Recently, Julian, a few friends and I took a weekend trip to the nearby state of Querétaro. I’m always looking for an opportunity to visit the many beautiful cities and towns within driving distance from Mexico City. So when a family friend invited us to tour his vineyard in Querétaro, we decided to make a weekend out of it.

Historic Center, Querétaro City

Querétaro is a small state about three hours from Mexico City. Its capital, Querétaro City, is a charming colonial city filled with history. In fact, its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We left Mexico City early Saturday morning and spent the day in downtown Querétaro City walking through its cobblestone streets and admiring its many beautiful churches and grand colonial houses. It was a lovely way to spend the day as Querétaro City is very pedestrian friendly, clean, and safe.

I love the grand colonial architecture, just look at this door!

We had a wonderful lunch at Alioli and would highly recommend it

How adorable is this pink elementary school??

Querétaro City is full of beautiful old churches and cathedrals, there seems to be one on every corner!

 

I can never resist a Mexican market!

Templo y Convento de la Santa Cruz- Mexican Emperor Maximilian was jailed here before his execution

Inner courtyard of the Templo y Convento de la Santa Cruz

Bernal

Once the sun went down, we headed for the nearby town of Bernal. Bernal is a designated pueblo magico (“magic town”) and is known for La Peña, the world’s third tallest free-standing rock. We stayed the night at Casa Mateo, a boutique hotel with impressive views of La Peña.

Casa Mateo

La Peña de Bernal

The next morning we rose early to climb the famous monolith. The climb to the top of Bernal is not too strenuous but it is very steep in parts and requires a decent level of physical fitness. On our way up, we saw many Mexicans climbing with their small children and this made me so nervous!! By foot, it takes about 30 minutes to get halfway up. After that point, you can’t go any further without serious rappelling equipment. Tip: Make sure to get there early in order to avoid noon-day sun, bring lots of water, and wear shoes with good traction.

Fun fact: Residents in the tiny town of Bernal insist that la Peña has mystical healing powers. Some say it exudes a magnetic force, others say its energy comes from giant Amethyst crystals buried deep within its core. Interestingly enough, the town is reputed to be home to more centenarians than any other town in Mexico.

Julian showing some curious kids the bird’s-eye perspective of his drone flying over la Pena

Downtown Bernal

After a quick change and shower, we explored the quaint town of Bernal. Unfortunately, we had very little time to see Bernal before we had to leave for a tobacco factory tour. 

Real Fábrica de Tabaco

In 1779, the original Real Fábrica de Tabaco was built and it became the second most important tobacco plant in New Spain. In recent years, entrepreneurs from Querétaro decided to revive this tradition, creating a modern Real Fábrica de Tabaco but maintaining time-honored cigar-making methods. At the factory, visitors are able to see expert cigar-makers in action and learn about the cigar-making process.

At Real Fabrica, they make a cigar called “Black Chazaro” from the best black tobacco of Veracrúz

There’s a beautiful courtyard in the center of the factory where you can enjoy your cigars

De Cote Vineyard

Finally, we made our way to De Cote Vineyard for a delicious lunch, tour of the facilities, and, of course, wine tasting!

Along with its history and colonial architecture, Querétaro is known for its wines and cheese. There is a long wine-making tradition in Querétaro with the Spanish planting the first vines in the 16th century. De Cote opened its doors in 2014 and since then has won many awards for its wines.

Spend an afternoon touring the sprawling vineyard on foot, bike, or on train. Afterwards, grab a bite to eat in the more casual bistro or dine on the terrace for a more sophisticated menu and unbeatable view.

Getting a tour of the very modern facilities from the owner himself

Querétaro was the perfect weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of Mexico City. If you’re looking for somewhere off the beaten path in Mexico, go to Querétaro. I promise you won’t regret it!

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balandra baja california

I recently returned from my third trip to Baja California Sur more in love than ever with this magical part of Mexico. Last year, we spent over a week sailing the Sea of Cortez (read all about it here). We had such an amazing time that we decided to return again this spring and do it all again.

