Loving life at Hotel Perico (& Dr. Who party!)

Hotel Perico Chapala Mexico

Yesterday we returned to our home away from home, the Hotel Perico, near Lake Chapala. We’re back for a few days so Scout can have a Dr. Who-themed, 13th-birthday-party extravaganza with fellow traveling family, the Johnsons, who are staying here. The Johnsons, who have been on the road for three years with seven of their nine lovely kids, usually tent camp, but they’re taking a break for a few months and staying at Perico. (Showers! Internet! Beds!) Scout is horrified that we stayed here for five months and then left right before this fabulous tribe showed up.

As an added treat, another traveling family drove their camper over from Sayulita to meet us here. They spent two years camping around Europe, so we’ve had a blast comparing European campgrounds and creative handling of the Schengen visa.

It’s good to be back. Chapala isn’t a long-term fit for us (too small, too dry, too gringo), but this hotel is special. It’s the first place we stayed when we arrived. We were supposed to stay again for a week or so before we left town, but it the place was so comfortable and friendly (and inexpensive!) that we ended up staying, as I said, for five months. There’s a pool, and the sprawling grounds are green and lush (see what fruit grows here), even in the dry season. Archie and Scout can both safely enjoy some off-leash freedom here. If I could bring this hotel with us as we travel and plop it down where we stop, I’d do it in a flash.

Hotel Perico pool, Chapala, Mexico

Archie loves the pool

A Mexican family lived here for our first few months. Scout became good friends with their daughter who spoke no English, and after two months of neighborly hanging out, she could speak Spanish. It’s because of that experience that Scout is now bilingual and can chat comfortably in her second language for hours on end.

The owners and other long-term residents give us a community that life on the road rarely provides. Other residents, not to mention the owners, Tom and Jan, have become good friends, so now coming to Perico feels like coming home. The long-term residents are free spirits and fellow wanderers, all from somewhere else. Here I can drop in for a week and share a glass of wine, a gossip, a meal or a movie with familiar neighbors who speak my language, both literally and figuratively. For a traveling family that calls the whole planet home, this is a treat indeed.

Hotel Perico Chapala Mexico

Pot-luck dinner on the terrase with other traveling families and friends from the hotel

As I write this, I couldn’t tell you where Emma is. She and I both love this. She’s safe and happy, which is all I need to know. Bursts of distant laughter tell me she and the Johnsons are up to something. They’re probably all draped over the fat branches of the big oak tree, camouflaged by a canopy of leaves, making crazy Dr. Who menu plans that I’ll be called upon to execute. Perico is the only place where my traveling kid can enjoy this kind of freedom, as well as a good game of wink murderer…



Giggles and a rousing game of wink murderer before bed

Archie loves it here too. Yesterday he whined with high-pitched joy and began to tremble with excitement when we pulled into the driveway. After a quick dip in the koi pond, he spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool with the kids. This morning I ran him with his ball out on the soccer pitch until, in a state of joyous exhaustion, he had to commando-crawl into the shade for a rest. Later he dozed on my lap while half a dozen kids crammed themselves into onto our patio and glued blue tissue paper onto the TARDIS piñata. With all the canine melanoma drama, it warms my heart to see Archie relaxed and happy. Our Morelia apartment has no private outdoor space (other than the roof), so Archie mainly stays inside unless we take him for a walk. Here Archie can be a real dog, wrestling with other dogs, chasing cats, peeing wherever he wants, and barking at stuff.

We love Hotel Perico! Now, for the party…

Tardis pinata Mexico Hotel Perico

TARDIS piñata Dr. Who birthday party


My “before” photo was blurry, so this is the TARDIS after quote a few whacks. Eventually the top separated from the bottom, and the kids had to whack it on the ground to crack it open.

IMG_5302 IMG_5271


Dr. Who party

TARDIS police-box entrance to the party area. It was much bigger on the inside…

Somehow I neglected to take photos of the food, the scavenger hunt, the other games, the cupcakes, kids having fun, the balloons, and BAD WOLF written all over the place, so you’ll just have to imagine the rest of it.

We’re so glad to be back!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karen March 22, 2014 at 1:00 pm

We have had such a blast with you guys here, and are going to SO miss you when you pull out.

I must say, the kids did a darn good job on that TARDIS piñata, too bad it had to be smacked to oblivion. But we’ve enjoyed the chocolates that fell from the tree. Thanks.


2 Renee March 22, 2014 at 3:02 pm

We’re going to miss you too!!! Yes, didn’t the piñata look fantastic? I’ll post pics.


3 Alex March 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Wonderful to find your own little paradise.


4 Renee March 22, 2014 at 5:13 pm

It is! As I wrote, Chapala and Ajijic aren’t for us, but the little hotel is so much fun. 🙂


5 Alyson March 23, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Loving that Tardis! Can you tell us more about this place? Do you have a post about it? I’m wondering about cost.


6 Renee March 23, 2014 at 8:18 pm

We love Hotel Perico. We paid $350 a month for the five months we spent here. The weekly and daily rates are extremely reasonable for this area, but I can’t quote because they vary based on room, season, availability, etc. There are few places when traveling kids can have green space and run around safely, so the kiddo loves it here. It’s the best value in town, by far.


7 Jackie Trueblood March 23, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Where is this in relationship to La Floresta? We are looking for a place to stay the first week in August that is near the Hotel Real Chapala (I think that is the name of it)–somewhere we’ve not stayed before.



8 Renee March 23, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Hi, Jackie. It’s basically up the hill from La Floresta. Just a couple minutes south on the carretera and then up the libramiento. It’s a sweet little place. Not fancy, but inexpensive and a great vibe.


9 Cathryn Haynes March 24, 2014 at 10:12 am

Glad to see Archie is still with you and having a great life!! Cannot thank you enough for your blog! Living through you vicariously!! Cheers!!


10 Molly April 10, 2014 at 11:53 am

Love it and would love to visit there! Happy late birthday Scout!


11 Emma April 12, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Thanks for this post. We are arriving in Guadalajara in May with a toddler who loves to run so a few days/weeks maybe months at the Hotel Perico are definitely in order!
I can’t seem to find a contact form on their website – do you have their email address?


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