Written by Molly Brunette.
Upon completion of the Magic of Mexico seminar, Marcia Bethea and I were invited by the Mexican Tourist Board to be their guests in the city of our choice. That was a difficult decision to make, as there are so many wonderful destinations which to choose from. We decided on Puerto Vallarta due to the large number of clients we have both sent there in recent years.
Puerto Vallarta is the second most visited city in Mexico. It is located on the beautiful Banderas Bay and is surrounded by lush jungle and the Sierra Madre Mountains. One of your first decisions to make as a visitor is where to stay. There is Nuevo Vallarta with its all-inclusive hotels or the Marina area with its deluxe hotels, championship golf course and world-class marina. Next comes the Hotel Zone and then the Downtown area. The last area is known as the Southern Zone, which is more secluded but still accessible to town.
Upon our arrival, Lourdes Irueste of Lomas Travel, and Laura Rodriguez Nester from the Tourism Board warmly greeted us at the airport. In the next few days Lourdes and Laura pulled out all the stops to make sure we not only saw, but also experienced all this terrific resort area has to offer.
The first morning, we were taken on a whale-watching trip. What a spectacular experience that was! I was a little apprehensive when we were led to a very small boat but quickly realized our good fortune. Our very knowledgeable guide explained to us that we could move in much closer to the whales than the larger boats could. Our pictures just do not do justice to the size and beauty of these creatures. That was an adventure I will never forget. Whale watching is just one of the many activities available to the active visitor. There is also horseback riding, jungle tours, diving and fishing, just to name a few.
Be sure to make time for shopping! Puerto Vallarta’s downtown area has lovely colonial architecture with red Spanish tile roofs and cobblestone streets. There are more than forty galleries and numerous boutiques in the downtown area. The malecon, a waterfront walkway, is especially appealing for strolling, with its creative sculptures and views of the Pacific. If you enjoy bargaining for goods, there are craft markets to test your skills. When you have shopped til you dropped, you can stop at a café to rest and people watch.
No familiarization trip would be complete without hotel inspections and we saw several! My favorite was the La Jolla de Mismaloya in the Southern Zone. For you movie buffs, it is built on the beach where “Night of the Iguana” was filmed. This is a beautiful property and a great choice for those looking for a quiet get away. If you were interested in more activity, the Westin Vallarta in the Marina area would be a good choice. This very unique property has made Conde Nast’s Gold list, as one of the best places to stay in the world.
I think the only regret Marcia and I had was that we couldn’t have stayed longer. Give either one of us a call and we would be happy to assist you in planning a vacation to remember!