Jumping the Shark


Has Sayulita jumped the shark? Or was it just inevitable that our time there would come to an end? I don’t know, but after this visit, I’m not sure there will be any more.

Three things happened this week. They always happen in threes, right? One, the kids’ bikes were stolen. First time we’ve ever had anything go missing in all our years in Mexico. Fortunately, the kids weren’t upset, despite the fact that there really aren’t many petty crimes lower than stealing children’s toys. We’ve always told the kids that if our stuff gets stolen it’s because that person needed it worse than we did. They took that to heart, and were over it immediately. Amazingly, though, the campground had video. The guy who trims the coconut trees watched it, recognized the teenager who stole them, and led the police to him. A couple days later the cops came back with the bikes.

The much bigger issue was that the old lady who owns the campground has mental health issues. She began to act extremely erratic/unsafe around our kids. I’m not going to go into details (spending hours rehashing the experience again, and probably sounding crazy myself) other than to say that there is no excuse for a 75 year-old woman to bring a 7 year-old girl to tears. She’s a truly horrible person, and unless she leaves, we won’t be returning to the Sayulita Trailer Park.

And lastly, some jerk backed into our truck which was parked on a wide open street with enough room for three cars, bent up the front quarter-panel and bumper, then took off while we continued to enjoy the kids’ birthday party we were at.

We left Sayulita with a terrible taste in our mouth. It’s sad, considering the amount of time we’ve spent there through the years. We love the place, but have been feeling for a while like maybe it’s time to move on from it, to find the next great spot. When we first came to Sayulita it was already a little touristy. I’d say it was a 10/90 gringo to Mexican mix. It’s now at least 50/50. When a place gets to the point that the only Mexicans left in it are there to serve the gringo tourists in one way or another, then it’s not the kind of place we want to be in.

Anyway, this is our farewell to Sayulita. It’s been great. We have more wonderful memories than we can count, built right there on that beach. But for us, something has changed now, and it’s time to move on.

Down the road a couple miles is San Pancho. It’d be the next Sayulita if not for one thing—the waves. The beach is steep there, and sucks for pretty much anyone except very experienced surfers. But it’s a fun place to hang out with friends for a few hours.

Last days in the Sayulita surf.

Saying goodbye to friends. Within two days, every family with kids would be gone from the Sayulita Trailer Park.

Fortunately, not even ten miles down the road is the sleepy village of Lo de Marcos, with a much more beautiful beach, a completely empty surf break, and a far better and less expensive campground. The trade-off is that the town is extremely quiet, and sorely lacking in food choices.


37 Comments on “Jumping the Shark”

  1. My husband returned to where he parked his old beat up beetle in Merida…it had somehow been moved down the street (a dead end), on closer inspection he noted a bent bumper and a crushed headlight. A neighbour said a truck had backed into it and hooked the bumper. The truck tried to drag it down the street…to release it. But in the end they had to stand on the bumper and lift it off, then they picked up our car and placed it at the curb and drove off. No note, no contact number – our car has Mexican plates…so they do this to everybody. A hammer, a new light and some paint and the car looks good as new. It simply doesn’t pay to have nice things in Mexico. It’s Mexico…Sigh…nothing to get upset about.

    1. As soon as Ali read this comment she said, “Isn’t that the person that told us to stop writing about our kids?” Reading Bumfuzzle had become “a boring chore.” Makes us smile to see that you’re still performing your chore six years later, and in Mexico, no less. Thanks for the note. We got over the truck bang-up pretty quickly, though it’s just one more thing that needs to get done now, which is always a pain. That list never gets shorter.

  2. Obviously the blog gods got you to move on and create more stories for us bum watchers out there. Glad the bikes found their way back to the kids. The cops did their thing… Enjoy your new digs, the beach may be a little rougher and the town may not be as accommodating, but it just might be a bit more Mexican.

    Cheers, and keep me dreamin’.

  3. Oh wow. That stinks. The thought of anyone making a little girl cry makes me rage. Kick the dust off your feet and carry on. How is Saladita for you guys? we have lots of friends that go there and love it. The waves are a gentle rolling right that I hear is amazing. I am hoping you end up in Oaxaca again. Love that area more than any other in Mexico.

  4. We loved lo de marcos. I’m looking forward to your next cool spot. Sayulita has been way too touristy for years. Why don’t you head south and scope out the Oaxaca area for us, would you? I think we’ll be heading back to Mexico in the next year or two and we would like to find somewhere not too touristy to settle for a bit.

