Aaron and I went to Puerto Vallarta back in February, and I haven’t really taken the time to post our pictures here! There are a lot, so I’ll try and narrow it down.
We landed around 2pm. Our room at Buenaventura Grand wasn’t quite ready, so we went to the poolside bar and got our vacation started. Once we got settled in the room, we walked down the block to the malecon, or “boardwalk”, where we often spent many nights during our week-long vacation. After a long day of travel, we went back to the hotel and crashed.
The next day, we slept in until our first excursion with Vallarta Adventures, the Outdoor Adventure. This was probably the highlight of our trip! We met the tour in the marina in Vallarta, and took a really fun and bumpy inflatable boat ride down to Boca de Tomatlan. We then took a bumpy bus ride up some hills, where we met our tour guides. They went over the safety rules, collected our phones and backpacks, and set us up on mules to journey up the rest of the mountain. Once we were at the top, we came back down through a series of zip lines and free-falls – one was even down a waterfall! There was a GIANT, steep waterfall at the end, which was an absolute blast. We got somewhat lucky: the usually full tour had a group of about six people be denied at the Marina for being over their weight limit, so it was Aaron and I, another couple, and a group of three girls on a tour that maxes out at 14. We felt like VIPs traveling through the rainforest on our own (well, with the guides, I guess), and were able to go our own speed. It was absolutely beautiful, thrilling, and I wish we could have done it again.
Obviously, we crashed pretty bad after we got back to the hotel. We did manage to go grab dinner at a seafood place one of the locals/tour guides had suggested, and it was delicious. We ate along a balcony overlooking one of the roads. Although Puerto Vallarta is a touristy resort town, I loved being able to talk to some locals and get their suggestions for some off-the-beaten-path restaurants. And, getting complimented on my Spanish skills by a Spanish speaker is always nice!
The next day was pretty low-key. We woke up, and wandered north further into town-town, as opposed to south into the malecon tourist area. We ate a Mariscos 8 Tostadas, which I had read about in my guidebook, and one of my patients had actually recommended to me! Before we left, I was chatting with a patient and his wife about my upcoming vacation, and they suggested I head out here. I’m so glad they did! The seafood platter was MASSIVE. Cheap beer. It was a nice mix of both locals and tourists. We honestly went to so many amazing places to eat, I wish we could have gone to some places multiple times!
To continue actually relaxing and vacation-ing on our vacation, we headed to our hotel’s pool. The bar by the adult pool had really fun swings for chairs, and there were seats somewhat submerged in the water too! The beach was small and had a lot of vendors that came up and bothered you to buy their stuff, which was really obnoxious… Sometimes they even came up to me while I was in the hotel pool.
For dinner, we took a taxi up to Vista Grill. This was probably the best meal we had on our entire trip! I’m so glad we made a reservation, because there were a ton of people waiting in the entryway giving us side-eye as we went to our table. I wish we had gotten a seat out on the actual balcony/patio area, but we had a great view and nice ambience from where we were sitting. It was an absolutely gorgeous place to watch the sunset, and spend a romantic evening with amazing food. We ended up catching a jazz festival on the walk back to our hotel, too! Which I found somewhat funny, considering how I similarly stumbled upon a jazz festival when I went to Puerto Rico!
Saturday, we woke up early for another excursion. Frankly, it sucks to have to set an alarm on your vacation. And as most of you know, I’m generally not a morning person anyway. However, Saturday we had the chance to go to Marietas Islands off the coast of Mexico. We boarded a huge boat – there were almost 100 people on this excursion from Vallarta Adventures, quite a change from the Outdoor Adventure! – where they gave us complimentary breakfast. Once we got to the islands, we were given a little background info on the importance of the islands and their biodiversity. We went snorkeling for a bit, and got the chance to check out the Hidden Beach that most of y’all have probably seen on Pinterest.
While the area was beautiful, and we got to see some blue-footed boobies, I really… really wish we had taken an afternoon tour. I just really dislike morning when I’m living my real adult life at home, so I especially hate having to set an alarm for 7:00am while I’m on vacation! So much, that we were scheduled for another morning excursion on Tuesday, and we chose to sleep in instead of going surfing. Oh whale.
On the bright side, we got lunch and an OPEN BAR on the way back! The Vallarta Adventures crew put on a really fun music show as well, and my hands always had a full drink in them. We were pretttttty tipsy once we finally got back to the hotel. It was also already evening time, so Aaron ventured off to find some street tacos, which we ate back at the hotel and then promptly passed out.
Sunday was Valentine’s Day, and we spend the whole day walking up and down the malecon. It was HOT. I much preferred walking the malecon at night, with cooler temps, and more people around. It was really nice to see some of the spots during the day, though. A lot of the bars/clubs/restaurants also had fun decorations out for the holiday, and of course, there were people wandering the streets selling roses. Which Aaron decided to buy for me 🙂
The following two and half days were everything a tropical vacation in the middle of winter should be – relaxing. We woke up, walked around, went to the beach/pool, had some drinks. It was soo nice to be disconnected from the real world. No cell service. No worrying about work or any other adult things. Just living the beach life!
Of course, once we got back to the States, it was a rush to prepare for my best friend’s wedding, get everything sorted out so we could move within a month, and deal with work again… but that’s for another post.