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Chacala is a beach-town set in small cove on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the State of Nayarit. It is located about 100km north of Puerto Vallarta. The name means "where there are shrimp" in Náhuatl, and is part of the coastline known as the Riviera Nayarita. The population consists of approximately 300 full-time residents, but can swell to over 1000 during Mexico's most popular vacation periods such as Semana Santa, (Easter Week) and Christmas. Chacala is known for its physical beauty, unhurried lifestyle.HistoryPre-Columbian eraThe region encompassing Nayarit and Jalisco was originally home to the Texcoxquin (Teqectequi) indigenous culture millennia before the European conquest. The Altavista petroglyphs, not far from Chacala, are believed to date from 2300 BCE. This extensive group of rock carvings is still used today for ceremonial religious purposes by the native Huichol.Colonial eraThe bay was first seen by Europeans when the Spaniard Francisco Cortés de Buena Ventura, a nephew of Hernán Cortés reached here in 1524. Although Chacala was never as historically significant a port as San Blas to the north or Puerto Vallarta to the south, the sheltered bay saw a visit from explorer Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeño, sailing out of Manila, who arrived in Chacala on January 7, 1596 in a small launch after the Manila Galleon San Agustin was wrecked on the northern coast of California. The notable but idiosyncratic Jesuit missionary Father Eusebius Francesco Kühn, commonly known as 'Padre Kino', and his party departed from Chacala on his Atondo expedition in May 1683. Many members of the expedition abandoned him after he proposed that his ship be pushed across the Sonoran Desert.
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