Baja Colored Pencil Retreat

What: Colored Pencil (or any art!) Retreat

Retreats are casual affairs - a gathering. You draw as much or as little as you like. There are no set times or even spaces (in this case) for drawing. Mostly, you enjoy a week of potential, with other like-minded folks. Some draw like demons during a retreat, others draw at whim, simply enjoying the comradery. This humble resort is perfect for a retreat. No loud music, pool bar or morning pool aerobics. It's mostly filled with quiet retired couples from the US who've been coming here for years, or friendly, respectful Mexican families.

Where: Mismaloya, Mexico

Mismaloya is 20 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and about 30 minutes from the airport. Taxi fare from the airport is around $25 (by today's exchange rate.) Mismaloya is a tiny town, but has a beautiful beach, a very nice restaurant, Tony's Hideaway, that we will go to one evening. There are three mini-marts close by to get lunch/snack/drink/water supplies.

When: January 2018

Check-in: January 13th. Check-out: January 20th.

Retreat Cost: $280 for 7 nights per person

Includes a nice, hot breakfast buffet. Every unit has 2 bedrooms with one double bed and two twin beds. Retreat price is based on three people per unit. If you want to fill a unit with only 2 people (couples) the cost is $380 per person for the week. If you want to fill a unit with 4 people (one couple plus 2 others) the cost is $195 per person for the week.

Total Cost: Retreat + Airfare + Taxis + Food

Since the breakfast buffet was so generous (eggs, bacon, pancakes, cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, toast, nachos, some kind of stewed meat, grilled vegetables, refried beans, granola, coffee!) we filled up on a big breakfast every day, then made a sandwich for lunch in our unit, then had dinner out. We ate at one nice place nearby that cost us $25 each, including appetizer, 2 drinks and 2 desserts. We also had dinner as cheap as $2 each - bacon wrapped grilled hot dogs at the stand up the road from us. Light dinners at the resort's restaurant averaged $10 each. So you could get by on as little as $5 per day for food or as much as $25 per day. The exchange rate right now is VERY good for us. 100 pesos used to mean $10. Now it means about $6.

Taxi from the airport is about $25. Taxi into Puerto Vallarta is about $15.


Everyone worries about Mexico. I can understand that. I for one, felt much, much more safe than I do right here on my own block. I mean, like - leave your door unlocked safe. We didn't but it was that kind of feeling in both places we stayed. Neither Katie nor I had even a millisecond of feeling anything but safe and as protective as I am of Evey, you know I wouldn't put her in danger. The people were so lovely. We are not in Puerto Vallarta (not that that isn't safe) but a seriously small town, although it is a very short walk to an extremely glitzy all-inclusve resort. My daughter Katie and I both remarked on the vibe many was hard to put into words - homey, nostalgic. Kind of like we were in the Mexican Andy Griffith show!  


The only way I can do this is to take the Retreat costs up front, then reserve rooms as they fill. Please send a check to me or send it to me via PayPal at Send checks to:

Ann Kullberg - 31313  31st Ave SW - Federal Way, WA 98023

I'd like to have all in place as soon as possible while the peso-dollar exchange is this good, so if you're planning to join us, please send payment pronto. If you have to cancel I won't be able to get a refund, but depending on how this goes, I might be able to fill your spot or unit.

If you are single, you will room with other singles and basically be roomed randomly as spots fill. But trust me, you will spend no time in the room so I wouldn't worry about it!


Resort view from the 4th floor. There is no elevator but your bags can be taken to and from your room by staff. We stayed on the 2nd floor. The big pool is very cold - not heated and mostly in shade. Those who braved it enjoyed it!

No private balcony, but a front terrace. We hung out in front of ours a lot. Very quiet place. Could easily draw on the terrace with a clipboard. Beautiful view from terrace of resort and surrounding mountains.
View from 4th floor of surrounding jungle and pools below. Resort is an 8 minute stroll from this beach. You can rent a chair for the day, or hang out at one of the beach side restaurants.
There are 10 tables under the palapa. Breakfast buffet is here, from 8:00 am to noon, but it clears out by 10:00 and is then empty all day till about 6:00 pm. Here would be the main drawing area. Right next to the palapa is this very comfy bar. Katie and I tried it out as a drawing area and it would be perfect. There is no working bar/ bartender in this space, so it's empty ALL DAY!
Every unit has 2 bedrooms. One double and two twins. You would share a room with 2 others or pay the difference. You are welcome to fill a unit with your people - non-drawing family members or friends. This is the road in front of the resort, heading towards the beach. As I've said, it's very quiet. Tiny town! Sunset is around 6:30 and night falls quickly. By 7:00, it's dark.
The twin bedroom. Beds are firm, but although I like a soft bed, I was able to sleep quite well. A fair amount of storage space - you do not need a lot of clothing in Mexico, although you want a light sweater for cool mornings and evenings. Temps in January = high-60's in the mornings and evenings, but with a high humidity. Low to mid 80's during the day. In other words, perfect!
Adequate bathroom and shower. Expect it to take a good 5 minutes to get hot water to the shower! Small main room. Photo makes it look brighter than it really is. It's quite dark. There is a sink, counter and small fridge in each room. Also a hot plate that doesn't really work, so forget cooking! (That's a good thing - you are on a relaxing retreat!)


What to Pack:

Pencils and Clipboard

Battery powered sharpener and battery powered light (for drawing)

A sweater and jeans or long pants for cool mornings and evenings

OFF or Deet - we got eaten up - I think it was mostly sand fleas? Never saw a mosquito.

Imodium - we didn't get sick at this particular resort, but you never know.

Sun screen

If you plan to make sandwiches like we did, there is no peanut butter in Mexico and also the cheese is quite different. We brought with us a small container of peanut butter and also several rounds of Laughing Cow cheese. Purchased the bread, ham and mayo there and presto - lunch for pennies!

I am a huge proponent of traveling light. For a week's retreat like this, you need just 3 or 4 loose, casual tops you love plus one nicer one for dinner at Tony's Hideaway (or for a day pass at the gorgeous Barcelo resort that is a 5 minute walk from our place.) 3 pair of shorts/capris, a bathing suit, a cover up, 2 pair of flip-flops or sandles, pajamas - done!!

WARNING: The resort is very photogenic. It looks gorgeous in pictures. And it is - BUT it is also older, shabby and has seen better days. The fridge made noise, the rooms were dark and quite small, the tile was chipped, the wooden cupboards had seen too much humidity, the hot tub wasn't working! It was clean but not spotless.The staff works hard and is super friendly, but they could do with a little cash infusion. Still, that's what makes it cheap and the quiet, warm, friendly vibe of the place won us over completely by day two. However, if you like luxury - this is not the place for you. You will be disappointed! There is wifi in the public areas. No wifi in the rooms.

One other warning - no politics or religion discussions allowed!  Even after a bunch of pina coladas!  ;-)

Another warning: The dangerously cute and talkative Evey (my granddaughter) and daughter will be coming. Evey will be 100% convinced at all times that you absolutely love her to death and are fascinated by all she has to say, and she has a LOT to say. She considers ALL beings (human and otherwise) her family and routinely hugs strangers. There is no deterring her. Be prepared to be well loved and occasionally annoyed. (chatter, chatter, chatter)

Last warning: Consistency is not Mexico's strong point. By next year, it might turn out the breakfast is smaller. It might turn out the hot tub is working again. It might turn out that the restaurant prices have gone up. It might turn out the bar is a working bar again. It's hard to say! So maybe I should call this the Baja ADVENTURE Retreat!