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Cabin Escapes & Urban Life - Having it All in Vallarta

September 28, 2016

Just 45 minutes away from the beaches of Cabo Corrientes, the Tierra Alta eco-development offers a welcome retreat from everything you left home to forget: crowds, traffic congestion, high prices, and heat.

El Tuito, Jalisco, Mexico - Where to live? Is there a more basic or more important decision? (Maybe who to marry.)

Puerto Vallarta is one of the top-ranked locations in almost every survey of the quality of life for future expats who are looking for a place to buy or build a second home for vacations and eventual retirement.

The unique quality of life in Vallarta is its diversity. Vallarta has developed an incredible variety of attractions for residents and tourists. But by growing rapidly from a small fishing village into a cosmopolitan city of more than 300,000 people, there are some obvious tradeoffs.

On the upside, you have some of the finest restaurants in Mexico, excellent entertainment, world class shopping, wonderful art galleries and social and charitable organizations of every type. Housing is plentiful, generally well-built, and reasonably priced.

On the downside, there is the simple truth that Puerto Vallarta is now in fact undeniably a city. And, as in nearly any city environment, the many candidate locations for living in Vallarta may not include a lot of options that offer tranquility, privacy, daily contact with nature and a relaxed pace of life. Those qualities are elusive in urban environments anywhere in the world. However, the grand mountain areas that command Puerto Vallarta's eastern horizon can offer a rural complement to form a lifestyle that includes the right balance of Town and Country.

Having it both ways: City and Mountain life as Complements

When I was growing up in Minnesota, my family always had a cabin for weekend getaways. During the week, my father did a two hour round trip commute every day. He worked in one of those faceless monolithic office buildings. So the escape and the tranquility of a cabin in the woods were of great importance to him. It was a very effective therapy as it was for everyone in the family. It was the direct, unmediated contact with nature that made us happy.

The town of El Tuito is a near at hand example of a location that still offers the same primal sense of contact with nature in all its pristine glory. El Tuito is a small farming and ranching town of about 4,000 people. But the El Tuito area can also serve as a welcome, therapeutic complement for anyone living in Puerto Vallarta.

How? With a cabin in the woods.

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Madres, El Tuito has a secure place in the area's history. While Puerto Vallarta as a municipality is not quite a hundred years old, El Tuito is approaching its 500th anniversary, having been founded as an Indian trading site by the Spanish Conquistadors.

Today, El Tuito is the headquarters for the Cabo Corrientes Municipality which shares a border with the Puerto Vallarta Municipality to the north. But few Vallarta residents are aware of the attractions of this sparsely settled region.

Even veteran Vallartenses are surprised to learn that the entire south coast of Banderas Bay is actually in Cabo Corrientes - Yelapa, Las Animas, Boca de Tomatlan - and not in the Puerto Vallarta municipality. While those beach towns have long enjoyed tourism, very few people have found their way to El Tuito. It has seemed like a small patch of humanity in a forgotten part of the world.

But in just the last couple of years, the town has started to awaken to its potential as a tourism hub and as an exciting location for second homes, cabins for weekend getaways and retirement homes. The climate is close to perfection with cooler summer temperatures and lower humidity.

And, with the recent arrival of high speed internet, there is no longer the sense that an escape to a mountain cabin is like disappearing off the face of the earth. From your cabin in the woods, you can now talk to your grandchildren or watch Netflix or CNN.

Or you can do internet research on the next stops in your explorations of Cabo Corrientes, such as the manmade lake at Cajon de Peņa with excellent bass fishing (and eating). The towns of Tehuamixtle ("Tehua") and Mayto on the open Pacific Coast offer fresh lobsters and red snapper to compete with the fresh oysters hauled up by the lancheros from the bay to the open air restaurant.

Enjoying these outlying attractions (they are less than an hour from El Tuito) is a way to abruptly expand the horizon of life in Vallarta. In a sense, it is like a return in time to an intimacy with nature that complements all of PV's urban features and attractions.

El Tuito can be a kind of pivot point for exploration of the enormous and strikingly beautiful municipality of Cabo Corrientes which is twice the size of the Vallarta municipality but has only 2 percent of Vallarta's population.

Apart from day trips, most cabin dwellers enjoy the benign silence of their cabin deck just outside of El Tuito, where only birdsong and the lowing of a distant cow can be heard in the bright, fresh mornings. Military macaws in their gorgeous colors fly over the property nearly every day, their welcome squawk notifying the neighborhood of their presence.

City and Country

Wanting to live in two different places is not a bad thing. The El Tuito/Cabo Corrientes area serves as a very attractive complement to life in Vallarta. We are all divided by our urban social instincts and our desire for the solitude and tranquility possible at a cabin in the woods.

Some of our clients have decided to maintain their principal home in Vallarta or in the US or Canada while also building a cabin near El Tuito for vacations and for longer term stays down the road. Some owners offer their cabins for short term rentals to generate a healthy income stream when their cabin is not in use.

After exploring the oak covered foothills near El Tuito, people see Vallarta differently, as a part of a much larger landscape with many more options. After just a one hour drive, it's as if the mountains had opened up to offer a welcome to anyone who wants a quiet escape to a very beautiful part of the natural world.

David and Xochitl Kimball are the owners of Tierra Alta, an ecological cabin development one hour from Puerto Vallarta and five minutes from the town of El Tuito. You can reach Xochitl on her cell phone at 322-109-0903.

Set on 7 hectares of rolling hillsides, Tierra Alta is an Ecological Development selling lots for cabins in the oak forested foothills near El Tuito just one hour from Puerto Vallarta. If you would like to see what the Tierra Alta lifestyle offers you, please call David Kimball on his cell at 322-294-2141 or home office at (322) 222-9180. To enjoy an out-of-the-ordinary Mexico vacation and breathe the fresh mountain air of El Tuito, call 322-103-0901 for rental information. To learn more about Tierra Alta Click HERE, email Kimballdavid(at), or visit