Puerto Vallarta makes for the perfect Mexican vacation spot: plenty to do, beautiful scenery, and the space to relax with a fruity drink!
Opinions are my own & I didn’t receive compensation for my writing. This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a few cents (at no extra cost to you) if you book or buy something via that link. This helps me keep costs down & posts up! All images copyright Teaspoon of Nose.
Recently, I had the opportunity to head to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with my parents and some friends! It was a fantastic getaway and came at just the right time – perfect distraction in the midst of my husband deploying. We spent a week soaking up the sun and having a blast!
We stayed at the Vallarta Torre, an adorable little resort. It’s full of charm and the perfect spot for a getaway with fantastic staff/service. In the midst of high rises and ultra modern resorts, it was refreshing to stay at a smaller venue which still had all the same amenities.
We spent our days at the hotel relaxing. A big breakfast at the restaurant preceded hours by the pool or ocean – complete with tons of shade options for those of us who tend to burn in the sun. In the afternoons, we’d drink fruity drinks in between water volleyball and bingo (sort of hilarious, but surprisingly fun). We’d end the day watching the sunset over the ocean.
Things To Do
This trip I got to check a new experience off the bucket list: parasailing! I’ve been paragliding before and completely fell in love with the experience. So when a parasailing outfit set up on the beach just outside our hotel, my friend Anna and I jumped at the chance!!
Parasailing is an unbelievable experience. Leaving the ground feels life flying, but once the boat settles into a straight line it feels more like floating. The movement feels way slower than it actually is; closer to swinging with a hammock in the breeze. It’s also so high off the ground! There’s something about floating 30 stories above the ocean that really hits home the height. We both loved it, and I thought it was definitely worth the price! We found some people running it off the beach and signed up. Always haggle. They can do it for less than they say.
I rarely get massages, either on vacation or back in real life. They’re so luxurious, but I rarely spend money on things like that. So it was an extra treat when I realized that massages in Puerto Vallarta are crazy cheap! There was a spot called Mantras Spa right across the street from our resort with a deal for couples massages at $850 pesos (less than $50 USD)! I may have gone twice in one week. What a luxury, for non-luxury prices! May have had two massages in one week. Not sorry.
Another fun thing we discovered on the beach was watching turtle releases! Like many coastal towns, sea turtles come up the beach at night to lay eggs in sand. In such a developed area, their nests are often right in front of resorts. Many of the hotels partner with nonprofit groups to build protective shelters around the nests. When they hatch, guests are invited to watch the release of the baby turtles!
We were lucky enough to see the release of about 30 babies, only one day old. After some googling, I believe they were Olive Ridley sea turtles, and they fought their way through the sand toward the water as the sun set over the bay.
Where to go in Puerto Vallarta
It’s worth heading down to the boardwalk for a walk in the afternoon or evening! It’s a great place to people watch, grab some gelato, or pick up some souvenirs. There’s a lot of strange-but-fun art lining the walk, as well as people building impressive sand sculptures. If you’re lucky you’ll get to see a sunset show of Danza de los Voladores, or the Dance of the Flyers. Five men climb a 90 foot pole and, attached with ropes, spin their way through the air, slowly lowering themselves to the ground. It’s an impressive performance, so stick around for sunset if you’re nearby. The show happens roughly here.
At the far end of the Macelon is the city’s municipal building – it has a few beautiful murals inside if it’s open, and a beautiful church just up the road from that. I love seeing the ways churches combine Catholic standbys with local culture and art, and this one has a bit of both, including statues of saints dressed in clothing (one of my favorite Latin American traditions).
There’s also a bunch of great food on the Malecon, which I’ll be sharing soon!
The marina lies not far from the Puerto Vallarta airport, and has a whole bunch of shopping and restaurants as well. I love walking along the docks, seeing the boats in the twilight. While some restaurants feel decidedly too touristy, we found a few fantastic Italian places I’ll share with you soon.
There’s several resorts in this area as well, including the place I stayed with my college roommates on a graduation trip! So being over here brought back ALL the nostalgia. Hard to believe that was seven years ago! We loved our resort, which has since changed names (and presumably, owners). So I can’t speak to the quality, but I do know it’s a beautiful property and we loved it back then!
The thing I loved about our time in Puerto Vallarta is the balance of fun and rest, of tourism fun and authentic Jalisco experiences. I’ll share more of those soon, but hopefully this gives you an overview of our time. Next week, I’ll be sharing some great day trips from Puerto Vallarta and my favorite restaurants in town!