This question, what are the best vacation rental towns in Mexico, was posed to me the other day. So we went back at it, thinking and writing about what we know and love, our favorite destinations in the wonderful country of Mexico. When we define a town with vacation rentals, we’re talking about areas that have houses for rent, as opposed to staying in a condominium or a hotel. Believe it or not, some people would rather rent a house and have the freedom to go shopping and cook meals, or even hire a chef to come to your house to cook for you, than take an elevator up to the 7th floor, or share a pool with 150 strangers. If you are one of those people, this is for you.
OK, so this is another post with an opinion based on hearsay, blogsay, netsurfing, and personal experience. It isn’t definitive, people, but if you’re looking for great places to rent, these are pretty good bets—assuming you know what you’re looking for. There are many websites these days that will help guide you on your town and house hunt—perhaps the best, or most comprehensive, is VRBO.com.
1. SAYULITA So we’re Sayulita-centric. Hard to help. After all, we live here, and happen to think that renting a house in Sayulita, Nayarit, for a week or two, or even a month or a year, is about the best possible way to experience Mexican beach life, complete with surf, sunsets, fishing, sailing, snorkeling, and everything else, including sunset margaritas on your own beachfront deck, that you want when you are on a tropical vacation. What puts Sayulita on the top of this list, in my book, is the great variety and selection of homes, in terms of size, price, and location relative to the beach. You can go large, small, waterfront, hilltop, multi-bedroom or cosy for two. You can spend hundreds a week or hundreds a day. You can go modern or traditional. You can surf in your own front yard.
2. SALADITA is here because the first five times I heard of it, I thought the person talking was talking about Sayulita. But no, Saladita. Way down south, Guerrero way, a long, long way from hilly Sayulita, on a long flat beach. Saladita may not be the most picturesque town—there’s not really a town there, what with everything kind of strung along the beach road, but it does have one priceless thing (to some of us) that Sayulita no longer has: great, uncrowded surf. We have surf up here in Sayulita, but man do we have a lot of surfers. These days, many gringos in search of uncrowded waves go to Saladita, where the rental houses are fewer and less pricey for the most part, the terrain is not nearly as beautiful, but the beach is endless and the well-formed waves are mostly empty.
3. SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE With hundreds of elegant, comfortable, tastefully-designed homes for rent by the week, month, or longer, San Miguel de Allende is a paradise for long term vacationeers. The town is charming to a fault, the countryside surrounding is full of an amazing variety of historic, agricultural, and cultural riches, and the weather, while chilly in winter, is balmy much of the year. There are countless great restaurants at every price point, and the markets are brimming with fine produce, meats, and great regional and national foodstuffs. For aesthetes, design-lovers, and sybarites of all types, San Miguel is an unparalleled paradise.
4. TODOS SANTOS Baja-bound house seekers should think twice about going down to the Cabos. After all, a few miles north of rowdy, fishy, alcohol-sodden Cabo San Lucas lies the Pueblo Magico of Todos Santos. Magico or no, this is a great town, with a serious commitment to artists and their work—there are over a dozen galleries, and you’ll find artworks in every hotel, restaurant, and most houses as well. And guess what, amigos! It is also a great town for surfing, with waves all over the place, and excellent exposure to swell from all directions, which means you get waves year-round. The water can be chilly, especially in wintertime, but that’s what you get in Baja California—weather not unlike southern California, only a little bit warmer. The range of rental prices is great here: you can get a two bedroom house for under a hundred bucks a day in town, or live large and rent a hacienda on the beach for a few grand a week. Whatever suits your budget, and your need to ride waves and look at paintings, you will likely find it here.
5. COZUMEL Way over on the other side of Mexico lies Cozumel, a little island off the Yucatan Peninsula, bathed in balmy Caribbean breezes, sheltered by reefs providing great snorkeling and scuba diving, and myriad rental homes all up and down the island. It was a more pleasant place before the cruise ship dock was put in a few years back, but it remains a premier snorkeling and diving destination, with miles of coral reefs to explore offshore, and miles of beaches to stroll when you get back from the reef.