Crocodiles, and Jaguars and Jejenes, OH MY! That's a lot of bitey creatures

Listen, I know that I have a lot of very strong opinions and that I’ve ruffled a few feathers over the years. I’m not sorry about that. But I truly believe that we can all agree that mosquitos should be eradicated. If there were ever a way to ensure their destruction while also maximizing their suffering, I would sign up to join that task force. This rules me out from being a Buddhist, but we all know I would never have made a good Buddhist anyway (probably because of the propensity for swearing). Recently, I’ve added another species to my list. The ultra-tiny, but mightily annoying, jejene (pronounced hayhaynay). Imagine a smaller mosquito that doesn’t make any noise as it swarms around you, isn’t heavy enough to sense its weight on your skin, and when it bites you to steal your blood you don’t feel it. Just imagine any number of these 2-3 mm bugs getting through the screens over the windows and eating you alive as you sleep. Now imagine that weeks later you are covered in scabs like you’ve had a bout of chicken pox, and they all still itch. THOSE are jejenes, and they cover the beaches at dawn and dusk here in Mantanchen Bay. The delightful palapas with hammocks and cold drinks are just a trap. The restaurant owners burn coconut husks to create smoke to try and keep the bugs away, but those little assholes (bugs, not owners) are persistent and blood thirsty. I would like to add them to my list of species to wipe from the face of the planet. Please and thank you!

Other than acquiring some of the itchiest bites, San Blas and Mantanchen Bay were great! Dogfish and Small World remained anchored at least half-a-mile off shore in hopes of evading the bitey locals. The bay is expansive and shallow, allowing at least a hundred boats with room to spare. There were three boats, including us, and for the first time it felt like the tropics.

Small World and Dogfish claim the bay!

Lush palm trees and greenery covers the land that surround the bay. The water is murky from estuary run off, but warm and inviting on a bright sunny day. I never swim enough to appease my inner 10-year-old but practicing dives and flips off the boat while sharing cold drinks with friends is a delightful way to spend an afternoon. The boys even rigged up some wake boarding from the back of a dinghy. It wasn’t the fastest, it wasn’t the prettiest, and they didn’t have the most tricks. But they made it happen. Sometimes, that’s more important than how perfect it could be. Not in the Olympics, but at least in this instance.

From the bay, it’s a short walk to pick up a cheap taxi into town. There is not much of a tourism presence in San Blas, so town doesn’t offer many activities other than restaurants, a couple sights to see, and some lovely spots to score cerveza and Wi-Fi. The lack of activities is refreshing. For so many of the places I’ve been to, I feel pressure to see and do everything. “Everything” in San Blas is a shorter list and I’m sure we still didn’t cover it. And I’m totally fine with that.

Craig learned how to do a backflip. In one hour. Because of course he did.


There’s an old fort and old church ruins at the top of the hill. Blah blah blah history is cool, but I didn’t really get to learn to much about the locations while I was there.

The church no longer has a roof, but that didn't stop someone from hosting their wedding here recently.

If I'm anything, it's a trend setter. Backpack AND bum bag, get ready to see it in all the magazines.

The red tape around the far corner is to block people from going in. They were concerned about the structural integrity of the building after an earthquake.

I couldn't eavesdrop on the tour guide long enough to find out who this guy was, but he looks great.

The vertical photos that don't do well in the cool glideshow feature.

The more exciting event was our trip up the estuary and into the jungle. We rode in a panga around the twists and turns of the shallow, clear water. Our eyes were peeled, and we hardly spotted anything before our guide. Several times he would turn the boat around and point at the bird or crocodile he had spied, and we still wouldn’t see it. There was a wildlife refuge at the end that (I think) treated injured crocs and jaguars AND had a protected swimming area at the end (assuming you call a chain-link fence in the water enough protection).

Can you spot the creature? Hint: It's not a croc.

Part of the movie set for Cabeza de Vaca

Can you spot this one? Hint: It's a croc.

This one is shy. Isn't that cute?

Two for the price of one!

How many do you see?

Ready for a swim?

I promise he's not in the swimming hole.

Peek a boo!

There’s another spot where they take you for lunch if you’d like. I highly recommend it – not just because the amount of butter on the food was extreme, but because there’s also a full bar and another swimming hole.

"How many beach workouts will I have to do in order to burn off this lunch? Who cares. Worth it." - Me, probably.

As I write this, we are actually heading back to San Blas and this time I plan to have the electric fly swatter, extra batteries, and a battle cry at the ready.

Created By
Krystle McMaster

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