Mexico, my haven

Old Feb 3, 19, 9:20 pm
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Mexico, my haven



Readers here may know Jim and I often seek refuge in Mexico. Not counting childhood in Panama when my family vacationed there yearly, Jim and I have holidayed in Mexico 28 times in the last 25 years. There is no other country, or even US or Canadian locale than comes close to that score except beloved Point Reyes in western Marin county, just north of San Francisco.

When it comes to Mexico, the debate often bifurcates between west coast or east coast (Caribbean). Sometimes this is settled easily by point of origin: west to west and east to east. Yet our home airport is SFO and we are wild about the Caribbean beaches south of Cancun, especially around Maroma and Playa del Carmen. It is certifiably true that the best swimming beaches in Mexico are along its Caribbean coast, from a bit north of Cancun to just south of Tulum. Anyone who says differently doesn't know whereof they speak.

Nevertheless, we most often are to be found on Mexico's west coast. Our favorite locales are Zihuatanejo, Costalegre, and Cabo. The latter for nonstop flying convenience. Zihua requires a connection through LAX (ugh); Puerto Vallarta is a nonstop from SFO but our favorite resort is a two and a half hour drive south of PV on the Costalegre in Quemaro.

Mexico's west coast is challenged for swimmable beaches, there being many rip tides, carry-away currents, undertows, rough surf. A strong and fit swimmer usually will survive but not so others; and, yes, there are exceptions and some get lucky. Puerto Vallarta sports a number of swimmable beaches as does Zihua. Even Cabo has a few. But, in general, the Pacific does not resemble its namesake.

I am bilingual and much soothed by immersion in Spanish, sibilant and sublime.

It's not all about beaches, of course. Jim and I together have not traveled the interior nor the colonial cities of Mexico but are hoping to do so soon. As a child, I holidayed in San Miguel de Allende, Guadalajara, D.F., Cuernavaca, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Zacatecas.

In 1965, the KatW family drove from Panama to Anchorage, Alaska, taking our time over four and a half months. Mexico consumed close to a month of that trip.

All that being said, herewith our favorite Mexican venues:

ZIHUATANEJO

La Casa Que Canta
https://lacasaquecanta.mobi/new/

Villa Del Sol
https://www.jetsetter.com/hotels/gue...t-zihuatanejo/

COSTALEGRE (south of Puerto Vallarta)

Las Alamandas
Las Alamandas Boutique Hotel Luxury Boutique Hotel Las Alamandas

MAROMA

Belmond Maroma
https://www.belmond.com/hotels/north...esort-and-spa/

PLAYA DEL CARMEN

Mahekal Beach Resort (not luxury but magnificent three star)
https://www.mahekalbeachresort.com/

CABO

Las Ventanas al Paraiso (Rosewood)
https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/la...anas-los-cabos

Esperanza (Auberge)
https://aubergeresorts.com/esperanza/

Chileno Bay (Auberge)
https://aubergeresorts.com/chilenobay/

Casa Natalia (boutique on the town square in San Jose del Cabo)
https://www.casanatalia.com/

Last edited by KatW; Feb 3, 19 at 9:55 pm
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Old Feb 4, 19, 12:03 am
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My favorite Mexico hotel by far is Casa Que Canta. Have been going since it opened. Love everything about it but also living in SF have found it exasperating to get to since they stopped the Alaska air nonstops quite a few years ago.

I also used to go to Mexico City a couple of times a year for business and love the Four Seasons there. Nothing nicer than coming back to the hotel after a crazy day of work with heavy traffic than to sit in that courtyard and have a nice margarita listening to the fountain instead of the crazy cars! We now usually spend a night or 2 there on our way to or from Casa Que Canta or San Miguel which we also frequent as my mother in law is there a couple of months a year as are other friends from SF.

Also love other parts of Mexico, but having been going since I was very young with my family I have a hard time with the growth in many places. Especially around Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Also Puerto Valletta although I do really like the coastal areas south of PV.

