Spend A Week With Me In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

Sailing Tour by Vallarta Adventures

Hey guys!

So, as many of you already know, I’ve been spending this week taking a (very much needed) vacation in Puerto Vallarta. This last month has been a bit of a rough one for me — between having the flu, my term papers, my job and just keeping up with life its been a lot. However, not only was I lucky enough to have this getaway planned (and right after my final papers were due!), but from here on out my life should be at least a LITTLE less hectic, so cheers to that!

Puerto Vallarta is a special place to me since this was actually the place I went away on my first ever vacation! To be fair, I was too young to remember it — but this is my first time coming back ever since, so it’s pretty exciting to take it all in. I also have to say, Puerto Vallarta makes a great vacation spot — its easy to access from just about anywhere in North America (which I know for a fact since my family flew in from Toronto while I flew in from Vancouver, and none of us had long or difficult travels). As well, the weather here is STUNNING — like seriously, every single day that we’ve been here has been sunny and warm, and there’s almost never a cloud in the sky. It’s insanely perfect — maybe it’s just that all the vacations I’ve taken in the last few years have been to places with variable weather, but I’m pretty blown away by this “constant sun” and “no fear of cloudiness and rain” concept.

My Last Trip To Puerto Vallarta!

As well, Puerto Vallarta has just about everything anyone on your trip could be interested in. Not only does it have the beach, the pool, the sun and all the typical things you’d want out of a beach getaway, it has a vibrant town and plenty of adventurous activities in the nearby area. Since I was here with my family and my main goal was to just chill out a little, I didn’t really take part in anything TOO adventurous — but there’s all kinds of activities ranging from zip lining, to snorkelling, to parasailing, to hiking and more. Oh, and our hotel came equipped with the biggest spa I’ve ever seen, so there’s that too.

The View From Our Hotel Room

Overall, I have to say — I’m pretty in love with it here. (Bonus points since our hotel even came with a little house cat — meet Mitzy!). I know I always say this, but I never wanna leave (or at least, I could use more than one week). But enough of that — let’s get into all the details of my little vacay!

Meet Mitzy!

Our Accommodations

Our Room at the Marriott

For this trip, we stayed at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa. This little resort has it all — it’s near, but not quite in town. It’s smaller and a little quiet, which I personally loved. It has a lovely, large infinity pool, it’s own private stretch of beach, multiple restaurant and bar options and a large and fantastic spa — but more on that later.

Marriott Puerto Vallarta Beach

Some of my favourite aspects of this hotel are the lovely beach and poolside chairs, the amazing hibachi restaurant, the poolside food and drink service, and the amazing little stand that makes fancy cocktails served in real coconuts. (I mean, just look at this — how much cuter does it get?)

The rooms are large and pretty comfortable — not that we’ve spent much time in them when it’s so beautiful out. There’s a good range of food options, and a VERY good range of drink options. To top it all off, our hotel comes with it’s very own cat (Mitzy!) and the view from out balcony is beyond spectacular — so overall, I’d say this place is a winner.

View From Our Room Pt. 2

Things To Do

Go On A Sunset Sail
Sunset Sail by Vallarta Adventures

So I’ll just start off by saying that no matter where I’m travelling to in the world, just about my all time favourite activity is to spend a day on a boat. Seriously, my life goal is to be able to buy a boat one day. I’ve been on plenty of boats during my travels — such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Honolulu, just to name a few — however, this one really was the best one yet. We specifically chose to do a sunset sail via Vallarta Adventures, and while boating itself is great, let me tell you — boating at sunset is better. This particular boating adventure came with all the bells and whistles too — little snack trays, music, and an open bar (!!!). The staff were beyond lovely, too. Overall, I’d say this activity was a serious 11/10, and definitely my favourite part of this trip. If you’re ever in Puerto Vallarta, you’ll seriously want to check this ride out.