A Little Bit of Geography

The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, separates the Baja California peninsula from the Mexican mainland. The Mexican state of Baja California is located directly under the US state of California (Baja in Spanish means “lower”). Baja California Sur is, naturally, the southern half of the peninsula.

baja california sur map

The Sea of Cortez

The Sea of Cortez is a dazzling sea in the midst of the desert, surrounded by staggering mountains covered with enormous cacti. As you sail from one cove to another, the sea changes from shades of crystal clear blue, to aquamarine, turquoise, and emerald green. In Baja, you can’t help but be in awe of the beauty and wildness surrounding you. Though this was my third trip to the peninsula, it was like I was experiencing it with fresh eyes. From sunrise to sunset I just couldn’t get enough of my surroundings.

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balandra baja california sur la paz

baja california sur kayaking

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Our Route

Due to weather conditions, we were unable to go to some of our favorite spots from last year, including Coronado Island, Monserrate, and Agua Verde. While we were a bit disappointed, such is Mother Nature and we didn’t let it ruin our trip. Instead, we spent more time enjoying the white-sand beaches of Espiritu Santo and exploring the wild islands of San Francisco and San Jose. The map below details our ship’s route. 

 

Trip Highlights

The Sea of Cortez was dubbed the world’s aquarium because it is one of the richest and most extraordinary marine environments on earth. During our weeklong trip, we got up close and personal with the stunning creatures that call the Sea of Cortez home. We also got a glimpse into life in the remote parts of Baja and explored the islands by foot, boat, jet ski, and kayak. Some of the highlights included…

Whale Watching

I still remember the first time I saw a whale in the open sea, it took my breath away. Now I’ve been lucky enough to see whales on multiple occasions but they never cease to amaze me. Grey whales travel more than 10,000 miles from their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic to the southern Baja peninsula. There they spend the months of December to April mating, giving birth and feeding their young calves. Both last trip and on this occasion we were lucky enough to see the famous grey whales. We even saw one breach (aka jump out of the water) and a mother with her young. Getting close to such massive, magnificent creatures is truly awe inspiring and something I hope everyone gets to experience one day.

baja california sur whale tail

Swimming with Whale Sharks

Last year we had planned to swim with whale sharks but weather conditions prevented us from doing so. But this year we were in luck! Whale sharks get their name because they are as large as some species of whale and, like whales, are filter feeders. In other words, they feed on plankton and have absolutely no interest in eating humans. The whale sharks we swam with were juveniles and measured about 25 feet long. Although they looked absolutely massive, they were actually on the small size for whale sharks with adults measuring up to 40 feet! Swimming with these gentle giants was a surreal experience and it reinforced my belief that sharks are misunderstood creatures who get an (often) undeserved bad rep.

whale shark diver

Our GoPro whale shark photos didn’t turn out so great so here’s a photo courtesy of The Telegraph

*PS check out theMisunderstood Predators episode of the Netflix show “Tales by Light” about human-friendly tiger sharks. I guarantee you it will change the way you think about sharks.

Playing with Sea Lions

Sea lions are one of my all time favorite creatures. They’re so much fun to watch and interact with! Last year we snorkeled with the famous sea lions of Espiritu Santo and this year we dove with them. Scuba diving allowed us to get even closer to them and some young ones came to play with us. They swam in circles around us and our instructor even put his hand out for them to playfully nibble on; they’re just like puppies!

baja california sur diving baja california sur sea lions baja california sur sea lions

Later in the trip, we took jet skis to explore the islands surrounding San Jose and came across a small rock isle inhabited entirely by sea lions. We had the best time watching them engage in their favorite activities–defending their personal rock, playing in the water with their friends, and sunbathing their hefty bodies. Watch a drone video of them below! Some day I’ll learn how to edit videos but for now this will have to do 🙂

Visiting Coyote Island

Right next to the sea lion’s abode is a tiny fishing village called Isla Coyote. This island is home to a grand total of 15 inhabitants and they are literally in the middle of nowhere. They make weekly trips to La Paz, over 2 hours away by boat and 3 hours away by land, for fresh water, food and other necessities. A fisherman named Manuel greeted us and insisted I wear his flip flops to tour the island. He told us he’d lived on the island since he was born and wouldn’t live anywhere else. I was blown away by their decision to live in a nearly inhospitable environment disconnected from the rest of the world. It served as an important reminder that many live with far, far less, and without the modern conveniences we take for granted, and yet are happy with what they have.

