As a follow-up to last week's blog post with a photo of Agua Azul la Villa, a tropical B&B in Mexico, we are interviewing the innkeepers, Richard and Brooke Gazer. The inn is located in Huatulco, a peaceful oceanside town completely untouched by violence. Each guest enjoys the privacy of their own terrace with ocean views. Read on to learn through Brooke's words why they love being innkeepers, what there is to do in Huatulco, and how safe their town is.
1. What do you enjoy most about being an innkeeper?
Both Rick and I have traveled a lot, and one of the things we enjoyed most was the interesting people we met along the way, not just locals but fellow travelers. Being innkeepers, we get to meet people from all over the world without leaving home. We have had guests from over 25 different countries and from all walks of life. Literally everyone brings something new or interesting to our breakfast table.
2. How long have you been an innkeeper?
We opened Agua Azul la Villa with six guestrooms in January of 2001. In preparation for having a bed and breakfast in Mexico, we ran a two-guestroom B&B in our home in Calgary, Alberta for three years. I continued to work full-time while Rick wound down his business and looked after the B&B.
3. What was your inspiration for your creating your inn? Did you have a certain vision for it?
When we purchased the property, we wanted to create a place that said tropical and be able to offer everyone a degree of privacy in addition to common areas where guests could mingle. We also believed that people come here to be outdoors, so we wanted each room to have its own outdoor area where a couple could be by themselves. We found a property with a sharp drop-off from the front pavement with a wonderful view. This allowed us to build a villa with each room on its own level so that there is both a psychological and a physical division of space between the guestrooms. It also permitted us the opportunity to provide a large oceanview terraza in front of each guestroom.
4. Why did you choose this city?
We wanted to live in a tropical destination. We had visited Mexico several times and always enjoyed the local people. Mexican people are among the friendliest, most hospitable we have met, and we have traveled extensively. We narrowed our search to the Pacific coast of Mexico and spent five months investigating every beach area between San Carlos Senora and Huatulco, Oaxaca. Huatulco won hands down over any other place we visited.
5. What makes your town worth visiting—are there any interesting local attractions or activities?
Huatulco is Mexico´s premier eco-resort. The following are some of what makes Huatulco so special for us:
• Nine bays with 36 pristine beaches nestled between craggy cliffs…some are excellent for snorkeling, some are have restaurants under palapa (palm thatch) and several are undeveloped.
• There is a national park that protects several of the bays, and the beaches within the park can only be reached by boat. It is possible to have one of these secluded beaches all to yourself for an afternoon.
• There is a newly opened archeological park that has uncovered ancient ruins dating back over 2300 years.
• This is a great area for birding. Over 80% of the birds of Mexico migrate through Huatulco, and we have had guests who were avid birdwatchers add to their life-long list without leaving their terraza.
• About 40 minutes north of Huatulco is a turtle sanctuary and museum founded to protect several species of turtles that were facing extinction. Turtles lay their eggs in various beaches surrounding Huatulco, and volunteers help to harvest these eggs and bring them to the sanctuary where the chance of survival is greatly enhanced. The hatching and releasing of various species occurs between June and January.
• This is where the Sierra Madre Del Sur meet the Pacific ocean. An hour or so into the mountains offers a totally different eco-system, and there are several tours into these areas, some of which combine a walk through the forest with a swim under a waterfall.
• If you want to combine a rich cultural experience with a relaxing beach vacation, AroeTucan offers 30-minute commuter flights daily between Huatulco and Oaxaca City.
6. Many travelers have concerns about visiting Mexico. Can you dispel some of the myths about safety in your area?
It is true that Mexico has some very serious issue regarding the drug cartels. However, the problem is not nearly as wide-ranging as the media would lead you to believe. First of all, most of the violence associated with the drug cartels is situated around the border. There are a few other areas where there have been outbreaks of violence, and Acapulco is the nearest one to Huatulco. Acapulco is in the state of Gerrero, while Huatulco is in the State of Oaxaca. The two areas are separated by an 8-10 hour drive through the mountains, along a narrow winding road littered with speed bumps. Huatulco has not experienced the kind of problems that the media loves to report. I feel safe walking Tango, my 15-month-old Golden Retriever, anywhere in Huatulco, even late at night. We rarely lock our car doors because the crime rate here is so low. I believe that Huatulco is safer than most small towns anywhere in North America, and to avoid coming here is like not traveling to Portland, Oregon because there were riots in Los Angeles.
7. Do you have any special offers coming up?
We offer the entire villa for rent between May and November for $600 USD/night. It sleeps up to 12 people, and we provide a cook.