La Martoca Beach Garden: Where the Sea Touches
By James (Edit)
In the “Our Story” page on this web site, we describe how our family’s La Martoca Bungalows eventually became Martoca Beach Garden; I also promised to describe how we came up with the name Martoca for our slice of paradise. So without further delay let me tell you how we came up with the name. Well, I say we, but it was my mom that came up with the name. In our family it is well known that my mama is the creative and “artistic” guru and my dad is the analytical/doctor/logical type. Thankfully they blended their personalities smoothly enough to create a B&B, back in the 1970s, which later became the amazing wedding venue we share with you today here in Bucerias which is close to Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita area.
Puerto Vallarta Wedding Venue
La Martoca just being Martoca. Circa 2010
Definition: A compounded name combining 3 Spanish words: “La” (Lah) meaning the, with “Mar” (Rhymes with car) and means sea, and “toca” (toe-kah), meaning to touch. La Martoca is pronounced “Lah-marr-toe-kah” and as you may have guessed means “The sea touches” literally. It is not one word though, it is a combination of real words in Spanish that my mother created. She loved the sound of it. So she went with it and here we are 39 or so years later.
Vallarta Wedding venue
Mom and dad and my wife and my dear friend Kat and my brother on inauguration day of Martoca Beach Garden as a wedding venue. 2010. Bad pic, I know. Sorry. I am getting more.
Origin: Carol, my mom who at the time was about 35 year old, was sitting on one of the balconies of nameless fledgeling bungalows my parents were about to open to the public for the first time in ’79. She was contemplating their future. Their hearts, small kids and savings all hanged in the balance. She was scared and excited at the same time yet, confidently calm as well. She observed the blue ocean that was only a stone throw away. Then, it hit her; She realized just how close the sea was to the garden. The waves occasionally literally touched the beachfront garden when the ocean was “bravo” as we say in the coast. Bravo means angry or aggressive, so when the waves are high we say the ocean is “bravo”. In her own sweet yet excited way, while having sunset margaritas, she looked to my dad and whispered as if she had discovered the greatest secret in the world, in an “Aha!” moment she blurted out-“La Martoca!”. As she explained, even to dad, what La Martoca meant and why it was to be our name, my brother and I also slowly digested and practiced pronouncing and even doubting the strange new name. But mama Carol was right. This name would then go on to represent our family’s business for years to come. and become part of our life story. We would introduce our beachfront Bungalows and garden to all our new guests and friends from then on as La Martoca, where the sea touches.
Dad and I mom took pic June 14, 2017
My dad recently hanging out with me in our taco place. Love you dad
Funny story: When we were trying to recover as a family business from losing our beloved bungalows to the structural damage by the storm back in the 2000’s, we decided to create a wedding garden for those who wanted a wedding in Puerto Vallarta. Wait, that is not the funny part, the funny part is that when we came up with some alternate new names and I took them to my peers for feedback, they all said they loved the sound of Martoca and said we should keep it! We had tried more traditional names like “Hacienda la Iguana”, since we have so many iguanas; Or, “Beach garden Los mangos” since we have a couple of mango trees on the garden, and so on. But our friends, kept saying they liked La Martoca Beach Garden. The kicker is they did not even know what Martoca meant. Some even thought it was our last name!
So, as you can see, even Mexican natives speakers don’t know what it means. Unless we say in slowly and emphasize the space between the 3 separate words, “La”, “Mar” and “Toca” of course. Then they inevitably say- “Ah, si claro”- (Oh, yes of course). If you think about it, we are not the only ones with a funny name, how about Yahoo, or Yipit, or Apple computers; Can you imagine yourself naming your computer company after a fruit? Me neither. But it worked. Or, how could any one have guessed that Google’s name originally was going to be “Back Rub”? Many stories of the naming of companies are very interesting and you can read about some in this link here if you like.
La Martoca near Puerto Vallarta
But, I like our name’s story best of course; Born from my mom’s inspiration as she felt the vibe come from he ocean tide on that special day back in 1979. So after 35 plus years of serving many couples as a Bed and Breakfast, we decided to keep our original funny sounding name. I hope it is not too much trouble to pronounce. We figure we may upset some experts in advertising by keeping our hard to pronounce name but hey; We love it and we are proud of its origin.
In the end we believe, as a service oriented family business that has grown organically over the years, that if we provide love and passion and make people happy with our hard work, our guests will prove the advertising gurus wrong, and will forgive our name’s pronunciation challenges. In fact, we hope you love it and will proudly embrace it as your own. Like when you proudly take your date to a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant that may be hard to find or has a funny name. Maybe it doesn’t even have a name. Yet, you feel so at home when eating there, that you need no menu and the owner is now a good friend. Maybe you even get the special family meal once in a while. That special recipe they cook only on a special occasion and they save for family after all the normal clients are gone. That is our goal as a family business and our promise to all our guests: Absolute trust and comfort during your wedding. We want you to feel like family that is simply gathering in our backyard in Mexico and hanging out with friends in a perfect setting.
Perhaps, the name “La Martoca” or Martoca for short, may be forgotten or “butchered” by a few of your guests, but their memories of our garden on your wedding day will not be unclear at all. The intimate epic time they have with us will be fluently pronounced in their joyous memories. Clearly remembered. Repeated at the Christmas tables year after year; That is what we are all about in La Martoca amigos, we want to be part of your life story, and we would be honored to share ours with you. On behalf of our family: My mom Carol, my dad Javier, my brother Frankie and my nephew Eric as well as my wife Vanessa and I, we say: Bienvenidos to La Martoca Beach Garden.