There is no denying that getting together with your girlfriends is great for your mental health and happiness. Spending time together with friends creates special bonds, memories, and provides us with comfort and joy.
Taking the time to connect and nourish those relationships away from our regular routine is a must. On a recent girlfriends’ getaway trip to Puerto Vallarta, spending time with some fabulous ladies in a tropical paradise was exactly what I needed.
What to Do in Puerto Vallarta
Framed by the majestic Sierra Madre mountains and the Bahía de Banderas (Banderas Bay), Puerto Vallarta is one of my favorite places in the world to visit. It has a fairly constant temperature of between 70°F and 85°F, incredible food, and gorgeous surroundings.
The charming and historic downtown with its colonial architecture is the place to begin an exploration of the city. It is also where you will find the Malecon, a mile-long boardwalk enhanced by a collection of beautiful bronze sculptures along its length.
The sculptures all have a special story and significance to the area, with most of the pieces having been privately funded. As we moved along through this free, incredible open-air gallery, Nemo from Vallarta101 explained each sculpture, giving us some of the background details and their significance along the Malecon.
The Bay of Banderas is a seriously tempting body of water for aquatic adventures. Visitors wanting both adventure and luxury should consider a yacht and snorkel experience with Vallarta Adventures. Relax on the deck of a luxury catamaran while enjoying the spectacular views on route to snorkeling hotspots. On arrival at the beach, you have the opportunity to snorkel, paddleboard or try the famous “banana” tube ride. With all the incredible sea life in the area, keep a lookout for dolphins, turtles and tropical fish.
As an oceanfront city, seafood is one of the mainstays in the cuisine found in Puerto Vallarta. What better way to enjoy it then to learn how to make one of their iconic dishes? The Caribbean Ceviche cooking class at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta is a fun and delicious way to learn how to make this iconic seafood dish.
For chocolate lovers, the 3-hour Total Chocolate workshop at Choco Museo takes guests through the entire chocolate-making process, beginning with the beans. You get to roast and grind the beans, then temper your chocolate on marble, as well as making your own truffles to take home. Or more realistically, eat on the spot.
Spa and Shopping
Puerto Vallarta has something for everyone, from high-end boutiques to incredible flea markets. Shop along the bougainvillea-lined Basilio Badillo, and discover local artisans and designers, like Cassandra Shaw Jewellery. Love a good flea market? Head to the Isla Rio Cuale to find great gifts for the family at the colorful market stalls.
I think we can agree that enjoying a spa on a girlfriend getaway is a must. The Maiave Spa in the Sheraton Buganvillas resort is THE place to enjoy a hydrotherapy session and relaxing massage that will leave your mind and body revitalized, and ready for an evening’s margarita.
Where to Eat
Puerto Vallarta has a great food scene, and one of the most fun ways to sample everything is through a Vallarta Food walking tour. From fried fish tacos to savory carnitas, moles and Mexican sweets, the food tour is a feast of fresh tastes and discoveries.
Although dining on the beach usually conjures up romantic images, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy it with the girls. There are several wonderful restaurants along the beach such as La Palapa and El Dorado, where you can sit and enjoy the last hours of daylight, as the sun sets in spectacular fashion on the Pacific.
Where to Stay
Casa Kimberly, located in the Zona Romantica, indulges with a bit of old Hollywood glamour. The original house was a birthday gift to Elizabeth Taylor from Richard Burton. It’s now a renovated boutique hotel with the Iguana Restaurant, named after the movie that made Puerto Vallarta famous.
The exterior of the building is quite unassuming, but once you step inside you see the wonderful mix of traditional Mexican design, with Hollywood glamour thrown in. From the bronze sculpture at its entrance, the beautiful blue and white tiles on the stairways, and the stunning portrait of Elizabeth Taylor (and those mesmerizing violet eyes) greeting you at the top of the stairs, you feel can feel her very presence.
The open-air restaurant on the second level offers stunning views of Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas. The best time to visit is at sunset to enjoy the amazing views.
The Marriott Puerto Vallarta, located in the marina area has recently undergone a massive renovation. The new open-air lobby has been transformed into an oasis of calm, with rustic décor elements and turquoise accents throughout. The design is aligned with the colors that represent the culture of the state of Jalisco; elements such as the blue agave plant, which is used for making Tequila ( which is an integral part of the hotel which bottles its own Casa Magna brand of Tequila), to the colors of the volcanic stone and wood that lend a touch of rustic, yet modern look and feel to the hotel.
The pool area features a new raised pool deck, with plenty of daybeds to relax in, along with an addition of a Coco bar, where you can get your fill of fresh coconut water and cocktails.
The Marriott Puerto Vallarta’s sustainability efforts include a turtle preservation program that runs from June to December that protects the turtle nests, then releases the baby turtles once they hatch.
Spending a few days enjoying a Puerto Vallarta vacation with friends will create wonderful memories, and will leave you feeling completely relaxed and rejuvenated.
Rossana Wyatt is a Canadian blogger specializing in gluten-free and family travel. You can read about her adventures at www.lifeisfullofadventures.com.