We're now in our third full season here at Gecko Rock and it's awesome that so many Redditors have come down (or over) to see us since our first IAmA two years ago!

It's been a wild roller coaster ride building and running our own boutique hotel with no previous experience but we're finally getting into a groove here and kicking ass on TripAdvisor, too :)

If you have any questions about living as a foreigner in Mexico before the wall goes up or working in hospitality, fire away.

Proof: I need to update the nameserver on our website because our host just migrated us to another server but I was able to get access to put proof on our blog.

Our Website

Comments: 94 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

dixieboy4612 karma

Is purchasing property a difficult process for foreign nationals in Mexico?

Oax_Mike24 karma

Yes and no.

It depends on where the property is and what you plan to do with it.

The vast majority of land in Mexico can be bought by a foreign national with no special requirements whatsoever - the only land that is more complicated is land within 50km of the border or within Mexico City...of course the water counts as a border so most of the land foreigners are interested in comes with an extra step or two in the buying process.

There are two basic ways to buy land within this protected zone:

  1. Form a Corporation. Since 1996 two foreigners can start a corporation with no Mexican shareholders. Pretty simple process, really...you go to a notary, fork over about US$1,000 and you've got a corporation. You can do this on a tourist visa on vacation. You don't have to be a resident to form a corporation. But you do need 2 people. Anyhow, you own the corporation and the corporation owns the land - so there is the loophole. The one caveat is that you must legally operate a business on the land at some point and you'll need to pay an accountant every month to do your taxes even if the tax form is simply saying "Welp, we're still in zeros over here." Another downside of this strategy is that if/when you sell the land, all profit is taxed at corporate rates. (Mexican law is the same as the US where you can make like $200,000 profit on the sale of your primary home...but basically a corporation can't use this exemption.)

  2. Fideicomiso - or bank trust. Basically a bank buys the land, puts it in their name and then writes up a trust giving you 100% control over the property. This is what most retirees do to buy land since they won't be running a business. Downside is that it costs about US$5-7K in lawyer fees to set up and US$500-700/year in "maintenance fees."

We did #1.

It's important to note that if you live here long enough you become eligible for citizenship...if you become a citizen you can then transfer the deed out of your corporation or bank trust into your name as a Mexican citizen. A lot of foreigners do this.

Many foreigners use an old school workaround, too, called a Prestanombre...or Name Borrowing...basically a Mexican friend that you REALLY trust puts the property in their name but it's "really" yours...I won't go into the inherent risks with this strategy.

heliotrope3n8 karma

Why would guests want to come to your resort instead of more popular ones?

Oax_Mike20 karma

Great question.

One that doesn't really have a short answer...so here's the long one :)

For starters, it's important to recognize that for a rather large percentage of the market they wouldn't.

Some people like the Mega resort experience for any number of reasons. Some people like crowded pools and busy beaches. Some people are after shows/nightlife/entertainment/etc. during their vacation.

Some people love giant corporate style resorts - and these aren't the people we're marketing to.

We sell a very niche product - one that to an extent is designed for people who have had bad experiences at more traditional resorts or who have perhaps never even stayed at a resort. There are a lot of people who seek out boutique properties without having to be sold on the idea to begin with.

But here are the main areas where our experience differentiates from a mega resort:

  1. Peace & Quiet. If you're truly looking to relax it's crazy tranquil here. There are no roads, no cars, no neighbors, no bars, and we have a maximum of 8 people at the resort (and no children) so it's always quiet here.

  2. Our food is amazing. Most resorts serve food that is "good" at best, usually just OK and sometimes borderline shitty. To get food anything like what we serve at a traditional resort you're looking at $600-$1000/night.

  3. Personal service. From designing a special meal plan for every single customer to personally helping each guest have a killer vacation, we provide a different type of interaction with our customers.

