The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #35

Sayulita-Mexico-11.20am

by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

This week's view was a cruel joke to us in the Northeast!  I'm sitting home with my sick baby, while another two feet of snow dumps down, sifting through image after image of gorgeous beach bungalows.  My guess is Kendwa, Tanzania, no real reason or story - just looked somewhat right so I thought I'd throw in a last second guess.

Another writes:

This looks very much like one of the small islands that make up the Ryukyu islands in southern Japan.  I would hazard a guess of Ishigaki island, home of Ishigaki - the southernmost city in Japan.

Another:

Suva, Fiji?  No good reason.  Obviously tropical and with thached roofs.  A high volcanic island with perhaps Pohutakawa trees flowering in the left foreground.

Another:

Koror, Palau? The tree in the foreground with the red dots on it I think is a "red bead tree," which can be found in the South Pacific.  Unfortunately, any other clues within the picture are lost on me.

Another:

The Flamboyant Trees, terra cotta-tiled roofs and tan stucco reminds me of the BVIs. I can't be certain, of course, but this appears to be looking north from Diamond Cay toward Little Jost Van Dyke.  Am I close?  I always enjoy this contest - even if I'm on the wrong continent!

Right continent, but not close. Another:

I was there once, almost 30 years ago, but something reminds me of Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. But really, it could be any number of coastal towns around the world.

Another:

The architecture is African. It's not a great fit for Anglophone Africa as the European influence seems more continental. It could be near the Dahomey Gap or around Angola, but I suspect it's in West Africa. Freetown is still a bit wet relative to this vegetation, so it's probably closer to the Sahel. Guinea is potentially a good match. A lot of the Guinea coast is mangrove, but there's a region in and around Conakry with shallow seas and nice narrow beaches next to forest habitat.

This could be anywhere from the Kaloum Peninsula to the Loos Islands. I don't think it's Tombo Island itself, because that would be more built up, but the shallow sea and lack of mangroves is an otherwise good match. Kassa Island is a popular destination. I know the Air France crew will often boat there between flights to and from Paris. The crossing from Conakry means passing several wrecks of capsized old tankers. Half of these ships emerge from the water as they rest on their sides. From a distance it almost feels like you could touch the bottom if you jump out of your boat, but then you realize how huge these ships actually are. It's shallow by shipping standards, but not by swimming standards. I'd love to know where these ships came from.

Ok, final guess: Conakry, Guinea, Kassa Island.

Another:

Close enough that I'll bite. This looks a lot like a vista from above the highway (that's a euphemism for a harrowing one-lane intermittently paved road) that hooks into town from the remote reaches of the northeast coast of Trinidad, in Grand Riviere.

We took our three children there three years ago to watch leatherback turtles (huge, dinosauric-looking deep-sea beasts that grow to well over a ton) heave themselves ashore on the beach after dark, right in front of the homes and hostels lining the coconut-tree-fringed shoreline, to dig sand pits and drop dozens of eggs into them. You can stand right next to them as they do so!

We also watched the baby turtle hatchlings, like tiny little windup toys scarcely larger than your average butterfly, come flapping out of the hot sand during daylight and dash to the surf as birds of prey wheel and dive on them. The absolute most extraordinary natural phenomenon I've ever witnessed.

It's a fabulous, un-tourism-industry-tamed place, and therefore most affordable, too. The only catch is, you have to navigate hours and hours of horrendous winding road, dodging huge dumptrucks and full-throttle Asian compact sedans whipping around every blind turn to get there. Favorite vacation ever.

Another:

Looks like La Manzanilla, Mexico, a thriving little fishing village on the Bahia de Tenacatita between Puerto Vallarta and the port city of Manzanillo. One of those rare places where local Mexicans mix happily with gringo expats and travelers, it has quietly become a mini mecca for artists and chefs from all over Mexico, Canada and the U.S.  My favorite town in the world and, with luck, my future home.

Getting close. Another:

Long time watcher of these contests, first time submitter!  I stayed in the Hotel La Quinta Troppo in Zihuatanejo, Mexico with a near identical view!

Photo-6

Quite close. Another:

I've been to the Pacific coast of Mexico several times and the thatched palapas looked familar. This picture reminded me of the rustic feel of Yelapa, Mexico. I spent time on the internet on this cold, rainy Saturday looking at warm, inviting pictures of seaside accomodations.

Another:

This is either exactly Las Brisas or near Las Brisas Hotel in Acapulco.  If it is, the photographer shot this at a very clever angle. Wherever it is, I want to be there; more snow is coming to Connecticut. I've stopped bothering to dig out most paths, and the man who plows says he will have to come back with a bucket loader as there is no where left to push the snow with the plow. Between all the snow and the events in Egypt, this was a very calming photo to study.

And this week's winner:

I knew this one right away. One of my favorite places on the planet: Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico. Looks like the photo was taken towards the north end of town, just above the sports fields. Probably from one of these villas. Here's a street view showing the pointy thatched roof house prominent in the photo:

Screen shot 2011-02-01 at 12.43.55 PM

About a half-dozen readers correctly guessed Sayulita, but the above reader was the first to do so and provided the only visuals. Congrats - we'll get a window book out to you shortly. One final email for the super-fans:

After months of observing the methodologies employed by my fellow competitors, I am at long last throwing my hat into the View From Your Window Contest ring. Before I offer up my solution, I'd like to go meta for just a moment: I have noticed that there are 4 types of entrants to this contest:

1) The people who write, "I am absolutely, 100% sure of the location, because I was just there last year and will never forget it," followed by a completely wrong answer. -- I always feel a little sorry for these people. They were so certain! It must be a blow.

2) The people who write, "I am absolutely, 100% sure of the location because I happen to be: a) sitting there right now! b) looking at the exact same picture that I took last week when I was there! or c) *fill in the blank with another amazing coincidence!*" -- These people make me jealous on some petty level that I'd rather not examine too closely

3) The people who write, "I am absolutely, 100% sure of the location because I recognized some infinitesimally arcane detail in the photo, and after spending several hours researching Dumpster Colors of the Southern Hemisphere, I was able to narrow it down to a city, whose streets I then spent several days examining, block by block for a LONG TIME on Google Earth, until I found the spot! Oh and, I got the last 3 contests correct!" -- These people fill me with awe and admiration and maybe a just a little bit of fear.

4) The people who write, "I have no clue. I threw some search terms into Google and came up with this. Hope I'm right." -- These are my kind of people, and they have inspired me to join the VFYW Contest fray.

So, the red-flowered tree looks like a Flamboyant Tree and the overall feel of the photo says South Pacific to me. I put "Flamboyant Tree," and "South Pacific" into Google, and came up with French Polynesia. I Google-mapped French Polynesia and found "Raiatea," which appears to have grass huts, palm trees, Flamboyant Trees. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it, in the true spirit of the Type 4 VFYW Contestant.

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