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A Trip South of the Border to Puerto Vallarta

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Prior to embarking on my trip south of the border, my parents and I were filled with reservations about me traveling to a part of Mexico that has seen an increasingly alarming amount of crime and violence in recent months. These reservations were eased when we figured out where the U.S. Consulate is, a useful resource every American tourist should have knowledge of. However, upon arriving in the mountainous resort town that surrounds Bahia de Banderas, or Banderas Bay, I was pleasantly surprised with the town’s authentic feel, which differed greatly from other Mexican vacation hotspots I had previously traveled to.


Puerto Vallarta's lush, mountainous coastline.Located about midway down Mexico on the Pacific Ocean side, Puerto Vallarta has a year around average temperature of 85 °F though it also has a distinct wet and dry season. The best time to travel to Puerto Vallarta is during the months January- April when humidity is low and it has not yet reached rainy season. However, because of its tropical climate, weather is warm year around but is often unpredictable with possible tropical showers and wide ranging humidity.


Puerto Vallarta is situated among the mountains of the Sierra Madre on the Pacific Ocean side of Mexico. It wasn’t until the mid 1980’s that the beach town became a popular travel destination, now competing with other destinations such as Cancun and Cabo San Lucas. With constant influxes of tourists, many large, luxury resorts have been built along the beaches of Banderas Bay including the Melia Puerto Vallarta and Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa. Many of the beachfront resorts offer all-inclusive packages that take the stress out of worrying about meals and drinks, and are perfect for students and family vacations.


Besides the many resorts, Puerto Vallarta is unique among other Mexico travel destinations in the large number of rental villas. During my stay, I was able to stay in one of these beachfront villas, Villa Amapas, and found it to be a great choice for this part of Mexico. Along with the private amenities of staying in a villa, many also come with a full staff, which in my case included a chef, housekeeper, house manager, and security guard. Upon learning this, my reservations about traveling to an area plagued with recent crime vanished immediately. Puerto Vallarta's Villa AmapasThe house manager also helped us set up a driver for the week. I would highly recommend hiring a driver when traveling to Puerto Vallarta because the benefits are endless! Our driver would wait outside any restaurants, attractions or nightclubs we went to, to ensure that everyone got home safely. This is incredibly important, especially for groups of girls on vacation. He was also knowledgeable of what was going on in the city and even took me to Costco when I unfortunately lost my camera! Being able to have a local with you at all times is invaluable and can help steer any naïve or unaware travelers out of danger. Both hotel staff and villa booking companies should be able to assist travelers in hiring a van driver for their stay.


Besides relaxing by the pool or on the beach, Puerto Vallarta has a wide range of activities to offer. From water sports such as jet skiing, parasailing, and banana boating, to fishing and canopy tours, there is something for everyone! Most water activities can be found by taking a stroll down the beach and inquiring at one of the various stands. During my stay I was able to conquer my fear by partaking in one of the many zip line courses! Puerto Vallarta offers many companies that provide canopy and ATV trips throughout the beautiful, lush Sierra Madre mountainside such as Los Veranos Canopy Tours and Puerto Vallarta Tours. I highly suggest Brad Farber partaking in one of Puerto Vallarta's numerous water activities.taking a break from relaxing beachside to explore some of the many wonderful activities Puerto Vallarta has to offer!


Puerto Vallarta is also known for its great nightlife. With numerous restaurants, bars and clubs vacationers looking for an eventful evening will not be disappointed. During my stay we went to nightclubs Strana, Xtine and Mandala. Many clubs are located on or near the beach and play music from all genres, providing entertainment for all. Puerto Vallarta nightclub StranaThese nightclubs and bars are not located on a central street, but spread out throughout the downtown area of Puerto Vallarta, which is another benefit to hiring a driver! Though my experience was a bit different from any usual trip to Puerto Vallarta, crowded with other college spring breakers, it is always a good idea to travel in large groups and always be aware of your surroundings- never accept a drink from a bartender you do not watch pour it!


Overall Puerto Vallarta was a beautiful, lush, beach vacation spot that I would gladly return to for any upcoming vacations!


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Written by Emily Kjesbo You are reading A Trip South of the Border to Puerto Vallarta articles

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