Just another lover of Mexico!��
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Old Feb 4, 19, 12:17 am
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Originally Posted by Larkin View Post
My favorite Mexico hotel by far is Casa Que Canta. Have been going since it opened. Love everything about it but also living in SF have found it exasperating to get to since they stopped the Alaska air nonstops quite a few years ago.

I also used to go to Mexico City a couple of times a year for business and love the Four Seasons there. Nothing nicer than coming back to the hotel after a crazy day of work with heavy traffic than to sit in that courtyard and have a nice margarita listening to the fountain instead of the crazy cars! We now usually spend a night or 2 there on our way to or from Casa Que Canta or San Miguel which we also frequent as my mother in law is there a couple of months a year as are other friends from SF.

Also love other parts of Mexico, but having been going since I was very young with my family I have a hard time with the growth in many places. Especially around Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Also Puerto Valletta although I do really like the coastal areas south of PV.

Just another lover of Mexico!��
We, too, have been devastated by the lack of nonstops to Zihua from SFO. But we're biting the bullet this year flying there in March, it could be our last hurrah. Jim's travel tolerance begins to wane.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 10:04 am
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Have you tried Rosewood Mayakoba or Banyan Tree?
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Old Feb 4, 19, 10:34 am
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Regarding Las Alamandas, why not fly to ZLO and drive north? That's what I used to do in the 80's for Club Med.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 10:44 am
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Originally Posted by mike_la_jolla View Post
Regarding Las Alamandas, why not fly to ZLO and drive north? That's what I used to do in the 80's for Club Med.
We spend several months a year in Mexico....mainly in the mountains in a town called San Miguel de Allende. ( have a home there). I for one....would not "drive north" these days in Mexico. Too much unrest and reports of highway bandits. Especially in the area around Zih. ( Believe me I am not being an alarmist.... we know several people that have gotten caught up in bad sh*t driving around that area).
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Old Feb 4, 19, 10:52 am
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Originally Posted by mike_la_jolla View Post
Regarding Las Alamandas, why not fly to ZLO and drive north? That's what I used to do in the 80's for Club Med.
No non-stop flights SFO-ZLO. Would rather drive 2.5 hours than make a connection, especially internationally with immigration hassle at first U.S. port of entry upon return. Also, security concerns. Although Las Alamandas will provide armed bodyguard/driver upon request -- yet such isn't all that reassuring.
Originally Posted by DetailsIM View Post
Have you tried Rosewood Mayakoba or Banyan Tree?
No. I have come close to booking Mayakoba but back away, preferring authentic Mexican experience in architecture, devor and ethos. That Mexican flavor is so much a part of my delight and relaxation.
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Last edited by RichardInSF; Feb 4, 19 at 11:35 pm Reason: consecutive posts by same member, please use multi-quote facility
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Old Feb 4, 19, 12:37 pm
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Just spent a month in Puerto Vallarta over Christmas/New year. It's my favourite winter destination, despite taking a very long time to fly there from Scotland.
I don't like the east coast of Mexico at all
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Old Feb 5, 19, 4:52 pm
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I cannot resist chiming in with my love for Mexico! In the past two years I have spent a month living in Puerto Morelos, and two months living in Merida. The only time I don't miss Mexico, is when I am there.

I have stayed at: Chable Yucatan, Chable Maroma, Hacienda Chichen, Hacienda Temozon, Casa Azul (private villa), Hacienda Itzincab (private villa), Hacienda San Jose, Ana y Jose, Fairmont Mayakoba, Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Rosewood Mayakoba, Esencia, NIZUC, Ritz-Carlton Cancun, Belmond Maroma, Viceroy Riviera Maya, Four Seasons Mexico City, Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, Esperanza, Villa Vidorra (private villa), Villa Rolandi, Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, and the Intercontinental Cozumel - plus a few more that no longer exist or have significantly changed. I have also done site inspections at many private haciendas in the state of Yucatan and hotels in Merida.

