Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: A Travel Guide
This past week, I travelled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for fall break. I know what you're thinking, "You have a fall break!?" An the answer is yes. We are very lucky to have a week off after our first nine weeks of school. In the past we have had one day, two days, and now a week as our school year began earlier than normal. It has been much needed, especially this school year and I am praying we continue to get the week off to rest and recharge.
My friend Samantha and I travel often together and we knew we wanted to get out of the country over my fall break. When we first started looking at where we wanted to go over fall break, we wanted to go to Kauai, Hawaii. I always book AirBnB's when I travel and when I started researching for Hawaii the prices were sky high, so we decided to start looking elsewhere and eventually landed on Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The AirBnB's we could afford were absolutely stunning and very affordable compared to Hawaii so we felt like we would get more for our money in Mexico. Considering the full cost of travel and comparing is always a great way to save money before you book. Samantha and I both have Delta flight benefits since she worked for Delta up until the pandemic. This means that we fly standby and if there are seats available, we are able to just pay the taxes to fly. Again, another perk that we're thankful to have at the moment. If I'm traveling without using our Delta benefits, I always use Google Flights and Scott's Cheap Flights to search for great deals. I plan on doing a video tutorial on this later to help share I how I find great deals on airfare.
I did not do a lot of research before going to Puerto Vallarta because Samantha and I like to be spontaneous and see what inspires us once we arrive somewhere. Our AirBnB happened to be in a part of town that we absolutely loved and would definitely stay in again if we return. We stayed in the Romantic Zone of Puerto Vallarta which is in the older, historic part of downtown and near everything you could ask for: bars, restaurants, water taxis, history, culture, and more. When you're in the Romantic Zone, everything feels more authentic, local, cultured, and historic. It gives me the feeling of being in a European port city because the buildings and architecture are so, well, romantic. Although we walked to most places with relative ease, taxis were always closely and very cheap to take you anywhere you want to go.
In my YouTube travel vlog, I highlighted our day trip to Yalepa--a city down the coast from Puerto Vallarta. This day trip was a highlight of our trip and I would certainly recommend heading here for the day or many of the other beautiful options. We didn't plan our trip in advance and simply walked down the street towards Los Muertos Pier where there were lots of options to choose from. We found a travel company that offered lots of water taxi options and information to help us decide where to head for the day. The roundtrip price to head to Yalepa was around $20 USD and we boarded the boat at 11:00 AM with a return time of 5:30 PM. I could not find a website for the company we went with, Chico's, but they were very professional and the trip was very smooth.
Day Trip to Yalepa
The boat trip to Yalepa was about 30+ minutes and had a beautiful view of the coastline the entire way. When we arrived, they had their own restaurant, bar, bathrooms, beach chairs to use free of charge. The drinks and food were for an extra charge, but it was nice to have all of those options right when you got to the beach. They also offered advise on how to walk to the waterfalls, information to take an ATV tour, to go by horse, or other rentals that were available during our time in Yalepa. Samantha and I typically like a good hike, but we wanted time to enjoy the beach so we decided to take the ATV tour to the waterfall for $22 a person. After seeing the trek, we were glad we opted not to walk and it made for a lot quicker trip. Once we made our way to the waterfall, we were blown away by its beauty and took a half an hour to soak in the refreshing water of the falls. They even had places to shop and get a drink while you took in the sights. I would highly recommend making a trip here just to see the waterfall alone, but just know you'll also fall in love with the people here too.
In the romantic zone, great food was literally just around every corner and there were so many options to choose from. I am sure we missed out on so many great spots, but here are a few places we ate at and recommend.
Cafe San Angel: A great place for breakfast and brunch with great people watching.
CoCo's Kitchen: Absolutely incredible brunch spot with a beautiful atmosphere.
116 Pulpito: An excellent Spanish tapas restaurant.
Panchos Takos: Al pastor tacos that are worth the line you'll wait in.
La Palapa: A great atmosphere right on the beach with excellent views.
Where to Soak Up the Sun
We enjoyed two days at the Mantamar Beach Club. This is an LGBTQ+ beach club and straight friendly; however, I would not recommend this as a place to take the family. We absolutely loved the food, the drinks, the vibe and would highly recommend this beach club or any of the ones nearby. We paid 750 pesos to reserve a beach chair, per person, which is roughly $36 a day. Pro tip: if they're sold out online or you want to wait, you can walk up and they were offering a lower price at the door. Of course you risk the availability, but on the week days it was much less crowded than on the weekend.
Another place we found online that we absolutely loved was the pool at Chictini. The Pinnacle is a group of condo towers and although we weren't staying there you can pay for a day pass to use their rooftop pool overlooking the beach. They're situated at the top of the hill and even offer a cable car to take you up if you don't want to hike. Believe me, the trip up is worth every bit of energy it takes to get there. For 800 pesos, we spent our whole day with very few others at the rooftop pool. The music was incredible, the waiters were extremely attentive, and the food was out of this world! We enjoyed it so much we can back another two days and spent our last day here. I can't say enough good things about this spot.
Book Your Trip ASAP
The boardwalk area is a great place to shop for souvenirs, see the beautiful art that Puerto Vallarta has to offer, and to grab a bite to eat. We walked this area once or twice, but honestly we loved the Romantic Zone so much we hardly every left. Also, it was very hot when we went so we limited our exploring and walking mostly to early of the morning or late at night. I would definitely recommend coming to see this beautiful city as soon as you can and hope you love it as much as we did. I will certainly be back!