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“Watch for stingrays!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mar de Jade Retreats Wellness Vacation

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Mar de Jade Retreats Wellness Vacation
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Mar de Jade #1, Chacala 63715, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Chacala
Los Alamos, NM
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Watch for stingrays!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2007

Beautiful setting! Next to ocean and forest. Beautiful gardens. Friendly locals.
Rooms were in bad condition. Furniture was worn out and dirty. Plumbing was not working in room properly.
Food was outstanding. Those Mexican locals were in the hot kitchen 16 hours a day, preparing three meals a day. They are not getting what they deserve.
Only thing going on for the hotel is the nature. But they were not doing anything to protect it. There was a dry creek bed right next to the hotel. It smells of sewage. I would not go and sit down on the small "private beach" at mouth of the river. This creek provides fresh water for birds in that area. It should be kept clean and cherished, so birds can stay. Not used as dirty water drain!
My husband got stung by a stingray on our last day. It is said to be the worst pain ever. Pain radiated up to his leg. Staff did a lot to help relieve the pain. Although they played it down a little, saying it only occurs during summer. It happened to us in winter. And they all talked about some yellow flower that would eleviate the pain, but they did not have this mysterious remedy at hand! It is about time to get some handy, since this accident seems to happen quite frequently in this area. Aqua shoes might be helpful for smaller rays. Better yet, stay out of the ocean starting sunset. That is when rays come to shore. Shuffle your feet before you step on sand in ocean.
Overall, not worth the money you spend. I would rent a $50 room from the local home-hotel association. Some of the houses are shown at [--]

It is hardly a "holistic lifestyle center" or an "ecotourism" location. Yoga lessons are occasional. Inspirational evening talks are life stories of a random guest who wants to talk. They do not seem to care much about conservation.

  • Liked — food, gardens
  • Disliked — rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MardeJade, Owner at Mar de Jade Retreats Wellness Vacation, responded to this review, August 10, 2008
We are sorry that this guest had the bad luck of being stung by a sting ray. Despite what they might say in their review, these bites ARE rare and I do not know of any "miraculous" plant that cures it. Perhaps this event, although clearly out of the control of Mar de Jade, put a damper on their vacation.

I would like to take a moment to respond to their concerns:

1. Our point of pride is the excellent conditions that our staff works in and the higher than average pay and benefits they receive. We are and have been for over 2 decades, a coveted place to work for since it is widely known in the region that our salaries are the best in the industry in our zone and we have a dignified and respectful relationship with all who work at Mar de Jade. Therefore we find this guest's comments particularly disturbing, since they neither spoke with any of our staff about this nor have any other basis to state that "they do not get what they deserve."

2. At one point the creek that runs by Mar de Jade was thriving with birds and even an occasion crocodile! Unfortunately, water has been diverted upstream by the developers on the other side of the beach and as a result our little creek has only a trickle of water running through it. We DO NOT throw our sewer water into it, we have our own treatment plant and state of the art septic system (it is a model to follow in the whole municipality). We too are saddened by disruption to the eco-system but there is little we can do about it.

3. We do apologize and assume all responsibility for the condition of their room. The particular room that they stayed in was the first adobe constructions that had been built in 1983, when everything was jungle and there was still no electricity. Some people enjoy this "rustic" feel, others don't. We are no longer renting these rooms, all other rooms have furniture and plumbing that is in top condition.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Let us know if you have any question. We hope you decide to join us at Mar de Jade!
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131 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2007

My new husband and I had our wedding at Mar de Jade and it was a wonderful event! We recommend Mar de Jade for anyone looking to throw an easy, relaxing, fun, and intimate wedding.

My husband and I did not have to worry about a thing all weekend. The staff took special care to ensure that the flowers, decorations, cake, and food were all just right. The ceremony overlooked the ocean at sunset underneath a beautiful linen hanging. The reception in the dining room was a blast and the food was delicious. I think ours was perhaps the tastiest - and most beautiful - wedding cake I've ever had.

Though some were initially reticent to travel so far and, frankly, pay a bit more, our guests were thrilled with our choice. Our guests arrived exhausted from the flight and subsequent bus ride, to be greeted by beautiful vistas, margaritas, fresh grilled fish, and mariachis. The next day, Laura arranged a hike to a beautiful, isolated beach that was a hit. Everybody loved winding in the huge hot tub in the jungle at night. Perhaps the most popular activity, however, was relaxing on the gorgeous terrace, listening to the waves, and catching up with friends and family.

