Finding Our Mexican Hacienda

What do you mean Mexican haciendas don’t have paddle pools? Oh man! I thought 500 bucks a month was too good to be true…

It may not be vast estate, but we have found our home on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, in Playa del Carmen. Okay, when I say we, I mean we got someone to find it for us.

Elizabeth is a PDC local and among her many other talents, occasionally helps clueless gringos such as ourselves to find a temporary home in her beach-side town.

Whilst there are a few hostels and budget hotels around town, we wanted something suitable for a long stay. For me, there’s nothing like being able to prepare a bowl of cereal for breakfast instead of traipsing the streets for a morning meal. It’s the little things…

So we wanted something with a small kitchen, a table and chairs, a telly (to learn Spanish, okay?!), sofa, a bed and of course a bathroom.

We got five out of six in our new studio apartment at Quinta Margarita Suites.  A sofa for $500 a month was pushing it a bit.

But we got the paddle pool!

It is situated on the roof terrace for those who are too lazy to walk the three blocks to the beach.

And there’s a cute little communal reading/chilling nook on the third floor…

The interior of our ground floor studio is simply furnished and finished in neutral colours. White-washed walls, marble tiles and a high ceiling keep the summer heat at bay, which is a good thing since electricity isn’t included and we are both suckers for a bit (or a lot) of A/C. We’re trying to keep the use down since Elizabeth warned us about the high cost of electricity in Mexico, which can sometimes equal the price of the rent if not monitored.


We’ve only been in four days but I’m loving our little home more and more each day. The fact that we get it cleaned every week doesn’t hurt either, nor does the fact that the laundry out the front charges a dollar a kilo (a big plus for an undomesticated goddess like me).

All in all, there’s a good feel to the place. We ended up spending $50 for our first night in town since we failed to book ahead and couldn’t find anything cheaper. It was an okay little hotel, but a quarter of the size of what we have now for less than half the price.

There’s a shady garden out front with an outdoor shower for a post-beach rinse, and a nice view of the local sports ground from the roof terrace.

And even a glimpse of the Caribbean…

I said it was a glimpse!

Elizabeth charges US$50 for her services, which is well worth the savings you receive by having a local negotiate the deal. There are rental signs everywhere in PDC, but apparently only about one in ten agents will call you back, and even then, if they know you’re a gringo, the price will mysteriously increase.

I could not have picked a better property myself, and am very satisfied with what Elizabeth found for us, so if you’re planning on coming to Playa, drop me a line and I’ll pass on her details!

 My single purchase, a watermelon-print tea towel…

We’re really happy with our little home, and will probably stay for two months, using it as a base to explore the region.

This morning Tyrhone and I walked down to his gym. He turned right to go inside, and I turned left towards the beach. It was early, my favourite time for a walk and a swim.

At the pier at the end of Av. Constituyentes I made a right and skirted around a large beachfront resort, my sarong rapping at my sandy ankles.

“Buenos dias!” came the greeting from a familiar face, tinted with rivieran sun and marked by years of laughter. Yesterday the same man pressed a semi-spherical shell into my hand as Tyrhone and I crossed paths with him on our beach stroll.

“Gracias!” I’d replied, surprised by the sweet gesture.

“Looks like a nipple!” I joked to Tyrhone, holding it to my breast.

Today there was no shell, however, just a “hola” then an “adios!” as I passed him again going the other direction.

Later, bobbing in the aqua sea, I surveyed the near-deserted beach lined with empty sunlounges, whilst an energetic couple animatedly mock-humped in the water just meters away.

It made me smile.

How did I get to be here? I thought to myself, living this life of morning ocean swims and little shell presents?

And why on earth did I spit it when the coffee machine overflowed this morning? Do I have to invent stress now because I have none?

And after a final dunk in the salty sea I dawdled home, dripping.

And cleaned up the spilled coffee.

And I didn’t mind.

Click here to subscribe to Sarah Somewhere and receive posts direct to your inbox! If you are going to Playa del Carmen and would like to contact Elizabeth, you can do so here via her Facebook page



Finding Our Mexican Hacienda — 30 Comments

  1. Your new home looks wonderful, especially for only $500/month! I am sure the next two months will be amazing in ways you can’t even imagine, and I look forward to hearing about all of it!

    (Oh, and I hear you on the manufacturing of drama when there is no need for it. I did this all the time in Japan, which was frustrating beyond belief. Now that we’re in Hong Kong, I’m finally starting to settle into this travel lifestyle and it feels great!)

    • Thank you Steph! It’s simple but it’s home! (for now…) When I think about the things I stress about now, its either a tiny thing, or something related to how much opportunity and choice I have! A bit of persepective goes along way though, the fact that my problems are pretty awesome! Enjoy Hong Kong, love that place! Be sure to catch the star ferry from Tsim Tsa Tsui to Hong Hong Island if you havent already!

  2. Loving the blog Sarah and Tyrone. You make me feel the heat and enjoy the day with you. Keep the adventure coming. I look forward to your exploration of the area. Take care.

  3. Hey Jane, nice pictures. Inventing problems is I think, the human condition, I mean this morning I ran out of clean shirts! The horror!

  4. And with a laundry five steps away that really is a horror! Did you decide to drop the ‘e’, or have you now forgot your own name along with your personal hygiene?

  5. Hi Sarah, your casa looks lovely. You lucky for such a great find. Love your morning walk to the beach; made me a bit jealous. Nice insight about how we create our own unnecessary stress. Enjoyed that comment exchange between you and Tyrone. it’s hilarious. Enjoy and haste la vista!

    • Thank you Marisol! I’m not much of a lay-on-the-beach-all-day person, but my early morning walks along the beach followed by a swim have been the highlight of my first week! People are friendlier at sunrise :)

  6. I second Carmel’s comment; reading this made me feel like I was right there with you, sandy ankles and all. I spent a week in PDC about six years ago and loved it. The people and the food are wonderful. Enjoy chica!

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  9. I noticed that this is 4 doors down from my apartment .. totally agree .. three min. from the beach and one from the main street .. close and quiet rules