My wife and I arrived at Mar de Jade on our 20th wedding anniversary after 14 hours travel from the east coast. There was no Marchi Band blaring, no plastic wrist tag to wear, no tour arranger to bug us about trips and specials, no time-share spectacles and shams, etc. In fact, as our collectivo bumped over the last few potholes and across a dry ford into the lush tropical landscape, we knew we could not be disappointed. And the wave sounds on the sand and the on-shore breeze were all we needed to start the best and most relaxing vacation we have had anywhere on the planet.
We slept soundly that first memorable night, and all nights, even as the moon grew to full and shown thru balcony sliding doors that stretched across the entire width. All we heard at night was the surf and an occasional chirp of a frog or something. There was a bug now and then – insects and jungle are synonymous – but the lizards kept them in balance and they never bothered anybody. There was an onshore land breeze during the day, and a reverse sea breeze throughout the night that kept us cool, and reminded us that nature runs things, and quite well, in the tropics. We were in community with nature here, it permeates everything, even your dreams.
The land at La Chacala is considered sacred by the native people, and this is held in trust in the way the Mar de Jade staff has worked with the landscape to craft a true retreat center that touches your soul. While striving to stay compact and not smear development all over the beach, Mar De Jade capitalizes on ‘borrowed landscapes’ and sounds of sky, sea and tropical forest. Thus while you are actually on a very small property, it feels as though this place has an intention of its own, an intangible but very real marriage of man and nature that supports the very best in us. Those that choose this place will find their relationship to nature restored.
The La Chacala beach is about a mile long, and is wide and clean sand. Mar de Jade sits up against the extinct volcano at the south end. (Trails run up the side, and a hike here is like going into a lost world.) At times the full-moon high tide meant we had to skirt the high water line on a path thru volcanic boulders. The Pacific runs up on the continent at this interface of worlds, and the transoceanic waves grew in size as the full moon-approached. Whales, pelicans and sea life abound. Near the north end of the beach are the open air restaurants & shops, and somewhat quieter surf. And it was on the beach where you could encounter the closeness and richness of Mexican family life first hand, and if you wish, join in the play and love so openly expressed.
It felt wonderful to be welcomed by the Mexican families on the beach. The weekend sees many visitors, mostly local families, coming to play, eat and rest by the sea. The town is not built to handle the crowds, and weekend parking for day-trippers was a lot like Woodstock. And it was handled with politeness and humor. Smiling with a sandy Mexican child is likely to bring appreciative smiles from the rest of the family, and we the pale Americanos felt more like new arrivals to a church campground than tourists in a foreign land. We were welcomed and embraced wherever we went.
We only put on about 4 pounds each after 9 days of buffet Mexish food. My wife and I love vegetables and fruit, and were cautious after bad experiences in other places with veggies. No worries here, the staff spent most of the day washing vegetables and fruit, and preparing the meals which we soon learned to cut back on before we overloaded ourselves. There was a constant variety and you could take what you wanted. We never heard a complaint, but only satisfaction.
A word about guest services at Mar de Jade. This is a non-denominational retreat center and small eco-resort, with a social conscience and very sensitive, polite and smart people working there. The typical guests for the most part are self-sufficient adults and their children, who appreciate the experience of sharing wholesome, nourishing company and food together. You can get table service elsewhere, but that’s all explained beforehand on the website. We came to know everyone – staff and guests – and it was common to see a guest helping out in some way while there. One of Laura's, the founder, principles of Mar de Jade is service to others, and you could not miss being touched by this attitude in the experience of staying there. Mar de Jade shows us a better, more conscious way to run the world.
Don’t come for waiters, room service and hands stretched out for tips. Don’t come for rock music, college beer blasts, jet skis and HumVees for rent.
Come to be a part of nature, to be with a family-centered culture, and expect to tread lightly on the earth while you are there.
Come Mar de Jade for yourself. Come for your health, your sanity, your soul. Come for love. Chances are good, you will be fulfilled.
- Also Known As:
- Mar De Jade Retreats Wellness Vacation Hotel Chacala
- Mar De Jade Retreats Wellness Vacation Hotel
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mar de Jade (Sea of Jade) is a Retreat, Wellness and Vacation Center hidden away between the tropical jungle and the pristine sandy beach of Chacala, Mexico. This is an open home that offers wellness vacations, transformative retreats, healing Spa treatments, romantic weddings and getaways, and volunteering and learning programs with the local community. "A place to awaken, nurture & share the best within us..." ... more less