  4. The beach here is empty. 99% of the time if you go to the beach you will be the only humans there.

  5. Blend of relaxation and "travel." One thing that is great about this part of Mexico is that it truly is more authentic than most tourist destinations...so staying with us gives guests the opportunity to have a relax & recharge type holiday while also having a true "adventure."

  6. What we sell is an experience - and while exactly what that experience is can be difficult to quantify it's very unique.

  7. We're insanely affordable for what we do. While we're not the cheapest product on the market, we are very cheap for our genre.

Mikeytruant8504 karma

$600-$1000 à night for food?? That's gotta be a typo, right?

Oax_Mike2 karma

/u/drunk_cunt already answered this but yeah, I should have specified that I was referring to other all-inclusive resorts. So that price includes your room and all of your food & alcohol.

We don't include alcohol in our rates for a number of reasons but our price for 2 people is $225/night.

But yeah, even in the $300-$400/night range you're usually eating buffet style.

ibankudont8 karma

Are you glad you did it? Also, the place is fucking brautiful great gob man

Oax_Mike13 karma

Most of the time.

While we 100% chose this business structure to set up a lifestyle where we'd work VERY hard for part of the year and then have part of the year off, there are aspects of this lifestyle that are hard to get used to.

I don't miss having a traditional job to the point of actually wanting to change course and get one but there are positives to the old M-F, weekends off routine that you don't see until they are gone.

Living on site at the resort means zero commute...and that's amazing...but it also means that you're ALWAYS at work - and even when we don't have customers there is always something that needs to be done...a toilet needs to be fixed or a wall painted or we're upgrading this or cleaning that and so on and so forth...and even when you purposefully say "OK, we're taking a day off from projects" it can be hard to enjoy the property without seeing "to do" lists in every direction.

So all up we're glad we did it...but it's been WAY harder than we'd ever imagined it would be and running a resort is much different than staying at one :)

All that being said, every year gets a little bit easier...so my guess (and hope) is that 5 years from now and beyond our lifestyle will more closely match the "Holy shit, you own this place?" image that most people incorrectly conjure up in their imagination.

TheFilthiestCorndog2 karma

What you just described sounds like 90% of the small business owners I know. I own a plumbing company that operates from home. It was very stressful and never ending for the first 5-6 years the we had a rhythm and it was possible to let it go auto pilot more and more often.

Oax_Mike1 karma

Yeah, every season gets a little bit easier...although every season also means more customers than the previous year, too. Which is mostly good, of course, but also means more work/stress.

Part of our challenge is that we're still kind of in a gray area where we have enough business to do OK money-wise for ourselves but enough "empty" periods in our calendar that it doesn't make sense financially to hire permanent staff.

So during the busy periods we're balls to the wall because we don't have enough help (we have part-time help but other than cleaning/gardening we pretty much do everything else ourselves) but we don't want to hire staff that we'll have to pay when we're empty or just have 1 or 2 couples here.

So eventually we'll hit a tipping point where revenue is steady enough to hire people to do some of the things we currently do ourselves...it's ironic that you are in plumbing because just yesterday I had to install a new toilet in one of our rooms...which is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Right now we still have more time than money and so it's a better option for me to install the toilet myself instead of hiring a plumber but eventually we'll outsource more maintenance stuff instead of doing most everything DIY.

TheFilthiestCorndog1 karma

Choosing went to outsource was a big one for us as well, don't get caught up in just doing things the way you've always done them. We put off outsourcing payroll for way too long because we couldn't justify paying someone to do something we had always done ourselves. Now that someone else is doing payroll we realize how much time it has freed up for us to focus on other parts of the business. it was the same way with social media marketing and accounting, hard to justify paying someone to do it but easy to enjoy the freetime it has granted us.

Oax_Mike1 karma

Part of our conundrum is that since we live at the resort, extra workers means extra people up in our grill...so sometimes it's easier to just do things ourselves rather than clean up after (and monitor) someone else. Here in rural Mexico quality is also a concern...so often it's less about $$$ and more about getting what we want.

