Making friends in Sayulita, Mexico

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights;
it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

Mark Twain

(This post belongs to a series, “Crossing Borders”- Family Road Trip Costa Rica.)

The view from Mar de Jade

Up late writing my thoughts, I leave the door open to our room to let in the cool night breeze at the Mar de Jade resort.

Like a moth to the flame, the insects swarm the light of my computer screen, then snack all night on our sweet blood, so by morning we look as though we all have the chicken pox.

Knowing we have to depart soon, due to the silent retreat beginning that day, we relish the morning in Chacala, our serendipity by the sea, and soon forget the itchies.

Hubby spends some time working hard trading options, taking advantage of a WiFi connection.

...Discovering the New

The kids and I explore the grounds, and discovering large, green balls, we take them to daddy to see if he knows what they are.

Coconuts! These things are coconuts? They're nothing like what we've seen at the store in the States.

Trying our first coconut

Asking the gardener if he will open them for us, he slices off the top with his machete, inserts a straw, and we all try a taste of our first coconut water.

The flavor is a unfamiliar, but the kids love it, so much so we open another.

I let them drink it up, while I drink up the pure pleasure of the moment- experiencing something new and exotic with my children.

As the silent retreat guests began to arrive, we know the time has come for us to depart.


We head south again. The family we met yesterday raved about Sayulita, a hopping beach town only a few kilometers away, so we think we'll stop and see what it is all about.

Unfortunately, we get off on the wrong foot. That is Sayulita and I.

It's starts with the difficulty in finding the place - no signs.

After significant wandering, we discover what must be Sayulita, but roads are narrow, and clogged with more tourists than Mexicanos.

Feeling ensnared, we can barely maneuver our big SUV between the car lined streets, while dodging countless pedestrians. This must be the definition of a 'tourist trap.'


Every hotel posts 'No Vacancy', and we wonder if we'll find anything for the weekend. Finally, at the end of the road, right on the beach, Junto al Rio has a 'tent' available for rent, at a decent price.

Hungry and cooped up, the kids are anxious to exit the vehicle, so we take it, although I'm nervous on what I'll find. (Hubby looked at it before, but I didn't get that chance.)

Hiding from the sun

The tent passes inspection- more like a large, canvas room, spacious, with a very comfortable king size, plus two twins, chair and other amenities. The only downside is the heat.

Canvas + Midday Mexican Sun = Discomfort

However  that's easily remedied with a few steps to the beach where we plan to bath in the sun and splash in the waves.

It's so scorching hot, we seek sanctuary under a large multicolored umbrella instead.

My kids have soon made friends with a plump Señora who dotes on them, while daddy goes in search of some refreshment.

...the Unexpected Experience

He returns with what must be ambrosia of the gods...a drink so delicious we'll tell our grandchildren about it.

The best drink ever!

Orange juice fresh squeezed into the hull of a pineapple, the flesh of which is crushed into delectable pieces, mixed with mashed mango and perfectly chilled.

Oooohhhh...Ahhhh....soooo good.

Exhausted by the heat, it's time to find a 'real meal'.

One hundred yards from the beach there is an on site 'restaurant' at the far end of the coconut grove- one white plastic table with plastic chairs in the grass, next to a hut that houses a smallish kitchen.

The cook/owner takes our order, then chats with us while he prepares our meal.

The food is toothsome, unsurprisingly, but despite our satisfied bellies, we're already thinking about breakfast as our host tells us about the 'juice lady' in town. Fresh made smoothies are a family favorite.


Sleep is sweet and sound, for the kiddies, although I'm not unaware of the thumping tunes that play late into the night. Sayulita does present a party scene.

It's not until the next morning that we discover the mosquito family reunion that occurred in our tent throughout the night.

With a threat of dengue in the area, the prolific number of mosquito munchies on baby's skin is cause for some concern.

...Phenomenal Cuisine

But right now smoothies are on the brain, so we search out the 'juice lady', whom we find at 'El Bicho'.

We get our fill of the good stuff- fresh piña, mango, orange juice and berries blended to a creamy, cold perfection.

Next it's across the street to 'Si Hay Olitas' for a sit down meal, which is, of course, so deliciously good.

Why did it take us so long before we dared to try the local cuisine? We sure missed out on a number of great meals.

Eating incredible authentic food has got to be one of the best parts of travel.

Hubby makes friends with an expat named Frank, who offers to take him out for body boarding, man style.

This is the real deal, not a kids game, so I take them to play on the beach by our bungalow.

By the time daddy returns, they're ready for a nap. We return to our tent to attempt it, but it's so stuffy, despite the blowing fans, it can't be accomplished.


Our tent room

Between itching bug bites, exhausting heat, and being overtired, the kids are uncomfortable and inconsolable, and there's no where to find refuge.

Although we've paid for three days stay at Junto al Rio, it's not working for us right now.

The kids need a nap and shelter from the heat, and an air conditioned car seems like a good place to do it.

With the high temperature and the mosquitoes, the owners are understanding and more concerned with people than money. They happily give us a refund.

Then we're on our way again headed south to Puerto Vallarta.

(This post belongs to a series, “Crossing Borders”- Family Road Trip Costa Rica.)

What characteristics of family travel have you discovered?




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2 Responses

  1. redokapi

    So what happens after this?  I can’t seem to find any posts finishing this trip.

  2. RachelDenning

    redokapi Uhh… yeah, sorry about that. It’s still a project I’m working on completing (the original posts were on another blog, so I have to transfer them over.)


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