Navigating Puerto Vallarta

Traveler: Stacy Armstrong

When: April 2018

Area Visited:  Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Overall Experience: My parents travel to Puerto Vallarta every Spring. This
year they wanted to plan a 4-generation trip with my grandparents, parents, myself
and my husband and our 6-month old daughter. Puerto Vallarta ended up being a
very family friendly destination with things to do for all of us! We really enjoyed our
trip and I recommend Puerto Vallarta for a fairly inexpensive tropical destination.

Logistics: Flying from the East coast required two stops – we had a connection in
Atlanta but could have flown through several other cities. A little too much travel
time for my liking, but I know this is a quicker trip from the Midwest or the West
coast.

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At the Peninsula

Accommodations: There are two main areas to stay in Puerto Vallarta: near
downtown (if you plan to do more going out and partying) and the “North Hotel”
area (which is more family friendly and less populated). Our party consisted of 6
adults and a baby, and we thought an Airbnb in the North Hotel area would be the
best option for us to all stay together but still have our own space. We rented a 3 bed
+ crib/ 3 bath condo at the luxurious “Peninsula” condo tower, overlooking the
ocean. It is about a $20 cab ride from the airport to the North Hotel area; they
accept both pesos and US dollars but you will lose out on the exchange if you pay
with dollars.

I cannot say enough nice things about the Peninsula; the views are gorgeous, the
amenities are very well maintained, and because it is a residence and not a hotel
there was hardly anyone sitting out by the pool or out on the beach.
The downside to staying in the North Hotel area is that you are about 3 miles from
the more authentic restaurants found in downtown, but on the other hand you have
the benefit of enjoying a far less busy beach area.

Activities: I will be honest – this was a very relaxing trip for us but there are a lot
of available excursions in the area. The more popular activity around is parasailing,
but they also offer horse back riding on the beach and snorkeling day trips to name
a few.

If you are traveling with small children, please note that this is not the best area to
get around with a stroller. They do have sidewalks along most roads but overall not
an easy terrain to cover with a stroller.

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Along the Malecon 

If you stay or make it out to the downtown, make sure to take a walk along the
“Malecon” boardwalk. During the day you can stroll around and look at the unique
sculptures, and at night this place lights up and has some live entertainment. There
is also a flea market along the Malecon where you can find knick knacks to bring
back to your loved ones.

Where to Eat:  As mentioned above, the North hotel area is lacking in authentic
restaurants. There are two large outdoor malls in walking distance of where we
stayed, but they pretty much offer the Mexican version of Olive Garden and Chili’s.
We did find a very authentic, local spot called “El Oasis del Holi”, located on the
beach, nestled between the Peninsula and the Venetian condominiums. This place
was great: live music, authentic food and an ocean view.

The downtown area had many more dining options; we went to a place called “Café
des Artistes” in downtown for my dad’s birthday dinner. This place is known for its
picturesque garden; however, children under 8 are not allowed in the garden. In any
case, the food and the service in this place is exemplary and I recommend it if you
want to go out for a nice (but pricy) meal.

Finally, although “Cheeky Monkey” is quite touristy, they offer $1 Margaritas, which are quite potent but are very good!

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The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

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