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AGUA AZUL NOTES
2 Mil good until 31 December 1994
5 Mil good until 31 December 1994
10 Mil good until 31 December 1994
These Notes may be available. See WEB STORE at right, please.
AGUA AZUL COINS
2 Peso 2006 Wood token (painted)
5 Peso 2006 Wood token (painted)
No longer available.
(click image for larger view)
ABOUT AGUA AZUL
The village of Agua Azul, meaning Blue Water in English, is a community located in the southern part of the state of Sonora close to the Sinaloa border. The community, located along a small river, is in two sections and home to about 125 people.
The people of Agua Azul utilize small plots of land to grow produce for themselves and neighboring communities. Most goes to a larger community some 8 miles away.
The locals also tend goats who roam the valley. A few cattle, chickens and swine are raised for local consumption.
The community is not connected to a road at present although a road, best described as a trail or tire tracks once reached the community before heavy rains several years ago caused a portion of a neighboring hillside to collapse. That road now ends with a steep drop of 180 some feet to the valley below. It is possible to go across country and weave one's way via 4 wheel drive vehicle to Agua Azul, but it is quite dangerous. The best way to reach Agua Azul is via the river, utilizing a row boat or canoe.
Agua Azul residents live a mostly self-sufficient life with money earned for products needed coming from surplus produce, surplus fish caught in the river and goat meat that is sent by animal to the nearest road for a weekly visit from a delivery truck.
Each week a grocery and staples delivery is brought to Agua Azul, or should I say the place where the road ends. The delivery truck off loads the merchandise for the only business in the community, a tiny store, and the products from Agua Azul are loaded on the truck to go to the grocery distributor in the largest nearby town.
The only business in Agua Azul in a tiny store, called a 'tienda'. It is little more than a shed located at the front of the yard of a home in Agua Azul. It does have a refrigerator/freezer. Ice can be purchased at the store.
SOME VISITORS IMPRESSIONS
Agua Azul is a small fishing and farming village with homes, a school and a small store. Madruga told us that the drive in from the Highway was over the worst road he'd ever been on. The road abruptly ends at the hill overlooking Agua Azul
"But it was a two-hour drive through some of the most impressive scenery I've ever seen," Marshall said. "With the mountains and canyons, there were times I felt like I was driving in the Grand Canyon. The roads are so narrow and fragile that a guy with a pick could go out there and cut this town off from civilization in an hour." Marshall said they had to park at the top of the hill and walk down to the community.
Young girls showed up with homemade pastries. I bought a bunch and emptied pesos into their tiny hands. They went away giggling and squealing and then brought more goodies and made another sale.
Boys played soccer with goals made from driftwood and fishing nets.
In town you will find a well stocked store and a basic palapa restaurant, says another visitor to Agua Azul.
Yet another visitors says "We tried to buy beer and CocaCola in the Agua Azul store but they were out of Coke and we were told 'the church will not let us sell beer'."
Another quote is: The one tienda in "town" has some fresh produce and usually fresh goat cheese and frozen chickens. Our personal reason for loving this place is the handmade flour tortillas that one woman in town makes when you order them.
Yet another visitor accounts "A man came to lead us to his sister's place for a meal. We crossed the village and weaved our way through goats and pigs and playing children. Each house was equipped with a solar panel. Agua Verde was immaculate and its inhabitants very friendly. We wondered why this village contrasted so much with the fishing camps we had seen. We later learned that locals were actually an indigenous group that had been assimilated into Mexican society and had recently received support from non-profit organizations for their schools, and solar plants.
A young woman named Veronica received us with a big smile. She had already started to cook us some tasty tortillas, filled with beans and White Sea bass. Her husband grabbed two limes from a tree that we squeezed over the grilled fish. Our host sat next to us and asked us many questions about the “where from” and “where to”. Their little boy ran back from the tienda with two cold sodas. Our hosts were so talkative that with our limited Spanish we had a hard time understanding everything they said.
AGUAL AZUL LOCAL MONEY
Void of a bank, like the nearby towns, Agua Azul has little Mexican money floating around.
The town needed a way of accounting for the produce, meat and animals sent to market each week. A local currency, accepted by locals was drawn up and issued to those families contributing to the weekly products sent to market. The local currency is cashed in for pesos the next week when the delivery truck arrives again or is used prior to its expiration date.
The local currency can be used for any local transaction and is accepted at the store. We presume the restaurant that visitors have mentioned accepts the local currency as well.
There have been reports of a coin or two but we have no knowledge of one.
AGUA AZUL'S FUTURE
In more recent years Agua Azul has become a place where a few visitors camp overnight or pick up supplies. We think this trend will continue through word-of-mouth. The attention from non-profit groups trying to improve life for the people of Agua Azul tells us it is a matter of time before tourism will become a factor in Agua Azul. Is it far in the future when the locals in Agua Azul cater to tourists, seeing their remote community as a tourist destination? One may only speculate, but the current visitors seem to love its non-touristy image.