Bahia Tortugas. This guy is a local, and he has a wealth of knowledge about the area.
I was given the key to room number 10. Motel Nanci is rated at two stars by Mexican standards, but on the American charts, it wouldn't be given even one star, and most gringos would cringe at the idea of staying in this motel room. You could say that the room is small, basic and sparsely furnished, as the furniture consisted of a double bed, a sort of clothes rack/shelf complex, and a couple of chairs, and a spindly table. The bathroom was very basic, with the usual amenities. The toilet actually had a seat, which is a luxury item in many Mexican motels. No air conditioning, and nary a fan, and a naked light bulb on the ceiling for the only illumination. The room was very sparse, basic, and the furnishings were shabby and worn, but the room was clean. I had no complaints.
Photo: The door opens to room number 10. No fan, no air conditioning, no ice machine, but it's clean and comfortable, and you can't beat the price.
After exploring the town a bit, and enjoying a fine dinner of carne asada tacos at Asadero El Cebo, I returned to the motel to find Ernie and a buddy sitting outside, drinking beer. How could I pass on an invitation like that? These guys were serious about their beer, as they were drinking cervezas ballenas directly from the huge bottles. I fit right in with the crowd, so the three of us sat in the courtyard of the motel, swapping lies, and drinking beer. I even produced a plastic bottle of MEX $15.00 tequila, which tastes more like diesel than liquor, and Ernie produced shot glasses, so a good time was had by all. Ernie mentioned that he was going fishing the next day, and invited me along. I almost accepted, but I passed on it, as I'm not a fisherman, and I had other things on the next day's agenda. What a nice guy!
Photo: My room, with my stuff piled on the bed, and the chair. The case to my notebook computer rests on the chair; I can't travel without my notebook computer.
Early the next morning, I awoke to a knock on my door. In a semi-hungover, alcoholic haze, I peered out the window and Ernie was standing on the porch. He invited me over to his place for coffee, and I accepted the invitation and said I'd be over in 20 minutes, after I'd shaved, showered and dressed myself.
Photo: Ernie's buddy poses for my camera, with his ballena of beer in hand. We had a great time sitting out in the courtyard, drinking beer and tequila, and swapping lies.
Coffee was ready, and I recognized the lady that I had met yesterday was Ernie's wife. Like his two kids, she's very shy, but Ernie more than makes up for any shyness exhibited by his family, as this guy is about as outgoing as they come. I enjoyed the coffee and the fine company of Ernie and his family... why didn't I take photos of Ernie and his family? Like everything else in town, knowledge of Spanish is the key, as these wonderful folks don't speak a word of English.
Photo: Ernie proudly displays his catch, of two yellowtails. I wish that I would have been able to accept his invitation for the fish fry that he invited me to attend.
Late in the afternoon, as I was returning to the motel to grab a beer, Ernie was in the courtyard, unpacking is truck and his fishing tackle. He called me over, and I asked him to wait until I grabbed a beer for both of us, and when I returned with beer in hand, he proudly showed me two large yellowtail that he'd caught in the bay. He said that he was going to invite family and friends over for a fish fry on Monday night, and gave the an invitation to attend. I regretfully had to decline his kind invitation, as I had to leave Monday morning. I came soooooo close to spending another night...
Photo: Even though I didn't accompany Ernie, he wanted to snap my photo, holding one of the yellowtail he caught, and his fishing tackle.
To make it easier to find Motel Nanci, I got out my handy GPS and recorded the coordinates: N 27.41.556, W 114.53.786, elevation 12 feet.
Whatever Motel Nanci lacks in amenities, if more than makes it up in location, and friendly Ernie. Thanks to Ernie, his family, and the wonderful people of Bahia Tortugas, my stay in town was most enjoyable and memorable.
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