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Puerto Vallarta is the Ultimate Travel Getaway for Solo Trips and Families

Puerto Vallarta is the Ultimate Travel Getaway

It’s around this time of year when many New Yorkers are in search of vacation options to beat the cold. While there are many factors that come into play, an easy direct flight, great weather, amazing food, and a connection to culture are up there on our must-experience list with the kids or during solo getaways.

During a recent trip to Puerto Vallarta, I discovered such a destination. A special gem renowned for its stunning beaches, access to nature, close proximity to the Sierra Madre mountains, and a bustling city center, Puerto Vallarta was the perfect mini escape I needed.

Here, I also discovered an area rich in tradition and culture, amazing food, beautiful views, and so much more. Read on to check out more about why Puerto Vallarta (or PV as locals call it) and how it really is the ultimate travel destination for girlfriend getaways, couples trips, or trips with the kids.

About Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful coastal town located in the Mexican state of Jalisco. A thriving Mexican village and fishing town, Puerto Vallarta has grown to become an increasingly popular tourist destination. During my stay, I saw many cruise ships dock at its ports as well as tons of tourists from around the world. There was an air of ease and accessibility for Americans as many PV locals speak English (and even use the U.S. dollar). The area is very walkable with great shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. There is also a feeling of inclusivity in the air where I saw a prominent LGBT+ community and nightlife – should you be traveling solo or with girlfriends.

Traveling to Puerto Vallarta

Traveling to Puerto Vallarta was so easy. I took a direct flight from JFK and arrived at the Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport Puerto Vallarta six hours later. Incredibly, The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta where I stayed was only 10 minutes from the airport. This ease of travel was much welcomed after my solo trip that I know would make it even more seamless if I was traveling with my kids.

Where to Stay

The Accommodations

During my time in PV, I enjoyed comfortable and luxurious accommodations at The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta.

I felt at ease from the start of my stay. When I arrived, I was greeted with a refreshing mocktail and a cooling white tea scented towel. The staff was warm and welcoming as they greeted me, explaining the layout of the resort. Within minutes I was checked in and ready to soak in a day of relaxation and great food.

I was floored by the cozy room and its jaw-dropping views of the pool, the Banderas Bay, and lush grounds with flowers and over 600 palm trees. Incredibly, the resort is located on a former palm tree farm where I natural shade that evoked a sense of calmness and ease throughout the property.

I also loved the ‘homey’ vibe of the room with warm wood accents, serene earth tones, and vibrant pictures. Probably the best part of the room was its king-size Heavenly bed, plush pillows, and crisp linens. Incredibly, all 279 rooms and suites come with these signature beds that are designed to offer incredible comfort and support.

Additionally, the room had marble tiling, a comfy living/sitting area, a TV, fridge, a balcony, a mini bar, room service, and much more. In between activities, it was so nice to have a peaceful and quiet place to go to.

Families who stay at The Westin can enjoy time in the family studio where they will find a king-sized bed and a sofa bed as well as views of the pool. There is also a two-bedroom suite with a king-sized bed and a king-sized sofa bed for a bigger family. Dogs (up to 40 pounds) are even allowed to stay at the Westin who can even get their own Heavenly dog bed.

Picnic on the beach

Resort Food

The food was one of the stand-out experiences from the trip. From traditional Mexican fare to options from their Eat Well menu, I enjoyed a collection of diverse and flavorful options from the Arrecifes Seafood & Steakhouse, El Palmar Restaurant, La Cascada Restaurant and Bar, to name a few options.

Cocktail and mocktail making at La Cascada Restaurant and Bar.

Some favorites included a bountiful seaside sunset picnic; a cocktail and mocktail making lesson at La Cascada Restaurant and Bar; braised short ribs and tuna carnitas at Arrecifes Seafood & Steakhouse; and healthy breakfast of smoothies and quinoa and salmon from the ‘Eat Well’ menu at El Palmar Restaurant. There is also a breakfast and dinner buffet at El Palmar where you can enjoy a la carte options as you overlook the lush greenery.

The resort also has an all-day snack and swim-up bar by the pool and 24-hour room service. They even have healthy – and kid-friendly options – in partnership with SuperChefs. They work with doctors and nutritionists to create a menu for kids that is both healthy and delicious.

