Friday, July 23, 2021

Central Pacific Coast beach towns: La Peñita de Jaltemba & Punta Mita


The malecon of La Peñita de Jaltemba was serenely quiet. A malecon is a paved walkway along a seashore or lake. Even though it is mid-day, we could see only one person on either the malecon or the beach. Unlike Rincon de Guayabitos, just to the south, La Peñita's waterfront wasn't thronged with tourists, at least not when we were there. Although we enjoyed Guayabitos, it was a bit of a relief to get a break from its hustle and bustle.

This is the second of a three-part series on beach towns along Mexico's Central Pacific Coast. This time, we'll visit La Peñita and Punta Mita, two relatively quiet resort towns. Like Guayabitos, La Peñita attracts middle and working class Mexican families. Punta Mita, in contrast, is more up-scale (and more expensive). This is probably due to its proximity to nearby Puerta Vallarta.

Map showing La Peñita, just north of Guayabitos. The two towns are separated by Arroyo Guinea, a river that extends from just east of Highway 200 to the shore. Stone breakwaters extend out into the bay on either side of the mouth of the arroyo. Home to a bit more than 9,000 residents, La Peñita is the largest of the three towns along the shore of Bahia Jaltemba

This area of Mexico's coast gets 320 days of sunshine a year. The best time to visit is between November and May, when the temperature ranges from 25C-29C (78F-85F). Between June and October, the temperature can skyrocket with sweltering humidity.

Looking south from the malecon. Again, the beach is empty and serene. In the distance you can see one of the stone breakwaters at the mouth of Arroyo Guinea. The beach directly in front of town is 1.5km (1 mi) long, with calm water and light surf. At the northern end is a rocky point, but beyond that El Playón Beach stretches out for five beautiful miles with little development.

According to local legend, the town was founded by Mexicas  (Aztecs)They paused here for a bit during their 13th century AD migration from their ancestral home of Mexcaltitán, on their way to Lago de Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico. 

Beach combing produces another stranded fish. We came across this large, silvery fish with a forked tail. A friend who is an avid fisherman suggested that it is part of the tuna family, possibly a Black Tuna. If there are any ichthyologists out there who can shed any light on this, I'd be glad to hear from you.  The tracks around the carcass indicate that one of the local dogs has also been investigating.

A statue of a dolphin and her calf adorns the town's small plaza. In the background, the kiosco (bandstand) has an unusual white dome, topped with a more traditional tile roof.  While the malecon and beach were virtually empty, there was considerably more activity along Avenida Emiliano Zapata, La Penita's main street. It runs perpendicular to the shore, from Highway 200 all the way to the malecon. Along it, one can find many shops, and restaurants.

Punta Mita

A paddle boarder rides the surf. I got a number of shots of this fellow, but the one with the swooping pelican was the most dramatic. Paddle boarding is only one of the many water-related activities available at Punta Mita. Swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, boogie boarding, surfing, fishing, sailboating, and yacht-cruising were among the many others. Our choice was a leisurely stroll along the beach.

Punta Mita is a point of land that looks like the head of a vulture. The largely private 1,500 acre point is located 16km (10mi) north of Puerto Vallarta and is 47km (29mi) south of GuayabitosThe access road to Punta Mita is located where Highway 200 takes a sharp right-hand turn toward the northeast.

There are a number of wealthy developments on the point and many coves with small beaches. We visited one of these at the small town of Corral del Risco (Cliff Corral) located on the southern shore of the point. To zoom in with a Google map, click here.

About half of the cove is covered with small rocks. The southern end has more sand, as does the beach just to the north. There are a number of establishments covered with palapa (palm frond) roofs lining the shore. These offer meals and other amenities. At the time we visited, the beach was nearly as empty of visitors as the one at La Peñita.

This palapa restaurant was part of the hotel next door. Another popular activity is to hang out under the shade of a beach umbrella while drinking large goblets of Margaritas. A tough job, but somebody has to do it. 

Boogie and surf boards are available to rent at this place. I didn't check, but I assume other water gear like flippers, masks, and snorkels can also be rented inside. If not here, it wouldn't be hard to find them someplace nearby.

A small launch and a large yacht each ride at anchor off shore. They reminded me of the "Mutt and Jeff" characters in an old comic strip. The launch would be more in line with my bank account. Notice the Brown Pelican perching on the outboard motor of the launch. These birds immediately assume ownership when people are not around.

