Gabriel and Wendy Jones. If you are in Sayulita, you are sure to already know these friendly, smiling faces who you often see cruising the Sayulita streets in their golf cart with their loving pack of rescue dogs in tow. Gabe and Wendy are long-time Sayulita residents and owners of Casa Vecino guesthouse; they are vitally helpful and highly respected members of the Sayulita community. Gabe and Wendy give back to our pueblo in so many ways, whether through their efforts in animal rescue and adoption, organizing and participating in street and beach clean ups, or through providing care and guidance for tourists here visiting. Their vacation rental, Casa Vecino, has undergone some new changes and is ready for your bookings over the holidays! Gabe tells me about some of these changes, and why Casa Vecino is the perfect rental for you to have the best Sayulita experience.
First, can you tell readers a bit about yourself and Wendy (the owners)?
My wife Wendy and I are Canadians who first visited Sayulita on our 1st wedding anniversary many moons ago. It was an amazing vacation, and since then Sayulita always had a special place in our hearts. A few years later, I was offered a job working for a magazine about Mexico, and we decided to take a year away from our awesome but busy lives in Vancouver B.C. to spend a year living in Sayulita. Having only been there once previously, we were a little worried that we were remembering Sayulita through rose-colored glasses and that it would not be as good as we remembered. However, it turned out that Sayulita was even better than we remembered, and the more we learned about Sayulita, the more we loved it. After six months we decided to stay permanently, and thus started working on ways to make that happen. That was a little over eight years ago (around 2012), and we have been here ever since.
How and when did you first get started opening Casa Vecino to guests? What was your passion or vision for this?
Casa Vecino was built on a large lot which was originally home to a small house called Casa Mimi. My wife Wendy and I first rented the original house for a few years before buying, and during that time we fell in love with the neighborhood and saw the potential of the property. After buying the house, we started on a major renovation/amplification of the property, expanding it from a small one-story casa to the five unit complex it is today. We opened our doors to guests about three years ago, (around 2017), and for me this fulfilled a lifetime goal of owning and operating a guesthouse in the tropics. I actually wrote a business plan for a very similar business in my 20s, and while it took me about 20 years to accomplish this, it was worth the wait. This would not have been possible if not for the support of our longtime friend and business partner Peter Burton.
The concept of Casa Vecino is to provide comfortable quality accommodations at an affordable price, all in a low-density setting with great common areas, and to do it in the best neighborhood in Sayulita- the super friendly Southside. The property works equally well for groups who rent multiple units, or the whole complex or smaller groups. Whether you are single, a couple, a family, or a group of 16, we are ready to host you!
What makes you "experts" as hosts, or just great guides in general for those who rent from you?
Prior to moving to Mexico, I worked in hospitality, both in restaurants and hotels, and often in some of Canada's most beautiful tourist destinations. I have always loved serving travelers and helping them make the most of their vacation. I still love Canada, but now feel so much pride and love for Sayulita (and Nayarit and Mexico in general) that I take my job of making sure our guests have the best vacation possible, and leave here feeling the same love for Sayulita that we feel.
What do you love most about hosting and interacting with your guests?
Travelers to Sayulita are often having the time of their lives, or at least the best days of their year. This means that for the most part they give off tremendously awesome energy, and I love being around that and helping make their vacations the best possible. I love my job!
Can you explain the changes/renovations you have done to Casa Vecino, and what accommodations the house now offers as a full guest house / vacation rental?
Our guests have always loved our location, our heated saltwater pool, the ocean-view rooftop perfect for BBQing and group meals, our full sized kitchens, premium king-sized mattresses, high-efficiency AC units and quality bedding, and the security of the property with safes in each unit, security cameras, and a coded gate. Our biggest bit of news is that we are now launching a new rental unit. For the first three years, Casa Vecino consisted of four rental units: 2 one-bedroom units (casitas Sol and Luna), a split level unit (casita Estrella), and our gorgeous 2 bed, 2 bath penthouse (Casa Cielo). We are currently in the process of converting our 2 bed 2 bath owner’s suite on the ground floor into a 5th rental unit. We will be calling this unit Casa Tierra and it will be spacious, well-appointed, and affordable, just like the rest of Casa Vecino. We be taking reservations starting around the upcoming Christmas holiday and forward!
We are also now have our very own house tequila! I bought a barrel and have a lot of high quality tequila ageing and ready for guests to try! It is definitely a fun add on or extra feature of our rental.
For more information about Casa Vecino Guesthouse, or to book your next stay, please visit their Sayulita Life Web Page.
*Written by: Aanya Sheikh-Taheri