Cabin Escapes and Urban Life
Having it All in Vallarta
Aerial at Tierra Alta, El Tuito, Cabo Corrientes
Where to live? Is there a more basic or more important decision? (Maybe who to marry).
Puerto Vallarta is one of the top-ranked locations in almost every survey of the quality of life for future expats who are looking for a place to buy or build a second home for vacations and on eventual retirement.
The unique quality of life in Puerto Vallarta is its diversity.
Vallarta has developed an incredible variety of attractions for residents and tourists. But by growing rapidly from a fishing village into a city of more than 300,000 people, there are some obvious tradeoffs. On the upside, you have some of the finest restaurants in Mexico, excellent entertainment, world class shopping, wonderful art galleries and social and charitable organizations of every type. Housing is generally well built and reasonably priced.
On the downside, there is the simple truth that Vallarta is now in fact undeniably a city. And, as in nearly any city environment, the many candidate locations for living in Vallarta may not include a lot of options that offer tranquility, privacy, daily contact with nature and a relaxed pace of life. Those qualities are elusive in urban environments anywhere in the world.
However, the grand mountain areas that command Vallarta’s eastern horizon can offer a rural complement to form a lifestyle that includes the right balance of Town and Country and the mountain weather is at its best when it´s sweltering in Vallarta.
Having it both ways: City and Mountain life as Complements
The Idea of a Cabin
Deck at model cabin, Tierra Alta
When I was growing up in Minnesota, my family always had a cabin for weekend getaways. During the week, my father did a two hour round trip commute every day. He worked in one of those faceless monolithic office buildings. So the escape and the tranquility of a cabin in the woods were of great importance to him. It was a very effective therapy as it was for everyone in the family. It was the direct, unmediated contact with nature that made us happy.
The town of El Tuito is a near at hand example of a location that still offers the same primal sense of contact with nature in all its pristine glory. El Tuito is a small farming and ranching town of about 4,000 people. But the El Tuito area can also serve as a welcome, therapeutic complement for anyone living in Vallarta.
How? With a cabin in the woods.
Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Madres mountains, El Tuito has a secure place in the area’s history. While Puerto Vallarta as a municipality is not quite a hundred years old, El Tuito is approaching its 500th anniversary, having been founded at an Indian trading site by the Spanish Conquistadores.
Today, El Tuito is the headquarters for the Cabo Corrientes Municipality which shares a border with the Puerto Vallarta Municipality to the north. But few Vallarta residents are aware of the attractions of this sparsely settled region.
Even veteran Vallartenses are surprised to learn that the entire south coast of Banderas Bay is actually in Cabo Corrientes — Yelapa, Las Animas, Boca de Tomatlan — and not in the Vallarta municipality. While those beach towns have long enjoyed high volume tourism, very few people have found their way to El Tuito. It has seemed like a small patch of humanity in a forgotten part of the world.
But in just the last couple of years, the town has started to awaken to its potential as a tourism hub and as an exciting location for second homes, cabins for weekend getaways and retirement homes. The climate is close to perfection with cooler summers and lower humidity.
And, with the recent arrival of high speed internet, there is no longer the sense that an escape to a mountain cabin is like disappearing off the face of the earth. From your cabin in the woods, you can now talk to your grandchildren or watch Netflix or CNN. Or you can do internet research on the next stops in your explorations of Cabo Corrientes, such as the manmade lake at Cajon de Peña with excellent bass fishing (and eating). The towns of Tehuamixtle (“Tehua”) and Mayto on the open Pacific Coast offer fresh lobsters and red snapper to compete with the fresh oysters hauled up by the lancheros from the bay to the open air restaurant.
Enjoying these outlying attractions (they are less than an hour from El Tuito) is a way to abruptly expand the horizon of life in Vallarta. In a sense, it is like a return in time to an intimacy with nature that complements all of the urban features and attractions of Vallarta. El Tuito can be a kind of pivot point for exploration of the enormous and strikingly beautiful municipality of Cabo Corrientes which is twice the size of the Vallarta municipality but has only 2 percent of Vallarta’s population.
Apart from day trips, most cabin dwellers enjoy the benign silence of their cabin deck just outside of El Tuito, where only birdsong and the lowing of a distant cow can be heard in the bright, fresh mornings. Military macaws in their gorgeous colors fly over the property nearly every day, their welcome squawk notifying the neighborhood of their presence.
Living area, model cabin, Tierra Alta
City and Country
Wanting to live in two different places is not a bad thing. The El Tuito/Cabo Corrientes area serves as a very attractive complement to life in Puerto Vallarta. We are all divided by our urban social instincts and our desire for the solitude and tranquility possible at a cabin in the woods.
Some of our clients have decided to maintain their principal home in Vallarta or in the US or Canada while also building a cabin near El Tuito for vacations and for longer term stays down the road. Some owners offer their cabins for short term rentals to generate a healthy income stream when their cabin is not in use.
Aerial at Tierra Alta, El Tuito, Cabo Corrientes
After exploring the oak covered foothills near El Tuito, people see Vallarta differently, as a part of a much larger landscape with many more options. After just a one hour drive, it’s as if the mountains had opened up to offer a welcome to anyone who wants a quiet escape to a very beautiful part of the natural world.
David and Xochitl Kimball are the owners of Tierra Alta, an ecological cabin development one hour from Puerto Vallarta and five minutes from the town of El Tuito. Please contact us for more information and a map.