But yeah, all up we do realize that at some point in the future we have to let go...we don't want to be doing all the grunt work for the next 20 years.

Walking_Anachronism1 karma

What months/season is considered busy? Also, location? Have you considered outsourcing accommodations for volunteers? Like woofers? Or helpx? For example, i'd gladly stay a month to help and learn some interior labor skills and be a extra pair of hands for a bed/meals.

Oax_Mike1 karma

Dec-Feb is the primary busy season.

And yes, we've considered trying HelpX but haven't pulled the trigger. Our biggest concern is finding a "WWOOFer" that would fit with our brand.

We're not a "high" end property but we're high-er for sure, so someone like this dude wouldn't work :)

And yes, I know that not all WWOOFers look like this - but a decent percentage do.

The other issue is that we'd rather not swap out new workers every 1-3 weeks, which is kind of the standard with HelpX.

Walking_Anachronism1 karma

Hahaha. Great pic. I understand

Oax_Mike1 karma

No offense if that's what you look like ;)

Walking_Anachronism1 karma

Hahaha..No. I don't. I'm a business professional who is transitioning into the healthcare system to study emergency medicine. I'm looking to pick up a year in South America to practice medicine and improve my Spanish.

Oax_Mike1 karma

Cool...good luck with your career change :)

OzChopper7 karma

How safe is it there in general? (I'm from Australia so not too sure what it's like other than what I see on tv).

Oax_Mike7 karma

This is a bit of a loaded question, for obvious reasons, but it's generally very safe here in Oaxaca State.

Mexico is an enormous country and different regions very wildly in terms of how closely they resemble Ciudad Juarez.

I mean, yeah, whether you're talking statistically or anecdotally, it's still going to be less safe here on some level compared to most fully developed nations but only marginally so.

The biggest danger here is driving, particularly at night. Roads aren't in the best condition (not awful, either) and are poorly marked, with random speed bumps, mostly non-existent lighting (depending on where you're at) and way too many drunk drivers (from 9pm onward).

Most people who find trouble here are looking for it but sure, a visit to Mexico is certainly rougher around the edges than wine tasting in Napa Valley.

buell_ersdayoff5 karma

As a Mexican, wtf is it with the speed bumps in the middle of the fucking HIGHWAY!!! Bitch, I'm doing 130kph and you expect me to spot a speed bump at 3am when the sign is covered by a fucking bush that shouldn't be there and there is no light at all??

Oax_Mike2 karma

To be fair, without topes no drivers would slow down for villages simply because there's a sign that asks nicely...but yeah, often the speed bump isn't painted and the only sign is hand painted on a 15cm piece of wood taped to a cubeta.

My other beef is that there is ZERO continuity...some speed bumps are super suave and only require that you slow down to 40kph...other ones will break your car if you don't slow down to 10kph and take it at an angle.

You never know what kind of tope you're going to get.

The worst is a village between Huatulco and Salina Cruz that has 9 topes...9! In like 1km of road. Ridiculous.

Clap4boobies5 karma

Tripadvisor says you are sold out through sept 2017. Are you?

Oax_Mike3 karma

No, not even remotely close.

We don't use any 3rd party booking sites because they are stupid expensive (and other reasons, too) so since we're not on Booking/Expedia/Etc. TripAdvisor wants to gently nudge you to book somewhere else by saying "Oh, can't find a room here!" If you book through a 3rd party site via the TripAdvisor page then they get a cut of the sale :)

We are still very much in the startup stage and we have a lot of room for growth...there are more days of the season that we are completely empty than not...although this winter we're pretty full...we're not taking any more bookings from mid-Dec through January, for example.

WombStretcher3172 karma

Wow that's really shitty of Trip Advisor. Why wouldn't they just not have you on their list instead of saying "no vacancies" that seems like a major cock block. Like they can't afford to pay us the fees, let's go out of our way to make sure they don't get business. I'm miffed

Oax_Mike2 karma

Well, it's a business, to make money.

