Serenity in Valdivia
Cruzing in Sayulita
Bucerias Life
Santa Lucia Hike
Palace in Santiago
a day in Pucón

Our Story

Why do we call ourselves Test Rats? Well, we believe that we are an “abnormal” case study in the minds of our family, friends, and maybe generation. Who Knows? We got married back in October of 2015, so we’re still trying to figure the whole marriage thing out; plus with a new baby, the parent issue as well. We are both in our 30’s, and love traveling, but where we come from (the central coast of California), the norm is to get married, buy a house near family, and raise your kids there. For a while, this was destined to be our path, until now…

About Us

The Downs Family of 3 (so far)

Our family consists of Nick (the daddy), who loves to surf, and creates art wherever he goes. C-boo (the mama), who loves to chill with a nice cocktail, and walk the town. Finally there’s Gavin Marley (the little guy), who likes to throw any kind of ball around, and eats just about anything in front of him. Together we create a strong unit that can take on anything!

  • Nick Downs
  • Christi Downs
  • Gavin Marley Downs

Where We Are

la cruz de huanacaxtle, nayarit

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle is a Mexican fishing village situated on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahía de Banderas in the state of Nayarit. It is situated approximately 25 km from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. The town name comes from a cross that is made of Huanacaxtle wood which is located at the town’s entrance.


Our Adventures

A long week in Santiago

The first day that we arrived in Santiago was the longest. Actually, each following day that we were there seemed to get longer and longer; days seemed like weeks, and all of us were falling apart, pretty much at the start. We had booked a pretty decent little apartment for about a month in Santiago’s Metropolitan District, but the problems kept mounting. We had no AC in 98 degree weather, Gavin and Nick were sick, I had an insane amount…

The trek to Chile

We sat in our motel room in San Fran, the night before our journey, tired and dreary. We had said so many goodbyes and shed so many tears, we were a bit numb. Nothing was hitting us, not even the fact that we were on a plane to Chile the next day. But we hit the sack early, because we knew that it was going to be a very long day; our flight left at 7:30am, so we needed to…

Here we go again!

I’m going to do a quick catch up for those of you who are wondering what’s happened to us over the past few years. Last time I wrote, we had moved back to California, and things weren’t going all that well. But…as fait would have it, we gained some amazing gifts during our time back home: we had a baby named Gavin, we saved money, we had some great job experiences, and we became closer with our family. Now this…

An Honest Look Back

Ok, so I know we have totally jumped around in our blogs, and the last time that I wrote, we were going to live in Troncones. However, life was a lot busier down there than people might have thought. All of the things that we needed to do to survive / start out in Mexico consumed us to point that we had no time to write a blog. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s true…so I’m going to write honestly and openly…

Catching Up!

So, it’s been a very long time since we last wrote a blog! Sorry for taking some time off, but man things have been a bit crazy from the last time we wrote, and a lot has gone down: tattoos, Zika, a wedding, and lots more. It’s a bit long, so bear with me…haha! Let me just start by wrapping up our time in Puerto. As our lease ended at Casa Mocha, and our time in Luxury was coming to…

Tiempo Tattoo

July was truly an eventful month; every week / day seemed to compound more good and bad events. In the beginning the month, I caught Dengue at the Big Wave Event in Playa Zicatela, followed by both of us getting Zika during 4th of July. In the middle of this, the wife was getting her largest tattoo on her back and I was a bit nervous; not only because of the artist, but because of the pain she went through…