Whether you’re looking for immaculate ocean views, privacy and peace, epic surf waves or authentic, delicious homegrown food, the beachfront Vivo Resort in Puerto Escondido has it all.

And that is by design.

In fact, Calgary-based Vivo resort founder (and two-time Olympic medallist skier) Cary Mullen literally travelled the world to find the perfect spot to develop a resort that Canadians could call their home-away-from-home.

Mission accomplished.

Vivo Resort developed its first 12-unit building in 2012 and since then has expanded to seven buildings with a mix of villas and condominiums. The resort recently opened a clubhouse with a spa, a fitness centre, a sports lounge, a business centre, a resort general store and a restaurant that features authentic food, much of which is grown on the property and the nearby towns. There are also two pools with a pool bar for relaxing fun.

The resort has come a long way in just six years and it has much to offer, including a piece of paradise, if only for a week. The thing is, many Canadians are choosing to stay longer. It’s easy to see why, according to Mullen, who was able to tick off a bunch of boxes when it came to choose the perfect location to open his dream property.

The property sits along a 12-mile-long beach near a lake, and offers a wide array of activities, including surfing, kayaking and canoeing, just to name a few. In fact, the Puerto Escondido area is renowned for its surf waves.

The resort also operates a free shuttle to and from Puerto Escondido, a 15-minute drive to paradise, where many people chose to spend their time exploring, relaxing or adventure seeking.

Vivo Resorts has it all.

A SLICE OF PARADISE

Enjoying the boat

Mullen personally visited over two dozen countries in his hunt for the ideal location, armed with a vision and a list of 44 factors he was looking for.

From Hawaii to other parts of Mexico and everything in between, there was always something missing. That something, Mullen discovered in Puerto Escondido along Mexico’s southern coast along the Pacific Ocean.

“When I came to Puerto Escondido, I felt this love and this feeling in my gut that this is the spot,” he explains.

Knowing travelers crave authenticity, Mullen thought people would appreciate Puerto Escondido’s genuine people, culture and atmosphere.

“I love the people and I also love the energy in the town.  I didn’t know why at first, so when I reflected on it a bit more, I think it was because it is also a surf town – and I am not a surfer – but I realize it has a youthful kind of athletic vibe and it kind of reminded me of a ski town.”

Mullen grew up in the ski town of Banff and felt like he was home-away-from-home in Puerto Escondido.

Drawn to its authenticity, Mullen was excited that the area was about to experience a burst of growth yet still felt undiscovered in ways that could only be experienced in person.

Mullen loves the weather – it’s in the 80s almost every day of the year – so it’s never too hot or not hot enough.

But it’s not just the weather temperature that drew Mullen in; it’s the temperature of the water, the little amount of rain the area receives and the fact there is virtually no wind, something that is commonly found at many other beachfront areas.

One more thing that cannot be understated is how safe the area feels, not only from hurricanes but crime. Puerto Escondido is situated in a low-risk hurricane zone and there have only been four hurricanes in the last 160 years in that area, all of which were Class 3 or less.

When it comes to crime, Mullen has heard from many travellers and visitors that the area feels safer than where they came to visit from, something he believes as well because he spent dozens of hours researching the statistics over the headlines.

“Statistically, this area is safer than most US major centres and even many Canadian centres. But besides the statistics, it just feels safe. It’s just a wonderful feeling.”

Surf town

A VISION FULFILLED

While Mullen feels he has achieved much of his vision he set out to accomplish, he isn’t done yet and is excited about the future for the Vivo Resort beachfront property in Puerto Escondido.

“I believe I fulfilled much of the vision that was at the core of the resort now that the clubhouse is complete,” he explains. “But there is still more to do.”

With more vacation suites and developments on the horizon, Mullen is looking forward to the future of the area, but he often stops to reflect on what has been accomplished already.

“I’m very proud, very humbled and very appreciative of the vision that has been fulfilled so far. What is amazing is that it has surpassed my expectations so far and I’m excited for how it’s going to evolve in the future,” Mullen says.

It’s no secret that Mullen is a family man and he was focused on creating a place they could vacation or even call home when he was searching for the perfect location, and that’s how this project came about.

“I was trying to find a place where you could go and live your best life no matter your age. So, where could I go that my kids could have fun, where could we (in our 40s) have fun and where could my parents have fun,” he explains.  “That was part of what fostered my vision… where you could go and live your best life.”

Whether that is for a week or whether that is for six months, he adds.

“One of my hopes was when people leave, wherever they are going, they reflect back and they say ‘Wow, I was living better there’.  That kind of fostered into my vision of what would be there, and I wanted to give an opportunity for a different kind of vacation as well.”

With that in mind, Mullen created a place where people could not only rejuvenate, but also live a happier, healthier life that falls in line with the meaning of the word “vivo”, which is, to feel alive.

“A place where we are happier, healthier and more connected.  And that would be connected to nature, connected to one another, connected with yourself.”

THE FOOD

Mullen’s vision included people walking on the beach in the morning, eating healthy foods; foods that are farm-to-table and sea-to-table, something Vivo is especially known for.

“The food is amazing haute cuisine,” he says. “We catch the fish that day and then it is on the table that evening, so it is wonderful.  All the vegetables are all locally grown, huge and ripe, and the fruit is delicious.”

Whether it’s freshly squeezed juice, fish of the day or herbs and spices from the garden, Vivo knows how to put fresh, delicious and healthy food on the table and the resort features a celebrated chef whose goal is to delight guests with the menu.

It doesn’t matter if people eat at the resort or in Puerto Escondido, they will be treated to delicious, authentic food at every stop. Whether it’s the hand-rolled tortillas that are made from corn in corn fields near Vivo, or the locally grown vegetables, everything is sourced from within 10 miles of the area.

