Guru Property of the Month
March 2011
Yelapa, Jalisco
Casa Viaje

When Jody Reich, along with his young daughter Journey, first visited Yelapa in April 2006, he thought he was going on a vacation, not a life-changing adventure. But Jody's heart found a home among the generous, open-hearted people of Yelapa, and he began to plan how he might make their way of living his own. He returned home to the United States and immediately began to calculate how to make his dream come true.

After much research, innovation, and planning, Jody began construction on Casa Viaje in June 2007. There were many hurdles to overcome, including building on a remote, hillside location. Construction materials had to be brought in by boat---mainly from Boca de Tomatlán, south of Puerto Vallarta. From Yelapa's beach a work gang of donkeys, horses, and sometimes humans undertook the laborious job of packing the material uphill to the construction site, in baskets.

Jody felt strongly about employing local workers as much as possible, hoping to give back in material terms what Yelapans had given to him in spiritual terms. He credits local craftsmen with making Casa Viaje the stunning home that it is. For example, Jody gave local tile workers carte blanche to design a masterpiece of their own vision using the hand-painted tiles brought in from Puerto Vallarta. He was not disappointed. Another local craftsman carved the dolphin headboard for the master bedroom.

The master bedroom occupies the entire second floor; from its two sun decks are magnificent views of the Tuito River, Bay of Banderas, the beach, and the exuberant jungle. There are more views (and Mexican tiles) from the full-sized kitchen and from the bathroom, where river rocks brought in from El Chimo lead to an oversized shower.

Floors for the rest of the casa are simple and practical concrete. The ceilings are of wood and brick were executed in a skillful arched pattern.

Casa Viaje was finished in 2009, receiving its first guests in April of that year. Nestled in the jungle overlooking the Bay of Yelapa, the Casa is a popular vacation rental that retains its primitive and isolated beauty. There is no phone, A/C, cable TV, DVD player, dishwasher, washer, dryer, iron, ironing board, ceiling fans, fireplace, or hot tub. A truly magical destination for couples, Casa Viaje offers both romantic seclusion and the opportunity for meeting and learning from the locals. For more information, visit

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