Twenty years ago, Debra and Glen Triplett met and fell in love. These two shared the dream of moving to a foreign country, a tropical locale with a picture-perfect beach where they would enjoy long leisurely walks, daily swims and inspirational sunsets. Glen intended to realize his dream upon retirement and Debra was eager to shadow his footsteps.
In the early 1990s, Debra and Glen were living in Portland, Oregon. In those days, they enjoyed vacationing in Costa Rica, and before long they had purchased a piece of property in preparation for the big day. In 1996, they felt like a change of pace and decided to visit sunny Puerto Vallarta for two weeks in order to spend spring break vacation with their son Mark. During that vacation, they happened to meet another couple Barbara and Fred Fosmire.
Barbara and Fred, also from Oregon, regaled them with fanciful tales of the house they had purchased in a spectacular beach town called Rincón de Guayabitos. They were trailblazers, and Debra and Glen were highly intrigued by their tale of driving an RV from Texas to Belize, across Mexico and up the Pacific coast until they landed in Guayabitos. Barbara and Fred purchased a home on Calle Golondrinas which is now part of the residential zone of Guayabitos, saying “that upon arriving in Guayabitos, they knew right then and there, that this is where they would be buying property.”
The Fosmire’s invited them over for lunch, and because they were both intrigued and captivated by their tales of the beauty of the area, it was a definite yes! Debra and Glen rented a Volkswagen Beetle and drove up to Guayabitos with their son Mark who was 14 years old at the time.
Of that special day, Glen remembers being taken aback by the drop dead gorgeous beach in Guayabitos and recalls that all he saw on the 3-mile stretch of glorious sand was a lone woman with a donkey! That’s it, sun, sand and sea, and a gorgeous almost deserted beach. Debra says that her first thought upon arrival was, “Oh, My God” what a cute town! Guayabitos drew them in immediately!
When they first visited Guayabitos, a brand new house cost just $135,000 USD, a fraction of the cost today.
A few years later, Debra and Glen returned to Mexico to visit friends who had moved to Mexico, Jack and Patti Clenegan. At the time, Debra and Glen were having second thoughts about building a vacation home in Costa Rica as it was a little too far from home. Consequently, they sold their lot in Costa Rica, and just to keep their feet in the door, they purchased a piece of property in Sayulita, with plans to build later. They purchased the property from Kerry (Jack and Patti’s daughter) and Ian Hodge, who in the early days prior to Sayulita Life fame, sold real estate.
Nine months later, they learned that building costs in Sayulita had skyrocketed so they sold the lot they purchased in Sayulita and bought a lot in San Pancho from “some guy they met in a restaurant.” Interesting fact… the lot they bought in Sayulita in the year 2000 for $35,000 USD has changed hands a few times and most recently sold for $235,000 USD.
Upon returning to Oregon, they realized that the property they bought in San Pancho was too far from the beach for their liking, so they sold it with plans to buy somewhere else in the area. At that point in time, they were thinking, where oh where, until they remembered their visit to Guayabitos, the beach and the town they fell in love with. Soon thereafter, they started shopping for a home via the internet.
If you know Debra and Glen, you know that the word retire does not really mean retire, it simply means a change of pace. Glen had been a partner in a commercial real estate firm for over 30 years, and Debra enjoyed a successful career in radio with Clear Channel Communications where she served as the key account specialist for no less than five radio stations. Without fail, when they came home after work they lit up the stove with shared culinary delights and talked about their dream. They both knew that they were people persons with strong backgrounds in sales, and they felt that running a Bed & Breakfast was perfect for them.
Glen had a definite vision of what their Bed & Breakfast would entail and a detailed list of all their needs, so when they starting shopping it was just a matter of finding a property that fit the list and moving forward on their dream. In August 2003, Glen found the ideal property listed in Guayabitos on Calle Pelicanos and came down for a visit with Debra in tow. He says that upon viewing the property, he knew without a doubt that this was “the one” although you would not know it from looking at it! It was close to the beach, the perfect size and knocked off most of the check marks on his list.
You might ask why the sudden motivation? Glen began having some health issues; in particular, a pinched nerve in his back made it almost impossible to walk. Debra and Glen figured that now was the time to start moving forward on their dream before it was just a dream. At that juncture, they did not think it would be possible to find a cure for his back ailment, but luckily a denervation procedure was just the trick. Glen’s health issue was just the push they needed to move forward on their dream. Debra says the move was not as abrupt as it may seem as they had been planning for years, and had earlier sold their house and bought a smaller townhouse with the intent to use the proceeds to buy property in Mexico. The timing was also perfect because their son Mark had graduated and was now in the Navy. Debra gave 30 days’ notice at work and the move was on. She says the plan added 20 years to Glen’s life.
