Here is a recent letter we received from a visitor at Santo Tomás:
I just returned from being in Mexico for four days. If I’m being completely honest, I was nervous about the trip. I had only been to Mexico one other time for a day trip, during which time I was only in a border town. So, this was the first time I would be going deeper into Mexico. Having worked as an addiction treatment therapist in Arizona in the past, my mind was filled with images of drug cartels and other illegal activities. However, when a group of friends invited my best friend and me to join them for a long weekend in Rocky Point, I couldn’t say no. I made the necessary preparations for the trip, including renewing my passport and looked forward to the vacation with an equal mix of anxiety and eager anticipation.
The day of the trip arrived, and thankfully, my excitement outweighed my nervousness. My best friend and I were able to head out earlier than the rest of the gang and left for Mexico from Gilbert, Arizona in the early afternoon on Thursday. The drive to the border flew by as we engaged in deep conversation and sang along to our favorite songs, and after border control confiscated my fresh produce (my bad), it was smooth sailing to Rocky Point. The longer we drove, the more my anxieties were laid to rest, and I was able to relax and enjoy the desert views and try to figure out, with my limited knowledge of Spanish, what the various road signs and billboards said.
We arrived in Rocky Point around 6 pm on Thursday evening, so the streets weren’t overly crowded, but there were still plenty of people walking around, or just relaxing on the porch steps of their homes or businesses. After getting settled in where we were staying, we headed back to town for dinner. By this time, the streets were busier, and I stayed acutely aware of my surroundings throughout the evening. The first restaurant we stopped at had closed early as they had run out of chicken, but we were able to find another not too far away. Our server was very courteous and the food was good. Throughout the duration of our meal, street vendors came into the restaurant and approached us, offering various goods. Music played in the background as we ate. After dinner, we headed back to the beach house, enjoying the sound of waves on the shore as we sat stargazing before bed.
Friday morning, we headed out for Santo Tomás. It took us about an hour and a half to get there from where we were staying in Rocky Point, the last part of the drive taking us down a dirt road and even through a small village. I couldn’t help but wonder what day-to-day life was like for those villagers and how different our experiences of the world must have been. After a few more miles, we passed through the security gates of Santo Tomás and drove up the hill to the main office. The first thing I noticed when we got out of the car was how quiet and peaceful it was. It was warm, but not too hot with the gentle, salty breeze blowing.
We received a fascinating tour of the community where we were shown what must have been some of the most beautiful beach houses in Mexico. We learned a great deal about the history of Santo Tomás during the tour, after which we were shown where to go to begin the kayaking adventure we had booked. We walked along the beach for a little while, admiring the vast array of large and beautiful seashells scattered along the soft sand. There wasn’t another soul in sight. Then, we donned our life jackets and set out on the Sea of Cortez in the kayaks. It was exhilarating being out on the water, which was incredibly clear and blue. With increased winds that day, the waves were slightly more pronounced than the ones in Rocky Point had been, which we were happy about. Both of us ended up tipping our kayaks on the waves—neither of us are experienced kayakers—and it made it all the more fun for us!
Following kayaking, we went to have lunch at MamaChita’s, the onsite restaurant at Santo Tomás. We were warmly welcomed by David, the owner, and chef of MamaChita’s. Having worked up quite the appetite while exploring the community and kayaking, it’s safe to say we were excited when the food arrived, and it did not disappoint! The chips and salsa were fresh and delectable. I loved my order of beef fajitas, and I thought my friend was going to die and go to food heaven as he ate his dish that consisted of the fresh catch of the day. The Pina Coladas we ordered alongside our dishes were the best I’ve ever had! We got to meet a few of the Santo Tomás locals, and Chef David talked with us as we ate, sharing some of his story about how he became a chef. He even sang a traditional Mexican birthday song for my friend, who had celebrated his birthday the day before!
Eventually, the time came for us to head back and meet up with the rest of our group. We said our goodbyes to our newfound friends and started the drive back to Rocky Point. Not to sound cheesy, but the whole day felt almost surreal and was a magical experience. As it is often described, Santo Tomás is truly a gem off the beaten path, and I can’t wait to go back.