It’s been a week-ish since I’ve returned from Puerto Vallarta & the vacation withdrawals are just starting to subside. I finally got use to paying for stuff again! You’d think saying goodbye would get easier but it never does.
For my 25th birthday, I found myself going to Mexico once again to celebrate. Sun, food and booze – can’t complain.
An even more important occasion to celebrate was a wedding. I’ve never attended a destination wedding but now that I have, I can say it’s wonderful! It’s not just that one special day you get to celebrate your love with your family & friends but all week-long.
Here’s another one of my infamously long vacation blogs:
Sunday May 06 2012 –
I can never sleep the day before a trip, who can? The mind is just racing either from excitement or fear that you’ve forgotten something. The most difficult part is always the waiting game at the airport. They really should create more entertainment there, it’d be a money-making machine! Anyhow as we finally boarded the plane, I was impressed with the service that we received. We flew with Sunwing Vacations and was offered complimentary onboard movies, champagne, full meals and hot towel service. Not too shabby.
As we arrived in Puerto Vallarta, the anticipation begins. Immediately it is already hot and humid.
I spot the boyfriend and it’s like time goes still where I am just drinking in the sight of him as we’ve been a part for too long now. Our greet is brief but I try not to be greedy as I know we will have the rest of the week together.
The shuttle has taken us to our resort Dreams Villamanga. It is rated a 5 star resort with good reviews on Trip Advisor. We were welcomed with our key cards and a Mimosa (no wrist bands!). The room itself is gorgeous just like the photos. King size bed, couch, tub, shower, double sinks, tv and a private jacuzzi on the balcony.
**Bathroom & room are only separated by half a curtain. Best room with someone you feel comfortable with.
The resort boasts 3 pools, a beach, 5 restaurants, gym, spa, multiple bars, one lounge, and outdoor activities – excellent.
The first night we had our first taste of the buffet (aidos good eating habits) and enjoyed ourselves at the SkyBar located at the top of the resort building. It was a very relaxing vibe and I suppose the alcohol contributes to that feeling. Though we did discover that the resort is more catered to ‘families and couples’ as the bar does close early (1AM) and loud noise is not tolerated. Wonk wonk.
Monday May 07 2012 –
First day on vacation and we all know it starts with a champion’s breakfast! We ordered room service and had the delicious breakfast on the balcony. The jacuzzi we tried the night before on the balcony was awesome except that it does take a while to fill (15 minutes) so plan ahead! After breakfast, we decided to walk around and start becoming familiar with the surroundings. We ended up at the beach where I got Henna done by a beach vendor, $10 for a butterfly!
We discovered you can borrow equipment from the Entertainment team like mattresses, volleyballs, skim boards etc. A great thing about the pools and beaches was there was a lot of space. You didn’t have to fight anyone for a chair or reserve seating. On the beach there was a lot of activity to people watch, such as Parasailing rides.
Instead of eating at the buffet all th time, we decided to try the restaurants that were offered. For lunch, we visited Oceana which had Mexican/Western food. It was very chill and the food was delicious; this has become my favourite place to dine at the resort but it does take some time to receive the food.
For dinner we tried Portofino, which served Italian cuisine. It’s very fancy shmancy and it required a dress code. This was my least favourite of the restaurants and we only dined here once.
As the SkyBar was becoming a frequent night hangout, I can say I really enjoyed the atmosphere but the downside is more often than not the seats were moist…due to humidity? I don’t know but you’ve been warned.
Tuesday May 08 2012 –
Being on vacation…rocks. When I return I want to be able to retell what I’ve done and that’s where excursions come in. Sunwing had a promotion that if you purchased 2 excursions, you received the 3rd one free. That is a great deal especially since each excursion costs roughly $90.
After we booked up our excursions, we ventured into town. 12 people sharing a taxi was a $40 ride which took about 30 minutes. The sun was beating and there was lots to see.
I found that the streets were tidy with vendors, entertainers and many tourists. We visited churches, flea markets and misc. boutiques that was so very different home.