Glen designed every detail of their beautiful Bed & Breakfast, which today is known as Casa de los Pelicanos. At that time there were few stores in the area so Glen would make the trek to Guadalajara or Tepic to buy supplies which included many very basic items such as tiles and light fixtures. Back then his Spanish was limited and his buying approach involved drawing whatever he wanted on a paper napkin. It worked.
Debra and Glen set up the web site for Casa de los Pelicanos, moved to Jaltemba Bay and lived in their new home during the remodeling and building. They never went back to Oregon. They hired their maid during construction with the promise of full-time work when they opened the Bed & Breakfast. Debra says proudly that 8 years later their maid is still with them and that they had guests as soon as they opened for business.
Indeed their Bed & Breakfast is a dream come true and a success. Ninety percent of their guests return and they typically bring friends with them. A few of their guests have returned to buy or build their own houses and a few of those folks have opened their own B&Bs!
What else should you know about Debra? Well, she has always loved to cook, and when she came home from her high pressure career days she would relax by cooking, reading cookbooks and watching cooking shows. Debra hired a local lady named Betty to cater weddings and special events hosted at their B&B until another entrepreneurial idea was born. She realized that she did not have the time for another business venture all by her lonesome, but she knew that Betty loved to cook and came from a family who had successful careers in the culinary field. With their combined experience, they had the skills needed to run a cooking program. Betty is an educated career woman, with a dynamic personality and a director of Mary Kay where she supervises 60 women. She also spoke English. Shortly thereafter, Casa Cooking was born. The classes took off right from the start and are now in their third year. As part of the cooking class experience, they host a “market overview tour” in which they take their students to shop at the local shops (carniceria, pescaderia, fruiteria, creameria, tortilleria, panaderia) for meat, cheeses, produce and more. This new direction came from their guests and friends saying they did not know where to find and how to cook with the local ingredients!
Yes, it is paradise but somehow it’s always busy! Debra and Glen both enjoy volunteering and playing a key role in helping the community. Glen has served as President of the Guayabitos Homeowners Association since 2010. Prior to this, he was a member of the Jaltemba Foundation where he tracked university scholarships. Debra enjoyed co-chairing and organizing the Jaltemba Bay Fashion Show for almost five years.
Debra and Glen say that the great weather, friendly people and strong family culture drew them in immediately. Another key factor in their choice of Mexico was that it is relatively close to home and family, and an easy flight from Portland.
During their leisure time they both enjoy walking the beach. They make a point to watch the sunset most every night, bringing lawn chairs to the beach to sit back, relax and enjoy the moment. When they have guests, they share their special sunset moments with them. They both love to entertain.
Their favorite restaurants include Las Brisas, Hinde & Jaime’s for the shrimp tacos and Xaltemba for the swanky atmosphere. Tops on their list in Guayabitos include Tonita’s, Latitude 21 for the music and nightlife, Vista Guayabitos for the view, and the fish taco stand around the corner from Cricos that displays a sign advertising Pescado Cameron Tacos. Debra raves about the fish tacos that are served up in flour tortillas, lined with cabbage and lettuce and a myriad of delectable sauces to choose from which include garlic, chipotle… and indeed I walked away from writing this story with a strong craving for a fish taco! They also love the baked potatoes served at Anahais in the middle of downtown Guayabitos. They are stuffed with grilled meat and topped with melted cheese and sour cream and cost just $40 pesos.
Like most local folks, they adopted a stray dog who they named Gracie, who they say is the most amazing dog in the world. She loves to chase the birds on the beach and runs like mad chasing their shadows. Indeed Gracie is well-loved in Guayabitos and gringos come knocking at their door begging to take her for a beach walk simply because it is so much fun. Here’s a quote from one of their guests, “Oh and way cool household dog, too!”
Debra and Glen feel blessed to live in Jaltemba Bay and one of the key reasons they love it here is because it is truly special to be part of a community where everyone wants to help. It seems that everyone here is always ready to step up to the plate to lend a hand when needed. They adore the fact that everything is close to town, that the beach is just a hop and a skip away from their B&B and that it is an easy walking distance to so many restaurants. They also love the fact that “Guayabitos beach is sooo swimmable.”
To read about other interesting folks, click on the “Meet Local Folks” link under categories.