I warned the lady from the get-go. I said, “Lady, the first and last time I went camping I was 17-years old. For two weeks straight, I was confined to a medium-sized bungalow tent on a camping ground in Biarritz with four boys. The only thing keeping me and my boyfriend separated from his friends was a sheet-thin partition half way down the middle. It was fun. But let’s be honest, I may be a little too old for this…” She was undeterred. After all, Cynthia Riddell works for GlampingHub.com, a site that offers glamorous, first-rate camping destinations all over the world. Hence the term “glamping”. Think tipis overlooking the nature reserves of Montana. Think tree houses in the tropical forests of Hawaii. Think stone cottages in the countryside of Italy. Think Out of Africa! Not The Blair Witch Project.
Still, my first try at glamping would have to be significantly comfortable, in a warm climate, and in a place I hadn’t visited before. I’m always down for adventure, and I’m curious to say the least. So when she suggested Playa Majahuitas, an eco-friendly resort in the Bay of Banderas, near Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, I trusted her to fulfill all my desires. She did not disappoint.
The other guests at Playa Majahuitas – all of them were couples and/or newlyweds – did not come for a glamping experience. They had researched all the properties in the area and had chosen the resort based on its high ratings and reputation. After all, this place offers better service than any of the 5-star hotels I have stayed at! It’s like a family affair. The manager is on a first name basis and suggests daily activities, like a hike up to the waterfall of Quimixto, or whale watching, or a visit to Yelapa, the closest town. The chef cooks as he pleases, keeping strict tabs on any food allergies his guests may have, and serves fresh, healthy meals three times a day. The maids are like elves – I never saw them – and clean the eight houses twice a day. I especially loved the turn-down service, when dusk sets in, and tea lights magically appear all over the property. And the mornings when a pot of coffee (with almond milk!) is left on the window sill.
New Yorkers have a hard time switching off. Which was quite apparent the moment I was told, at check-in, that there was no wifi. I looked the manager up and down and scanned his face for lies. Surely he was pulling my leg. But no. I had to come to terms with the shocking fact that my computer was useless on this “island”. That’s right: the only way off and on the resort was a motor boat; cars are useless as well. The generator turns on twice a day for a few hours to charge batteries and electronics. The rest of the time one relies on solar power. And there is no music, which some of the guests said they missed. Except that night the Italians pulled out their ukuleles and brought a Christmas kumbaya moment, which I found quite hilarious – if only the New Yorkers could see me now…
Despite my early warnings and caveats against camping, I got glamping down to a T, or should I say G…? It’s like Sheila E once said: “Everybody knows from the coy little wink, the girl’s got a lot on her mind”.