Save your diamonds, fancy cars and expensive champagne…give me an umbrella drink vacation and I’m yours. Preferably an off the beaten path, ocean-view in a low key, 10 room hacienda vacation if you please. Don’t get me wrong, if you offer up a weekend at a coastal Four Seasons, I’d take it. But for the cost of two nights there, you can pick up the tab for our airfare and a week’s accommodation + food. Up to you, but I know what my vote is. Enter in our latest heavenly vacation ~ Hacienda Eden.
People say things to M and I like, “wow, you guys are always going somewhere fun” or “off again, must be nice”. And the answer to both is “yes, we are” and “yes, it is”! We pick out vacations like some couples pick out tile. Planning, booking and having trips both big and small give us something delicious to look forward to. So we make it a priority. We save, we sync our work schedules and look for cost effective ways to travel to beautiful places. This has been a theme in our relationship since day one.
About two months into our relationship (almost eight years ago), M took the plunge and asked two big questions…Do you like Costa Rica? Want to go with me? Um, yes and yes. After our first trip, we knew the travel compatibility box was checked. There may be other bumps in the road, but if you can travel well together that is quite something in my book.
For the past three years, we’ve been on a Mexico exploration kick. Living in San Diego, it’s so easy and the cost comparison to Hawaii, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico can’t be beat. Yes, I hear all the time how dangerous it is. But we are mindful, we do our research and, knock on wood, have had nothing but amazing experiences in places where people are genuinely happy to have you. That is how it went this last time around at Eden. It’s a bit of hike to get there compared to Cabo or Puerto Vallerta, (no direct flights from SD) but it’s still not bad. There is a beauty, vibrancy + simplicity about Mexico we love. The culture, the ingenuity and the good natured attitudes of the locals.
Eden is in Playa Troncones, Manzanillo Bay. You fly into Zihuatanejo and then promptly ditch the mobs of families bound for Ixtapa. You don’t need a car so jump in a cab for about 900 pesos. If you have a surfboard, they’ll get creative and don’t charge extra. The ride was a bit cramped for the person in the back seat (moi), but not bad. The town is Troncones (about 3 streets long). Manzanillo Bay is a pristine, tiny half moon bay and Eden is smack in the middle of it. It’s about a 30 minute drive passing Coco Frio stands and nothing but palm trees and dirt. You are blissfully outside of civilization, but on a nice new road.
The hotel is one of four on a bay with a handful of houses. The surf break is literally about 10 steps to the water and then a brisk paddle out to the point and voila. M surfed about 2-3 times a day which gave me time to get through 5 books and work on my tan. The break is a bit rocky and not for beginners. They’re are two other spots pretty close by supposedly a bit more forgiving (Saladitas + Bocas), but we never got around to going there.
We went for daily beach walks, meandered about 15 minutes down the road to the fishing town La Majahua (about a half of a block long) to get margaritas + guacamole, took the bikes one afternoon to explore Troncones and sipped fresh coconut water courtesy of M’s foraging skills.
It was the kind of vacation that makes you sigh out loud from the pure pleasure + relaxation of it all. As I’m home typing this I can’t over how quiet our house is. The constant rumble of the surf was white noise and I miss it. At night, an occasional set would crash like thunder and wake M and I up with a start. Pretty crazy. If that’s not you’re thing, bring ear plugs. But not to worry, lots of nap opportunities with an ocean view balcony complete with hammock. Vicki, our room cleaner made us awesome flower arrangements when she brought us new towels. Towel baby was our favorite – see below.
The room was only $105 a night. It’s pretty amazing. We would’ve paid double easily. Our room (#6) was on the second floor at the end. Perfect privacy. The restaurant was every bit as affordable. Jean Pascal, the owner is French. The menu is a combo of the freshest seafood, mexican/french fusion complete with a piping hot outdoor pizza oven. We probably had as much pizza as guacamole and beer. To get a change of scene and take advantage of a 2×1 cervesa happy hour, we made the trek two doors up to another little hotel to watch sunset each night. Heaven!
On day three, a ridiculously large yacht pulled smack into the middle of the bay and set up camp for a few days. Some of the guests grumbled that their sunset was going to be blocked. But we thought it was fun. Eve, the owner, said it best…these people have all this money and can go anywhere in the world and they chose this beach with this sunset. Yep, pretty smart. And they weren’t obnoxious so after a day of warily watching, the guests relaxed and it became part of the scenery. And no, no Jazee + Beyonce sightings, just a couple uber wealthy families on vacay.
The only minor setback to a glorious week was my own fault. No delicate way to put this…I had a minor run in with Montezuma. It’s hard to trace exactly, but I think it was due to the most gorgeous papaya I’ve ever scene. Alas, it was to be my downfall. The water at Eden is all safe including the taps. I’d been drinking their fresh green juices and enjoying salads daily with no problemo. The papaya was the only thing I ate that M didn’t. And it wasn’t at the hotel. It was a pretty miserable 24 hours, but luckily no serious consequences. The hotel staff was super sweet and fed me 7-up and tortilla chips. Luckily it was the last night of the trip. All in all, a cautionary tale to not get too cocky when traveling in Mexico – my fault, not Eden’s. It’s been years since (college I think) since I’ve had this happen. So as much as you want it, proceed with caution on the watery fruit!!!
In summary, if traveling to beautiful beaches is your thing, you can afford it if you plan ahead. We made a plan, used our credit cards (paying off each month of course) to accrue miles for the flight and found Eden with an ocean view at $105 and that’s “in season”! We picked President’s Day week since M got Monday off and took a red-eye Friday night so we arrived by lunch on Saturday and maximized vacation days.
For us, it’s our luxury, our reward and our retreat for working hard. It’s not for everyone, but we wouldn’t do it any other way ♥