It's not that we're on some list, it's that on our TripAdvisor page where the room search box is there's just a note that says "Prices from our online travel partners are not available Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Puerto Escondido"

So it doesn't exactly say "sold out".

ghost16674 karma

How much were your start-up costs?

Oax_Mike9 karma

We prefer to not share exact numbers online but our startup capital was approximately what you'd pay for a three bedroom house in the suburbs in the average US market.

ghost16673 karma

Surprisingly low. How may guests can you accommodate at one time?

Oax_Mike3 karma

I can tell you that we busted our asses like I never imagined possible to make it happen.

We built Gecko Rock with about half the capital we really needed...via creativity and elbow grease.

And we have 4 rooms, so 8 people.

Rooms have a King-Sized bed so we mostly cater to couples.

photocist-4 karma

Gonna guess 500-600k. Ill delete if you dont feel comfortable

Oax_Mike3 karma

Closer to half that...but yeah, that's about what it would run you if you had all of the work done by contractors.

We did much of the work ourselves and had to get very creative to figure out ways to cut costs, all the way down to building a lot of our own furniture. It took us 2.5 years to finish.

ghost16674 karma

That's impressive.

Oax_Mike2 karma

If we'd known how hard it was going to be I can't say for certain that we'd have gone through with it.

No joke, it almost broke us. Physically, mentally, emotionally, it was a journey of blood, sweat and tears (yes, literally bleeding and crying...a lot) that I'll never repeat :)

We're glad now that we did it and all the shit stuff is in the rear view mirror but man, we had no idea what we were getting into and should we one day sell up and start another adventure I'll never go through that ever again.

xyop-1 karma

That's about double the US average. It's going to vary wildly depending on particular markets though, the suburbs around San Francisco cost a lot more than the suburbs around bumfuck, middlecountry.

Oax_Mike1 karma

Yeah...I mean somewhere that's neither SF nor Timbuktu, Mississippi :)

nostradx4 karma

I plan on staying with you next year. Unfortunately, as a fellow business owner, you know that work never stops even when you're on vacation. What are the cell signal and internet speeds like at your resort and in the surrounding areas? I have AT&T as my cell provider.

Oax_Mike9 karma

Ironically we just got a cell signal here at the resort about 2 months ago...before that we were in a dead zone and guests needed to download Skype or wait until they were in town.

But even now you may have to go to the rooftop to get a strong cell signal.

Internet speeds are abysmal, too (compared to the developed world or even just a larger Mexican city). Ours is supposed to be 1.5mb which is fine when it's working smoothly (we use Skype, Netflix, etc. without issue) but if you need to upload/download large files it's a nightmare. I remember sending the file a year and a half ago to the printer for our cookbook and it took 8 hours...it was crazy stressful as that particular site started the upload over again if the internet went out for just one minute. Twice it failed and I had to try again the next day.

But some days the internet is just slow and we do experience occasional outages.

I've had potential guests ask before about doing a "working vacation" and I'm careful to be honest and say that if you're talking emails and non time sensitive phone calls you're golden, but if losing the internet for 10 hours means that you could potentially lose a big sale then it's too risky here...or if you're a developer/drafter and need to send files into the Gb or work directly online with complex software you might encounter issues.

I mean, it's not THAT bad and we'll sometimes go two months without an outage but when there are issues we're kind of at the end of the line here in the boonies in terms of when ours gets fixed....and the cell signal can come/go depending on where you're at so if there are calls that need to be taken immediately our place isn't the best fit.

Not trying to scare you away :) haha...we just prefer to be 100% honest.

We believe that the best policy is to do our best to only get guests here who really want to be here. When someone asks about nearby nightlife or make requests that imply they'd likely be happy elsewhere we let them know...the last thing we'd want is to bend the truth and get people here who aren't looking for what we sell...or have someone miss out on a big business deal because they were counting on 24/7 super reliable cell and internet service.

labiblioteka7 karma

this is really good customer service. I really appreciate when a business owner or company is honest about what's up. good work

Oax_Mike3 karma

To be honest, it's good for us, too.