  5. Hello! Sorry to hear about your troubles your last days in Sayulita! We found the place to be way too busy with much too much commercial tourism, also! But we absolutely loved Los De Marcos! In fact, it has been one of our absolute favorite places of all the places we have been to date. It was perfect for the entire family. The beach is never crowed, although sometimes there is a strong undertow, the water is usually safe for the kids to play in everyday. There is a long sandy shore, snorkeling and tide pools and an animal sanctuary right there! We stayed right at the beach which is an easy walk to town to get supplies. We did find a few local places to eat that were wonderful but kind of hidden and only open at certain times on certain days. And San Pancho, which we love as well, has a much better selection of restaurants and food, and is just a short drive away! We love keeping up with your adventures and look forward to hearing about where you land next! All the best- Tim, Malia, Wyatt, Carson and Kaila 🙂

  6. Lo de Marcos is a little shy of food places but they have the BEST Mexican cheddar cheese we’ve had anywhere in Mexico. Only available in Lo de Marcos as far as we found. There’s also a carneceria there that has outstanding tocino. Enjoy your stay. Lulu and I loved it there.

  7. That’s the irony of being a tourist. You love a place until too many people like yourself start showing up. Everyone wants to be the last one to discover a place – this place is perfect – no more tourists after me, they’re ruining this place. The problem is that the desire to discover authentic places drives tourist sprawl. Soon every interesting town in the world will be a Disney-esque recreation of what the town used to be. You’re lucky you’re getting to travel before the cycle is complete. Most of Europe has been tourist gentrified – the smaller towns exist solely for tourism. What once made them viable towns is long gone. Now it seems much of coastal Mexico is heading that way. Hopefully all the reports of gang violence and corruption on the American news will slow things down. Seems like you might have to go back to Palmerston atoll to be in a place that feels real. Or maybe even Palmerston has been has lost its soul by now. I guess it’s all just the inevitable result of so many westerners having so much free time and extra money. Maybe it’s a good sign – so many of us are affluent enough to travel that we’re running out of unique places to go. But I’m afraid our children won’t have anywhere interesting to go by the time they’re our age.

  8. Well, we’re really glad you were in Sayulita during our visit. You guys have a beautiful family, and we really enjoyed meeting up with you there. Good luck on your future Mexico traveling!

  9. Wow
    I walked up to you all at your airstream trailer stunned by it’s perfect beauty as well as the vehicle you towed it with. then you amazed me with a brief story of your travel history! You gave me a business card, and I walked away super glad to have met you guys! I am sorry about what happen to your kids’ with the woman and the bikes. Although unfortunate, I am sure you and Ali have made it a valuable learning experience.
    !4 years ago, I bought an ugly house high on a hill with 360 degree views, remodeled it, make it available for guests, to enjoy, and live full time in Sayulita, only leaving for the holidays. I recently bought a motorhome sitting 6 years in the park, ( the motor still runs and everything seems to work fine so far), and have enjoyed the fresh experience of my new beach life! I have been arguing with myself, to put it in drivable shape, or let it die in place. Recently bringing it up on the “on the Road” FB group. Your experience and ideas jolted my thought system on this argument I am having with myself, to hold off any definitive decision and explore more.
    Thank You!
    I wish you and your adorable family all the best in your travels, and who knows? We may meet again somewhere down the road! In any case, I will follow this blog to see where you are, at the very least!
    Happy Trails!

  10. Wow, the kids are getting a thorough education on people and their foibles. Yeech. I’m actually amazed you guys lasted as long as you did in Sayulita. I saw it as 50/50 or better gringos/tourists back in the early 2000’s when we were sailing there. I’ve kept quiet though, not wanting to spoil your nirvana there. You guys really have made the most of the place and I’m not at all surprised you’re moving on — I thought it would have happened ages ago. Glad the bikes are back and the crazy lady is in the rear view mirror. Only stopped briefly in San Pancho, but will look forward to your take on it. Happy May, guys, from another tourist paradise (albeit much more transient, thank God — currently empty). Like Mexico, thank God for the locals!! 😀

  11. I’m sorry your kids’ bikes were stolen but glad they were tracked down and returned. That says a lot about Sayulita, that people look out for each other and help if and when they can. I’m also sorry that you use a photo of a captive monkey to show how great San Pancho is (except for the surfing). It’s sad that you apparently think a captive monkey is cool.

  12. Yes…it’s me…old habits are hard to quit. I was with you from the very beginning. I and many others found your writing style and stories quite refreshing, interesting and addictive. We took sailing lessons on a cat and bought a Catalina 30 with plans on buying a big cat and sailing around the world because of you…but hubby yelled too much and that dream quickly died but we still do love sailing.
    Unfortunately, when I wrote my ancient comment I forgot that young parents are extremely sensitive to a perceived criticism of their children, when all I was trying to tell you was that focusing only on your kids was driving people/readers away. Your reply was rather nasty daddy bear.
    You are great parents and this is the time to focus on your young children…they will be grown in the blink of an eye.
    So, from time to time…I check in, I don’t expect much…just lots of photos of kids, animals, sun and waves – besides hubby and I retired and got a life…six months in Mexico and the rest of the year…the world. I wish you and your family only the best and lots of love.

