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Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit – Where the Mountains Meet the Sea

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Written by Jean Southwick.

Wow! My new favorite Mexico destination!

After spending 4 days on an Apple Fam to Puerto Vallarta I can’t wait to share my feedback with everyone.

Only 10 minutes from the Puerto Vallarta Airport and north of Puerto Vallarta is the luxury all-suites all-inclusive Marival Residences and World Spa in Nuevo Vallarta.

An unexpected surprise to me on the short ride to the resort was the beautiful golf courses in the area. Unlimited rounds of golf/green fees are included at both the Marival Resort and the Marival Residences. Apple Vacations rate the Residences a 6 Golden Apple, the highest rating of Exceptional Luxury.

This immaculate resort has 169 residences and villas, most with ocean view and large balcony or terrace. The entire staff is very helpful and friendly, they are truly glad to help with anything and always smiling. The refrigerators are stocked with bottled water, soft drinks and beer.  All of the one-bedroom suites have one king bed and one sofa bed, full living rooms, fully equipped kitchen, safe, Wi-Fi (fee) and balcony or terrace. They also have two, three and four-bedroom residences’, and penthouse suites. A 2 bedroom, 2 bath suite sleeps a maximum of 6 adults and 1 child. The suites are spacious, gorgeous and very modern with marble floors, granite counter tops. Very large showers and Jacuzzi tub. The 4 bedroom Villas are amazing and will accommodate a maximum of 10 adults and 1 child. A Villa would be great for a quality family vacation or sharing with special friends.

The Residences has an exclusive private VIP Beach club at the Marival Resort and Spa which is only a 2 minute shuttle ride by golf cart. The private VIP Beach Club includes full food and beverage service and beach concierge  service. Nuevo Vallarta has one of the longest walking beaches on the coast.

The inclusive features are amazing. Golf, and excursions which include Catamaran snorkeling, Dolphin Encounter, Canopy Zip Lining and nanny services for up to 8 hours if staying a minimum of 5 nights. Exchange privileges at the Marival Resort and Suites include non motorized water sports, full use of all the activities, dining, and entertainment.

The fitness center and gym is at your disposal for no additional cost. The gym is one of the best in the area; it has excellent equipment and nice large windows. Many of the other resorts that I saw have fitness rooms that almost seem like an afterthought.

On site is the The Melange World Spa which specializes in unique therapies from around the world. Spa menu and prices are in your suite. Each treatment room has a different spa treatment based on its culture and origin of traditions. Mexico, Italy, Japan, Turkey, Russia, Bali, India, Thailand and America. I’ve never seen anything like it! It’s almost like taking a trip across the globe.

There are many opportunities for outdoor activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding,kayaking, zip lining, canopy tours, hiking along rivers, rafting, and great surfing about an hour north in the small village of Suyalita.

A special treat during the trip was a half day excursion to the charming surfing village of Suyalita, home of the Chocobanana! The sandy beach is like gold glitter sparkling in the sun. I immediately went for a beach walk and was overwhelmed with the large surf. Perfect for the surfers! Lots of quaint eateries, boutique shops and folk art.

On my next visit I will spend more time downtown Puerto Vallarta. (So little time and so much to see and do!) From Nuevo Vallarta to the Puerto Vallarta Malecon area expect to pay a $25 taxi ride with a drive of about 25 minutes. From the south end of to the Malecon it will take about 20 minutes. Some of the best restaurants, clubs and bars in Puerto Vallarta are along the Malecon (a seaside promenade). I loved the sculptures while walking along the Malecon. You can find Huichol Art and hand crafts. The bead work is famous, each color has a meaning. Also, just a few blocks off the Malecon is Puerto Vallarta’s Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

A few tips: Whale watching is best during the winter from Mid-December to Early April. (Humpback, Gray whale and Killer Whales) The humpbacks come down from the northern seas to give birth to their calves.

If you are downtown walking around remember that there are only two one way streets. “Mexico St” is going toward the South and “Juarez” toward the North. Wear good walking shoes as the streets are made of cobblestones.

The best snorkeling is at Marietas Island and Los Arcos. Islas Marietas is a protected nature reserve, home to sea turtles, dolphins, tropical fish and the blue-footed booby.

It the Southern Zone you will find rivers, waterfalls and jungle trails for ecotourism activities. Home to the Arches.

From my observations the local people are very friendly and helpful.

US travelers do not need to worry about taking adaptors for the electronics as Mexico operates on the same voltage as the US (110 volts).

All restaurants and hotels offer and use purified water.

The beaches are very clean and the resorts are proud that they have met the requirements for “clean beach” certification.

You can tell that I loved Puerto Vallarta. I saw many resorts and have lots of recommendations buy my favorite is Marival Residences. I can sum up the Marival Residences in a few words.

Understated Elegance, Intimate and Serene.