It's smart business to try and only attract customers who will like our product. For starters, dealing with unhappy guests would suck, particularly if they can honestly say we lied about what it's like here...and in our case this means having unhappy people at our house for a week! :)

But unhappy customers also leave bad reviews and can ruin the experience for other guests.

They can also just leave inaccurate reviews...for example, someone looking for a party might say "it's boring" when it's not boring for people who want to read in a hammock in peace and quiet.

But yeah, we work hard to provide a truly unique type of service here.

nostradx3 karma

That's great news! Your resort is exactly the kind of escape and downtime I'm looking for, so obviously work is the last thing I want to do on vacation. It's good to know that I can at least check-in occasionally. I'll just be sure to use the following out of office message:

I am currently out of the office with limited access to email and phone. I will be returing on xxxxxxxx, xxxx xxxx. If I cannot respond to your email before then, I will do so when I return. If it is critical, you can try me on my cell phone: 000-000-0000, but I may be unable to return your call until I am back in the office.

Oax_Mike1 karma

What kind of business do you run?

RetinaTog3 karma

What would you say to somebody (me) to whom "Mexican beach resort" is a worst nightmare vacation, especially when run by an American? I don't know if I'm the odd man out but If I'm going to Mexico, which I love to death, I want exactly zero cheesy beach shot and I don't want to hear a word of English the whole trip,

Oax_Mike9 karma

Well, I likely wouldn't say anything.

One of the first things you have to get over when you start your own business is that you can't sell to everyone. You define your target market and direct your efforts towards them.

Ironically my wife and I would never stay at a place like this. It's not the kind of travel we do, either.

This was the highlight of my last vacation, which was 3 weeks in Colombia and my wife did 5 weeks in Hong Kong, Malaysia & Bangkok.

But all that said, our version of the "Mexican beach resort" really is an experience meant to be an alternative to a big resort and we cater mostly to a market of people who would not stay at a big resort, either.

Also, it's important to note that we cater to vacationers and not travelers, per se. I know it's a but cliche to say this but there's an element of truth to it.

When I travel I am looking for adventure. Doing, seeing and experiencing is what energizes me. Our guests are looking to chill the fuck out and mostly do nothing for a week to recharge and head back to their busy, professional lives.

It took me some time to figure out that our customers aren't looking for the same thing in their vacation that we are.

So yeah, we're selling a type of holiday we wouldn't take so that we can have the time and money to take trips more like the one you described.

Also, how people travel when they only get 2-3 weeks off per year is very different than people like my wife and I who try to take 3-5 weeks per trip...they tend to spend more money for luxury.

I am blown away by how many guests we get who fly down from the US for just 4 or 5 days and then fly home...but that's all the time they can get off so it's a case of having more money than time.

So I don't think you're the odd man out...but clearly I wouldn't market to you, just as someone selling designer clothes, BMWs or jewelry would be wasting their marketing dollars on my wife and I.

skipjim3 karma

What drove you to start this business?

Oax_Mike7 karma

Prior to moving to Mexico we were teaching ESL for 7 years (Korea, Chile, Vietnam). When we tired of teaching we decided that the only way we'd be able to keep a similar level of vacation time would be to start our own business. There aren't many "jobs" that allow several months off per year.

Both of us are avid travelers (we actually met in Korea) and so we naturally gravitated towards doing something related to tourism.

Originally we considered opening a hostel but slowly shifted gears to a boutique beach resort as we decided that we'd rather work with a more affluent sort of traveler.

At the same time we really wanted to move to somewhere with tropical weather.

So in a way the pieces all kind of just came together...we wanted a seasonal business that we could close for part of the year and we wanted to live in the tropics and do something related to travel.

skipjim4 karma

Sounds like fun. I'd love to have that opportunity however with kids and a mortgage it's more than a few years in my future.