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Hiking Isla San Francisco

Another highlight was hiking to the top of the hill on Isla San Francisco. It’s not a very strenuous hike and the view from the top is unbeatable. On one side, you have the calm aquamarine waters of the inlet and on the Pacific side, the rough waves of the open sea. The terrain almost looks extraterrestrial with its red, jagged rocks, hundreds of different species of cactus, and arid soil.

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Exploring Isla San Jose

Out of all of the starkly beautiful islands we visited in Baja, San Jose may be my favorite. It’s an incredibly diverse island with everything from giant cactus covered beaches to mangroves and salt flats. I’ve always had a thing for succulents so I went crazy for these towering Saguaro cacti. As a point of reference, I’m almost 6 feet tall (1.83 meters) so you can imagine how tall these cactus are! ⠀⠀

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baja california sur saguaro cactus

Not too far from the cacti are enormous salt flats. We discovered them last year when Julian flew his drone on the beach and realized they were right behind the sand dunes. I had never seen anything like that before with the red algae, mud, and wide expanse of salt.

baja california sur salt flats baja california sur salt flats

At one point in the cove, there’s a salt-water river that can be accessed with a kayak or small boat. The scenery is incredible with arid cacti covered hills behind verdant mangroves. After a short ride, the canal opens up to a large bay with a narrow strip of beach between the bay and wider sea. I was so glad Julian brought his drone along as the bird’s-eye view gives you a spectacular perspective of this diverse ecosystem.

baja california sur mangroves

baja california sur explorer girl

baja california sur manta ray baja california sur san jose

baja california sur san jose

Until next time Baja! I’ll be counting down the days to our return…

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Three years ago, I visited Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca for the first time and fell in love with its endless beaches, rich biodiversity, and laid back vibes. Recently, I returned to Puerto and had more time to explore this legendary surf town. From swimming with bioluminescent plankton to releasing newly hatched sea turtles, this hippie beach town has much to offer surfers and non-surfers alike. Read on for a complete Puerto Escondido guide including where to stay, where to eat, and things to do during your stay.

Playa Zicatela puerto escondido

Restaurants along Playa Zicatela

hotel rockaway puerto escondido

Living my best life

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One of the many vibrant bougainvilleas along Calle del Morro

Location

Puerto Escondido is located in the state of Oaxaca (pronounced wah-HA-kah), on the West Coast of Mexico. By plane, it’s a little over an hour from Mexico City. It is much farther south than many popular Pacific Coast beaches like Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta and is very hot year round.

puerto escondido guide mexico map

Playa Zicatela

Most of the action in Puerto Escondido takes place along Playa Zicatela, a beach famous for its golden sand and powerful waves. Among surfers, Zicatela is known as the Mexican Pipeline. It’s home to the biggest surf in Mexico and is considered one of the top surfing destinations in the world. In the late 70s, my Dad spent a lot of time chasing waves in Mexico and Puerto Escondido was his favorite big wave spot. It was so fun to return to Puerto with him over thirty years later and to hear his wild memories of the place and how it had changed.

playa zicatela puerto escondido

playa zicatela puerto escondido swing

playa zicatela puerto escondido sunset

playa zicatela puerto escondido marina rocks

Where to Stay

On my most recent trip to Puerto, my family and I stayed in the heart of Zicatela at Hotel Rockaway. This boutique hotel is at the center of the action, surrounded by surf shops, bars, restaurants, and hotels. For my family, this location was ideal as we could walk almost everywhere and the Mexican Pipeline was just steps from our door. But if you’re looking for somewhere more quiet and secluded, I would recommend staying closer to La Punta (the point of Zicatela).

playa zicatela puerto escondido colorful Calle del Morro

The colorful Calle del Morro, the main drag along Playa Zicatela

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Relaxing in a cabana at Hotel Rockaway

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Punta Zicatela, a beautiful, secluded area on the far northern end of Playa Zicatela

Where to Eat

We were happy to discover that Puerto Escondido has a lively food scene with something for everyone. Here were our favorite Puerto Escondido restaurants:

