They Said Don't Drink The Water
I'm sun kissed tan and I'm living for it; I baked in the sun and crispy has never looked better; it reminds me of the days I was on the swim team and being in the heat was second nature.
It was my brother 25th birthday in July and I could've bought him any typical birthday present a guy could want, but unlike my parents and best friend, he's not on my flight benefits. I feel bad sometimes that I get to travel the world and not be able to take him with me. So this year I bought my brother a round trip ticket to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and booked us a room at an all-inclusive hotel.
Starting with the hotel: we stayed at a place I found on Expedia.com and it was a pretty damn good deal --it was called Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Spa. At $114 a night and split between two people, we only paid about $200 each for the whole week; unlimited food and drinks included. The hotel wasn't exactly in the city center but we could take a blue and white line bus into the city for 6.50 pesos so that comes out to .036¢ for a bus ride. When I tell you that Mexico is affordable, it really is. The hotel was beautiful and the staff was extremely accommodating. If you don't speak Spanish there's plenty of people who speak English. The beds were a little too stiff for our liking but it was always clean and the AC was everything in 100 degree weather. My brother and I ate at the hotel for nearly every meal and were always so amazed at how delicious it was. I'm not really that much of an omelet person but we both agreed that they were the best omelettes we've ever had, so much so, we had them every day. Don't forget the fresh made-to-order quesadillas with homemade tortillas. The only issue (for me) was that although the drinks were complimentary the alcohol seemed watered down if you ordered any beverage. My brother and I stuck to beer the whole time and you can't really go wrong with a freshly poured Modelo.
Things to do: I haven't been to Puerto Vallarta since my thumb was broken and I was like, 10 years old, so I really can't remember what it was like. Transportation around the city is relatively easy; you can Uber everywhere, take a bus, or walk. Our hotel wasn't beach front but the property did own a private beach just a block down from the hotel so we lounged there only a few times. Old Vallarta is so cute with colonial charm and cobblestone pavements; there's tons of street vendors and corner foods to check out. My brother and I really liked Zona Romantica for the clubs, the bars, and the scenery; we visited that area every time we were in Malecon. Also, we didn't ever feel unsafe walking everywhere or talking to people asking for advice or directions. Maybe it was because I spoke fluent Spanish, but regardless, the people aren't afraid to talk to you. The highlight of our trip was definitely zip-lining! Oh my goodness, it was totally worth it! We booked it through our hotel who gave us an additional discount for paying half in cash and the other half on a credit card so it was $60 each. We did 12 lines through forests and one of the lines made your ass touch water --but don't worry, that's the last one so you aren't walking wet the entire time. Prepare to do some hiking to each line though but there's water provided at each stop. Oh, and taking the mules to the top of the mountain and having a free tequila tasting was the best finish to the trip. If you want to do zip-lining, I highly recommend doing it through Canopy River. August was a good month to visit, end of summer and not too crowded. The beach water was warm. The heat was bearable. Bring bug spray so you aren't eaten up by mosquitos.
If you're thinking about visiting Mexico, I urge you to go! It's safer than many think, extremely affordable, and you can't not have fun in the sun. Oh, and you better eat at Pipi's in Puerto Vallarta. Their food was incredible and the staff was so welcoming! The food portions are huge so you can share a plate easily! The guac is served free and made at your table; spicy is the way to do it. Finish it off with a jumbo mango margarita and giiiiiirl you'll have the best time.
Current Mexico conversion: 17 pesos to $1 USD.