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Can you please tell us your name and a little bit about yourselves?
We are Jennifer and Gary Culp, the owners of Casa Maya del Sol in Sayulita. (The property includes 5 apartment rentals on our property, each with a kitchen and a private bath. This is in addition to our own large studio apartment). Jennifer is a retired teacher with an interest in music and theater. She has volunteered at Costa Verde International School for the past 8 years, sharing her love of music, movement, and story with the children there. Gary is a retired teacher and pastor of an interfaith church. He is a writer, musician, and Mayan calendar enthusiast. He also facilitates spiritual gatherings, weddings, child blessings, and ceremonies of life passages.
What is it about Sayulita that made you want to buy a vacation rental here?
We love the vibrant spirit of the community and moved to Sayulita to run a bilingual preschool. We were looking for a property that had space for children to run and explore. The rentals were of secondary interest at the time.
How long after your first visit to Sayulita did you purchase your house/lot?
We purchased this property about 2 months after arriving.
Did you build or remodel your home? If so, please tell us one of the classic "you won't believe this" stories?
There was a workshop in the front of the lot that in one month’s time we converted to an open space for our little preschool. Jennifer had always dreamed of having a school in an open-air environment where little ones could explore and learn through experience, and here we were in the midst of a beautiful garden with a huge perota tree for climbing, swinging, and setting up tea parties! It was a perfect match for us! There were also two small rental units. We lived in one of them for two years while we designed and built a home in the rear of the lot. This is when we discovered that we could live in a small area as long as we had a lot of outdoor living space.
How long have you owned your home in Sayulita?
Can you share with us some of the changes you have seen around town?
When we first moved to Sayulita there were only a few pay phones around town. One needed to purchase a phone card at the local tienda and we had wait in line to make the Sunday morning calls back to our family in the states. Just a few people were beginning to purchase cell phones. Also, ten years ago there were only about four or five taxis. There were a lot of jalopies, but a few of the locals were beginning to buy pickup trucks. There wasn’t much traffic, as there were no golf carts or quads. Most of the businesses around the plaza were one story. We came back after that first season to discover that there was a downtown building boom going on and businesses were popping up all over! Four or five taxis had multiplied to a dozen!
What in particular made you decide on this house rather than other listings available at the time?
We were looking for land that offered a spacious garden for our little school and this was perfect! After we closed our little school we began our new career as landlords. After 10 years we are ready to retire from so much responsibility, however we plan to stay in Sayulita!
How would you describe the neighborhood your vacation rental is in?
Although our casa is in a secure walled setting, we live in a typical Mexican neighborhood with a mix of locals and expats. This means that we get to partake of some of the rich Mexican culture that makes our lives here in Sayulita more interesting and real. We are fortunate to have really good neighbors.
Who is the most interesting guest you have hosted at your home?
Oh my, we have had such a wide variety of guests. It is hard to choose. We see a lot of retirees who have had rich interesting lives, young surfers, career people working online for a month or two, a doctor who had spent the past 10 years working for Doctors without Borders. We love the variety.
What are your favorite things to recommend your guests do while in Sayulita?
We have some wonderful “secret” spots we enjoy sharing with our guests - hikes into the jungle to observe the birds and butterflies and several remote beaches that are accessible by walking.
What do you feel sets your house apart from other vacation rentals in Sayulita?
I would have to say that our gardens are special. When one enters our gate off the street the temperature drops about 8 to 10 degrees. We have lovely shade from the huge perota tree in our courtyard and there is often a breeze coming up the arroyo (river). To top it off, we have a little dipping pool that is just the perfect place to cool off after a walk back from the beach.
What advice do you have for someone searching for a home/land in Sayulita?
Think about what makes you happy. Do you enjoy the beauty of nature or do you prefer the hubbub of the downtown area? Make a list of the things that bring you joy and brighten your days!