  • Sativa– Cafe serving healthy options such as juices, smoothies, and egg dishes. Cool vibes and one of the few places in town with decent wifi. But be warned, the service can be extremely slow.  
  • El Cafecito– A local favorite and a great breakfast option for Mexican and American dishes. Affordable, always busy, and relatively quick.
  • Spirulina– Go here for a healthy lunch and order their tasty sandwiches.
  • La Olita– Best tacos in town.
  • Hotel Santa Fe– It’s an older crowd but the view of the sea, cool breeze, and fresh fish make for a very pleasant evening.  
  • Lychee Thai– Hippie Thai joint with flavorful curries and fresh fish. If you like having your feet in the sand while dining and listening to live music, this place is for you.
  • Almoraduz– By far our favorite meal in Puerto. The Oaxacan chef serves up authentic Oaxaqueño dishes with a gourmet twist. Go for inspired, delicious dishes in a relaxed environment.
puerto escondido sativa cafe best restaurants

Sativa Cafe

puerto escondido Almoraduz best restaurants

So many delicious dishes at Almoraduz!

Hotel Santa Fe puerto escondido best restaurants

Hotel Santa Fe, worth visiting for the decor as well as the food

Surfing in Puerto

Puerto Escondido is a surfer’s paradise. That being said, if you’re a beginner surfer or just a swimmer, you need to be very careful in the surf. The current at the northern end of Playa Zicatela is very strong and it can whisk you down the beach or pull you under with little warning. Summer is the prime season for big waves but even in the off-seasons huge waves can appear out of nowhere. During my time in Puerto I learned that even seemingly small waves can have a deceptively strong force.

surfing playa zicatela puerto escondido

Dad paddling out in a big set

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Little brother getting tubed (he’s only slightly better than me 😉 )

If you want to enjoy the surf without the risk, head down to Punta Zicatela where the waves are gentler. Or go to the nearby Playa Carrizalillo, a beautiful cove ideal for swimming and beginner surfers. Although I grew up surfing, I’m not a big wave surfer like my Dad and brother and so the gentler, long waves of Playa Carrizalillo were perfect for me. If you’re interested in giving it a try, stop by a local surf shop and schedule a lesson.

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The beautiful cove of Playa Carrizalillo

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Heading out to catch some waves! You can rent a board at Playa Carrizalillo for only 100 pesos an hour

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Got the wave to myself!

What to Do (Besides Surfing)

If you don’t surf, don’t worry, there are many other things to do during your time in Puerto Escondido.

Boat Tour of the Manialtepec Lagoon

On my first trip to Puerto, I went on an evening boat tour of the Manialtepec Lagoon to see one of nature’s most amazing phenomena: bioluminescence. Before the sun went down, we admired the intricate mangroves and the lagoon’s abundant wildlife. At one point, the lagoon runs into the beach and we disembarked to watch a spectacular sunset. Once the sun set, we dipped our hands in the water to reveal the glowing blue bioluminescence. A few people in our party even jumped in to swim with the microscopic neon creatures.

Manialtepec Lagoon birds puerto escondido

Manialtepec Lagoon mangroves puerto escondido

puerto escondido sunset beach

Hot Springs of Tututepec 

About an hour and 45 minutes outside of Puerto Escondido is a tiny town called Tututepec. You can rent horses there and, with a guide, ride through streams and trails until you reach natural hot springs. These springs range from warm to boiling and have therapeutic qualities. Soaking in them is extremely relaxing and you’ll leave feeling revitalized with skin as soft as a baby. The hot springs of Tututepec are off of the beaten path and you’ll likely have them all to yourselves.

Tututepec hot springs horseback riding

On our way to the hot springs

Tututepec hot springs

Getting a hot spring massage

Tututepec hot springs

La Cascada de la Reforma

A 90 minute drive from Puerto is a staggering waterfall called Cascada de la Reforma. I was looking forward to visiting it during my latest trip but was prevented from doing so due to protestors blocking the roads. (Political protests are very common in Oaxaca and disruptions such as these are not unusual). However, my family managed to visit the famous cascada after I’d left. The journey involves bumpy dirt roads followed by a short hike but they said the 147 ft (45 m) waterfall was well worth the trip. 

Cascada de la Reforma puerto escondido

Can you spot my brother?

