I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch, and so I’m tempted to complain about the 17 hour train ride through a snow storm that I’m about to take. Instead, I think I’ll focus on the positive and tell you about a last minute trip I took to Puerto Vallarta a couple of months ago. Remembering it will very likely give me the perk up I need and maybe inspire you to take a trip to beautiful Mexico!
Puerto Vallarta has never been high on my list of destinations. It’s too touristy. But when I suddenly found myself with some free time, I researched cheap sunny destinations and Puerto Vallarta it was. And now, I’m in love. The city is easy to get around, warm, friendly, and you can easily visit on a budget.
Because I didn’t take any time to really plan this trip, I had expected that I would spend the majority of the time laying on the beach. In reality, there is much more to do in PV than lay around! Here are my top recommendations:
That’s right, there’s a Chocolate Museum. The museum itself is small but definitely interesting. However, the real reason to visit is to take a chocolate making class. They have a couple of options, I took the combo class “Beans to Bar” where I learned more about the history of chocolate, made chocolate drinks and truffles. My teacher was a professional chef who spoke perfect English. I was the only person in the class that morning, we had a ton of fun.
I roasted these beans! We used the peel to make a delicious chocolate tea!
Cooling the chocolate down to just the right temperature for truffles!
The Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens are a bit of a trek outside of the city, but absolutely worth it. I took an Uber there (only about $5) and then caught the bus back to the city. There are tons of hiking trails, be sure to bring good hiking shoes. I ended up only doing a small amount of the hiking that was available due to the fact that I was in sandals. Also, they will sell you bug spray, but it’s probably better to bring your own (cheaper). You will need it.
There’s a restaurant where you can feed hummingbirds!
Be sure to bring your swimming suit, the water is great!
Fortunately you don’t need good hiking shoes to see some beautiful things!
Birds of Paradise. My favorite!
Bioluminescence and Paddle Boarding!
I will have no pictures that can truly do this activity justice, but it was by far the highlight of my trip. Paddle Zone is located on Mismaloya Beach (definitely not my favorite beach, but worth it for the Paddle Boarding). I had intended on just renting a paddle board for a couple of hours during the day, but then I found out that they have a 3 hour night time bioluminescence tour. Worth every penny (about $50 USD). Don’t worry if you have never been paddle boarding, the crew takes great care of you and will help you feel comfortable! There’s absolutely nothing like paddle boarding at sunset only to come back in the dark. But the miraculous part is paddling through the Los Arcos National Park where you see the bioluminescence plankton. It’s like somebody spread glitter all over the water. When we returned from the excursion, a feast of pizza, fruit, and sweets was prepared for us – you definitely work up an appetite! Photos can be purchased at the end of the tour…
Turns out paddle boarding on the ocean is easier than I expected!
We had some great light belts to make sure we were visible in an emergency.
Heading into the cave!
Finally, be sure to leave some time to wander the city and relax on the beach!
Art on the Malecon
Our Lady of Guadeloupe (in the background)
There are lots of restaurants with views!
I spent a good 8 hours doing this. It was glorious.