This completes my posting on La Peñita de Jaltemba and Punta Mita. I hope you have enjoyed it. Next time, we'll head north from Guayabitos to Chacala, another beautiful and relatively uncrowded spot. If you would like to leave any thoughts or questions, please do so in the Comments section below or email me directly.

Hasta luego, Jim

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Beach towns of the Central Pacific Coast: Rincon de Guayabitos

Golden afternoon sun bathes the palm-fringed shoreline. This is the northern end of Rincon de Guayabitos. Behind the palms are small hotels and homes. All along the shore of the Central Pacific Coast of Mexico, there are a number of beach towns located in the bays and coves. In past years, I have posted stories about some of the better-known towns including Manzanillo, Barra de Navidad and Melaque, Puerto Vallarta, San Blas, and Mazatlan. 

In this series, we'll visit some of the smaller places that lie between Puerto Vallarta in the south and San Blas in the north. This first post will focus on Rincon de Guayabitos, (or simply Guayabitos, as it is often called). Future parts of this series will take a look at the other beach towns of Punta Mita, La Peñita de Jaltemba, and Chacala. All of these beach towns are smaller, quieter, and less overrun by foreign tourists than their better-known counterparts. Each of them is worth a visit.


Map of the coast from Puerto Vallarta to Chacala. For some unknown reason, this Google map shows Rincon de Guayabitos as Rincon de Nayarit. However, when you zoom in on Google, the correct name appears. Punta Mita is at the tip of the point extending out just north of Puerto Vallarta, near the town of Corral de Risco. The distance from Guayabitos to Punta Mita is 47km (29mi) 

La Peñita de Jaltemba is not shown on the map above unless you zoom with Google. It adjoins Guayabitos just to the north. Chacala is located in a small bay at the top of the map, about 30km (18mi) north of Guayabitos. Highway #200 is the coast road that connects all these beach towns. Although the distances may appear fairly short, the highway is two-lane and winding, so traffic can be slow. However, you are on vacation so enjoy the scenery.

Rugged, heavily forested mountains stand just back of the coastal plain. In some areas, the mountain slopes extend right down to the sea. These formations are part of the Sierra Madre Occidental, one of Mexico's two great north-to-south ranges. 

The mountains crowd the shore closely, leaving the Central Pacific Coast with few really long beaches. Instead, the coast is a series of bays and coves of various sizes, separated by steep points of land that extend out into the ocean. This separates and isolates the beach towns, providing each place with a sense of uniqueness. 

Fishing boats rock gently in the southern end of the bay. Local fishermen sell their catch to Guayabitos' many restaurants. This means that fresh fish is on the menu almost everywhere. I took this photo at the rincón ("corner") where the shore turns sharply to the west, ending in the point of land that defines the southern boundary of the bay. 

Rincon de Guayabitos is Spanish for "Corner of the Small Guava Trees". Most of the developed part of the town extends inland for several blocks from the shore. The southern end begins at the rincón, and runs north along the coast for a couple of kilometers to the point of land that separates Guayabitos from its close neighbor, La Peñita de Jaltemba

A stroll along the beach

A Mexican family lounges under beach umbrellas.  In the background stands Hotel Torre Blanca, one of the town's more upscale hotels. However, there is a wide variety of accommodations in Guayabitos, suitable for almost any budget. 

Carole and I stayed at the mid-range Hotel Costa Alegre, a very comfortable "all-inclusive" place, popular with Mexican families. Like the Torre Blanca, our hotel overlooked the beach and we had a third floor room in the center with an expansive view of the bay.

Beach vendors are popular with both people and pelicans. Brown pelicans have learned that they can often grab a quick snack without the trouble of diving for fish. They seem quite unconcerned with their close proximity to the human customers. 

Although I have occasionally seen a pelican try to steal a bit of food from an unwary vendor, usually the big birds wait politely for their handouts. They will, however, freely squabble among themselves. Brown pelicans are among the more entertaining creatures you will encounter along the coast.

Isla del Coral is an island about one mile off shore. The limestone dome is surrounded by a coral reef that teems with fish and birdlife. The island is only about a ten minute trip by launch and has become very popular with the snorkel and scuba set. You can rent snorkel equipment and there are diving instructors on the island for those who want to visit the underwater world. We didn't have time to visit Isla del Coral, but it's on my list for a future trip.