Oax_Mike5 karma

Yeah, we don't have any kids so it was certainly a lot easier for us to liquidate all of our assets and really buckle down for a few years there to live an insanely frugal lifestyle to get the rest of the capital together.

cooliochill3 karma

What gave you the inspiration and desire to build this resort?

Oax_Mike1 karma

As I mentioned above, when we decided to leave ESL teaching we knew that the only way to get the vacation time we wanted was to start our own business.

My wife worked as a tour guide in Europe for 6 years before we met and she always wanted to get back into tourism so that's kind of where it started...and we're both serial travelers.

Chexx0r2 karma

What else can you do in the area around your resort? What other activities are nearby?

Oax_Mike1 karma

That depends on your definition of "nearby"...Puerto Escondido is 28km from our place and you can find plenty of tourist activities there...charter fishing, surfing, dolphin watching, snorkeling, shopping, horseback rides, diving, etc.

And La Escobilla, which is where the mass sea turtle layings/hatchings take place is just 10 minutes from here - but you can't predict when this will happen.

And Mazunte has a good lagoon tour with crocodiles, iguanas, birds, etc.

But immediately around the resort, as in within walking distance, the main thing to do is go to the beach or to Agua Blanca, a rustic beach town 15 minutes up the beach where you can find palapa restaurants and have a beer or a local lunch.

In general our guests tend to spend 70% of their vacation here at the property and the rest on day trips...our business and this area in general don't really cater to people looking for a super touristy town. You're not going to find things like ATV tours and jetskis.

So yeah, we mostly cater to people looking to relax.

--Squidoo--2 karma

What do you do for health insurance?

Oax_Mike2 karma

Don't get hurt.


Getting some sort of catastrophic plan is on our to-do list but we haven't had any health insurance for the 6 years we've been here.

For the most part the cost of care is affordable enough that we can just pay cash when situations arise...but yeah, if I got brain cancer or some other crazy expensive shit I'd probably just have to die.

I am not saying it's smart that we don't have insurance...it just is.

But for example, I sliced my wrist last year with a machete opening a coconut and to go to a decent hospital for stitches was about US$70 total.

cheapreemsoup2 karma

About the cancer, Obamacare has got you covered.

Oax_Mike2 karma

Not in Mexico :)

Realistically for something like that we'd likely relocate to India or something for treatment. Cut the bill from a gajillion down to a more manageable 50 grand or something.

maximumfrosting2 karma

Understanding you don't wanna get too detailed into your finances, can you share a bit for someone who's thought about similar businesses in the past? How many nights (or guests) per year do you need to book to break even? Are you trying to make a certain amount of profit a year, or just enough to finance your lifestyle?

Oax_Mike3 karma

I'd be happy to give you more detailed numbers via email if you're serious about doing similar.

But the answer to your other questions are a bit complicated given our unique scenario/business model and depend greatly on your point of view.

Since we had to save up cash to do this (financing isn't an option as local banks won't loan to you and your home bank isn't going to finance a project overseas) we own it outright...and since we live here, this means that we don't pay any rent/mortgage.

So...how you would calculate break even numbers depends on whether or not you're calculating in "paying back our investment" or not.

We can get by here (no offense to those who survive on much, much less) on around $15,000/year so depending on the number of rooms/nights, the first 10 reservations per year are our sort of "break even" number...where we earn enough to survive.

From a business/investment point of view this clearly isn't breaking even at all, particularly given that we ought to be paid a "salary" for running the resort.

But I'd say that 20 reservations as a minimum per year puts us in a place where we don't need to stress about money.

Our end goal is to earn approximately $100,000/year and when we hit that threshold we'll start closing more. We're still a very long way from hitting this point :) Every season so far we've doubled our sales, though, so we're not worried about it or anything.

