Sunday, June 28, 2015

El Cheapo Beach Vacation

  1. Needless to say, we love the beach. We go to great lengths to get there from our landlocked state. Such was the case this year. This time, we traded the chilly California waters for the tropical blue of Mexico, 4 hours South of Phoenix, in Puerto Penasco. 

This is the warmest beach we can get by car-- 12 hour-drive to the tropics.  We rented a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo, with kitchen,  a gorgeous view, and just steps from the beach . All this for a fraction of the cost we would have paid in California.  (total cost for this trip: gas, food, lodging for a week, souvenirs, etc. $1200) 
If that doesn't make you run to the border...

View from the stairwell.
 Princesa Resort is located on Sandy Beach, with a string of other resorts. Included for our use were 3 pools, BBQ pits, beach volleyball, hot tub, fitness room, and restaurant.

Beach vendors roam the beaches selling everything from, icy sweet helado, freshly cut mangoes, to jewelry, and Mexican handicrafts. 

Who could pass up a Pina Colada?

So what did we do all week on the beach??

Snorkeling--we brought our own gear.

For $7/person we had a wild ride on the banana boat. It's pretty sad if mom is screaming louder than all the kids combined. 

The great thing about the resort, was the access to pools. We spent about half our time here. Heated pools. Yay!

The last time we were here, this girl was 2! She did not have enough hair to get braided then like her sisters but this time she did. Last time she also was the only one to get stung by a jellyfish. This time too!  So upset, she vowed never to go to the beach again. Her resolve broke down after a couple of hours.

 No rules against collecting shells here!!

Amazing sunsets. Evening was my favorite time to walk along the beach. Next time, horseback riding into the sunset... oh yes.

We went into town one of the days to  El Malecon shopping district. There we scored more good deals. Brandon even bartered for and bought a sombrero of some type for himself--probably the only thing he has ever bought for himself on a vacation. 

At one point during our beach lounging, Adrie asked me how I could just sit and do nothing. I thought about that. Only at the beach can I really sit and be in the moment. I enjoy watching the waves, and the people. It is the only place where I don't feel like I have to be doing something! But if I wanted I had a pretty good book in my beach bag, 

We only ate out once. All our food (and water) we brought and consumed right on this balcony with this fantastic view. 
The trip was pretty smooth sailing, but right as we were about to cross the border...the flashing lights and sirens of the Mexican policia pulled up behind us. And, that's exactly what you Don't want to have happen in Mexico. The policeman told us, in Spanish that we were speeding (there were signs way down the road, he explained) Luckily, I spoke Spanish because he didn't speak English. He explained that because we were going so fast AKA: we were the only gringos on the road that morning, we would have to pay a fine. How much? $75. Then it went like this.
Me: I don't think we have $75
Policia: $40 will be okay.
Me: Not sure if we even have that ( we bought way too many souvenirs)  Brandon counted $31 dollars from his wallet and handed it to the policeman. He was pretty pleased with that.
TIP: Keep an envelope with a $20 bill in the car (just in case) and travel in a caravan of other cars.

So, we made it across the border with only a minor inconvenience and no sickness. What a great time! The only thing that would have made it even better? friends and family.

Find your adventurous side and join us next time!

Tips for traveling to Mexico: 
1.adults need passports, kids need birth certificates to get back across the border.
2. purchase Mexican auto insurance (we used, online, Full coverage $100/week) 
3. Add an international calling plan to your phone(s) from your provider. We paid $30 for unlimited text and 120mb data. Turn off your mobile data or put your phone on airplane mode once you get across the border.
4. We booked our condo through VRBO and everything from the booking to payment went smoothly.

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