A fisherman wades ashore with his catch of the day. He anchored his boat in waste-deep water a few yards offshore. His single fish is likely destined for his family table, rather than a restaurant kitchen. Mexican fishermen are a friendly and hospitable lot. I have never been refused a photo of them displaying their catch of the  day. 

A Row of flags stands in front of some palapa restaurants. I was amused by the selection of banners. From the left: the Canadian national flag, the Alaskan State flag, a Harley Davidson banner, a flag for Pilsner Beer, and the Mexican national flag. Why that particular collection, in that order, is still a mystery to me.

Cotton candy vendor displaying his wares. Mexican beach towns attract lots of wandering vendors. Some visitors consider this a problem and would like them controlled or even banned. However, I am usually sympathetic to their efforts. Everyone has to make a living and one of the harder ways is to haul your goods up and down the beach all day under a hot sun. If I am not interested in their wares, all it usually takes is a polite "no, gracias" and they move on.

A Porcupinefish bristles with the spikes that give it the name. We encountered it as we were strolling along the tide line. This species of Porcupinefish (Diodon hystrix) is one of seven species of Diodon, four of which can be found in Mexican waters. 

When threatened by a predator, it inflates its body which causes the sharp spines to point out in all directions. These are defensive mechanisms to ward off dorados, sharks, wahoos and other predators. In addition to being sharp, the spines can contain a potent neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin. We kept a respectful distance.

Watching the shore Birds watch us

A Brown Pelican looks me over with a rather disapproving eye. They are graceful while soaring through the air or paddling over the water's surface. On land these pelicans are comical, often reminding me of Charlie Chaplin as they waddle about. They will often flap their wings, squawk. and push aside other pelicans to get at a tidbit of food. 

Pelecanus occidentalis can be found on Mexico's Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf Coasts. The one above appears to be a juvenile because it lacks the white or yellowish head that adults have. Brown Pelicans are resident (nonmigratory) birds who are very gregarious and like living in flocks. When feeding, they glide along in the air just above the water. Upon spotting a fish, they will go through a complicated set of aerial maneuvers to gain altitude and then dive straight down into the water.

A Snowy Egret stands in the shallows with a small fish in its beak. I have often seen these birds (Egretta thula) fishing in the shallows of Lake Chapala, near where I live. However, they can most often be found along the seashore. While hunting for prey, the Snowy Egret will wade slowly and cautiously in a few inches of water. Suddenly, the bird's neck will stretch out and its sharp bill will dart into the water. Quite often they are successful, like this one. 

The Egret will maneuver the fish in its beak into position, then throw back its head and swallow. I once saw an Egret try to do this with a small snake. While attempting the usual maneuver, the Egret was surprised to find that the snake had wrapped its body tightly around the bird's bill. The snake couldn't get away, but the Egret couldn't swallow it, creating a classic Mexican Standoff! I had to move along, so I never found out who won.

A Willet hunts for lunch while standing on one leg. At first, I thought the Willet (Catoptrophorus inornata) had become disabled or had lost its other leg to a predator. However, while researching shorebirds, I found a photo of a whole flock, each standing on one leg. Apparently the other leg is drawn up under the belly feathers in order to conserve body heat. This process is called "rete mirabile"

The Willet is one of many species of Sandpipers. These birds are found along the shore, just inland from the waves. They poke their beaks into the wet sand or mud, looking for small mollusks and other invertebrates. The Willet is migratory, breeding in the prairie provinces of Canada and the Northern US and wintering along the Pacific shore as far south as South America.

A Frigatebird glides along the beach. Also called the Man o' War, Fregata magnificens is found in tropical and subtropical waters off the Americas from northern Mexico to Peru. This one is a female, because the males have a red sac under their throats that they inflate as a display during mating season. 

Frigatebirds catch prey like flying fish on the surface of the sea. At times, they may engage in the nefarious practice of kleptoparasitism--harassing other birds in order to force them to regurgitate their food. Christopher Columbus noted this practice in his journal when he visited the Cape Verde islands on his 1492 Voyage of Discovery.

Things to do

The Barco Fiesta Guayobitos tour boat is anchored offshore. The small launch behind it ferries tourists to and from the bigger boat. Be advised that Barco Fiesta Guayobitos is a "party boat". It attracts large numbers of young people who enjoy loud music, dancing, and drinking. However, it also offers excursions to observe migrating whales during that season.

