If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I love Mexico, the people, the culture, the language, the food, and the welcoming spirit I feel when I go there. I’ve been 5 times, and I can never get enough.
Honestly, I would love to live there one day for part of the year. Why am I so obsessed? I’m thankful that I grew up multi-cultured. My mom’s best friend is Mexican and her husband is Iranian. I was able to grow up with them, their kids, and their family almost every single day until I was about 16. We even lived next door to each other, so when I say us kids were thick as theives—I mean it. Inseparable. Their family is my family.
My dad started teaching me Spanish when I was just beginning to learn to talk. I studied Spanish until the day I graduated college, and I also was a master Spanish tutor at my university. I’ve held jobs that required me to be a translator in a medical setting to families who didn’t speak English. Beans, rice, and tortillas are a staple in my house. I grew up going to parties where only Spanish and Persian music were played and dancing until 3 am was just another Saturday in the books. Even though I by blood am not Mexican, man, my heart, and soul are though! Oh—and my best friend/sister/maid of honor is Mexican, and the majority of my friends in college were from Central or South America. Let’s just say I know where I fit in best…
So anyway, now that you have that background—our trip to Mexico. Jason and I flew to Puerto Vallarta in the beginning of June to scout out our wedding location. We’ve always talked about having a destination wedding, so we searched all the Caribbean islands you could think of—typical. But we started looking at Mexico, and it just felt right. Long story short, we found our wedding venue at a gorgeous venue, and I can’t wait to share that after the wedding ; )
But I do want to share a few places where we stayed, ate, and travel tips for traveling to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico if you decide to visit!
When we landed at the Puerto Vallarta International Airport, we had no hotel reservations.
That’s right, we just flew there and figured it out when we landed. That one thing I love about our relationship—we like to explore and take adventures. We didn’t need to have it all picked out before we arrived. Who cares? That’s the just US and I love it. As we were going through the airport to get to transportation, there were so many people serving margaritas, asking us about where we’re staying, if we need a taxi, etc. Immediate hospitality and service (and really good margaritas, tbh). We told the travel agents we didn’t have a place to stay, so they were happy to help us find a place. They showed us a map of the bay (la bahia) and taught us about all the areas of Vallarta. You have Bucerias, Nuevo Vallarta, Marina Vallarta, Vallarta (downtown, aka Puerto Vallarta), Zona Romantica, Conchas Chinas, etc… SO MUCH TO EXPLORE!!! We decided to spend our first night a Villa del Palmar Los Flamingos—a new resort in the Nuevo Vallarta district. We chose this area because our venue we decided on is in Bucerias, which is 10min north of Nuevo Vallarta, so it would be easy and fast for us to travel there the next morning.
We had dinner at the oceanside restaurant that was serving Italian food (Kinda weird our first meal was Italian, but whatever, it was good and the views were solid.) The next morning we went on a tour of the resort and had a Mexican breakfast next to the beach and it was SO GOOD. I was like… finally, some chilaquiles and frijoles! We then took a taxi to check out our venue and we immediately fell in love. It’s stunning and everything dreams are made of.
After our venue scouting, we went back to Villa del Palmar Los Flamingos to sit in the lobby and find our next hotel! Puerto Vallarta is huge. It’s a bay area—think San Francisco! So we didn’t want to stay in the same spot for 4 days. We decided to stay in Vallarta/Zona Romantica—the heart of the city. Our resort, Resorts by Pinnacle 180, is built into the mountain, so we had to take a little mini trolly cart to take us and our luggage to the lobby—really cool experience! We were one block from the beach and blocks from restaurants, stores, the boardwalk, etc.
We had dinner at Tacos Revolucion where they served us fresh guacamole and salsa, and delicious volcanes (which are tostadas topped with beans, meat, and cheese). The following day I spent time at the infinity pool, then we went to Marina Vallarta to check out that area. We had lunch at another taco restaurant where we ordered quesadillas (not your typical “quesadilla”). These were open-faced tortillas topped with queso fresco and steak. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. I had two and could have kept going…
The next day we had breakfast at Coco’s Kitchen and I ordered chilaquiles with chicken and frijoles. I could eat this meal every single day of my life. I love Coco’s. After, I spent the day at the beach and Jason joined me a little later on. We spent our last night walking down the boardwalk to Vallarta, ordering platanos fritos from the street vendors, and researching local real estate because we both fell in love. Puerto Vallarta is beautiful, the friendliest people, the food is off the chain, there is so much to do, it is in the state of Jalisco where tequila is manufactured, and it’s just perfect.
Some travel tips for visiting Puerto Vallarta:
- Do your currency exchange after you arrive in Mexico, and use Santander bank at the airport to do your exchange. It has the most reputable and up to date exchange rates. Current rate is $1 US Dollar = 17 pesos.
- Puerto Vallarta is a bay area, so it gets windy in the mornings and at night, so bring hair ties, hats, etc. It’s also somewhat cloudy in the morning, so don’t be disappointed. Once 10-11am rolls around, the clouds go away and the sun is HOT HOT HOT. At night the clouds come back, and it’s breezy.
- The majority of the taxi drivers don’t speak English. If they do, it’s a very little bit. Learn some travel lingo before you go. Thankfully, I was able to communicate. BUENO.
- Ask for the taxi rate BEFORE you get in the taxi and ask the hotel valet to confirm the rate for you, otherwise, the driver could overcharge you because they know you probably don’t know the exchange rate that well, and they always prefer American dollars over pesos. We usually pay a with both USD and pesos.
Have you been to Mexico? Where is your favorite place to go? The next place on my list is Tulum xoxo
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