Sunset Sail by Vallarta Adventures
Have A Spa Day
Marriott Spa

So, obviously, this was VERY much needed after the week I’ve had. The Marriott Puerto Vallarta Spa is unlike any spa I’ve been to before, too — it really is a whole experience. Like first of all, it’s absolutely HUGE. When you get any services done, you get full access to all their amenities as well. So, while all I really signed up for was the 80-minute Swedish Massage, I ended up getting a LOT more. We spent our day before and after enjoying everything this spa had to offer, including: a jacuzzi, a hot and cold plunge pools, a foot bath, a sauna AND a steam room — and that’s not even an exhaustive list, just the things I tried out. Overall, it was an AMAZING experience, and probably one of the most extensive and amazing spa days I have ever had (thankfully, since I needed it so much!).

Marriott Spa
Hit The Town
Me in Town, Puerto Vallarta

The town of Puerto Vallarta is so vibrant and fun — if you’re spending your time at a resort, like me, you’ll still want to take a day and go explore. The beachside town is filled with countless restaurants, bars, and a wide array of shops, which will cover all your souvenir needs. There’s also a boardwalk that stretches on for miles and miles — allowing you to explore easily. Plus, the beaches by town are gorgeous, and feature plenty of beachside bars and restaurants — which is ALWAYS a good idea.

Puerto Vallarta Boardwalk
Try A Tequila Tasting
Tequila!

This is basically a must-try if you’re in Mexico — I mean, where else would be better to try something like this? It makes for a great little afternoon activity, and it’s totally a fun experience you really can’t get anywhere else. Our hotel offered free tastings, however, with how much tequila there is in this town, you probably could try this just about anywhere. Even if you’re really not a fan of tequila, they certainly have the best tequila in the world — so it’s definitely worth a shot (or two!).

Puerto Vallarta Pier

Places To Eat (And Drink!)

Mikado
Sushi at Mikado

Maybe I’m just a sucker for Hibachi places, but this was one of my favourite places we tried on our vacation. While this restaurant was a part of the Marriot we stayed at, you can totally make a reso here even if you aren’t a guest. The restaurant features two separate areas — one Sushi, one Hibachi. While we tried both out, and the sushi WAS amazing — the Hibachi restaurant was both SO delicious and SO fun. It totally gave me throwback vibes to every birthday I ever had at Benihana as a child, so really, there was nothing not to love.

Banana Tempura at Mikado
Si Señor
Si Señor on the Beach

This bar and restaurant wasn’t just beachside — it actually had tables to sit at ON the beach (which was about everything you could ever want). We really only stopped in here for drinks, but wow were they ever good. If you go here, you HAVE to try the Palomas — maybe I’m biased since I love a good Paloma any day, but they were absolutely to die for. The drinks, the view, the beach — UGH. This place is absolutely a must-try if you’re ever in the area.

The Blue Shrimp
Arriero Style Octopus at the Blue Shrimp

This may already be obvious from the name of the restaurant, but if you LOVE shrimp, this is the place for you. It was basically all that was on the menu, and it was glorious. The appetizers were delish but the shrimp dinners (where you basically just ended up choosing which sauce and style you wanted your shrimp in) were beyond amazing. The whole restaurant had a very strong Maritimes/Canadian East Coast seafood dinner restaurant vibe, so it was also pretty nostalgic for me since I haven’t been to the east coast in years. (Have I ever mentioned that I have a farm in Prince Edward Island? I guess that’s just a story for another day!).

Portuguese Shrimp at the Blue Shrimp

And that’s it for my little getaway! I’m heading home tomorrow afternoon (or today at the time that this posts), tragically enough — I’m really not ready to leave just yet. I mean, I guess I have to head back to reality at some point, but does it need to be so soon?

Sunset Sail Tour by Vallarta Adventures

All in all, this trip was AMAZING, though, so I can’t complain. Puerto Vallarta is a stunning city with a little something for everyone and endless blue, sunny skies. Like seriously — this place had better weather than anywhere I’ve been in a while, and I couldn’t be more thankful. (I love Vancouver, but sometimes you just need a break from the rain, you know?). Puerto Vallarta even reminded me a bit of home, with the mountain and beach combination it has going on!

I hope you guys all enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you (and experiencing it!). Hopefully it inspired you to plan a little vacay of your own sometime soon — if you end up heading to Puerto Vallarta or trying out anything that I did, let me know! I’d love to hear that I inspired some ideas for some of your future travels.

