Last March and April, if we were in La Cruz chances are you would find us enjoying El Jardin del Pulpo (The Octopuses Garden). Cucumber infused margaritas? Live Cuban Salsa music and dancing? Jazz? Intricately crafted Huichole art? Locally sourced coop produced coffee? The Garden had it all and it was our go to spot for a memorable evening away from Elizabeth Jean.
Aruna and Wayland, two British expats, created the Garden decades ago after sailing their self-built catamaran from England to Banderas Bay. Remnants of their vessel decorated the bar area and a scrap book filled with faded photographs showed the couple working on the hull or sewing sails. After settling in La Cruz, the couple’s sensitive tentacles reached out and touched the community with the same thought and care with which their hands had created their sailing vessel.
Our hope of again being in Octopuses Garden, however, was not to be. In May, shortly before we left La Cruz, the cruisers net brought the said news that Wayland was seriously injured in a fall. The La Cruz community rallied to raise funds for his care. On our October return to Banderas Bay we heard Wayland’s spirits had rallied, but his physical condition had not much improved. Our visit to Coral Street found a for sale sign on the Garden’s door. We know we are not alone in our fondness for this special place and our hopes for only the best for Aruna and Wayland.
The Garden’s whimsical sign hints at the magic within.
Huichole thread and bead work illuminated a small gallery at the restaurant’s far end. A Garden regular explained that Wayland brought his hand crafted looms to the Huichole in exchange for their art. For more on the Huicholes, the Peyote People, see link below:
In similar fashion, Aruna and Wayland found small scale coffee growers and brought delicious roasts back to La Cruz.
Many local and international artists found a welcoming stage in the Garden’s courtyard.
Habana Band from Cuba scorched the upstairs dance floor.
Wayland and Aruna have raised horses in their spare time.
Aruna and Wayland, avid equestrians. Photo credit Villa Amor del Mar
You are in our thoughts. Photo credit Villa Amor del Mar