Sea Turtle Release

Did you know that the Oaxacan coast is one of the world’s top five turtle nesting areas? From July to December mama turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in mass nestings. Then from January to about May, the baby turtles start hatching.

For decades, poachers would hunt the beaches for buried eggs, either for food or to sell them as aphrodisiacs. This had a devastating impact on the sea turtle population and virtually decimated four turtle species. Finally, the Mexican federal government stepped in and outlawed turtle hunting in 1990. Since then conservation efforts have tried to rejuvenate the endangered turtle population. Today, as soon as turtle nesting season begins, local volunteers and conservationists comb the long beaches to collect the eggs. The vulnerable eggs are then moved to protected areas for their incubation period.

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Making a mad dash for the sea!

There are many beaches up and down the coastline where you can participate in a turtle release. Just inquire at your hotel or at a local tour agency and they will set you up. We went to Barra de Colotepec, a beautiful virgin beach just behind La Punta, to participate in the release of recently hatched turtles. 

Barra de Colotepec beach

Barra de Colotepec beach

The release takes place right before sunset, when they have the best chance for survival. Tragically, of the hundreds of thousands of turtle eggs laid every year, only about 2% survive due to attacks by predators, dangerous surf conditions and pollution. So these guys need all the help they can get! While some babies make a beeline for the ocean, others get disoriented and head in the wrong direction. That’s where you come in, helping to gently guide them towards their new home. It’s truly an unforgettable experience and one you won’t want to miss.

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So whether you come to Puerto Escondido to shred its legendary waves, relax on its beautiful beaches, or experience its natural wonders and abundant wildlife, I guarantee you’ll leave wanting more.

puerto escondido sunset


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Last weekend, Julian and I visited yet another beautiful city on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Like the iconic Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta was once a sleepy little fishing village before being transformed into a world-class vacation destination.

In the 1960s, renowned director John Huston put Puerto Vallarta on the map with his film “The Night of the Iguana.” It starred Richard Burton and Ava Gardner (huge stars at the time) and was shot on a beach near Puerto Vallarta. Elizabeth Taylor tagged along too as she was having an affair with Richard Burton and this made for a media frenzy. This publicity helped to attract foreign investors in the 1970s, which brought about the expansion of Puerto Vallarta in the 80s and 90s. However, only in the last decade or so has it grown into the popular beach resort city it is today. 

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A beach near where “Night of the Iguana” was filmed

Last winter, we spent a delightful weekend in Vallarta at Casa los Troncos, the beach house of Julian’s family friends. A few weeks ago, they invited us back and I jumped at the opportunity to return to their incredible house. We spent the weekend sailing through Banderas Bay, swimming in the blue-green sea, feasting on fresh seafood, and visiting the luxurious enclave of Punta Mita.

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Casa los Troncos from above

Sailing Banderas Bay

Puerto Vallarta is located on the Bahia de Banderas (Bay of Flags). This bay is the largest in Mexico and is an important breeding and birthing site for humpback whales. It’s also ideal for swimming and sailing as it is much calmer than the open sea. In Puerto Vallarta, we love to take the boat out to explore various beaches along the bay.

On our way to the beach, I was reading on the bow of the boat when suddenly a flock of blue footed boobies appeared directly above me. After observing them for a bit, I realized they were using the air current created by the boat to glide easily without flapping their wings. At one point, there were at least ten of them just a few feet above me! I had the best time watching these exquisite birds soar gracefully along and then plunge into the water in pursuit of fish.

Virgin Beach in Nayarit 

Saturday, we headed for a beach on the northern side of the bay, in the state of Nayarit. Luckily enough, we had the beach all to ourselves and spent the day swimming in the warm, sparkling water. From the sea, we had an incredible view of the lush, palm-covered beach and mountains and I truly felt like we had found paradise.

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Not a soul in sight, just the way we like it!

As is tradition, we had a delicious picnic on the beach. We feasted on marlin, ceviche, shrimp, octopus, and fresh fish accompanied by chilled white wine and followed by popsicles. Nothing makes me happier than a seafood picnic on the beach!

