Thanks to the swine flu crisis the Mexican travel industry is in the basement. (Some might point to even lower regions, or to plumbing apparatus.) A shame, because this is such a wonderful country in which to be a tourist -- and it turns out that the flu wasn't much of a flu anyway. Sharp travelers will note that Mexico has become a bargain.


My friends Basri Emini and Lynne Bairstow rent and sell condominiums at Ayía, which overlooks the verdant golf course in the alarmingly exclusive compound Punta Mita (which also includes the Four Seasons and St. Regis hotels). The apartments at Ayía are a bargain compared to those hotels, and due to the tourism crisis are being offered at steep discounts -- such a deal that even the New York Times mentioned it in a recent article. Take a look at their website.


They recently invited me to spend a few days with them in Punta Mita. Here are some photographs of the luxury with which I was lavished.




Staying at Ayía includes all the services of the Punta Mita beach club -- restaurant, bar, beach chairs and umbrellas, etc. There, one of the few tourists hearty enough to brave a Mexican vacation, lost a sand-colored earring in the sand just after sunset. This is what her earrings looked like. I tried to find the missing one but after a while gave it up as a lost cause.


Yet Fray, one of the beach club's waiters, found it after five minutes or so of diligent searching -- in the dark, without a flashlight.


This sort of service is one of the many reasons that I encourage all of you to think about Mexico for your next vacations.