Lately, many of our travel adventures have been a bit on the tamer side: kayaking in the Potomac, camping in the Shenandoah, exploring museums. These are all activities which are new and exciting, but on our recent trip to Mexico, we were in the mood for a high pumped adrenaline rush! This led us to discover ATV tours with Rancho Mi Chaparrita.
Learning the Basics
Arriving at Rancho Mi Chaparrita, we were given the choice to ride together or solo. Since Scott and I both like to wear the pants in the relationship, we each wanted our own ATV to ourselves. Beyond my assertiveness to drive my own vehicle, I was still a little nervous because I don’t know how to drive stick (despite trying to learn a dozen times over the course of 33 years). Our guide, Roger, gave us a brief tutorial before heading out, and throughout the tour he would raise his hand indicating with his fingers which gear we should be in. This was a life saver, because admittedly I would have no clue when to change gears.
The first 2 minutes are like learning to drive manual for the first time. The car jumping every time you change gears. This was a much less complicated version though since there was no clutch. After a few jumps and jolts, I was on my way.
Full Speed ahead
We drove through highways, dirt roads, sandy river beds, up mountains, across narrow passes and finally through the town of Sayulita. After a while, my grip started hurting from stretching my hand. With my thumb on the gas and my ring finger and little finger hovering over the breaks, my right hand was constantly engaged and ready to either go or break.
“Well why don’t you just relax your hand then? Duh.”
That’s what I thought. As soon as I relaxed my hand, I couldn’t reach the breaks in time and ended up running off the road…twice actually…I blame my small hands.
I liked driving in the front because it gave the illusion that this was a private tour. I was the first to experience everything rather than having to wait in a long line of other tourists who get to do every twist and turn and splash before me. The only downside is that everyone behind you sees you losing control and driving all over the place. (Scott won’t let me forget.) On the other hand, if you like getting dirty, the back is way more dusty.
Rounding the bend we re-entered the rancho and were promptly greeted by all the resident pups running across the field to chase us as we drove past.
We were welcomed back with complimentary cervejas (beer) and a tequila tasting. We had no idea this was part of the tour, so it was quite the surprise. Benjamin, their resident tequila expert poured us glass after glass as he taught us a bit about the tequila making process. He also taught us a few Mexican toasts, our favorite of the day being:
“Arriba, abajo, al centro, y adentro!” essentially meaning “up high” Raising the glass above our heads, “down low” lowering the glass again, “in the center” raising the glass straight out in front of us, “inside!” and finally drinking the whole glass down in one shot.
We ended up tasting about 4 tequilas and 8 liquors including flavors like chocolate, coffee, and passion fruit. While passing out the shot of chocolate liquor he mentioned something about only drinking half. This was so that he could top off the remainder with Coffee liquor to make a little “moccachino” cocktail. We made our toast and with a resounding “adentro!” all the Americans downed the entire shot. We looked up realizing we completely forgot to leave half. The family from Mexico City looked over at us and our empty glasses and giggled at our over-eagerness. Benjamin recognized our touristy enthusiasm and forgave our inability to follow directions by pouring us another round.
“Rancho Mi Chaparrita is a family-owned company dedicated to the ecotourism of adventure native to the Riviera Nayarit.”
Address: St. Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez #14 Col. Deportiva C.P. 63732.
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