So the answer is a combination of the two...yes, we have an eventual number in mind but the true purpose here is to finance our lifestyle...much of the reason we'd like to earn more is that we liquidated every single asset we had to do this...we own the resort and that's awesome but we're in our 40s without a single penny in traditional retirement savings....so even when we do start making $100k we'll likely stash 50%+ of that each year into the bank/retirement investments/etc.

maximumfrosting2 karma

Awesome, thank you for the response! I may take you up on that offer to discuss in more detail privately. Not sure if you're part of the r/financialindependence community, but your story would be of great interest over there, and it's a great and thoughtful sub if you ever want some commiseration over a non-traditional (income) lifestyle. Love that you're pursuing your dream like this, and its great to hear the upward trajectory your sales are on! All the best.

Oax_Mike1 karma

I've checked out /r/financialindependence before but that's not exactly the lifestyle we are going for...I mean, it's along a similar vein but I am not looking to bust ass for a while and then retire early, per se, my philosophy is more to take some of my retirement every year so that I don't hate work and yearn to retire early :)

But yeah, feel free to reach out if you ever want to chat about your plans.

onlytech_nofashion2 karma

What is your annual revenue ?

Oax_Mike2 karma

It's too early to call this year's revenue because we're just starting the season now but it looks like we'll earn around $40k this year.

We're very much still in the early stages of growth. Our first year of being open we didn't make enough money to live off of and so I got into freelance writing to make ends meet but every year since we've doubled our sales...if we wind up doubling again this season we'll do better than $40k but it's too early to tell. We do already have way more bookings at this point of the year compared to last November, though.

Our end goal is to earn about $100k/year for the two of us...but bear in mind that we can live pretty well here on $20k/year so even earning $60k would mean living insanely well if you chose to.

onlytech_nofashion1 karma

Thanks for the insight! Do you mean by earn after taxes and stuff?

Oax_Mike1 karma

Yeah, give or take.

To be 100% honest I'd have to sit down and figure it all out. To tell the truth we've been earning so little money here in the startup phase (in the grand scheme of things) that most of the time we've been open we haven't been tracking it TOO closely. Doing business in Mexico is different accounting wise, so cash we bring in from drinks/extras/tips isn't always tracked and sometimes our business expenses are tied into personal ones, too.

For example, we only have 1 electric bill, 1 internet bill, 1 water bill and so on for the property...so some of our "earnings" are hidden in that the business side of things pays our bills and when we're busy there are generally enough leftovers that we're eating for "free" of sorts.

I also do freelance writing on the side to supplement our income so that also plays into the confusion finance wise :)

It's actually on my to-do list to put together a better tracking system...if our current growth trend continues we'll need to run a much tighter ship next year (our season runs Oct-Jun, so I mean starting next fall).

SacredAfro2 karma


Oax_Mike2 karma

Yes, I did. My wife understands a lot but is not fluent.

I had a lot of vocabulary to learn, particularly related to construction, and there are still situations now and again that pop up where I don't understand something and need to ask for an explanation...for example, a lot of the terms used on online banking are confusing.

But for all intents and purposes I spoke Spanish well enough to do everything we need on our own...sometimes I just need to ask for things to be explained in different terms and talking over the phone is a bit challenging at times.

JohnTestiCleese2 karma

Are you hiring?

Oax_Mike1 karma

We're a long ways away from making enough money to hire people ;)

JohnTestiCleese3 karma

Best of luck! Seems like youre doing well thus far!

Oax_Mike1 karma

Thanks, man!

Thebillweneed2 karma

Likely far too late for a response, but feel inclined to ask:

Why only 18+?

Just as simple as trying to attract either the childless or those on vacation away from kids?

No judgement. Just curious.

Similarly, small businesses in the us tend to network with each other within a region (and a lot of times, within the same industry but with different specialties), do you know of any like resorts that host families as well?

Sounds like a great business with a good niche. Kudos on picking a size for your resort that is big enough to make it worth it but small enough that you arent having to run crazy deals to keep rooms full like a lot of places.

