Cajón de Las Peñas Reservoir
The lush farms of the Cabo Corrientes region owe much of their success to the Cajón de las Peñas dam, whose waters enable farmers to profit from a year-round growing season. An added bonus is the recreation—boating, fishing, swimming, camping, and hiking—the big blue lake behind the dam makes possible.
With a car, the reservoir is easy to reach. Trucks and cars are frequent, so hikers can easily thumb rides. At Highway 200 Km 131, about a mile south of the Cruz de Loreto turnoff, head left (east) at a signed, paved road. After about five miles the road turns to gravel.
Continue another four miles to a road fork atop a complex of three rock-fill dams, separated by a hill. The left road continues over the smaller two dams to a dead end. The right fork leads to a sign reading Puerto Vallarta Bass Club and a left fork just before the largest dam. Turn left and continue downhill to La Lobina, a humble family-run restaurant palapa and boat landing.
The friendly husband-wife team maintains the little outpost in hopes of serving the trickle of mostly holiday and weekend visitors. Besides their children, who help with chores, their little settlement consists of two parrots, a brood of turkeys, and a flock of chickens that flies into the nearby forest to roost at night. The couple’s cooking, based mostly upon freshly caught lobina (large-mouth bass), is basic but wholesome.
Their parking lot above the lake has room for a number of self-contained RVs, while the forested knoll nearby might serve for tent camping. They offer their boat for lake sightseeing and fishing excursions for about $15 an hour. Otherwise, you could swim, kayak, or launch your own motorboat right from the lakeshore below the restaurant.
Head back, turn left at the uphill fork and continue over the larger dam, counterclockwise around the forested, sloping lakeshore. Within about two miles (3 km) you’ll arrive at the boat-cooperative village, where several downscale palapa restaurants and boat landings provide food and recreational services for visitors. For a fee—ask at one of the restaurants, “¿Hay una tarifa para acampar?” (“Is there a fee to camp?”)—you can usually set up a tent or park your RV under a nearby lakeside tree.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition