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Boca de Tomatlan, Mexico
October 3, 2003
O Bells of San Blas, in vain
Ye call back the Past again!
The Past is deaf to your prayer;
Out of the shadows of night
The world rolls into light;
It is daybreak everywhere.
From The Bells of San Blas
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
From the Contaduria we could see the church, it looked lonely and sort of haunted, a massive stone building with mist clinging to the tropical vegetation surrounding it. We decided we had to go see it. We ran to the car and tore the few hundred feet down the hill hoping to outrun the mosquitoes; it did not work.
Swatting and cursing we walked down the little path. After a few feet we looked up, we saw them coming, a brand new and very hungry mosquito brigade; we retreated. I have been in the church before but am sad to say my friends missed seeing this lovely structure. Inside the thick stone walls there is not much left to see except the massive arches that used to support the roof, which is long since gone. The place has a peaceful but sad feeling about it.
Although the fort was hard hit by hurricane Kenna, the church seems to have not suffered much. It seems to be in the same condition as the last time I visited a few years ago.
Back in the car we zipped down to the gate, paid our admission of five pesos (US$.50) per person which hadn‘t been collected when we entered. We got on the highway and left mosquito land vowing to return soon, well prepared.
Our Lady of the Rosary is in the same historical park as the Contaduria. There are signs in Spanish and English explaining the history of the place. Because of the repairs going on at the fort, these signs are leaning against the wall of the entrance booth.
The charge for getting into the historical park is five pesos (US.50) per person. This includes admittance to both structures. At the front gate there are public bathrooms and there is a soda pop machine. The park is open daily from 8am to 7pm.
Nuestra Señora del Rosario is on Cerro de la Basilia also known as Cerro de la Contaduria. To get here from the plaza head west on Juarez (on Mercado if you are driving) out of town. On the right is the hill. Follow the signs for La Contaduria up a cobbled road to the park entrance.
From journal Road Trip 9/03Eaten Alive in San Blas
La Contaduria, also known as the fort, was built in 1770 to protect New Spain’s assets. Here accountants would tally and deposit the riches to be sent to Mexico City or shipped to the Philippines. In 1810 the revolutionaries captured the fort and sent most of its cannons to Guadalajara to further the cause. The fort, like most of San Blas, started to decline in 1872 with the closing of the port to international trade. All that remains are a few of the original cannons and the walls, some intact and some crumbling.
We decided to visit the fort on our way out of town. We followed the signs up a winding little road and actually found La Contaduria on the first try. We drove through the open gate; no one was there to collect the entrance fee. We went past the church and up the hill to the fort. A swarm of no-see-ums descended, this time accompanied by gargantuan kamikaze mosquitoes, and started to suck us dry. Of course, our repellent was packed and impossible to reach! We ran around the place and saw everything at a frantic pace. At one point, I saw Greg desperately slapping his bald head and Bruja chasing him and beating him with a dishrag.
The fort was severely damaged during hurricane Kenna last year. There is scaffolding along some walls and lots of rubble on the ground. Work is being done to get the place back to its pre-Kenna state of ruin. Enough stone walls and pillars are still standing to get a feel for what it once was.
To one side of the fort is a monument consisting of stone platform, surrounded by a wrought iron fence, with a golden statue of a military man. Two cannons, pointed towards the sea, protrude from the front of the platform. I looked for information about the statue, but could find none. I am curious as to who it depicts. It is one very ugly statue.
If you are not interested in forts or unsightly statues, it is still worth a trip for the spectacular views. From here you can see all of San Blas, the bay of Matanchen, mangroves and coconut plantations.
From La Contaduria we headed to the beautiful and lonely looking church, La Señora del Rosario, a couple hundred feet down the hill. It is part of the same historical park as the fort.
La Contaduria is on Cerro de la Basilia also known as Cerro de la Contaduria. To get here from the plaza head west on Juarez (on Mercado if you are driving) out of town. On the right is the hill. Follow the signs up a cobbled road to the Contaduria.