Growing up I had so many fun memories visiting Tijuana and Rosorito with friends. My hometown was just 30 miles from the U.S. / Mexico border. Pretty damn close! Close enough that we used to park at the border checkpoint and walk across the border for a night out drinking. Later we would walk back to the U.S. side to pick up our cars. Years later – my friends and I decided to meet up for a 5-day Mexico trip!
But where should we travel to in Mexico?
Well the thing is our close neighbor, Mexico does not have the best reputation or perception from Americans. When you hear about Mexico on the news it’s typically around Trump, drugs, kidnapping, or worse. Whatever it might be it’s guaranteed that my mom has heard about it. What you don’t typically hear is how beautiful the country is with its vibrant culture and relaxed atmosphere. And I’m assuming you’ve heard of their delicious food (enchiladas anyone?).
Answer: Puerto Vallarta! Ayyyy
There’s no shortage of great places to travel to in Mexico, but since its was still hurricane season we had to choose our destination wisely. Puerto Vallarta was our safest bet based on where its located. Although we were SUPER LUCKY that we dodged a tropical storm days before we arrived. Just sunshine and paradise for our trip.
I did some research on Mexico destinations and found that Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco Mexico is SAFER than Miami (just 3 hours from where we live). Along with good safety reviews, Puerto Vallarta has beautiful views of mountain ranges, a great party scene and of course… TACOS!!
Arriving in Mexico is an instant fiesta. As soon as you get past immigration (only took us 25 minutes) there were trays of margaritas waiting for us! Although I had some knowledge on transportation from the airport to our accommodation… we got distracted with a few free tequila shots. We got scammed and took a shuttle, which was about a 15 minute ride – $10 per person. Tequila shots were nice and everything, but don’t get fooled like we did. You can get a $3 Uber for your whole party to the hotel.
If you ever stay at an all-inclusive resort be prepared for LONG. LONG. LONGGGG check-ins. Maybe it was just ours… but it was so unnecessarily long. At least we got more welcome margaritas… but we were ready to vacation!!
Zip-lines, tequila tastings, and monkeys!
We loved relaxing by the resort pool and ordering apps for days, but we were ready to get out to explore. We took an awesome zip-lining & tequila tasting tour! There were a total of 17 zip-lines and 5 tequilas to try. The tour definitely over-sold us with water-sports and swimming – but take that with a grain of salt… That swimming water had STRONG currents from the heavy rain from the previous week – good chance of losing an amigo in that water. LOL. At the tequila tasting spot there was these caged areas where you can feed the monkeys! These tiny marmoset and spider monkeys jumped on us and nibbled on us a lil bit too. Apparently spider monkeys do NOT like the smell of marmosets… so if you want to hang around both types of monkeys check out the spider monkeys FIRST… THEN marmoset monkeys. They told us after the fact. It was still a really fun activity for a large group of people – we highly recommend it (even for those afraid of heights, animals, and tequila)!
How we met Winnie the Pooh
Do you know that cartoon yellow bear with the red T-shirt from that children’s TV show? If not your childhood has been deprived… but anyway… How would you feel if I told you that you can now enjoy it as an adult now?! Oh yes… in FROZEN DAQUARI FORM! This drink is half mango on the top and the bottom half is strawberry – looks just like Winnie the Pooh!! It tastes AMAZING, but safe to say we were all starting to get that Pooh bear body by the end of the trip.
Hundreds of Winnie the Poohs later… no joke… We wanted to work it off and explore what else Puerto Vallarta has to offer. Being right on the ocean we took out a few kayaks (more resorts should have some) and paddled around while taking in the coastal mountain views. We usually don’t get the chance to relax while traveling so this was refreshing. Nothing like ditching the phone at home while enjoying a day with bocce ball, kayaks, swimming, and more .
1… 2… 3… TEQUILA!
Party party party! Puerto Vallarta loves to party and drink lots of tequila! There are about 4 clubs along the boardwalk that were a BLAST! They were all next to each other so its easy to club-hop! We went on a Sunday night and there weren’t that many people out. Apparently we visited in “low-season” – so the clubs are more poppin’ on the weekends. Still a blast! These clubs were affordable (mostly for ladies) and over-the-top. One club had a giant swing that reached over the boardwalk and another called Zoo was animal themed with dance cages *no animals were harmed, but we were the next morning! All-in-all, it was a fun time with our friends to let loose and relax! Ayy TEQUILA! (unpopular opinion: America has better margaritas)
Checking out the old city
After checking out the night life and eating (more like drinking) our way through the resort it was time to check out the old town. We started on the boardwalk, which is SO CLEAN with beautiful views along the water. There were a bunch or restaurants, dollar beers / margaritas, and free tequila tastings offered on the boardwalk. All the locals along the boardwalk were friendly and helpful! I feel like I have trust issues going to touristy locations where everyone is trying to sell you something. Well you still get that here LOL, but not too much in comparison to other cities. You’ll get more of the hassle in the city’s flea market – be prepared to bargain! The flea market is located on a small island in the middle of town with local merchants selling anything from shirts to spices. The walk was worth to see all the vibrant items from local merchants selling anything from clothes to spices!
- Get PESOS! (maybe like a $100USD). It definitely came in handy for tips, street vendors and taxi rides (Uber is somewhat not liked with the community).
- Sunscreen (duh)
- Pedialyte! We brought travel-size Pedialyte packets and it SAVED us. The HOT sun and tequila can really dehydrate you.
- Find out events your resort has and plan accordingly! Ours had a Mexican buffet one night with authentic dancers and was giving away free prizes! (it was tequila lol)
- HUGE TIP – DO NOT… I repeat DO NOT throw out the airport customs paper that they give you arriving to Mexico. You NEED that when you leave Mexico. Couple of our amigos missed their flight and had to pay fees for that tiny slip of paper.