Sunday, March 4, 2012

Once Upon a Time. . .in Mexico

Casa de la Playa 001  Casa de la Playa.

House of the Beach’.   Our house on the beach . . . in Mexico.
  It seems, at times, so very long ago.  And sometimes, it seems only yesterday. . .

Bucerias, Mexico 1991

We first visited Mexico in the winter of 1991.  Six months later we bought a home there.  We were ready for an adventure at the time. Our ages hovered at just above and below 40; ages when our work life, peppered with limited vacation days, just didn’t curb our wanderlust.  

Just north of Puerto Vallarta, at the end of a rutted beach road in the tiny hamlet of Bucerias, the house that we would name Casa de la Playa captured our imaginations and fueled our dreams from the moment we saw it. 
"Why, it could be a Bed and Breakfast we’d run in our retirement! DSCF2815
Until then a vacation rental. . .

Si! Por que, no? – Yes! Why not?"

That was a time long before the area was known -- as it is today-- as Riviera Nayarit. Back then fresh oysters were sold from stands lining the two-lane road that bisected the town - the National Highway.

Casa de la Playa 002Our story and experiences that evolved are not unlike the stories told in books by Frances Mayes about Tuscany and Peter Mayle about Provence. The trials and the triumphs of foreign home ownership  have an uncanny similarity.

In our story, the chapters multiplied as we added three more homes to our holdings.  Our adventures really began in 1998 when we quit our jobs – long before reaching retirement age - to oversee the construction of two of those homes.

Our Mexican story ended with the sale of our last casa seven years ago.

We’ve not been back to the area since that sale. There have been far too many other places in the world to see.

Bucerias 2012

As I’ve written before, we’ve found timeshare ownership is now a better fit for our nomadic lifestyle. It’s  far-less stressful and labor-intensive. We send an annual payment for maintenance and our labor is done.

The most ‘stress’ we have with the timeshare is selecting one of the many destinations from which we can choose.  In fact Joel was looking at our menu of destinations a few days ago. . .  
Rancho Banderas, left; Bucerias, right pin

. . .when  he  noticed a resort in Riviera Nayarit, Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas, on Playa Destiladeras, a long stretch of flat, sandy beach, between Bucerias and Punta de Mita.

We reminisced about Playa Destiladeras, a  remote hangout for surfers and their fans during our time in Mexico. Then we talked of  long ago friendships, favorite restaurants and our favorite places along the coastline and in the Sierra Madres. . .

In less than an hour we’d booked our flights and secured a reservation.  We’re heading back to Mexico after far too long an absence. Our trip down Memory Lane will be mixed with  discovering this touristy Riviera Nayarit. 

Casa de la Playa 003Memory Lane. 

That’s the address now of that old enchantress, Casa de la Playa. Within months of selling our  ‘house of the beach'  to a businessman from Mexico City, he had it bulldozed to  make way for a small condominium building that now towers where she once stood.

How about you? Have you traveled a Memory Lane destination lately? Or do you have a Casa de la Playa memory?

I have put some of our favorite Mexico reads as well as Frances Mayes and Peter Mayle’s books on our Amazon carousel to the bottom left of the home page. If you purchase a book from it, we make a few cents on each sale but that doesn’t affect your purchase price.

Note to subscribers:  I re-posted this after Feedburner failed to deliver it to some of you.  I apologize if you've received it twice.


  1. Wonderful memories of Bucerias and Casa de la Playa! I visited three times, each with a very different group of friends & family. Lazing the afternoon working jigsaw puzzles on the porch, sitting bolt upright in bed when a crash of the surf was LOUD, tipping waiters erratically based on whatever bills were easy to find and not really understanding how to convert the money in my head. Spending our honeymoon with 10 close friends because the trip to Bucerias had been planned far in advance of deciding to get married! I am so sad the beautiful house is gone.

    1. What a great comment! I had forgotten about how loud the surf could be. Maybe you should take a Second Honeymoon - just for the two of you. ;-)

  2. Jackie and Joel. It all sounds like a wonderful life to me! Love that last photo of the house on the beach. No Memory Lane destination to report yet, but might have a few coming up in the future. And when that happens, they'll feature on my blog, for sure. And as far as a "casa de playa" is concerned, we might just be building one of those over here in the not too distant future...

    Buenas noches desde Santiago de Chile...

    1. Andrew - Take good notes along the way and you might just be the next Peter Mayle - Chilean version of course! Good luck on your future 'Casa de La Playa" life adventures.


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