Now that I am based in Nashville and no longer live in Boston, I look forward to branching out to ZIH, PVR, and SJD since the schedules from here are a little better and the flight times are shorter. Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Puebla are all also on my list along with some more time in CDMX and Guanajuato.
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Old Feb 10, 19, 8:40 am
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Originally Posted by KatW View Post
<snip>All that being said, herewith our favorite Mexican venues:
Thanks for starting this thread and sharing KatW. I'm bookmarking this as you've given me a great list to research properties that my wife and I have not experienced before.

Like you, we absolutely love Mexico and find it one of the few places in the world where we genuinely and truly relax, unwind, and detox from pretty stressful, high intensity careers.

Actually, as much as you adore Mexico and given your travel budget, I'm a little suprised that at some point you didn't just purchase a property there. We have strongly considered this and almost every time we go, we'll spend a day touring neighborhoods, going to open houses, etc. However, given our work commitments, I'm not sure we'd truly be able to spend enough time there to have it make sense. If we could spend, say 3 to 4 months a year there, we'd definitely more strongly consider it. Though as I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm growing increasingly concerned that SJD is starting to "go Hollywood" (so to speak) and may, over time, lose some of the charm and slower pace we truly love and that might change my perspective on things...

Regards
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Old Feb 10, 19, 9:56 am
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another great thread, definitely quite a few mexico regulars here

Originally Posted by scubadu View Post
given your travel budget, I'm a little suprised that at some point you didn't just purchase a property there.
most in this forum prefer value of renting towards very top, vs buying
(and las ventanas signature villas are not residences, as one example)

Originally Posted by KatW View Post
I will never be more than a guest, never an owner

I am not copacetic about renting a residence instead of a hotel suite/residence given decor and comfort issues. In some such venues, residential rentals are much less expensive than resort bookings and, well, this comforts me some. Las Ventanas al Paraiso is one such.
Originally Posted by KatW View Post
Not interested in a stand-alone villa rental in not-resort venue.
Originally Posted by KatW View Post
Of the soon-to-be resorts opening this year, I am up for trying Aman, Four Seasons and RC.

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Feb 10, 19 at 10:12 am
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Old Feb 10, 19, 10:23 am
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We have a home in San Miguel de Allende. We spend maybe 6 weeks a year there...."not enough time" says my husband.....but the upside is we have had a really nice rental income from our home for the past 10 years. ( It doesn't hurt that Architectural Digest just named our street, Aldama, as the 4th most beautiful in the world). https://www.architecturaldigest.com/...s-in-the-world

Sometimes owning in a foreign country is a pain in the ... but the cost of living, utilities, repairs, and renovations is so much cheaper then our home in the Seattle area. Having a good house manager is key.
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Old Feb 10, 19, 10:41 am
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San Miguel de Allende also has fans here
now online, $1k 2BR > $2k 5BR in june >
rosewoodhotels.com/en/san-miguel-de-allende/accommodation/residences/residences
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Old Feb 10, 19, 9:45 pm
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I don't know whether to feel flattered or stalked.

Kagehitoriki posted above:

another great thread, definitely quite a few mexico regulars here

Quote:
Originally Posted by scubadu
given your travel budget, I'm a little suprised that at some point you didn't just purchase a property there.
most in this forum prefer value of renting towards very top, vs buying
(and las ventanas signature villas are not residences, as one example)

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatW
I will never be more than a guest, never an owner

I am not copacetic about renting a residence instead of a hotel suite/residence given decor and comfort issues. In some such venues, residential rentals are much less expensive than resort bookings and, well, this comforts me some. Las Ventanas al Paraiso is one such.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatW
Not interested in a stand-alone villa rental in not-resort venue.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatW
Of the soon-to-be resorts opening this year, I am up for trying Aman, Four Seasons and RC.
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Last edited by KatW; Feb 10, 19 at 11:07 pm
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Old Feb 11, 19, 6:32 am
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Originally Posted by KatW View Post
Originally Posted by KatW
I will never be more than a guest, never an owner
Understood. I somehow missed some of that context in reading the post.

Nonetheless, thanks for sharing a great list of potential properties for my wife and I to explore!

Regards
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