What you Need to Know before you book!
Almost ready to book?
Please read this page well. Punta el Custodio is a paradise for most people, but it’s not for everybody. On this page, you can read more about what to expect. We do hope to see you in our little paradise!
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Your place looks nice, but it's in the middle of nowhere!
We are not exactly located in the middle of nowhere, but it is rural Mexico. It’s one of our charms, we think, that we are far away from the noise from busy, touristic places. At Punta el Custodio, you are away from it all. You will be able to relax and enjoy your vacation like you never have before. Thanks to our staff also, who will do everything to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
The drive from Puerto Vallarta airport is an easy, beautiful drive. Almost all straight, just follow the highway, you only have to take 4 turns. We used to say that it was a 2 hours drive, but it has gotten busier over the last few years. Probably it takes between 2 and 2.5 hours by now (April 2018).
There still is no development of condos, hotels etc in this area. We feel very lucky about that. You will have the ocean for yourself, literally. You may see some other guests that stay at one of the houses, and in the weekend Mexicans from the area come to the beach in Platanitos or to surf.
See our exact location and driving instructions on our page Location.
So what do we do, in Punta el Custodio, rural Mexico, for 1 week?
You won’t get bored.
You came to relax, spend time with family or friends, enjoy the place, and we hope that’s what you will do.
Our English speaking on-site manager, Ismael, can arrange excursions/transportation if you want. You can go deep sea fishing, whale/dolphin watching in season, visit the turtle hatchery at 1 mile from our community, go horse riding on the beach, visit local towns and markets or go to the bigger towns (at 45 minutes or more). Go to the Tovara waterfall. Ismael will arrange it for you. We are in front of one of the best surf breaks in Nayarit, we have a 2 person kayak, free to use for our guest. You can go paddle boarding into the estuary. Sip a margarita on your sundeck.
You won’t get bored.
What is the booking/payment process?
First, you ask all the questions you have to Michel, who handles all the inquiries. He lives 1.5 hours south of Punta el Custodio, has spent many, many long weekends at all the houses at Punta el Custodio with his little family since 2009, so he knows our community very well.
Once you decide to book, we will block the dates, send you the rental contract and payment info. We ask for a 50% deposit to secure the dates for you, the last 50% plus a refundable damage deposit of $400 USD are due 8 weeks before arrival. You will receive a reminder then.
You can pay by sending a cheque to the owner in the US for all houses except for Casa Sonrisa, at no extra cost. You can deposit through PayPal for all 8 houses, then we require an extra payment fee of 4% of the rent. If you don’t feel comfortable to send cheques/pay through PayPal, then you can pay through our listings on VRBO.com too. VRBO does charge between 4 – 10% extra on service fees. Only Casa Colibri and Casa Don Juan are not listed on VRBO, the other 6 houses are.
How do I order/pay for the meal plan, airport transfers and excursions?
About 6 weeks before arrival Michel, your rental agent will bring you in contact with Ismael, our on-site manager who handles the meal plan/airport transfers/excursions. It works best if you communicate directly with Ismael about meal plan and transportation.
For the meal plan, Ismael will need to know the number of people, how many are under 13 or 5 years old. If you want him to arrange airport transfers he needs to know the names/flight number/date/time of arrival/departure. If you ordered an airport transfer there will be a driver waiting immediately after customs at Vallarta airport with a sign with your name on it.
You pay for the food plan during your stay, in cash, to Ismael. If you have special food wishes, let Ismael know upfront, or tell your housekeeper/cook during your stay.
Cost one-way airport transfer (ask Ismael upfront, rates may change):
Up to 3 persons $135 USD
Up to 6 persons $165 USD
Up to 9 persons $195 USD
If you want to rent a car you may get a good deal if you rent one at the airport, or you can reserve online before you arrive. Please check the reviews of the rental company before you book. You can rent an economy car for less than $25 USD per day, but at the airport, they may force you to pay an extra few hundred dollars for insurance. We are not affiliated with them in any way, but we would highly recommend Gecko Car Rentals in Bucerias, see http://www.geckorentcar.com/.
Will I have cell phone and internet connection?
See below under ‘General info about Punta el Custodio’.
How about bugs?
As we are in the tropics, animals and insects are present. We suggest that you close the doors at dark to keep the “little creatures” out. “No-see-ums” are well named. They are invisible insects whose bites feel like the ones of mosquitos. The area is sprayed, but at the same time, we want to keep our community as free as possible from poison. Most of our guests find that the No-see-ums are only active around sunrise and sunset, and only about 1 or 2 days out of every 10. Spray liberally with an insect repellant, wear long pants, long-sleeved T-shirts and socks at sunset and sunrise and life will be pleasant. We also suggest using the fans when they are around and bother you, this will keep them away. In general, there are no bugs during daylight. In the past 9 years, we had 2 guests who left the house earlier than planned because they were bothered too much by the no-see-ums. So again, if you are very sensitive to these things our place may not be for you.
Is the electricity supply reliable?
We do have occasional blackouts, as they have in Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita, and many other tourist destinations in the area. During the dry season (November – June) they hardly occur, and if so, power is back quickly most of the times. During the rainy season, they are more frequent because of lightning that strikes a pole, landslides etc. We have a big back up generator for these situations, all houses but casa Sonrisa are connected to it. Despite the generator, the A/C can not be used during blackouts. The generator supplies enough energy for refrigerators, fans and lights to work, but not enough for the A/C.