Ride on a "banana boat" while being pulled by a powerful jet boat. Passengers sit one behind the other on the inflated sausage and hold on to the handles. Part of the fun is being launched into the water at full speed when you hit a wave. This is not for the faint of heart or those afraid of getting wet.

Go fly a kite. These can be purchased at various stores in town. Since there is usually a breeze along the beach, getting one of these launched shouldn't be too difficult. Getting it down from on top of a tall palm tree might be more problematic.

Say "¡hola!"to the locals while you stroll along the beach. Although there are rocky spots like the one above, most of the beach is smooth sand. However, be careful during the middle of a sunny day. The sand can scorch your soles if you are unwary, long before you can get to the water's edge.

Stop for a cold one at a bar called "La Ultima Parada". Located right at the rincon, "The Last Stop" bar is, indeed, the last place advertising a drink on the way out to the point. Actually, the place looked a bit deserted and forlorn when we came by, and I'm not certain it was still open for business. Still, I liked the name.

Just lie back on the sand and let the water lap over you. This is the beach version of being a couch potato. A father and his young daughter were enjoying themselves in this fashion as we  passed by. It's certainly a good a way to deal with the mid-day heat.

Hang out with goblets of margaritas while watching the sunset. These can be spectacular at times (both the margaritas and the sunsets). Above, the sun is just about to drop behind the point of land at the southern end of the bay.

This completes the first part of my Central Coast beach series. Next time, we'll visit La Peñita de Jaltemba, just north of Guayabitos. I hope you enjoyed this posting. If so, please leave any thoughts or questions in the Comments section below, or email me directly. If you leave a question in the Comments section, please include your email address so that I can respond.

Hasta luego, Jim


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Amacueca's 16th century church and convent, Part 2 of 2

Parroquia del Dulce Nombre de Jesus. The Parish Church of the Sweet Name of Jesus was originally erected in 1547, making it one of the oldest in Jalisco. The gray stone facade contains four time-worn statues of Franciscan saints, framed by spiraling Solomonic columns, fashioned in the Baroque style. The campanario (bell tower) and the clock are from the 19th century. A large paved atrium spreads out in front of the church.

Atriums served very practical purposes. For thousands of years, indigenous people had worshipped their gods in the open, usually in front of their temple-pyramids. Assembling inside a church to worship the new Christian deity was very alien to their experience. In addition, native populations were often too large to fit inside early churches. Consequently, open-air atriums were constructed so that native people could gather for mass conversions and other religious activities.

In this posting, I will focus on the long history Amacueca's Parroquia. The church dates back to the middle of the 16th century and contains a variety of architectural styles, including Moorish, Mexican Churrigueresque, and Neo-Classic. Inside, a large reredo stands behind the altar. It is unusually elaborate for a small church in a rather remote community. I will begin with some of the interesting features on the outside of the church.

Exterior features

The gate into the atrium is topped with a Moorish arch. Pointed arches like this are an echo of the architecture that developed in Spain during 700 years of Moorish domination. The Moors invaded from North Africa in 711 AD and were finally expelled by Christian Spaniards in 1492 AD. 

The Christian Reconquista (Re-Conquest) had been long and bitterly fought. Along the way, however, the Christians adopted many elements of Moorish culture including artistic styles. The Moorish surrender occurred just before Columbus set off on his Voyage of Discovery. As the Spanish settled in the New World, they brought the styles of art and architecture they had learned from the Moors.

View of the campanario from the rear. Hanging from it are five bells of various sizes. The three largest carry dates ranging from 1887 to 1954. The campanario was constructed later than the gray stone facade of the church, probably in the 19th century. Prior to that, the church and its convent would have employed other bells. Where they were hung and what became of them are unknown to me.

The bell on the side of the campanario is fixed to a headstock. The headstock, or yoke, is a wooden framework that pivots back and forth when a rope is pulled, causing the bell's clapper to strike the interior. The fact that this bell is fixed to a headstock of antique design strongly suggests that it is the earliest one, dated 1887. It is possible that the headstock is even older.

