Warm Escape to Puerto Vallarta

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I’ve traveled quite a bit in my life. Near or far, I’ve never needed an excuse to get away. But for some reason I’ve always held the mindset that if the flight is more than 5 hours I might as well go to Europe, which has kind of guided my choices as far as traveling is concerned. (But honestly, who could resist the allure of Europe?) Mexico was never on my radar. Perhaps because it has always seemed so close? I don’t really know why I never seized the opportunity to visit our neighbor to the south but boy am I sure glad I did last week. A little sun and sand is just what this city girl needed so I packed my bags and headed south to Puerto Vallarta.

Warm Escape to Puerto Vallarta

Where We Stayed

After a day of delays at the airport I finally arrived at the beautiful Sunset Plaza Beach Resort & Spa. Only a 10 minute taxi ride from the airport, it made dipping my toes into the ocean that much easier. The rooms are well appointed and the 24-hour butler service is exceptional but the best part by far was the oceanfront view (which comes standard for every room!). Falling asleep to the sound of the waves and waking up to the most spectacular sunrise is what vacations should be all about.Sunset Plaza Beach Resort, Puerto Vallarta

Sunset Plaza Beach Resort, Puerto Vallarta

On my downtime the adult pool and cabanas were the places I could be found. Piña colada in hand, it was the perfect place to catch some rays and unwind with a good book.

Sunset Plaza Beach Resort, Puerto Vallarta

What We Did

Adventure

Our first full day was spent up in the mountains for an adventurous trek through the jungle with Canopy River. What I thought would just be a bit of zip lining turned into much more. The tour included adrenaline-pumping zip lines, hiking, wall and free fall rappelling, inner tubes down the river, and mule riding. Oh and I can’t forget a tequila tasting to finish. What a thrilling adventure with such personable guides along the trail. Certainly not for the faint of heart.

Canopy River, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. - GirlGoneTravel.com

Canopy River, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. - GirlGoneTravel.com

Relaxation

Day two came with supreme relaxation and a side of meditation. We ventured out to Boca de Tomatlan to catch a boat to the most remote and beautiful eco-resort I have ever seen, Xinalani Retreat. Xinalani is an serene oasis for yoga enthusiasts. Set within a lush jungle along the Banderas Bay, and only accessible by boat, it is truly a paradise off the beaten path. Complete with open-air suites, yoga sessions, and a fantastic dining experience, it was one of the highlights of my trip. Just a note, boats to the retreat and nearby Yelapa can also be taken from downtown Puerto Vallarta for a bit more money and a longer ride on the water.

Xinalan, Puerto Vallarta.

Yoga in Puerto Vallarta.

After lunch and a zen-inducing yoga session we headed back to the boat to make our way to the hidden beach town of Yelapa, further down the Banderas Bay. Fresh passionfruit margaritas, guacamole, and ceviche were on the menu at Chicos Yelapa Beach Club, where I hung my hat for the rest of the afternoon.

Yelapa, Puerto Vallarta, MX

Making new friends.

Making new friends.

Food & Culture

A trip to Mexico wouldn’t be complete without experiencing all the food they have to offer. Lucky for us our itinerary included a food and drink tour through Old Town and downtown PV. Hosted by Vallarta Food Tours we opted for the “Mex-ology: Tequila, Tacos and Mexican Cocktails” tour. Our tasting locations included Joe Jack’s Fish Shack for the best fish tacos in town, beer at Los Muertos — PV’s first craft brewery, Bar La Playa for hand-crafted margaritas, street tacos at El Cuñado, creative Mexican fare at Maia, and finally dessert at La Palapa, one of PV’s oldest and most famous restaurants on the beach. All the food and drink pairings were so tasty. So many flavors to go around. It truly was a great way to explore the city on foot.

Food touring in Puerto Vallarta.

Food touring in Puerto Vallarta.

And because a food tour simply wasn’t enough, we also dined at Food Park, Gaby’s Restaurant for traditional Mexican cuisine and Tapas Barcelona for fresh seafood paella! What a treat.

Everyone gets into the Puerto Vallarta style.

Everyone gets into the Puerto Vallarta style.

Food touring in Puerto Vallarta.

Indulge in a cooking class at Tapas Barcelona!

Indulge in a cooking class at Tapas Barcelona!

Barcelona Tapas Cooking class, Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta truly opened my eyes to the beauty that is Mexico. And although it can be a tourist trap, I found the tail end of the peak season (Thanksgiving-Easter) to be just wonderful. Not crowded, warm, sunny and incredibly welcoming. It’s fairly simple to get around and there’s something for everyone in the family. Whether it’s the beach or adventure you’re craving, Puerto Vallarta is a treasure to be discovered.

Want to see more of Puerto Vallarta? Check out my video! Also, if looking for more ideas, including a family trip to Puerto Vallarta, check out: Family Trip to Puerto Vallarta.

 

All photos are property of Girl Gone Travel® and may not be used without direct consent from the publisher.

In partnership with Puerto Vallarta Tourism. All opinions are my own.

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Stephanie Klose

Stephanie is a freelance writer who can be found snuggling up in bed with her two favorite dachshunds, Penny and Charlie, or gallivanting around New York City in search of the best chocolate ice cream cone. Whether it is stateside or across the pond, there isn’t a place she wouldn’t go for a little adventure. You can connect with her on on Twitter @StephGoneTravel and Instagram @SMKlose.

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