Many months ago when we booked our flights to Puerto Vallarta, we planned on beach bumming the entire three days. Now of course we went to the beach – it was steps away from our hotel – but thankfully we were able to explore more of this resort town located on the Pacific Coast.
We found a steal on flights from Aeromexico and were excited to be flying on a Mexico-based airline. Everything was cool – different snacks, free liquor and well, free liquor.
We’ve traveled to Mexico before and know how much the locals love their alcohol. And that’s totally fine with us. We chatted with Rafael upon entering the airport and enjoyed a few tequila shots with him before getting our taxi to the hotel. What a welcome!
Our room was at the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa – a beautiful beachfront hotel located just a five-minute drive from the airport. We arrived a bit before check-in, so we had time to explore the massive hotel and grab a bite to eat before our room was ready.
But we didn’t explore too long because we had a tour booked with Vallarta Adventures, a popular tour operator in Puerto Vallarta. We definitely recommend them for any or all of your excursion or tour needs if visiting Puerto Vallarta. They literally offer a tour for just about everything! We decided we wanted to do the sea lion encounter (booked in advance online and got it for 50% cheaper). It was 60 minutes of fun – they teach you about the animals first, then – you guessed it – you get to play around in the water with them. They’re friendly creatures and 2 Girls Who Travel enjoyed it. You can also bring the whole family to experience it. If you don’t get in the water, you’re allowed to view from the observation deck. No pictures, though – it’s strictly forbidden. Photographers are on hand taking pictures and they give you the option to buy photo/video packages after. Note: They are very expensive, but again, it’s the only way to ensure you have memories from the tour.
These sea lions were so friendly!
We had dinner at one of the hotel’s restaurants that night, La Estancia. Oh, did we mention our ocean view from the balcony of our room? Let’s just say waking up to that view or enjoying a morning coffee on the balcony is everything a relaxing vacation should be!
Shrimp tacos from La Estancia
The second day, we had a food tour scheduled in downtown Puerto Vallarta that started at 10:30am. This was booked through Viator, another popular tour company. The foodies in us were super excited to walk around downtown and sample Mexican street food.
This tour was awesome! It was a small group of us (5, including our tour guide Amanda), so we were able to do and see a lot more. Amanda made sure to teach us some of the history of the food, the street vendors and the city. Great photo ops, too! So if you want a food and walking tour in one, consider the Downtown Puerto Vallarta Food Tour.
Carne asada street taco
Mole – the brown one tasted like chocolate!
Learning the proper way to take tequila shots
This sweet drink had pecans, apples and other deliciousness inside!
Making fresh tortillas
Fresh red snapper ceviche – this was amazing!
Fun fact: In Mexico, Pico de Gallo is actually the name used for fresh fruit salad with chili powder. In the states, it’s commonly referred to as fruit cocktail.
That’s moonshine in that gun, there!
Breaking for a quick pic
Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Group selfie with our new tour buddies!
After filling up on the food tour – seriously, they feed you well – we changed into our swim attire and headed to the hotel pool. We were sooooo fortunate that the weather cooperated for our entire stay. Rain had been in the forecast, but not one raindrop was in sight. It was hot, sunny and the pool was spectacular and overlooked the beautiful ocean.
The pool was spectacular
Cocktails by the pool
Since we were already by the water, we opted to eat at Las Casitas, the hotel’s beachfront restaurant. Dinner was delicious (see spread below) and the views were unmatched. But the mosquitoes, not surprisingly, showed no mercy. Small price to pay for the experience, though.
Fried lobster tacos, pan-seared shrimp, steak …
After dinner, we decided to pay the beach a visit (we preferred this to going in the daytime when it’s busier). There’s something innately calming about listening to the crashing waves at night.
On our last day, we decided to wake up early, check out of the hotel and catch a taxi to see some of the other parts of Puerto Vallarta – there is seriously so much the city has to offer! This is something we also recommend – just getting a taxi, driver, whatever and letting them take you all over. In resort towns, it’s easy to get stuck in a few-miles radius of your hotel only. On our ride, we were able to see the Sierra Madre Mountains and decided we needed another trip to Puerto Vallarta in the future to explore even more!