By Raychelle Heath
When you live in a beach town like me, it’s often easy to forget that the beach is there. Work and responsibilities seem to get in the way of the sounds of the waves, and the next thing you know, you haven’t dipped your toes in the ocean for months.
Living on the Oaxacan coast, I have access to the most beautiful coastlines in Mexico, and each beach is distinct. In order to get out of my work rut, I decided to take a much needed staycation so that I could play tourist. Since the beaches here are so different, I decided to spend a weekend in at least two different locales to explore different vibes.
I started my staycay in Mazunte, known for its hippy free-love vibe and excellent sunsets at Punta Cometa. I looked around on Airbnb to find a place, as I’m a fan of staying in local apartments & villas. It’s a great way to give back to the local economy, meet great people, and get the inside scoop on cool places to go.
When I saw a listing for a Beachtown retreat, I knew that it was just what I was looking for. David and Tiki’s cute little palapa in las Mazuntinas did not disappoint. When I arrived, I knew I had found space. Far enough from the main road to avoid tourist chatter, but close enough to hit the streets when so moved, this little oasis boasted an outdoor patio with a sitting area and hammock, a full bathroom, a wonderfully firm bed with a mosquito net, a nice cushy chair for reading, and a mini-fridge and coffee maker.
There were handy maps right by the door and a welcome letter that offered lots of helpful suggestions for places to eat and things to do. Tiki came and checked in on me that night, and was just a few steps away if I needed anything. We even had breakfast together on my last morning. It was great getting to know someone who had chosen to make this area home.
The palapa structure kept things nice and cool, and even though the patio was open, the eating space and hammock were set up for privacy. The back of the house led to the road to Punta Cometa, the high point perched over Mermejita beach and the absolute best place to see the sunset on this coast. Things slowed down for me here – the peeling of an orange became an event of sensations on the fingertips, sipping tea happened one breath at a time.
The sound of church bells rang on the hour, the chicharrones man came barreling through belting out his wares, the maid and the gardener whispered over the aloe plants and families passed by with laughing children in hand. The sound of the wind rustling the leaves mimicked the sound of a gentle rain.
The moment I leaned back into the rainbow colored hammock, I leaned back into a cliché as old as these palms. But clichés are popular for reason. They encompass shared experience. I had joined the ranks of a valiant few who shirked the siren call of the adventure vacation and simply embraced the gentle slowing down that happens once our calendars and computers are no longer in sight. That evening as I watched the sky dance with the colors of sunset at Punta Cometa, I felt a surge of gratitude for being just where I was, for taking a moment to be present, to let go and experience from a different view.
My next weekend staycay was in San Agustinillo, which is this beautiful little moment between Zipolite and Mazunte that has taken a path all its own. If Zipolite and Mazunte are the fun-loving barefoot hippy sisters, then San Agustinillo is the baby girl wearing pearls and a chic pair of ballet flats. Its main street is lined with neatly fronted shops, restaurants, and hotels all donning beautiful wooden signs.
Among this quaint gathering, SuKasa sits quite prettily in salmon at the heart of the village. Another Airbnb find, the modest exterior of the place can be deceiving, but the interiors are breezy and beautiful spaces with hardwood floors and luxuriously minimalist details. I would say this was my splurge-cation, and after a week of prepping for exams I was ready to be pampered.
My suite was complete with a raised bed, couch, gorgeous bathroom, and private patio with an outside tub. Add the amazing view of San Agustinillo’s golden sand beach, and you have the perfect equation for staycation heaven.
Melissa, half of the couple that owns the property, greeted me on arrival. She’d made snacks — delicious finger sandwiches with spinach dip and a strawberry parfait. She also gave me a run-down of the space —complimentary drinks, wifi, and how to work the a/c — and offered suggestions for good vegetarian dinner spots. Then she left me to take it all in. I was in awe of the calm I felt here. Every bit of this space seems to have been created to be sunken into, received.
Everything I needed, with the exception of food, was here. The ocean, while I couldn’t touch it, was a constant presence filling the space. It rocked me, held me, amazed and embraced me from sun-up to sun-down. It gave me permission to stay in bed a little longer, to soak in the tub until my fingers wrinkled, to just sit and listen, and breathe, and shed whatever burdens I had, let them roll off and away.
It is easy to miss San Agustinillo on the back of the rambling camiones that bounce between Zipolite and Mazunte. It is truly a moment, just a wink of bliss. But those who are seeking calm will sense it, will know instinctively to ring the bell and get off the truck because they have found what they are looking for.
My staycation experiences, while different, both showed me how to look at and appreciate what I have right at my fingertips. While I won’t be overnighting somewhere new every weekend, I will definitely be taking more daytrips around this area. And after my staycation Airbnb trips, I definitely feel more connected to this place I call home.
This is a series in partnership with Airbnb
I am a writer. I design and make jewelry. I paint. I batik. These things are my pulse. I want to bring the practices of yoga and meditation to as many people as I possibly can, share my art and jewelry with the world, and write pieces that will open people up to possibility.