Deborah Rath Howell
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Pepe's hideaway (TTT Property #T201) - Manzanillo, Mexico

Manzanillo, Mexico, Property #T201
Manzanillo, Mexico, Property #T201




While staying at Casa Arabia, (TTT property #T241) it's suggested that I visit another Trade To Travel member, Joe Webb, aka "Pepe"--the owner and operator of Pepe's Hideaway and a close friend of Casa Arabia's family. It’s about a 10 minute drive from the villa, and is also located in the upscale gated La Punta development. But it’s worlds away from the villa in terms of the setting.

When we drive up, concierges Jennifer and Mr. Sweeney swing over to greet us. Jennifer is particularly pleased to see her namesake Jenny, and bares her teeth and gums in a huge grin. These two 40-something monkeys have been the pride of Pepe’s for many years, and happily set the scene for the pleasures inside this eco-tourism establishment.

Manzanillo, Mexico, Property #T201
Manzanillo, Mexico, Property #T201
Native birds by the dozens herald our entrance down into a large room with a thatched roof and giant hang-out couch. Native equipales (hand-made chairs and tables) overlook a tropical garden of giant coconut trees. Down the slope of the jungle-like property swirls a private ocean cove enclosed by splendid rock formations. It's an easy, low-key setting, with the happiest of hosts.

Everyone in La Punta knows and loves Joe, who's originally from Bethesda, Maryland, and is a total character. Yet, his dream is serious: to provide a hand-crafted paradise with bungalows hanging over the sea…a place where one can truly live in nature and get back to one’s true self as a sentient being in the natural world.

And he’s accomplished it. You keenly feel that close connection to the natural world and its flora and fauna from the minute you arrive. That he's also made it such fun is simply an added attraction. After a delicious breakfast of fruit juices, banana pancakes and thick tasty slices of smoky bacon, we take a walk around the property.

Manzanillo, Mexico, Property #T201
Manzanillo, Mexico, Property #T201
The 6 brightly-painted casitas are simple and picture-perfect, with king-sized beds, 20 foot ceilings, and attached sitting patios for catching the sunsets and the magnificent coastline and mountainscapes in the distance. The furniture is hand-made in the native style; the full bathrooms boast authentic Spanish tiles, ceiling fans, and amenities by Hermes-Paris. A king-sized Mayan hammock also awaits you on your porch, where you can close your eyes and let the crashing surf wash your cares away.

Honeymooners adore this romantic spot, where they're greeted with a personalized 4 x 6 sign bearing their names, exotic flowers and a dozen or more candles in their room, plus a large pitcher of frozen margaritas to herald their arrival. One of the casitas even sports a floating bed that's attached to the ceiling with four ropes so you can swing yourself to sleep!

The logo for Pepe’s Hideaway is a rendering of Cupido; a Huichol Indian symbol which means “a hunter of happiness”. Once you’ve hunted down all the happiness you can find in your bungalow at Pepe’s eco-friendly hideaway, you can always partake in the myriad of activities that are offered on-site and off.

Spa treatments, massages and facials are offered at reasonable prices right there at the property, with the boiling sea as your backdrop. Carlos and Susan at Underworld Scuba offer outings accomodating all levels, including first-timers. Manzanillo is also the sailfish capital of the world, and Pepe knows the local fishermen who can offer you an exciting fight! There's and on-site pool and jacuzzi with a wonderful view of the cove below.

Four first-class lighted tennis courts (plus a pro for playing or lessons) are just up the road, and area golf courses include The Golf Club at Las Hadas and the nearby Matarrya course designed by Pete and Roy Dye.

Manzanillo, Mexico, Property #T201
Manzanillo, Mexico, Property #T201
It’s a ten minute walk or two minute drive to the pretty La Punta Beach Club, with its vast sandy beach, shade umbrellas and chaises, picnic area and large lap pool. Just inside the vast covered porch area is an air-conditioned room with exercise facilities.

Wind surfing, wave runners, sunset cruises, volleyball, ping pong, canoeing, mountain climbing, bird watching, eco-tours, bicycling, horseback riding, sailing charters and kayaking are a request away at Pepe’s Hideaway, “The Empyrean of Primitive Sophistication”. Just ask Pepe’s right-hand man, Speedy, and he’ll hook it up for you.

Feliz Luna Miel! (Happy Honeymoon!) Pepe, Speedy, Jennifer and Mr. Sweeney hope to see you very soon at their peaceful jungle paradise.