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Dinner at Casa Koko

After spending all day en la playa, we set sail for Punta de Mita. Located at the most northern point of Banderas Bay, it’s home to Punta Mita Resort, an uber luxe golf development. We had been invited to have dinner at Casa Koko, a family friend’s brand new beach house. From the moment we arrived, I was in awe of this stunning oceanfront villa. Every little detail is perfect, from the beautiful wood tables to the stone-covered bathrooms and impressive palapa. To me, Casa Koko absolutely epitomizes beach chic and my dream beach house would look just like it.

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casa koko punta mita

casa koko punta mita

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View of the property from above. Drone shot by Julian

Relaxing at Casa los Troncos

Casa los Troncos is a design marvel in a fantastic location — on the tip of an island inside the Nuevo Vallarta Marina channels, just north of Puerto Vallarta. Built in the late 80s by a famous Mexican architect, it’s full of great angles, bright colors and stunning views. It’s also the perfect house to relax in. I always feel tremendously at peace in Casa losTroncos whether curled up reading a book, swimming in the expansive pool, or admiring the view.

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reading nuevo vallarta casa los tronocs

nuevo vallarta casa los tronocs

nuevo vallarta casa los tronocs

nuevo vallarta casa los tronocs

Cabo Corrientes

On Sunday, we sailed in the opposite direction as the day before and headed for Cabo Corrientes. While Punta de Mita marks the northern boundary of Banderas Bay and is located in the state of Nayarit, Cabo Corrientes marks the southern boundary of the bay and is located in the state of Jalisco. I found it fascinating to see the subtle differences between these tropical beaches as we sailed along this massive bay.

Cabo Corrientes boat puerto vallarta

 cabo corrientes mexico

After about an hour, we came upon a beautiful little beach nestled into a cove. This beach is close to where “Night of the Iguana” was filmed and it honestly looked straight out of a movie set. We once again spent a the day swimming in the blue-green water, having a picnic, and exploring the beach. One cool thing about this beach is that fresh, cold water trickles down the mountains and into the sea. It’s truly a magical place and I was very reluctant to leave!

 cabo corrientes mexico drone photography

cabo corrientes mexico popsicle

cabo corrientes mexico drone photography

Have you been to Puerto Vallarta? If not, would you like to go? Comment below!

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A few weekends ago, Julian, eleven of our closest friends, and I went to Acapulco to celebrate Julian’s 26th birthday. If you don’t know, Acapulco is an iconic resort town on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. In the 50s and 60s, Acapulco was the vacation destination for the rich and famous. Today it’s no longer an international hotspot but it’s still absolute paradise. I’ve been to Acapulco several times now and I am absolutely in love with its dramatic scenery and retro vibes.

Acapulco’s Golden Years

During the 50s, big Hollywood stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and Brigitte Bardot were often found partying and relaxing in Acapulco’s sprawling seaside mansions. The Kennedy’s honeymooned there, Liv Taylor was married there, and President Eisenhower vacationed there. Elvis’s 1963 movie “Fun in Acapulco,” featuring him chasing around Ursula Andress, made the city all the more enticing.

Acapulco in the 1950s

Then, in 1989, the hit James Bond film “Licence to Kill” was shot in one of Acapulco’s luxury villas. Built by a flamboyant Italian baron, Villa Arabesque is an enormous 28-room, fairytale-esque villa. In the 80s, the villa was famous for throwing extravagant parties in its Poseidon-themed nightclub with guests including Roger Moore, Sylvester Stallone, and Henry and Nancy Kissinger.

Villa Arabesque in the James Bond film "License to Kill"

Villa Arabesque in the James Bond film “License to Kill”

In the 1990s, a highway was built crossing the mountains between Mexico City and Acapulco. As a result, Acapulco became much more accessible and the city became a popular destination for chilangos (people from Mexico City).

Returning to its Former Glory

Unfortunately, the city began to go downhill in the 2000s as it became caught up in violent drug wars. Unsurprisingly, this had a detrimental effect on Acapulco, greatly damaging its tourism industry and chic reputation. For several years, many were scared away by reports of violence and crime and stopped visiting the sunny resort city.

In recent years, however, Acapulco has been on the up-and-up. 2013 saw the first annual Trópico, a major beachside musical festival with the aim of returning Acapulco to its former glory. Since then, the festival has brought in major musical acts and has attracted thousands of concert-goers. We went last year and we can’t wait to go again this December!

