Tuesday, March 27, 2012

¿Donde Esta La Playa?

We made it; we are finally here in a small Mexican surf town called Sayulita. Sayulita is just like Steamboat sunny and beautiful. Instead of the great view of the mountains covered in snow, we get to look at the amazing beach, sand, and the ocean. People are very helpful and friendly. Instead of skis and snowboards they carry around their surfboards. Time is of no concern. If you can’t get to it today, there is always manana…
Sayulita, Mx
Bill and Maya Cruising
We arrived to Sayulita on Monday evening, March 12th and have been here enjoying the beach and the warm weather. We are camping in our friends backyard in a big tent we nicknamed “Taj Mahal.” Our friends, Bill, Anne, and Maya are also from Steamboat; they have been in Mexico since June 2011 and they have been very helpful to us. Maya is an awesome kid; at four years old she swims like a fish, speaks Spanish, and has a ton of energy. Que chica! She even tried our stand up paddle boat and did great.

Life is easy here in Sayulita. We get up when we want or whenever the roosters get us up; there are literally hundreds of them living behind “Taj Mahal” in the neighborhood running around. Aaron says that one of these days we will have rooster for dinner. Later we go for a run or walk on the beach, pick up pastries and fruit on the way back, make smoothies for breakfast, and go to the beach again to surf or paddle board till late afternoon. We read books, study Spanish, check our emails, upload pictures, grab tacos and beer for dinner, and then go to bed. Next day… we get to do it all over again. We never knew life could be that easy!

It took us a while to get to our destination, but the long months of preparation and a few weeks of driving finally paid off. We left Steamboat Springs, Colorado on Monday, February 27th in the morning. It was about three degrees Fahrenheit when we got in our black Nissan Pathfinder and left our friend Jim’s house (he was very nice to let us stay with him for a couple of months while we were getting ready for our trip). We were wearing our puffy jackets, fleece pants, and gloves, and we could barely fit in the truck with all our belongings and the surfboard in the middle. Right after we left, we had to make a stop at our storage unit in Steamboat; we realized we had to drop some weight and leave some things behind. Eleven hours later we were shedding layers as we crested the hill and saw the sparkly lights of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Baby!!!

Hair Cut time by the pro, not really
We stayed in Vegas with Aaron’s uncle Mark and his wife Rebecca for over a week enjoying some quality time with them. It turns out they have done the same thing 25 years ago; they lived out of their van, the Vanyo, in Mexico for four months. In Las Vegas we got the truck ready for our trip; purchased new tires, windshield, new battery, tinted the windows, and again repacked our belongings (more of that to come). It’s amazing how much you can actually fit into a small SUV! “This will be our home for the next several months” we thought.

Our next stop was the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is
beautiful during every season, but visiting it in winter is even more special. We camped at the National Forest near the South entrance to the Grand Canyon and the next morning we woke up to a few inches of snow. That reminded us what we were leaving behind.

Then we stopped at Mesa, Arizona where we had to make a final visit to a Nissan dealership which did nothing for our cause (more to come in a future post). That night we camped at Saguaro National Forest. From Mesa we continued south towards Tuscon and we camped nearby Catalina State Park, where we could use showers in the middle of the night… In Tuscon we picked up some final supplies because we knew the next day was going to be the big day when we cross the border to Mexico. Our blood pressure was going up; we were only one hour from the border in Nogales and had no camping arrangements.  “What the heck? Let’s just keep going south so we can cross the border early the next morning.” So we dispersed camped by Nogales, 15 minutes north of the Mexican border. We saw and heard the drones and helicopters, but in contradiction to the popular belief, we rose to the sun the next morning.
The Border
Crossing the border was much easier than we imagined. We knew we were getting closer to the border as the distances changed from miles to kilometers, the signs were in Spanish, and the signs in the restrooms above the toilets read “Please put the toilet paper in the toilet.” It was time for the big hop. We passed by the U.S. border patrol who were inspecting cars going into Mexico for guns and ammo. “Red light or green light?” was what was rushing through Aaron’s head ever since we got up, not because we had anything to hide but because he did not know if he could get everything packed back in the truck. Green light it was, alright! We didn’t have to stop or even show our passports, but as soon as we crossed, we had no doubts: “We are in Mexico, baby!” We crossed and pulled over at the Aduana and picked up our six month tourist cards; then, exchanged money at the border where the exchange rate was the best we have seen since.  Next step was to import our vehicle, but where do we do that?  We asked the Aduana agent and he said: “It is 21 kilometers on your right, you won’t miss it”.  We hopped in the car and started driving down the road in hopes of not missing the building.  
One very expensive toll but worth it. $15 us

The next three days was mostly driving down a very expensive Mexican highway.  At the Aduana and Vehicle import area, we met a nice Canadian couple, Bob and Sharon, who were on their way to Puerto Vallarta. Sayulita is just north of Puerto Vallarta. We teamed up and drove together for two days. First day to San Carlos, second to Calestino Gasca, and third… Bienvenidos a la Sayulita!

Don't ask, we won't tell the location


  1. Great blog A&A! Love the pictures and the stories! Now I can live vicariously through you guys while I'm stuck working and studying... FELIZ VIAJE! Call sometime if you're able

    1. Thanks Trav! Hope to see you maybe in Guatemala?

    2. Buenos Dias me llamo es abuelo y la abuela. Que es el tiempo en mexico. Es bueno o mal. Por favor responde rapido. (This is a message from Conrad-spanish 101). We are here for Easter dinner. Most are coming over for dinner. Hope all is going well with you. Happy Easter to you-hope the bunny finds you there.
      Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Sue, Uncle Rick, Conrad and Rachael.

  2. Keep it coming! What it must feel like to wake up & wonder, " what will I do today?"

    1. Hope you guys can visit us somewhere down here. We are scouring around for your future house :)

  3. Sounds like an awesome adventure so far!!!!!!! And the picture are gorgeous! My brother is heading down so I will show him your blog and he can get some tips!!! Be safe and happy trails!!!

    1. Hey Cis, how is it going? Where is your brother going, Sayulita? Maybe we can meet up with him somewhere in Mexico. We are leaving Sayulita tomorrow morning and heading over to Lake Chapala, Guadalarajara, and Guanajuato for about a week. Cheers!

  4. Hey Aneta & Aaron, thank you for sharing your wonderful experience and pictures. Keep them coming. What an adventure of a lifetime. Maybe your mom and I will meet up with you down the road........be safe. Love, Andy

  5. Andy, hope to see you . Thinking of all of you!

  6. . Hola, saludos de mama y mi
    Feliz Viaje - Krzysiek y Mama.

    Mamy nadzieję Ze u Was wszystko w porządku, po ostatnich zdarzeniach w Meksyku.

    1. Wszystko u nas w porzadku. Dziekujemy za zyczenia i troske. Pozdrawiamy Was serdecznie.