"Coming from California, where you're dealing with the crowds, I find the surfing here just heavenly. The water is so warm and you don't need a wet suit. There are different levels of surf. My son learned on this last trip. We found a beach that had very forgiving waves, very gentle with a nice sandy bottom. There's a place called Las Olas, which means 'waves' in Spanish, and it's a surf camp for women. You have to be at least 9 years old, but then you can be 90 or 100 and you can go out there and surf. You sleep in bungalows and everything is included: breakfast, lessons, lunch, massages. They've got hiking and jewelry-making classes, too. It's run by a woman named Izzy Tahanyi, who has taught more than 7,000 women to surf. There are two Los Arcos [rocky arches in the ocean], the manmade one and the natural one. The natural one is an incredible place to dive. There's a shallow, protected area that's great for the inexperienced diver or snorkeler. But it's also got this 800-foot underwater cliff that's really rich in sea life. I've been diving most of my life, and I just love it there."

LUNCH
"I love the street vendors for their miniature tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and tostados. Le Bistro, on the Rio Cuale Island right in the center of town, is a great place for lunch. You walk to it on these suspension bridges that connect the island to the mainland. The children love to bounce on the bridge as you're walking along. At Le Bistro, you can listen to jazz music. It's got a great ambience and really good food."

SHOPPING