    1. To be fair, your original comment was pretty nasty. I’d say any reply was warranted. To quote just one small bit of it: “Your reputation as spoiled rich kids is gone…you’re now unemployed, lazy, middle-aged hippies with a kid in tow.”

      Let’s just say of the tens of thousands of comments and e-mails we’ve received, yours was sufficiently rude enough for Ali to immediately remember your name six years later.

      Regardless, glad you’re off living a good life now. Enjoy.

      1. Dont listen to that Garbage Pat. I Don’t know what Job you do, you must
        work from home(by bus i mean) unless your trust fund kids. Either way,
        your Amazing Parents, People, and we all love to see your family and your
        adventures especially the awesome photos that you post of your lovely family.


  13. Hi guys, well written about what went on!!! No point giving power to those who don’t deserve it and if it is a mental illness then I feel sorry for her!!
    All I can say is that from those events and more it has pushed us all out of our comfort zone and the STP and I can’t wait to see more of the world and explore. Life has just got more exciting.
    I hope our paths will cross again one day, otherwise I love seeing you photos and hearing about your travels through the blog.
    You have two wonderful kids and it was great to get to know you guys even better this year.
    Until next time
    Big hugs 🙂

  14. Spoiled rich kids? I don’t think “spoiled” applies to anyone that made their own money. And although I envy your lifestyle I would hardly call living in a travel trailer “spoiled.” My understanding is that you were a successful commodities trader and were able to retire early. And in your retirement you maintain a very popular travel lifestyle blog, have written two books, and provide investment consulting services. Doesn’t sound much like an unemployed hippie life to me. Sounds more like a motivated couple living an unconventional lifestyle that has inspired many other people to recomsider what’s important in life. I know you have me rethinking some of my lifestyle decisions.

  15. Been reading your blog since you bought the VW bus. Always fun and insightful. I keep telling my girlfriend how safe mexico is and referencing you guys as examples. She finally caved-in and we’re driving down Baja this winter for a month. Thank you. Keep up the good work.

  16. It’s crazy how contested the blog comments section gets! I will say I kind of felt the same way leaving Sayulita this time. Jacob had shigella almost the whole time, we wanted to get a babysitter and someone quoted us $30 USD an hour, the woman that de facto ran our condo complex was nosy and rude and it felt like there was a yoga meet up on every corner, which was just different from Sayulita 6 years ago. It was also interesting how almost every Sayulita old time tourist (anyone that had been there before) lamented the change 🙂 I’m not positive we won’t go back but I felt at peace leaving, thinking “this may be it for Sayulita.” I’m actually really excited to see what you all come up with though because we’re anxious to try out a new Mexican beach town, and we look to the bums for guidance on travel. On that note, I’m taking Annie to France in September. Thoughts on that?

  17. mmmm…….could you just keep the word quiet about Lo de Marcos? That is how places get ruined, someone thinks they “discovered” it and next thing you know it gets th 50/50 percent that you dislike of Sayulita….because they go and tell everyone about it. Want it to stay cool? just keep your travels going and stop exposing the nice peaceful places.

  18. I love your family and I love seeing your children thrive. It’s inspiring. As a mom of six wildly creative souls, I implore you to keep being WITH them everyday, and keep writing about your adventures with your children. The world needs to see that it’s possible. You are engaged and involved parents. It’s what every child deserves. BTW. Mean people are often struggling with mental illness. It’s always best to be kind and move on.

  19. Your blog article was interesting, especially from the perspective of someone who stayed there in our motorhome. Then we decided we still loved Sayulita, but were tired of the Sayulita Trailer Park for many reasons that differ from yours. So we purchased a casita in a Mexican barrio and retired in Sayulita. We have peace and beauty at our home 3 blocks from the beach and venture out into the interesting downtown for groceries or to go out for dinner every other day. We love that we can walk everywhere we need to go, including the beaches (we’re still discovering new, quieter ones), and take the bus to Puerto Vallarta, Lo de Marcos, and any place between when we want a change of scenery. We are always happy to return to Sayulita. I hope you enjoy Sayulita next time you return. If you are like us, after you wander around Mexico for another six months, you’ll find yourself being drawn back. There is nowhere quite like Sayulita and it’s hard to find a more fun beach town!

    1. Yeah, our kids were born right down the road, and we’ve spent most of their lives in Mexico. We’ve been singing its praises all that time. You can read about it at http://www.bumfuzzle.com. Oh, and I even see our last motorhome in a picture right on your homepage.

  20. You’ve certainly raised your kids to have a good attitude and healthy perspective on material goods. My husband and I hope to do the same…though our 10-month old is a bit too young for a bike 🙂 Thanks for the great posts!

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