Just returning from a wonderful trip to Puerto Vallarta, I've decided that tropical vacations are good for the "soul". It's important to take the time to get a way from the everyday routine.
What a different "To do" list you find yourself making:
* Open window or balcony so surf can rock you to sleep each night.
* Apply plenty of sunscreen (don't forget the top of your feet).
* Relax, enjoy.
* Make time for sunset each and everyday.
* Spend time with your partner.
* Practice your foreign language skills … Hola, Buenos Dias, etc.
* Read a couple of good books.
* Enjoy a refreshing drink at the pool.
* Take time to chat with the locals.
* Make sure to exercise … walk the beach, enjoy a bike ride, boogie board, explore town.
* If you forget one or two …. no worries.
It had been almost 20 years since we had last visited Puerto Vallarta and I believe we returned as better and smarter tourist. With a better understanding of the culture, acceptance of the poverty, and a more relaxed attitude we truly enjoyed the hospitality of Mexico.
It was a vacation of experiences; out kayaking as a pod of dolphins' swims by; you just can't beat that! Having a great laugh as we caught a wave on the boogie board. People watching, families enjoy each other's company and romantic couples strolling along the beach. Enjoying a couple dance the night away to the Mariachi Band as they celebrated 50 years of marriage (she 73 and he 83). We had a great time using local transportation (buses), it was easy and very inexpensive, we were even serenaded on one particular trip. We enjoyed an adventurous trip to Yelapa, south of Puerto Vallarta (Andy James say's it's like a visit to "Gilligan's Island"), you can only get there by boat. Here, the local women sell incredible pies by the slice; we tried the Lemon Meringue and the Coconut Cream, we're still dreaming about them (delicious!). We spent an afternoon at Punta Mita (it's as far north as the bus will take you) here you can watch the surfers ride the waves, or just enjoy a leisurely day on a beautiful white sand beach. Our best meal was at "La Palapa" where the fish was amazing and the Mexican coffee prepared tableside was a fun treat.
It's such an easy trip to Mexico via Apple Vacations, on a plane and three hours later you're there, no connections, no long hauls. We stayed for 7-nights which worked out well; It allowed us to really get into the vacation mood and gave us the time we needed to enjoy each day. Being a good travel agent I felt it was best to stay at two very different properties. Club Marival located in Nuevo (New) Vallarta north of town, you can walk for miles along the beach, there seemed to always be a nice breeze and the boogie boarding here was a kick. It is an all-inclusive large resort that always has something going on, great for families of all ages. They have several pools, one of, which was great for children with slides and other fun water toys. We found the food and drinks to be moderate in standards, there was always plenty of it. Our room was clean yet small without a view; location was great easy access to beach, pool and all restaurants. They have a nightclub for those who want to party all night.
We later moved to the Inter-Continental Presidente south of town, a small, intimate hotel where each room is beachfront with a balcony, overlooking a quite cove. This hotel is older and was built at a time when hotels were more an art form, the room was very large and comfortable, but sometimes the smells were a bit offensive (you know those older hotels). It's also an all-inclusive the meals were delicious, the service was amazing all the staff very attentive and gracious. This hotel is best for couples or families who want a quiet location. The old saying rings true you get what you pay for.
All in all we had a great time and recommend a vacation for the "soul" to all.