As I sit in the back seat of our Volkswagon hatchback with the windows down and the warm salty wind whipping through my hair, a sense of relief fills me like a gust of cool air as the stress of crossing the border is now kilometers behind us. There is something so familiar about this drive, it actually takes great effort to realize that I am traveling internationally. Until we reach the long stretch of abandoned resorts freckling the coast, looking like fragmented versions of other worldly places like Cabo or Santorini, where giant construction cranes go to die.
It is only a short drive from the border to get to our destination. While Spring Breakers flock to the nearby Rosarito Beach Hotel for a few blurry nights at Papas & Beer, those seeking a more secluded stay in Mexico continue south to find a little slice of paradise in Las Gaviotas. We have stayed in this coastal community many times before, and each time we think we have topped the last. But when we got the keys to our place and were the first to arrive ahead of the other cars, we instantly knew we were in store for an even better trip than we had imagined.
We pulled up to #49 Picudas East, and just by looking at the entryway, we knew this property had secrets in store for us. What we had seen on the rental site was a typical Gaviotas house with hand me down linens, a mish mosh of Mexican-American decor, and an oceanfront view. What we found on the other side of the door was anything but ordinary. Our house was a compound, twice the size of any Gaviotas house any of us had stayed at before. We walked into a colorful courtyard with stain glass windows, bright tile flooring and a bougainvillea overhang to provide shade in the midday sun. It was like walking onto the set of a Univision game show, with doors number 1, 2 and 3 before us. We entered through the main doors to a multi-level spread of a common area complete with 2 bars, a full kitchen, formal dining area and cozy living room. Hallways darted in all directions leading to the bedrooms, which all had their own unique features. It felt like we were the first to arrive to the Real World: Baja house, and we instantly began throwing bags on beds, claiming dibs on rooms before anyone else had a chance to arrive.
By the time the other cars had gotten in and we unloaded all of our food, luggage and toys, the sun began to set and we got a small taste of some of the beauty Mother Nature had in store for us this weekend. Night after night, we experienced new phenomena, from watercolor sunsets, to bioluminescent waves, to clear views of the Milky Way. Instead of venturing out to the surrounding bars and restaurants, we opted to fully take advantage of our incredible set up and cooked up healthy & delicious feasts to share with our makeshift family. Evenings were spent watching day fade to night from our rooftop deck, playing charades til our bellies hurt, and dancing under the night sky until we slipped into our dreams.
We may have indulged in a bottle of tequila or two, but all remnants of hangovers were crushed by a hearty breakfast and morning surf from our own personal beach access. Afternoon naps on the
air mattresses daybeds proved to be just what we needed to recharge after lunch, and allowed us to get in a sunset surf session before reveling in the beauty nightfall would bring.
When the time came to pack up and leave, we were dragging our feet lazily as if we hadn’t spent the weekend resting and relaxing. It wasn’t until I would return home safely to my bed and sleep like a giant through the night would I realize how peaceful this trip would leave me, eager to return to our home away from home for another “best weekend of my life”.