Vivo and Puerto Escondido are very self-sustainable, Mullen explains, and that is part of its allure.

“Oaxaca cuisine is catching on more and more with foodies around the world and it is starting to be more celebrated,” Mullen says, adding more Oaxaca restaurants are popping up in North America.

“People are starting to catch on.  It is a different brand of Mexican food, in my opinion.  It is no Taco Bell, it is a lot better, a lot different and more flavourful – a lot of the recipes are some of the oldest recipes in the world, from what I heard.”

In fact, he believes some of the recipes are 1,500 years old.

And then there is Mescal, a type of tequila, that is only grown in Oaxaca.

Another cool part of Puerto Escondido many people might not know is the fact it started off as a coffee port.

“The coffee in the area is amazing.”

Then Puerto Escondido evolved from a coffee port to then becoming a fishing town for just fishing and catching great fish. Now it’s also known for its gigantic surf waves.

There’s truly something for everyone in Puerto Escondido.

THE PEOPLE 

One thing guests will also notice, is the authenticity of the people of the town and the staff at the resort, something that is very important to Mullen, who is known for his enthusiastic and kind demeanor.

“We have a tremendous team that we have attracted – and I find that with our guests that come and the owners that have purchased there. Everyone is so nice and friendly. And then we try to also groom and foster that environment.”

From the staff to the locals, everyone is willing and ready to go the extra mile.

“The locals are so wonderful, so they have that demeanor already which is wonderful.  One of the things that define a vacation, is a place to go that is an experience. I believe this is an environment that really fosters healthier and happier living.”

The Condos And Villas

While the first condo tower opened in 2012 with just 12 units, many more have opened since. Now, there are 120 units split up between bachelor-style condo units, two-bedroom condos, penthouses and villas for larger groups. All the units have full kitchens and living areas, laundry facilities and more. There are currently two more condo towers under development, with one set to open in January 2019 and the other in 2020, which will increase the number of units available.

The best part? Every suite has an ocean view.

The resort’s condos and private villas are available for ownership or rent, as well as vacation options. Visitors can also take advantage of the resort’s Discovery Tour (more information here http://www.vivoresorts.com/discoveryexperience/) The Vivo Resorts Discovery Tour in Puerto Escondido Mexico is designed to let visitors experience the resort and everything it has to offer.

Mullen might have seen his dream realized, but his work here is not yet done, and there is more on the horizon.

Future phases include village shops, which will add more diversity and options to Vivo, while more vacation suites and homes are being built.

New condo buildings under construction and they feature a different design.

“Marino and Nautico, they have a straight on frontage ocean view and out the back a view of the mountains, so they are very unique offering to have that proximity to the ocean.”

Another new offering is called Botanic, which is a lush garden with a botanical feeling.

“We will eventually have another restaurant, little shops, a silver shop, a boutique, maybe a car rental place,” Mullen says, adding the next phases are still being planned.

“We are not done yet.”’

THE FAMILY-DRIVEN AMENITIES

Ernesto’s Restaurant – Named after Ernie – Mullen’s wife’s father who passed away – offers fresh farm-to-table authentic Oaxaca cuisine made from local ingredients by the resort’s celebrated Chef.  Ernesto’s offers casual dining for families, friends, and vacation guests. Poolside delivery and delivery to your condo are also available. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet Ernie because he passed away before we met and got married. My wife’s brother worked alongside with me on Vivo so I wanted to honour both my wife Christina and Chuck, her brother, by naming the restaurant after Ernie.  So, we called it Ernestos, which is the Spanish version of Ernie. It is a place where I think he would be proud and and it’s a place to gather family and break bread together as friends.” – Mullen, on how he chose the name for the restaurant.

Senses Spa by Elaina – Vivo Resorts believe in offering health, wellness and rejuvenation. Named after Mullen’s mother (Elaine), the spa was created to offer delight to the senses through massage, manicures, pedicures, steam room, jacuzzi and more.  “She was honoured to have the name named after her.  She has been a hard-working lady her whole life and so to have a spa named after her is kind of ironic,” Mullen explains of the name.  The resort also offers in-room massages and couple massages. The tropical garden spa also features beautiful tropical gardens with the soothing sounds of cascading waters.

Mezcalina’s Sports Lounge – The Mexican Hacienda-style sports bar and lounge located within the Resorts Clubhouse. It is also the perfect place to relax, catch a few games, and enjoy a cocktail or two with family, friends, and other Vivo guests. “We wanted to create a place where people come back time and time again and feel like people know your name and you feel connected, but also a place where you meet other people and you can break bread together and so we have those big tables to share and be social.  I believe we are social beings, we are meant to be living in tribes in a sense instead of our individual igloos. So, that was a part of the vision … to be able to meet your neighbours, meet the other guests next to you, and say hello.” Mullen, on the social aspect of the lounge.

Activities – In addition, the property offers cultural immersion programs, such as Spanish-language classes and a baby sea turtle release program. There is a learning library centre for guests who want to stay connected, which includes a variety of books as well as Internet connection. There is also a fitness centre, with a beautiful view of the beach as a reward for exercising. There are two pools, one with a swim-up bar, for relaxing and daily activities.

Krista Sylvester is a local freelancer write who writes for StarMetro, the Calgary Herald, LiveWire Calgary, the Yyscene, Mike’s Bloggity Blog and more. She’s known as a “Jill-of-all-trades” and writes anything everything from travel and homes to news and social issues. Whether you’re looking for writing, editing, photography, social media, marketing or more, Krista of That’s All She Wrote is just a phone call or message away!
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(As seen on gaycalgary.com)