One of the perks of visiting Texas is the proximity to Mexico... especially when there is a two week break and enough time to leave the kids with the grandparents and fly south for a few days in paradise. 

Our hotel was brand new. In fact, we were the first guests to ever stay in our room. The plan was to spend all day in the sun, all evening eating, and all morning sleeping until noon. Turns out we can't sleep past 8am, but that's alright – it just allowed for more time swimming and eating ceviche.

This is our hotel's beach and the view from our room. Not a bad sight to wake up to every morning.

Treasures to discover all up and down the beach. I made it home with quite a handsome sea fan that had washed up into the seaweed.

We spent a whole afternoon at this little taco shack and couldn't stop eyeing this adorable family. The kids loved the swings at the bar, and the dad spent a good hour chasing around his three boys on the beach, all four of them laughing the whole time. They almost made us feel guilty for not bringing the kids. Almost.

The giant piña coladas eased any guilty feelings pretty quickly. The bartender warned us that after the first we'll be here all day. I think we had three.

The most stunning time of day on the beach is dusk. The waning sunlight casts gold flakes into the sea and the water's blue fades into turquoise and lavender. And the sand becomes seashell pink. Typically by this time, most sunbathers had left, and it would just be us watching the kite surfers, who by this time have garnered up all their confidence and track back and forth with astonishing speed before launching off a wave into a somersault and floating above the sea for a small fraction of time, but for long enough to make you think that they just might get carried off. 

And then minutes later the gold is gone and the sky and water turns pink and purple, the sand stingray gray.

Every evening we'd take a long walk down the beach to some of our favorite places to get a drink and dinner. All the bars and restaurants are behind the hotels, across the only road in town, just 30-or-so meters off the beach, "on the jungle side." Walking barefoot in the sand with the deafening sound of the crashing waves, the strong wind biting at us, and the myriad of colors in the sky and shimmering off the sea, you turn off, squeezing through the tree-top canopy between cabanas, and emerge in a totally different environment, seemingly miles away from beach. Suddenly it's significantly darker, no colors painted in the sky, no trace of salt and sand in the air. You're now enveloped under an emerald tent,  the beginning of the jungle hanging above you, no wind at all, and a new vibe that calls for cilantro-habanero-margaritas.  

Our third plate of ceviche for the day.

My birthday present was a bottle of perfume made by the hippest (and only) perfumery/boutique-hotel in Mexico. It even smells like the beach. For the longest time I couldn't tell if it was the perfume's scent or just my skin from a whole day's worth of suntan lotion and sea. But I checked back after a shower, and it was confirmed. The beautiful crystal bottle has captured within it the smell of the beach. The perfect souvenir of a perfect little getaway and the perfect birthday present.

That evening we celebrated with the best dinner in town. Food good enough (and prices high enough!) to rival any Manhattan restaurant, for sure, and a line of people waiting to get in long enough to prove it. But totally worth it.