We ended our dining with a gorgeous outdoor Celebration Dinner on the grounds of the property. This chef’s table tasting dinner featured traditional to modern Mexico food as well as piñatas that we made earlier that day.

Wellness 

Wellness is a huge pillar of the experience at The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta. This includes the modern Westin Workout Fitness Studio, The Spa at The Westin Puerto Vallarta, healthy food, including their Eat Well menu, and exercise equipment you can even order for your room.

Enjoy spa services outdoors.

The spa was a huge treat where I enjoyed a manicure and pedicure and a deep tissue massage. At the spa, guests can also enjoy facials, a couples massage, or an in-suite massage. For an extra special experience, you also enjoy a beachfront massage in one of the hotel’s outdoor pergolas.

During my stay, I also enjoy a relaxing morning session of seaside yoga and meditation. This was the perfect start to the day with the ocean in the background as I tuned out the world, followed by a healthy assortment of fresh juices.

On-Site Attractions for Families

Kids will love having instant access to two outdoor pools and a 410-foot private beach. Here, you can enjoy water sports such as kayaking, swimming, or simply relaxing in the sun. There is also a swim-up bar, lounge chairs around the pool for relaxation and snacking, and a kids’ club where kids (ages 4-12) can go to enjoy kid-friendly activities. This includes movies, Mexican crafts, sandcastle competitions, and more.

Resort Location

The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta is located at Paseo de la Marina Sur #205, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, 4835

 

Must-See Experiences in Puerto Vallarta

Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Vallarta Botanical Gardens

My visit to the Vallarta Botanical Gardens felt like a dream. Filled with lush greenery, the garden is an environmental organization in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with the mission to study, preserve, and display Mexican native plants. Open for the past 17 years, I enjoyed a walking tour of the grounds where I saw a stunning collection of plants, flowers, rocks, birds and more.

The location is also home to the Hacienda del Oro Restaurant where you can enjoy a bite amongst its stunning views. There are also mini hikes throughout the property where I saw a watering hole for swimming and plantations for vanilla beans and coffee.  Carretera Puerto Vallarta, Carr. Costera a Barra de Navidad Km 24, 48425 Jal., Mexico.

Tequila Tasting

After the visit to the garden, I enjoyed a traditional Mexican lunch and fascinating lesson where I learned about tequila at the Rancho Los Veranos.

I also learned the details of how tequila is made, including the farming process. This was eye-opening as our guide, passionately told us about the process in Mexico. Following the tasting, our group enjoyed a traditional Mexican lunch with live music.  Juntas y Veranos Av. Copinole 115, Centro, 48400 Jal., Mexico

Visit the Romantic Zone

One of the oldest areas in PV, the Romantic Zone is home bars, shops and restaurants, and the Los Muertos Pier. Here, you’ll also discover beautiful mosaics in the Lazaro Cardenas Park Puerto Vallarta. For a night out, sing some karaoke or enjoy a show at Act II Theater or Incanto.

Malecon Boardwalk

Even if you didn’t have a specific agenda, you could walk along the Malecon Boardwalk and find something to do. This includes delicious restaurants, churches, street art, art galleries, and shopping. There are also tons of open-air galleries, stunning sculptures along the boardwalk, and daring street performers to watch in awe as you explore the boardwalk.

Malecon Boardwalk Sculptures

Everywhere you turn, you can enjoy viewing beautiful sculptures. Some highlights include In Search of Reason by Sergio Bustamante; Nature as a Mother by Adrián Reynoso; The Arches by Martin Distancia; and The Boy on the Seahorse by Rafael Zamarripa, to name a few favorites.

Beaches

There are several beaches to explore in this coastal town. Luckily, where I stayed at The Westin I was able to enjoy access to the resort’s private breach. However, there are several beaches where you can relax and spend your days at PV. This includes Playa Los Muertos, Colomitos, Los Muertos Beach, and Playa Flamingos, to name a few options. Beaches are located in the north bay, south bay, south of the bay, and north of the bay. In addition to swimming and soaking in the sun, you can enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, whale-watching, diving, and other water sports during your stay.

From beaches to lush landscape to modern amenities, Puerto Vallarta is the ultimate escape. I enjoyed sunshine, culture, and amazing food. I came back relaxed, restored, and excited to come back with my kids.

 

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