Three weights hang from the clock's mechanism.. I photographed these on my way down from the church roof. The mechanism inside a clocktower is known as a turret clock and this one is powered by weights. The first turret clock was constructed in the 11th century. Several centuries later, in 1370,  Henri de Vick installed the first weight-driven turret clock in the Palais du Roi (Palace of the King) in Paris. Amacueca's clock was installed in 1872 by Teodosio Diaz Flores, the parish priest. 

Statue of San Antonio de Padua, to the right of the main door. There are four statues of Franciscan saints in niches on the facade of the church. Two are on either side of the main door and two more on either side of the choir loft window above. 

A group of Franciscans, known as the Twelve Apostles of Mexicowere the first of the Religious Orders to land in the New World's mainland. They debarked in Vera Cruz in 1524, barely two years after the fall of the Aztec Empire. 

The arrival of the Franciscans marked the launch of the so-called Spiritual Conquest. This was the ideological twin of the Military Conquest. Franciscan friar Juan de Padilla reached Amacueca in 1535 and began evangelizing the natives. Franciscans would continue to control the religious affairs of the town for 164 years.

Antique hardware on the main entrance's old wooden door. I am always fascinated by the old locks and other hardware on historic buildings. This lock is fully functional and definitely not just for decoration. The iron key must be quite large and heavy, not the sort that you would casually slip in your pocket.

In 1547, another Franciscan named Simon de Bruselas (Simon of Brussels) began construction on the church/convent complex. These buildings became the center of the area's missionary activity. The project was probably accomplished using forced labor under the encomienda system. This system allowed Spaniards to demand free labor from indigenous people in return for protection and instruction in Christianity. This was a pretty good deal, as long as you were on the right end of it.

Interior of Church

Monolithic baptismal font. The term monolithic means the font was carved from a single piece of stone. My friend Richard Perry blogs about colonial Mexico and has written a number of excellent books that I have found useful in my blog research and as guides while traveling in Mexico. No information about this baptismal font was available elsewhere, so I consulted him. Richard was able to provide the following details:

"This is a fine old monolithic font, skillfully carved with Cristic and Marian acronyms like some others I have seen. The cord molding around the base suggests its Franciscan origin and it may well be the original mission font, which would date it to the late 1500s, most likely. I see that it has a projecting knob which indicates that it is/was portable, probably used in the convento or outside in the old atrium--another feature that supports its early date."

The reredo is surprisingly ornate for small rural church. Its Churrigueresque style follows a design popular in the city of Queretaro. The side panels were carved in the early 1800's, but the center panel was damaged in an earthquake in 1749 and was replaced at a more recent date.

The craftsmanship of the reredo is of a high order. In my previous posting, my photo showed the two top niches empty, because the statues were being restored. This shot, taken a year later, shows them in place. All the statues in the niches are Franciscan saints. The statue on the crucifix was carved from wood in the 16th century.

The word reredo comes from Latin, meaning "board behind". These large and intricately-carved wooden structures can be found behind altars. They generally have several niches containing religious statues or paintings. Reredos carved in the Churrigueresque style are decorated with  cherub heads and floral curlicues, in addition to the paintings and statues.

A statue of San Francisco stands in the bottom left niche. The niche is bracketed by two estipite columns, also Churrigueresque features. The tops of the columns contain unusual figures. According to Richard Perry, angels or archangels would normally occupy these positions. Instead, "these figures appear to be Franciscan friars, holding a variety of objects...some of which may indicate martyrdom or other identifying symbols of particular individuals."

San Francisco de Assisi (1181-1226), was one of the towering figures of the Medieval Church. Although he never became a priest, he founded no less than three Holy Orders. These include the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscan Order for men), the Order of St. Clare (for women), and the Third Order of St. Francis (for lay people). He took his vows of poverty and simplicity very seriously and was so important and so venerated that Pope Gregory IX elevated him to sainthood less than two years after his death.

Cherub heads, also known as putti, sprout everywhere on the reredo. These represent yet another Churrigueresque feature. However, putti have a very long history as decorative elements. They appeared thousands of years before the Christian era and continued in popularity into the early 20th century. It is also typical of the Churrigueresqe style that, besides the numerous putti, almost every square inch of the reredo contains some decorative element.

Santa Clara de Assisi was another important Franciscan saint. Her niche is on the lower right, across from San Francisco. St. Clare (1194-1253) came from a wealthy noble family. She rejected her social position and became an early follower of Francis after hearing him preach in Assisi. Clare's devotion attracted a considerable following of women. Eventually they set themselves up in simple huts near the Church of San Damiano, which had been rebuilt by Francis from a ruined condition. 