Thank you Laura, Robert, Cynthia, Claudia, and the rest of the staff for working so hard to make this the wedding we always wanted!

  • Stayed May 2007, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
53 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
126 helpful votes 126 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2007

It is not only the beautiful location (at the end of the white beach of Chacala Bay), it is not only the wonderful food (fusion of healthy, wholesome, Mexican), it is not only the interesting conversations during meals (amazing people from all walks of life), it is not only the inviting blue pool (and the secluded jacuzzi pool), that makes this resort such an unusual holiday destination. To me, it was the spirit of the people and the surroundings and the reason for existance of this place that made it so much more special. Mexico was never on my list of countries to visit and I only came because of being accepted as a holiday volunteer at this resort - and what a great introduction to real Mexico! Mar De Jade was born because of one woman who wanted to make a difference in the community. Laura, the owner, who is also a medical doctor, opened a medical clinic in a nearby town. Soon she had to house many volunteers who wanted to help and Mar De Jade was created! In the many years it has developed into a an unique meeting place of volunteers, speciality groups (we met people who came for a yoga retreat and others who came for a holistic healing course!) and holiday makers. This resort offers a magic energy buzzing (in a good holistic way) with people doing classes, going for one of the many excursions (whale watching, hikes up the volcano, shopping in the local market), reading books or just watching the sunset. A humbling experience was visiting the Children's Project at Laura's clinic in Las Varas, where kids meet for a meal and activities. Within one hour of interaction these kids found a place in our hearts! My 5 year old loved sitting in the new hot jacuzzi pool in the recently developed spa area (and they have plans to introduce great new Spa and Lifestyle Packages, which we will definately come back for!). This resort is a must for those who no longer want white towels, waiters, parties and to be entertained. This is where you come to when you want to find peace, harmony, relax and enjoy who you are! Thanx to Laura, Angelica, Emily, Anastasia for having us there, for being able to contribute to your volunteer program and for giving us great memories that will last forever!

  • Liked — The people!!!!
  • Disliked — Leaving
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2007

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.

Stayed February 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2007

We paid $275 per night per couple during the New Year 2007 week and had the following experience: The resort had a beautiful and unusual fire work on New Years Eve. But otherwise the stay was unpleasant.

There were lots of biting insects around. Despite spraying the room with insecticide we woke up every morning with more insect bites than we went to bed with. While the owner, Dr. Laura, assured us there were no bed bugs evidently other biting insects were in the bed. The room smelled like a sewer. The smell came from the toilet. It was really strong. Our clothes still smelled like a sewer days after we had left the place. Another couple complained about sewer smell in their room as well.
The bed cover sheet had holes in it. The mattress pad had a handsize, dark brown stain in it. It did not get changed when the bed linens were changed. Matresses were made of processed, glued together, foam rubber remnants (similar to carpet pads). The towels in the bath room had lots of threads hanging out of them.

Meals were cafeteria style, i.e., you had to serve yourself. The main meals were unhealthily fat and consisted mostly of pizza (often cold, because they had run out of sterno warmers), meat pie, lasagna or Mexican variations thereof. You had to hustle for food since there was a limited supply.

For breakfast there were scrambled eggs which had each day different things mixed in and looked often not very appetizing. There was no orange juice. Often they ran out of bread or had toasted rolls which were so hard that you could crack you teeth on them. The promised snacks between meals were often non-existent. You had to make your own tea, get your own coffee and bus the tables. Service was non-existent.

On most days in the morning the eating area had not been cleaned for breakfast. There were lots of food and paper napkins on the floor under and around the tables, the result of the eating habits of the large number of todlers among the guests. Many chairs in the eating area had strings and fabric hanging out and needed a good cleaning. The same can be said of the leather chairs which were shining black with dirt. We voiced our concern about the food and room condition and the owner told us that we needed an attitude adjustment.

The beach in front of Mar de Jade was a small patch of sand between lots of rocks. You had to cross the rocks to get to the beach (picture). The main, sandy beach of Chacala was crowded with hundreds of Mexicans which had arrived by the busload. There numerous buses at the campground (picture) which had to be traversed to get to Mar de Jade on a dirt path with deep pot holes and big rocks. On the property of Mar de Jade you have to cross a lagoon (picture) on a concrete slab. Do not attempt to arrive the first time at night in your own car!