As well, stay tuned next week for another — slightly different — travel post! I’m going to be sharing with you guys all my fave beach vacay style trends for this spring and summer, so stay tuned! I’ve been collecting photos of all my favourite makeup and fashion trends I’ve tried over the last week and I can’t wait to share.

Have a great week everyone, and don’t forget to take some time to relax! Even with how overwhelmed I was last week, I didn’t truly realize how stressed I had been until a few days into my getaway — so take a minute for a quick breather, a Netflix binge or some self care. It never hurts!

Much love and adios,

Meredith

Ps. Enjoy some extra bonus photos below — I had too many for one post!

Things To Do: Ninh Binh Edition!

View From The Top Of Hang Múa, Ninh Binh

Hey guys!

Welcome back to what will be one of the shortest instalment of my travel diary: Ninh Binh! I want to stress that just because I don’t have as many things to discuss about Ninh Binh that somehow it shouldn’t be on the list of people considering travelling to Vietnam. Ninh Binh is in the countryside, and on top of that Nylah and I stayed at a homestay even further outside of the town’s borders. It certainly was the most isolated location we’ve visited thus far — therefore did not have as much to offer in terms of restaurants and bars — but had MORE than enough to offer in terms of exploring. Plus, the lack of places to eat was pretty irrelevant as we could eat every meal at our homestay if we so pleased. On top of everything else, the homestay we stayed at — the Ninh Binh Family Homestay — was hands down our best accommodations yet. In South East Asia, cheap but wonderful hostels seem to be everywhere. For their surprisingly low prices, you can really find some amazing places. But this place really stepped it up; the staff were SO kind and helpful, and the rooms were huge, beautiful and had queen-sized beds!!! We really felt we were a part of the family when we were staying there. Just, overall, 11/10 would HIGHLY recommend.

Go On A Cave Tour!

Động Thiên Hà

Okay, I love a good excursion that feels isolated and untouched as much as the next backpacker — but I will say this tour is not for the faint of heart. We took a boat up to the Động Thiên Hà caves, where we hiked up to another river where our guide then paddled is up its length. The only lighting is sparse colourful bulbs meant to light the way as much as necessary — but not any more. Plus, unlike the other caves we visited, this place was relatively untouched and unaltered for tourists. Which was why it was, quite literally, FULL of bats. I really mean like thousands of bats, so be aware of what you’re getting into when you sign up for this because once you’re in there’s really no going back. I certainly pushed many of my limits in this cave, as the ceilings were short, the tunnels were dark and the bats were everywhere. To be fair, none of them ever touched us. As well, you’re probably thinking “oh, she’s just being dramatic. It was probably just 10 bats,” well, no. It was quite literally hundreds, possibly thousands of bats. It was VERY cool and fulfilling to do something that had absolutely no other tourists, but I will say: if you’re claustrophobic or just straight up hate bats, I’d avoid this one.

Go On A Boat Ride!

To do a complete 180 degree from the former activity, this was easily the most relaxed I’ve been this whole trip. All this excursion constituted of was being leisurely paddled down a beautiful — and relatively empty — river in the countryside. You do get to have a much more brief and less hands-on peak of a cave, so if you’re unsure about the cave tour, check this out for sure.

Go On A Hike!

Hang Múa

Okay, we’ve done a whole bunch of little hikes this trip, but so far Hang Múa takes the cake. This hike, while being one of the most challenging I’ve ever done, was certainly one of the most rewarding. It went pretty far up, around 700 steps — all while being over 40 degrees out. This was at like 8:30 in the morning too, so if you’re going to do this hike plan ahead and go early because I certainly would have gotten heat stroke if I did it in the midday heat. This hike is certainly more challenging — and may not be for everyone — but the two peaks at the top offered some of the most stunning views. If you think you’re ready to take the trek then I’d highly recommend it.

So that’s Ninh Binh! While our stay there was short it was jam-packed with a lot of the most amazing adventure-type activities I’ve ever gotten the chance to do. If you’re looking for a trip that kind of gets away from the touristy side of things, Ninh Binh is perfect for you.

Stay tuned! Next up we’re off to Hoi An!

Love y’all,

Meredith