Oax_Mike2 karma

Why only 18+?

A lot of reasons.

To be brutally honest, we're childfree and it all started with us wondering "What would happen if we didn't allow children?" While I wouldn't say we "dislike" children, we prefer the company of adults.

From there we started to do research into adult only lodging and found that it's a growing niche...so not only could we "get away with it" but it would actually be a selling point.

Most of our guests do actually have kids, though, and they probably need a week without children around more than our childfree customers do.

But there are other reasons, too...not allowing kids means that the property doesn't need to be "child proof" and realistically kids would get bored here...plus our menu is not kid friendly at all.

Unfortunately I don't know anywhere else that does anything like we do.

highenergysanders2 karma

What's the best way to open a window that is jammed shut?

Oax_Mike3 karma

A car window or in your house?

Double-hung? On a hinge?

I'll need more info here.

thegreatgazoo2 karma

Adults only/private resort? What is the dress code like there?

I presume you are out of the area where the drug cartels operate?

What are average drink prices?

What is the local airport like?

Oax_Mike1 karma

Are there really resorts with dress codes? Around here it's shorts or swimsuit and flip flops...ironically I have never actually stayed at a resort, just built one :)

And yes, it's very chill here.

Beer is US$2.50, cocktails US$4-6, wine US$15-25/bottle. We keep drink prices very reasonable as it's not our philosophy to nickel and dime people.

There are two airports people fly into. Most guests arrive to Huatulco which is small but recently upgraded and then some arrive to Puerto Escondido, which is tiny...they are both fine, though.

thegreatgazoo1 karma

Well, some 18+ resorts don't require swim suits, or even ban them in certain areas.

Oax_Mike2 karma

Ah, ok...yeah, we're not "that" kind of adult only. We're just a regular hotel that doesn't allow kids.

LordNesquik2 karma

Hey! Hoping you're having a delightful thanksgiving. I sort of like avoiding putting people in awkward political situations online, so here's a few questions on working is hospitality:

Are people generally nice and kind to you and any employees you may have or not?

Have you had any disrespectful visitors? If so, what did they do? How did you handle the situation?

Is this kind of work tiring? Is it satisfying?

Oax_Mike3 karma

Are people generally nice and kind to you and any employees you may have or not?

In general yes, people are kind. Once in a while we get customers who prefer to not be very social but we've yet to have a customer who I would classify as "aggressive" or rude in a personal sense.

Have you had any disrespectful visitors? If so, what did they do? How did you handle the situation?

A few but really there has only been one "bad" booking per year where we were counting down the minutes until they left. I'd rather not go into specifics about past customers in a public forum, though...so perhaps I should have said "Ask me almost anything." haha

All up it hasn't been a huge problem, though.

Is this kind of work tiring? Is it satisfying?

Very and very.

Over the years we'll slowly outsource more and eventually hire more help but when we have guests here we're pretty much "on" all day, particularly my wife as she is the chef and our rates include 3 meals per day.

But it is satisfying...particularly when people really love it here. We've had people tell us that it was the best vacation of their life and that's a pretty good feeling to do that for someone.

ChaosInLipstick2 karma

This looks like the perfect solution to my husband and I's issue of trying to find a place that is still a little more special for finally having a honeymoon that is still chill enough for a combat Veteran with PTSD. Do you hear the same from other people with PTSD/issues involving crowds? Could be a demographic that fits in your target.

Oax_Mike2 karma

We have not had any PTSD Veteran clients to date but a friend of mine who was in the Army did mention the same idea and a segment of our clients definitely choose us because they are extremely introverted and don't want to deal with a lot of people.

I'd be happy to give you guys a discount off our honeymoon package if that is what you decide to do :)

av8tor_1ab2 karma

Would you open to a work/stay trade? My wife and I are pretty handy and are familiar with the struggles of construction in Mexico.

Oax_Mike1 karma

At this point it's not something I think we'd be interested in but maybe down the line when we get busier.