Tropico Music Festival 2016

Tropico Music Festival 2016

Tropico Music Festival 2016

Tropico Music Festival 2016

Lots to Love about Aca

Although Acapulco has its fair share of troubles, there’s much to love about it. For one, the weather is always perfect. The sea is also always deliciously warm with an average of about 82 degrees (~28 degrees Celsius) throughout the year. Acapulco is located on a deep, semicircular bay, making the water incredibly calm and perfect for swimming. The cliffs surrounding the bay create a dramatic setting and the houses on these cliffs offer unbeatable views. The other great thing about Aca is that it’s one of the closest beaches to Mexico City. From the city it’s about a four hour drive (depending on traffic) or less than an hour flight, making it a feasible destination for the weekend.

Bay of Acapulco view

View of the Bay of Acapulco from our friend’s house

Acapulco sunset

One of Acapulco’s famous golden sunsets

Acapulco las brisas pool views

Another amazing house in Las Brisas with an incredible view of the Bay of Acapulco

Bay of Acapulco drone villas

Villas nestled into the cliffs on the Bay of Acapulco

 Bay of Acapulco drone

View of Las Brisas and the Bay of Acapulco

Weekend in Las Brisas

Las Brisas is an iconic neighborhood in Acapulco. It offers the best view of Acapulco Bay and, back in the day, its luxurious villas hosted all of the most notorious parties. Julian and I are lucky enough to have several friends who have houses in Las Brisas. This weekend, we stayed at Villa Los Nardos, a sprawling white villa built in the 50s and known for its huge, crazy parties. The who’s who of the era partied there and Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra even used to sing there! I so wish I could go back in time for that! When you’re at Los Nardos, sitting by the pool, playing cards under the gazebo, or chatting on the wicker couches, you really feel like you’ve stepped back into another era.

acapulco las brisas villa white

acapulco las brisas villa shell collection

The house’s amazing seashell collection

acapulco las brisas villa gazebo

We spent the weekend relaxing at the house, swimming in the sea, and celebrating Julian’s birthday Acapulco-style.

Beach Time

Las Brisas has its own beach for residents and guests and we had the beach virtually to ourselves. To get to the beach, you walk through a path in the jungle with a cool freshwater waterfall leading directly into the sea. It’s a rocky beach without much sand but it’s ideal for swimming.

acapulco las brisas waterfall beach

Chilling on a waterfall

acapulco las brisas beach

The sun was so hot that I jumped right in and spent much of the morning blissfully swimming in the sea.

acapulco sea

Floating along as happy as could be 🙂

acapulco las brisas beach

Julian took his drone out and from above you can really see what a gorgeous place it is. The water is a vibrant blue green and the trees lining the cliffs are lush and verdant. It truly is a tropical paradise. Selfishly, I’m a bit glad Acapulco has faded in popularity as it allows us to enjoy it free of hordes of people.

acapulco las brisas drone beach

The private beach for Las Brisas

Our best attempt at a circle

acapulco las brisas drone beach

In the background, you can see Acapulco city

Acapulco Traditions

In Acapulco, we always eat chilled avocado soup, ceviche made from fresh fish, and the local version of key lime pie. It’s all delicious and is made even better in the company of good friends and drinks. After lunch, we lounge by the pool. For me, there’s nothing better than laying in the sun and then cooling off in the pool after a good meal, surrounded by friends and fantastic views. Needless to say, I was perfectly content 🙂

acapulco sunglass girl diff

acapulco las brisas pool

acapulco las brisas pool drone

Working on our tans

acapulco las brisas pool drone

Birthday Festivities

Saturday night we were treated to a beautiful sunset before we began the birthday festivities. In Acapulco, there are some famous clubs (such as the legendary Baby O) but we preferred to stay in. We spent the night enjoying each other’s company and partying in this incredible house overlooking the sea.

acapulco sunset

acapulco sunset

The birthday crew!

When Sunday afternoon rolled around I was so sad to leave this tropical paradise. But I consoled myself knowing that we had enjoyed every moment to the fullest and that we will back in just a couple of months. Until next time Acapulco!

Polaroids from Saturday night


Would you like to visit this retro paradise? Comment below!

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