basil maragarita at Playa Viva near Zihuatanejo, Mexico picture

Playa Viva's famous basil maragarita.

daybed at Playa Viva near Zihuatanejo, Mexico picture

A daybed beckons.

baby turtle crawls on beach at Playa Viva near Zihuatanejo, Mexico picture

A baby turtle heads for the sea.

Relaxing Vacations: Everyone Comes Around Eventually

Road Journals Blog—When traveling, one should partake in things that make a destination distinctive. I’ve even gone so far as to defend active travel at But there are places that make me just want to sit and stare at the sea.

Maybe with a margarita.

A couple months ago I went to Playa Viva, an intimate new eco resort an hour south of Zihuatanejo, Mexico. I was looking forward to strolling miles up the beach, to paddling a kayak along the inland waterway, taking art supplies we’d brought to some local schools, and learning to make tamales.

Then I arrived, and was handed one of Playa Viva’s basil margaritas, made with organic herbs grown in their own permaculture fields.

At that point, I had the strongest urge to just sit in the sand and see . . . nothing at all. Just the waves rolling in, over and over.

The location wouldn't let me, however, as before long a horse strolled by, on its own, as if it was just another guest at the resort.

My room made me think of the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, open to the sand and sea. It had this daybed—a piece of furniture that serves no purpose except for lounging. I could see my plans just flying out the window (proverbially, of course; the place isn't much for windows). All I could picture was me, lounging there, staring out at the sand, the water. At most, maybe I’d sit and read a book. Was that so bad? This bed taunted me with the book I put there, thinking I’d schedule in a nice stretch to just lie and look, and maybe read. For a couple days I circled it, on my way to release baby turtles back to the sea, or a hike through the jungle, or a tour of the coconut macaroon store in the nearby town, or on my way to Tamale-making lessons, or yoga classes.

Not that those things were anything less than relaxing.

By day three, I succumbed. By day three, actually, all of us had slowed down, lounging by the pool, lounging on the beach, and lounging on our daybeds.

Don't ever accuse me at not looking at both sides in a debate. Especially when I can do it from an idyllic stretch of sand.

Q: Do you prefer to lounge on your trips, or stay busy? What are some of the best places you've found for either pursuit?

Jamie Stringfellow actually argues against passive vacations at

This blog post was first published in February 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.