I spent a week in Mexico sightseeing, and you should too


Photo credit: john francis

Ever since the pandemic that won’t leave us alone struck, a beautiful tropical vacation seemed as unrealistic as a ride in Elon Musk’s spaceship. Come in: I’m slowly going crazy in my apartment 24/7/365.

A few months after vaccines became a part of our lives, the opportunity to stay at a few resorts in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico appeared in my inbox and I may have cried tears of joy. . Yes, of course there is a risk of traveling, but I am / was completely vaxxed and desperate to explore the state of vacation in 2021. So I said, “Yes, please.”

Turns out it was a dream come true! Not only were my concerns about COVID-19 quelled with sufficiently strict resort security in place and cocktails in hand, but I was also able to completely relax under the Mexican sun.

Let me explain where I’ve stayed, what I’ve done, and why jumping from resort to resort is my new favorite way to travel.

Resort # 1: The Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta

First of all, we have to clarify that this beauty is only 10 minutes from the airport which is great for mental health. I think we can all agree on that. As such, it was the perfect place to start my trip.

The atmosphere: The moment I entered my room, I immediately dropped my bags off and ran to the balcony, which had stunning views of palm trees, mountains, and the ocean. Literally, the only thing that could have made the moment better was a cocktail – and it was waiting for me at dinner.

Photo credit: John Francis

Photo credit: John Francis

What I have done: The next day, after a wonderful morning yoga by the beach, I headed for the pool.

Surrounded by palm trees and immersed in a wellness retreat atmosphere (well, if your idea of ​​a wellness retreat includes a swim-up bar), the pool was serene and probably my favorite spot in the whole resort. place. One thing I loved: the pool bar provides the perfect amount of shade all day long! So there is no reason why you cannot sit there all day.

When not swimming / drinking I splurged with a massage and facial at the spa. My previously sore (and tense) muscles definitely thanked me for the rest of the trip.

What I ate: Please just order the ceviche. I have probably eaten this dish at every meal and still dream of it. Oh, and the Grilled Salmon Salad will fill your salad-loving heart with joy. You will find them on the room service menu and in the restaurant of the El Palmar resort.

To be honest, there’s a LOT more on the menu than my favorites: from fajitas to poke bowls to matcha pancakes (yes … I did say matcha pancakes!), I’ve never been bored or hungry. .

Photo credit: John Francis

Photo credit: John Francis

When I felt like dressing up and stepping out of the confines of my room (and bathrobe), I ate at Arrecifes Seafood and Steakhouse, also located in the hotel, and ordered both the mahi-mahi and a six-ounce steak. What? Is it surf and turf? While these were really delicious, my favorite dish was the dessert: a classic creme brulee. It was a bowl of heaven and I absolutely did not disappoint.

Even though I was unable to participate due to the rain, I strongly suggest making arrangements for a sunset picnic. Food + ocean view and sunset =!

Resort # 2: Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa

Just down the road was our second resort on the trip, a trendy, modern property with open layout and beachfront access. Plus it has liquor filled coconuts on arrival! *SWOON*

The atmosphere: Even before I got my room key, I was in awe of the resort lobby, which opened up to a sunny paradise. To say that the view of the beach and the ocean took my breath away is an understatement.

What I have done: After reaching maximum rejuvenation, I was ready for more activities. This included (surprise!) More time at the pool. But not just any swimming pool. This resort has the largest infinity pool in Puerto Vallarta, and I will never tire of it. At night the hotel organized a baby turtle release (my heart exploded) to help these little guys get safely into the ocean. While I didn’t paddle or kayak, you could definitely do it by the resort’s oceanfront. Personally, my favorite activity at the Marriott was tequila tasting.

Yes, it’s true! TEQUILA. TASTING. (Interesting fact: the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is one of the few resorts that makes its own tequila, Tequila CasaMagna.) obligatory are encouraged.

What I ate: Let’s be honest. One of the best parts of visiting Mexico is eating Mexican food or drinking margaritas. Since I’m basic, I opted for the skinny margaritas from the hotel bar for the majority of the trip… and let me just say, these babies were FRESH. 10/10 would recommend!

Photo credit: John Francis

Photo credit: John Francis

As for food, the tostadas of the Nosh hotel restaurant were all the rage. I ordered three tostadas at once and almost ordered another… especially the yellowfin tuna one. As a guacamole lover and believing he should be his own food group, this restaurant’s Mayan guac was * the chef’s kiss emoji *. He was combining the usual ingredients with grilled pineapple, habanero pepper, and mint, and I decided that was the only way to make guacamole again. Honorable mention to chilaquiles and flan from Las Casitas as well as sushi and teppanyaki from Mikado. I was (again) never left hungry or bored with the dining options.

My insider tips

When traveling to Puerto Vallarta, I highly recommend that you book a week-long trip and stay at two resorts with different sensations and activities. In this case, two are better than one. Confidence!

If the humidity is spoiling you, I suggest you travel between November and April. You will miss the rainy season (read: less humidity) and the weather will be more temperate. Bonus: you might spot whales in the water without even leaving your resort.

Photo credit: John Francis

Photo credit: John Francis

Finally, drink plenty of bottled water! With fine cocktails, pool bars, and alcohol-filled coconuts, it’s easy to get dehydrated. So drink this water like it’s your first vodka soda after abstaining from alcohol for a week.

The bottom line: Dear Puerto Vallarta, you were the diamond in this rough year-round mess, and I can’t wait to come back! (PS You could also have made me fall in love with tolerate humidity.)

XOXO, Travel John

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