*It is all about haggling, do not purchase at first offered price!
We returned to get ready for our Pub Crawl. Sungwing had this special for $59, a visit to 4 clubs, open bar and no cover fee. The night started young at 8pm and lasted until roughly 2AM.
It was organized well and I felt safe visiting all the clubs that were doors away from one another. Each club had a different theme (cowboy vs buddhas?) and the music was current/upbeat as were the crowd. It was a very fun night and I think I was the only one the bus that got “sick” but very kindly they pulled over for me. HA. Excursion rating 8.5/10.
Wednesday May 09 2012 –
After yesterday’s late night, we had to get up early this morning for our first excursion. What was I thinking booking it this way? After a shower and a buffet breakfast, I was good to go. This excursion was the Offroad Adventure. The attitude and vibe that the guides give off start the day in a fun way. Our guide’s name was Juan Carlos. He was amusing and knowledgable. We rode off in a Unimog, a four-wheel drive open truck that seats 10, which was a very rough ride. Hence the “offroad”. At times I was flung out of my seat and swaying this way and that over bumps (thank goodness for seatbelts and handles). After the ride, there is a nature hike which you are educated on trees, creatures and etc. (VERY COOL) We make our way to the town, farms and eventually Sayulita, surfer’s beach. This was a treat for me as we had a delicious lunch by the beach and had time to just enjoy the beach and observing the surfers. A downside to this is the beach vendors who are constantly approaching you every few minutes to purchase from them. On our ride home, we were taught how to drink tequila properly and learned some toasts. Excursion rating 7.5/10.
Thursday May 10 2012 –
Happy Birthday to me! I felt wistful waking up. I realized that there is a lot to me that I need to learn, improve and explore. It seems obvious I know but also the dawning was a big neon sign.
I started the day with a bike tour that the resort offers. You sign up and head out with an Entertainment leader; each day they bike to a nearby place. Today we were going to visit the Zoo. It was neat to travel outside the resort just on the bike. The morning heat was just starting to rise and it made the bike ride enjoyable. The Zoo wasn’t spectacular but it was free and I was really more there for the bike ride.
Afterwards I had an appointment at the spa to get my hair done. Along with your service, you are offered to use the Spa lounge which is exclusive and features private saunas, hydro pools and etc.
Then for the reason why we’ve all flown to Mexico….the wedding.
I’ve been to a lot of weddings but none as breathtaking as this one. The factors of the ocean, beach, sun and intimacy were quite overwhelming. The bride was beautiful, I cried during the exchange of the vows and the atmosphere was memorable. Weddings is the act of two people committing their lives to one another and having their friends and family witness their love. The thought of that moves me and I wish the couple a very happy life together.
For my birthday, I received a very special gift…..my first watch. Yes I’ve had watches before, very cheap night market watches but not one that is truly mine that I wanted to keep forever. Now I do and I am happy because I feel like it’s my first grown-up gift.
Friday May 11 2012 –
I awoke to thinking we haven’t had as much time as I’d like to do NOTHING. We’ve been busy and I figure this is the day to hang out at the pool and work in a tan somehow? We had buffet breakfast to which I was surprised when the staff went beyond for me. I’ve taken to having toast, nutella and peanut butter for breakfast but no chocolate was offered today. I was pouty and asked for it, they could’ve easily said they didn’t have any. Yet one of the staff went in the back and dished out a bowl for me. Totally made my morning!
For the next four hours, we frolicked in the pool, drank all yummy drinks (our favourites now being Mojitios, Sangaria, Pina Coladas and Tequila Sunrise), tanned and got free express massages (you have to tip).
I discovered my love of Ceviche, must eat whenever you are in Mexico and the joy of not doing anything. I started reading the Fifty Shades of Grey book (full review on that later) and realized I was getting sunburnt. WAY sunburnt. I tried to do damage control with Aloe Repair but it was too late for me. I looked like a lobster and was sensitive to touch. Ugh.
