It is getting that time of year again, the weather is about to change and it is time to consider a destination for a winter getaway. I know my boyfriend and I have been throwing around a few ideas. Not every trip has to be an adventure. Especially when life gets hectic, it is nice to have a low key week-long getaway.
My mom has never been a fan of Mexican food, and since she is from Jamaica, if we are planning a vacation in a hot destination, she insists on going back to Jamaica. I finally had my opportunity to go to Mexico last year. Although we did do the all-inclusive route, I would love to have a more authentic Mexico experience. Mexico is so naturally beautiful, the people are super friendly, and I loved the food. If I can have guacamole with every meal, I am happy. Our resort was also very beautiful. Although they did get us on the ocean view. We paid extra to see a sliver of the ocean if were out on the balcony stretching our necks out to see around the corner.
I won’t claim to be a Mexico expert since I have only had a one-week long visit, however here are my dos and don’ts for Puerto Vallarta.
Don’t bring USA cash. My boyfriend insisted that this was a good idea. When I went to the bank, the teller told me that it makes more sense to bring pesos. She was right, pesos are a good idea. They usually round up the conversion, so anything in USA dollars is usually priced a bit higher than Pesos. I would also recommend taking out money beforehand because I had trouble finding a bank machine where my debit card would work.
Do take the bus. I was apprehensive at first, but for some reasons, the cabs charge per person, which to this day I have been unable to rationalize. The buses are very easy to figure out and the bus fare is literally 80 cents. We did take our fair share of cabs but we soon learned that buses are more economical and sometimes faster than taking a cab.
Don’t just stay cooped up in your resort. We met quite a few regulars that come every year and all they do is sit by the pool and enjoy frosty beverages. I remember talking to a few of them at happy hour and telling them about my days adventures and they admitted to never leaving the resort. I highly recommend planning a few excursions.
Do book tours. They are pricey, but you can negotiate and get a deal. We booked a few tours through Vallarta Adventures and they were the highlights of our trip. The staff are very well trained and knowledgeable. They made for an entertaining day. We went to Marietas Islands and it was very beautiful. We also went during the whale migrating season, so we got a see a few whales on our journey.
Don’t pay to swim with the dolphins. What a depressing experience this was, I couldn’t decide how I felt about it, so I just went for it. The dolphins are cooped up in a small pool and they have no where to go. They charged me $50 for my pictures because they do not allow you to bring your own cameras. The dolphins do the same tricks twice a day. I felt so bad for them. Our guide mentioned that a dolphin saved her from drowning when she was a child. She recommended we wake up early in the morning and see the dolphins then. We borrowed a kayak from our resort and paddled out. This is a much better idea, they are wild animals, so why not see them in the wild.
Do go to the Puerto Vallarta Zoo. I had asked a few locals and they claim this place is an animal conservatory. We took a cab here and then bused back, which was pretty easy. I would recommend taking the bus, it will save you some cash.
The Zoo allows you to buy food to give the animals. This was the highlight of our trip. We got to feed hippos and giraffes, we also got to play with monkey, lions, tigers and leopards. Although it would be way cooler seeing these animals in the wild, we were told that if it is possible the animals will be put back in the wild and the animals that stay in captivity would not be able to fend for themselves.