Is Punta el Custodio a safe place?
Over the past few years, Mexico has received very bad publicity because of the drug violence. This is a serious problem, but at the same time we, all our guests and all the people we talk to, feel very, very safe in Mexico, and at Punta el Custodio in particular, which is a gated community. The violence is mainly near the border. If you are not engaged in the drug trade, there is nothing to fear: you will probably be much safer here than in most cities in the US or Canada. Punta el Custodio is one of the safest places we know. Just take the normal precautions, don’t walk around with (or show) a lot of cash.
Are there extra costs when we rent a villa?
Our additional All-Inclusive Package (Meal Plan)
Our houses and villas can be rented with or without the all-inclusive package. For the rental rates, see each individual rental page. Our all-inclusive package (3 meals a day, juices, sodas, fruits, chips, and 5 beers a day per adult, all shopping is done by the staff of Punta el Custodio) costs $230 USD per week per adult, $115 USD per week for children from 5 – 12 years old. A tip for your private maid/cook and the staff is greatly appreciated!
There may be payment fees when you book the house. If you pay by sending a cheque to the owner, then there are no extra costs. Paying by sending a cheque is possible for all houses except for Casa Sonrisa. All owners accept PayPal deposits, we do charge an extra 4% payment fee when paid through PayPal. You can book all houses except Colibri and Don Juan through VRBO.com too, but they may charge booking fees up to 10%.
Are there stores nearby?
There are only a few small stores in Platanitos and in the nearby towns, but they don’t carry a wide variety of products — only the most basic ones. You can buy freshly caught fish from the fishermen who arrive at Platanitos beach at 8 in the morning, and a pickup truck with fruit and vegetables comes to Platanitos several days a week in the morning. The nearest supermarket is in Zacualpan, about 25 minutes away. This is one of the reasons that most guests go for the all-inclusive package: the staff will do all the shopping for you!
General info about Punta el Custodio
Check-in: 2 pm
Check-out: 11 am
No noise after 10 pm
Cell phone and internet connection
We have 3G cellular access in our houses/community, so you can call and be called. In some places the signal may be weaker, then you will have to move a few meters, at busy times (morning and early evening) you may lose the signal.
You can use the 3G signal on your smartphone to connect to the internet. Contact your provider, they offer international data plans at low extra cost, you may even have it in your plan already. This way, you can connect to the internet through your cell phone, or you can use your smartphone as a “hotspot” to connect to the internet on non-cellular devices like laptops and tablets. It is easy to set up, you can find a lot of info online on how to set it up in a few minutes.
If you need fast, unlimited internet for your work while you are on vacation, then Punta El Custodio is not for you. We cannot guarantee reliable internet. We are located in rural Mexico, modern communication is still not well developed here. In fact, many guests think that’s a blessing for a week or so. In general, you should be able to connect most of the time, but again, nothing is guaranteed: it’s out of our hands. In case of emergencies, our staff is always on stand-by. There is a gatekeeper 24/7 with a mobile phone.
We have offered WiFi in the past, but, despite mentioning that we could not guarantee internet, we created expectations we could not fulfill. We want to be clear; we don’t offer WiFi.
The staff of Punta el Custodio consists of Ismael Franco, our on-site manager who speaks fluent English, the women who clean the houses (each house has it’s own), the gatekeeper, gardeners, mechanics, other maintenance workers, and Michel, your rental agent. In Casa Sonrisa, you will deal with Wendy Fletcher as the on-site manager of the house.
About 6 weeks before arrival we will get you in contact with Ismael or Wendy to arrange the food plan/airport transfers. Once you arrive at Punta el Custodio Ismael or Wendy will be your main contact to answer all your questions and help you with activities such as trips, tips, and excursions. They are also excellent at coordinating special events such as mariachi parties.
Contacts for your stay at Punta el Custodio
Your first contact will be Michel, your rental agent for the eight houses listed on this website. Since he has spent many weekends in all eight houses at Punta el Custodio with his family since 2009, there is no better person to help you choose the best house for your needs. He will answer all your questions and will give you the best information about each of the houses and about Punta el Custodio itself. He will assist you in making your reservation. Once you arrive at Punta el Custodio, you’ll be in the safe hands of Ismael Franco, the on-site manager of seven of the eight villa rentals at Punta El Custodio. Ismael speaks fluent English. If you rent Casa Sonrisa you will be in the safe hands of Wendy Fletcher.
Water is a valuable commodity at Punta El Custodio and we ask that you make every effort to conserve water. i.e. short showers and minimal flushing. Bottled water is provided and should always be used for drinking and brushing your teeth. Water containers are in each bathroom.
Surfboards can be rented from Ismael, our on-site manager, at appr. $10 USD per day. Please discuss with Ismael what you are interested in. Boogie boards are available in most of the houses.
Tides of the estuary
Tide tables are available in all houses and MUST be consulted before crossing the estuary. You CAN ONLY cross when the tide is turning, so there won’t be a current, preferably at low tide. Do not underestimate the power of the tides and the current. At low tide, it is very safe to cross/swim in the Estuary or the Ocean at the East/Southside. At other times the swimming can be dangerous. The current can be too strong, even for experienced swimmers. There is a safe beach in Platanitos, the village 800 meters, or half a mile down the road, with restaurants to choose from as well.
In case of problems please call Michel, your rental agent:
+52 1 322 12 59 695 (Mexican cell phone).