Viva La Vida Puerto Vallarta

Dear Travel Junkies:

Hola amigos! Puerto Vallarta, a beautiful city situated on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahia de Banderas in Mexico. The #1 top destination for its exclusive hidden beach and the city alone has many to offer. Read on to find out why.

Where we stayed:

My friend and I stayed at 5-stars all-inclusive resort, Secrets by Now Amber Resort and Spa, where we have upgraded from the Now Amber for $500 USD including the $200 credit given to everyone staying at the resort. Our room was beautifully appointed with terrific ocean views. The food was a hit and miss, however the a-la-carte restaurants were a much better dine than the buffet restaurants. Especially at the French restaurant, Bordeaux Gourmet Restaurant. Alejandro, the chef is simply a master at his craft that had me coming back for more. The presentation and quality surpasses all the restaurants I’ve been to in Mexico. I highly recommend the seared Ahi tuna and the tenderized mouth-watering rack of lamb. As for the rest of the resort, the service and cleanliness was the key factor in giving this hotel a high rating. Everyone at the resort was exceptional and extremely attentive. If it weren’t for the entertainment staff by the pool, we’d be lost and wouldn’t enjoy ourselves that much. Oziel, you are awesome and I thank you for showing us a unforgettable time in Puerto Vallarta!

Above image was our upgraded suite at the Secrets.

The upgrade to Secrets included concierge services, private beach area, daily continental breakfast service in the lounge, pillow menu, complimentary newspaper, free Internet access in suite, free computer access in Preferred Lounge, upgraded bath amenities, books, DVDs, CDs, and upgraded MINI-BAR service! Also, funny to mention, we had free porn! LOL! A gentleman who was staying at the Now Amber (family side) was not very happy that he had Hercules on the same channel we had porn. Silly old perv! Ha-ha! I highly recommend everyone to upgrade to the Suites if you are not traveling with children.

What to do:

The City Tour The tour begins on the north side of Puerto Vallarta and work its way south to the famous boardwalk or male con and get a look at some of the many statues lining the water such as the whale statue and the sea horse statue. As well, there were several talented acts along the boardwalk, for instance the young boy levitating off the ground which I thought was incredible. You will also visit the main points of interest such as El Palacio Muncipal (City Hall), the main plaza and city landmarks such as the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe), Gringo Gulch, and the flea markets. After the city, you will stop at the tequila factory, where you will learn about how tequila is made, how to drink tequila like a Mexican, and taste different varieties of tequilas. So get your tolerance up and ready for this part of the tour ladies and gents. Finally, the tour will end in the high subtropical rain forest of the Sierra Madre, where you will stop to dine at a beautiful riverside restaurant. The tour duration was approximately 6-7 hours. You will need to bring some money for lunch and shopping. You will need comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, camera, and INSECT REPELLENT!!! (I will explain in detail why insect repellent is extremely important later.)

Canopy Tour If you love zip lining, kayaking, driving the ATV, riding the mule, swimming and hiking then you will definitely love this. They offer various packages for everyone to enjoy. In this case, I did the zip lining and the ATV tour. The zip lining included 9 extensive lines, an ATV tour and a mule ride back up to headquarters. All courtesy of Canopy Tours.

The hidden beach at Islas Marietas (You can find out more about this from my previous post.)

Night life Take a cab down to the famous boardwalk to experience the night life. There are many discos (clubs) lining the boardwalk. I highly recommend Mandala and Skybar. It is very live and upbeat. Great staff and visited by many locals.

Shisha Hookah

If you are staying at the Now Amber’s Desires Bar offer many various flavoured shishas, $15 each for small hookah and $30 each for large hookah.

What to avoid:

Please, please, please bring insect repellent with you when you are traveling to tropical destinations, especially Puerto Vallarta! My girlfriend and I have suffered a lot during the last 4 days of our stay in Puerto Vallarta, though that did not stop us from venturing out into the city. Unfortunately, we had our fair share of the blood-eating demons, noseeums, also known as sand flies. They were bloody itchy and painful. These noseeums are not visible, they are incredibly tiny and live in beach and mountain habitats. I have tried everything possible to get rid of the pain and itching from garlic, ice, cold-paks, After-Bite creams, topical creams, and Benadryl. But none of that really helped us at all.

As you can see, three weeks after our return from Puerta Vallarta, the bites had gotten worse. It gotten so bad that it my legs swelled up and it made it hard and painful to walk. The rashes was widely spread all over my legs. So it was time for me to visit a walk-in clinic where the doctor had advised me that I had a terrible infection which progressed from the horrible allergic reaction I got from the insect bites. He prescribed me antibiotics, topical cream and Benadryl. I took these everyday, 3-4 times a day and it eventually went away along with the itching. I was terrified when the doctor informed me that I may have to go to Emergency if the remedies he prescribed me didn’t work. Thankfully, I’m okay now. =) So please, please, please bring an insect repellent with you if you decide to go to tropical destinations.

Overall, I give my experience a 10/10 despite the insect bites that had left an imprint in my memory lane. The Marietas Islands is a sight to see and something to add onto your bucket list. Hope this helped.

Happy traveling =)

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