Once you arrive in Sayulita, you’ll get why photographer Anne Menke and her husband Johann moved their family from New York City a couple years ago, making this village on the Pacific Coast of Mexico their full-time address. They were so into it, they even helped start the first green school in Mexico, the The Costa Verde International School, where their three boys attend. But before building their new dream home, Casa O’Te Miti, they lived in a more modest (but still gorgeous) casita down the beach called Casa Ninamu, which is now available for rent. Painted cobalt blue, the original stucco house has two bedrooms, a surfboard hanging over the dining room table, a rooftop terrace, and most importantly, a pool. When we arrive, a couple tricycles have been left in the outdoor foyer, leaving three-wheeled evidence of a race around the oversized sculpture standing in front of Casa O’Te Miti. Anne also tells me I should have brought my boys, so they could have played while we talked. It’s like a jungle-immersed playground for kids–no shortage of swings, soft white sand beach and pools. And it’s not at all precious—it’s very clearly a place that belongs to children. That evening, Anne and Johann invited the current vacation renters over for a cocktail and were organizing a pizza dinner down on the beach for them. Even though she can see it from her current house or walk over anytime, Anne still gets a little nostalgic talking about Casa Ninamu. “I miss it,” she says. “Sometimes I just want to go over and sleep there. We have so many family memories there.” I think that’s what makes it feel so special: They’re both emotionally invested in making sure everyone who stays there has the kind of meaningful experience that made them fall so in love with this place.
Casa Ninamu starts at $400 a night. Sayulita is a small fishing village and surf town, filled with a mix of expats and locals. and the street food–fish tacos, quesadillas, warm churros from the back of a pick-up truck– is perfect for little ones. It’s 21 miles north of the Puerto Vallarta airport.