Like many Moms, I remember the moments in my life, not by the calendar year, but rather, by the age our daughter was when the event happened. This memory is forever etched in my recall banks. Hailey was five, and we were savoring those last few times when we could vacation outside of the school calendar. It was February, maybe March, and the three of us, had ventured from the Caribbean side of Mexico, and our favorite island, Isla Majors, to explore the lesser-known Pacific pueblos of Puerto Escondido, Puerto Angel and Zipolite.
On a drive outside of Puerto Angel, where we were staying, we bumped along the dirt coast road to see what lay over the bend. What greeted us was not much more than a fishing village, with a tent and RV site right on the beach, and a handful of beach restaurants, three hotels,, and a few little tiendas selling beer, chips, ice, (yes ice in those days for campers coolers), and not much else. If the amenities were limited, what captured us was the idyllic beach and fabulous swimming.
The waves were gentle enough to play in, and the water deliciously warm. After a great beach day, I remember, eating huge shrimp at a restaurant that still stands today, overlooking a setting sun. Rocking a tuckered Hailey in a hammock, my husband and I, toasted to a great day in a tiny unknown pueblo called San Agustinillo, a pronoun with far too many letters in it for me back then. We returned every day that vacation, to play in the waves and walk the wide clean beach.
Then we did not return for many years. Yet I could not shake the idea that San Agustinillo, was waiting. On a whim, wondering what had happened to our piece of paradise, we returned four or maybe five years later, staying right in town, and soaked in the atmosphere and the new changes that had arrived and were putting San Agustinillo on the map. It was like we had arrived home, again. Five years ago this month, we began the process of building our “tree house” home as we have nicknamed it, due to how it perches over the village, and is mostly open to afford the sea views.
We return now, as often as work permits, and these are the ten top reasons why I love San Agustinillo.
1. The amazing bay for swimming which allows you to just bob along in a usually deliciously warm clear ocean water.
2. The long wide clean beaches that allow me to run barefoot and free every morning
3. The sweet twisting main road with its cascading bougainvillea’s in a symphony of orange and pink
4. The secret sandy cove my Dad loved, and since his passing has been nicknamed in his honor, Poppa’s Cove.
5. The sunshine that shines here more than most, even with climate change
6. The Mexican spirit, that is unshakeable. The village residents are most resilient people I know.
7. The wild parrots that sing to me each morning
8. The dolphin, turtle and whale tours by my hero Captain Beto
9. The stars! Oh my, and once the Milky Way that took my breath away
10. The new relaxed rhythm of the day, as time slows down, and we learn to just BE.
Article by Leigh Marrow. Leigh Morrow is a Vancouver writer, and co-author of Just Push Play-on Midlife. She owns and operates Casa Mihale, a vacation rental in the coastal village of San Agustinillo, Mexico. Her house can be rented at www.gosanagustinillo.com