Francis helped Clare formalize her group as the Order of Poor Ladies of San Damiano (changed to the Order of St. Clare after her death). Their strict rules included going barefoot, sleeping on the ground, observing complete silence, and remaining cloistered from the world. Clare followed Francis' example of poverty and simplicity so closely that some called her alter Franciscus (another Francis). Also like Francis, Clare was canonized only two years after her death. 

An old organ stands in the choir loft at the back of the church. "Peters & Co., Scranton Pa. USA" appears above the organ's keyboard. I have been unable to locate an organ manufacturer by that name currently operating in Scranton, Pa. I therefore assume the company has gone out of business. 

Until well into the 20th century, Mexico remained a largely agricultural society. Although there was some industrialization during the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz (1876-1911), large amounts of sophisticated manufactured goods still had to be imported from the US and Europe. The imports apparently included this organ.

The elaborate wooden pulpit contained several depictions of Apostles. I have not been able to determine the identity of this one. An estipite pilaster (false pillar) stands to the right of the Apostle. On this one, there is no angel or Franciscan friar on top. The pulpit is on the side wall, about 2/3 of the way to the altar. 

Pulpits have been similarly placed in most of the Catholic churches I have visited. I have always found this arrangement oddly awkward, since the congregation would have to turn toward the side to listen to anyone speaking from the pulpit. There is probably a reason for this, but I have yet to discover it.

The Franciscan Convent

View of the convent courtyard from the roof of the church. At the time we visited in 2014, the convent was under renovation. Over the centuries, the church and its convent have been rebuilt, renovated, or repaired numerous times. In 1568, the church was rebuilt after it was destroyed by an earthquake. The doorway to the sacristy carries the date 1718, indicating additional changes. 

In 1749, another quake seriously damaged these structures. The Neo-Classic style was becoming popular during the second half of the 18th century, so it is likely that the some of the church's Neo-Classic features were added during the repairs. Quake damage, natural fires, and war destruction have wreaked havoc on Mexico's colonial architecture. Amacueca has definitely not escaped this history.

Ground-level view of the convent's courtyard. The replacement of the tiles was only about halfway complete at this time but the rest of the renovation appeared to be finished. The large square courtyard is surrounded by a walkway covered by arcades. The rooms behind the walkway served as dormitories, dining rooms, a kitchen, rooms for work and storage, and administrative offices. 

The whole structure is called a cloister and, as with most other convents, it is attached to the side a church. Because of the enclosed aspect of these religious buildings, the term "cloistered" has come to mean "cut off or removed from the world". 

Arcade along one side of the cloister. Although these walls separated the Franciscan friars from outsiders, the friars were by no means cut off from the world. The Franciscans traveled widely in their efforts to convert the native population. Although they had a head start, the Franciscans were not the only evangelical Order who devoted themselves to this task. The Dominicans arrived in 1525, the Augustinians in 1533, and the Jesuits in 1571. Other, smaller Orders came later. 

Considerable competition resulted, sometimes over practical "turf" issues, but at other times disputes were ideological. For example, the Franciscans initially opposed recognizing the Virgin of Guadalupe as a genuine apparition of the Virgin Mary. They thought the reported encounter was just a scam to enable the natives to worship Tonantzin, the pre-hispanic Earth Mother. The Dominicans and Augustinians disagreed because their support of the Virgin of Guadalupe drastically increased their conversion rates. Practicality prevailed and the Franciscans lost the argument.

A circular stove stands in the middle of the convent's kitchen. The stove was fired by wood placed in the square holes on the sides. They correspond to other square holes in the top where pots and kettles would be placed for cooking. I have seen a number of old stoves like this in the ruins of haciendas.

The convent has not functioned as such since 1799. In that year, changes in Church politics required the Franciscans to give up their control over Amacueca's religious affairs and allow the secular clergy to take over. In truth, the exciting days of mass conversions and battles against "devil worship" by the native people were long over. The times were changing. Only eleven years later, the War of Independence from Spain would begin. 

This ends Part 2 of my Amacueca series and completes the series itself. I hope you have enjoyed it. If so, please leave any thoughts or questions in the Comments section below or email me directly. If you use the Comments section for a question, please include your email address so that I can respond.

Hasta luego, Jim