Along the beach there are shanty shacks (picture) with the waste water runing out into the access dirth path (picture). The area on the land side next to the access path to Mar de Jade was being used by the campers and beach visitors as toilet.

Please be aware that you have to pay for the total stay upon arrival. So you are out of your money if you don't like the place. We cannot recommend this place.

  • Liked — New Years Fireworks
  • Disliked — access, cleanliness, food
  • Tips/Secrets — Eat out at Chico's at the beach
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2007

Just back from five wonderful nights at Mar de Jade. Balm for the soul. From the moment we arrived, the owner, energetic and beautiful Laura de Valle made us very welcome. We couldn't believe our luck to find such an understated but stunning place , nestled between the tropical jungle and a long stretch of sandy (and rocky) beach. It felt like we were visiting new friends at their home. Our 9 and 11 year old found instant friends among the international guests and were free to roam around in this haven of beach, pools, patio and palm/ banana trees.
The daily morning yoga session is the best way to start the day, followed by hearty breakfast with hot cereal, pancakes, eggs, toast and tropical jams. Meals are served buffet style, and were fresh and delicious, especially the sea food.
Laura and her daughter Angelica foster a warm intimacy and guests are gently encouraged to share their skills, whether that is leading a yoga class or giving a talk on their passion. We were treated to a marvelous talk with photos from Antarctic explorer Jonathan Chester on New Year's eve.
The village of Chacala is real, not resort like. The beach was very full of locals enjoying their vacation time; but there's plenty space by the Mar de Jade to play and build sand castles. We enjoyed watching the fishermen casting their nets; and taking a hike up the extinct volcano behind the property and dropping down to a secluded beach was very memorable. Laura organized a boat to bring us back to the pier by sea...a marvelous outing for all.
Massages were great, as was the charming local teacher who gave the kids some Spanish lessons a couple of times.
This is the place to come if you love natural beauty, enjoy interacting with others, and soaking up a relaxed atmosphere. It's not about fluffy towels, deluxe room service and being snooty. It's much more authentic and meaningful than that. Laura's story of how she's given back to the community as a doctor and a local entrepreneur is inspiring. She makes you think about the meaning of life and giving back.
It's an experience to savor while you're lying there by the pool, listening to the roar of the ocean, and again and again for years to come.
I'd definitely recommend it and hope it doesn't change too much before our next visit! All best wishes to the whole team, Alison & the van clan, San Jose, California

  • Liked — right on the beach, backed by jungle
  • Disliked — toilet in bathroom was not well ventilated, plumbing issue?
  • Tips/Secrets — Don't forget swimsuits/ snorkel gear if you do the horseriding trip to Cuevas!
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york, ny
19 reviews 19 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2007

I only stayed at Mar de Jade for three days at the end of December, but I was able to quickly identify the property's best attribute -- it's warmth and spirit. The rooms that I saw, including the one I stayed in, are pretty basic and the food somewhat inconsistent, but it doesn't really matter. It's the beautiful beach, the gorgeous views, the pound of the surf, and the love of the owners/staff that makes this place special. The yoga room opens out onto ocean and it's a breathtaking place to practice. I spent a lot of time sitting in the open dining room (filled with comfortable chairs and couches) and looking out onto the water. There aren't umbrellas provided by the hotel, which I need, so I had to stay off the beach most of the day. Swimming is definitely doable in the water, although there are some pretty big waves. I recommend walking through the rocks to the property next door to enjoy a drink at their bar. Friends of mine also loved their massages. MDJ's pool wasn't heated and the hot tub was broken during our stay, but it's a nice place to relax and it has shade. We had a wonderful New Year's celebration - spiritual, musical, and with fireworks. There are a lot of kids around although there are also a lot of stairs and rocks -- you need to watch them closely.

Staying at Mar de jade is like staying with family (ah, one that you like ;)

  • Liked — the location
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mar de Jade Retreats Wellness Vacation

Address: Mar de Jade #1, Chacala 63715, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Nayarit > Riviera Nayarit > Chacala
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Chacala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 30
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 
Also Known As:
Mar De Jade Retreats Wellness Vacation Hotel Chacala

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