Tonight’s excursion was Rythms of the Night. It started with a beautiful two decker boat ride to the cove Las Caletas.
**The boat ride is 20 minutes & the combination of sea sickness and free alcohol can be overwhelming. Sit at the bottom level of the boat should this occur.
Upon docking, it feel’s like you are on Survivor. The cove is lit in a pathway of torches and you are greeted by the islanders and their musical performance. We are ushered to the buffet dinner that overlooks the water and is candlelit. The food was DELICIOUS. Very fresh and rich. After dinner is when the show begins.
As you are seated, you are impressed by the spectacular stage and that when you look up can see all the specks of shiny stars that you cannot see at home due to all the city lights.
The show plot was not that interesting but the acrobatics and dancing were enjoyable even though it was short. The boat ride back was entertaining as the staff was energetic and humorous. I did not like that we had to find our own way back from Puerto Vallarta Adventures but our resort was close-by and a taxi ride only cost $5US. Excursion rating: 7/10.
Saturday May 12 2012 –
We had planned an excursion for this day, Outdoor Adventure hosted by Puerto Vallarta Adventures. I was iffy about it due to the fact it was technically our last day and we’d be away all day. Boyyyy am I glad we went! We started the day with a huge buffet due to the fact we knew we’d be away from free food for a while. (Advice #1). Oh and also use the restroom as there won’t be a clean/available one for the next few hours (Advice #2). We started off on a boat ride and it was nothing like the boat yesterday, this was a speed boat. I had to hang on for dear life. The sights were amazing and with the wind in your face, you felt like you were on an adventure. About 20 minutes in, we arrived at an island where we rode the Unimog (not as rough as before) to the destination where we would meet our next transportation. Mules.
Why I really picked this excursion was because I always wanted to ride a horse (not ready yet) so Mules (slow horses) are the next best thing.
We mounted our mules and to be honest, I was surprised how scared I was. This animal beneath me has its own mind, who knows what it can do?! They taught us to make kissy face sounds to encourage the mule to keep moving, steer the reins left/right for direction and yank a little and say WHOACHICA to slow it down. The trek was uphill, downhill, narrow paths and I survived! I would do it again, after the initial bond, you start to enjoy the ride.
Next part in our adventure was Ziplining. There were 13 ziplines in total and the difference between this excursion and the Canopy Top one I did in Cancun was it had water rappelling.
Ziplining is always nerve-wracking at first but once you zip the first line and you get the shot of adrenaline, it becomes exhilarating. The staff was super energetic, fun, supportive and most of all they made our group feel very safe. After the standard ziplining, they showed us the water rappelling. We had to climb backwards down the waterfall and have them dunk us in there! Wear a bathing suit underneath your clothes (Advice #3). It was definitely an unforgettable experience and the photos they took turned out great! You can purchase 1 photo for $15 or all for $29 (on CD and 1 free print, obvious choice). The ride back was long and we raced back to catch the sunset at our resort. (Super gorgeous). Excursion rating: 9/10.
Our last night and I was just so burnt (skin wise)! We dined at El Patio (Mexican cuisine) and had drinks at Sky Bar to just relax, unwind and soak in the last of our trip.
Sunday May 13 2012 –
Departure day. The first thought is always, “where did the time go?!” Check out was at 12 and we tried to prolong it as much as possible. The resort was gracious to let us stay past our check out time to still enjoy the foods, pool and entertainment. We spent our time at the hammocks and enjoyed the last of our mexican foods.
Overall resort: The resort is beautiful and very well-kept. I recommend it for families or those who are on honeymoon. Yet I was disappointed that many of the staff could not carry on a conversation when asked basic questions regarding questions the resort. The food was not as good as I thought it might be for a 5 star but the service from the servers made up for that. The drinks were inconsistent from one bar to the next on quality but otherwise you received it in a quick manner. I would not return to another Dreams chain but I would recommend it.
End note………..I’d like to go another vacation please and OH my skin has just started healing.