In his 70s, my father went looking for paradise. He got behind the wheel of his beat-up Volkswagen van and drove straight south from Vancouver, Canada. Less than an hour after he left the Mexican bustle of Puerto Vallarta, his motor hiccoughed. He rolled to a stop in a fishing village at the mouth of the Tomatlán, where the river flowed past a stand of palm trees to empty into the Bay of Banderas. Lush jungle hills framed the coastline in both directions. A fisherman loaded a net he’d just finished mending onto his boat, La Paz. Communicating in hand signals, he agreed to some company for his daily fishing trip. My father’s van had broken down in paradise.
Thanks to my father, who turned 92 this year, Boca was my first chance to get to know people who struggle every day to feed themselves and their families. Many counted on the sea to provide, and some still do. But each year since I’ve been visiting the village, the catch has been declining. At the same time, Boca has come to be prized as a paradise by tourists from Mexico and dozens of other nations. Restaurants have sprung up under palapas on the beach to serve fresh fish, locally made tortillas, and of course, guacamole. This recipe comes from Ramone’s, restaurant on the beach of Boca de Tomatlán.
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