Every anniversary we love to do a new getaway together, and although we normally just try to find some place new within budget, this year for our four-year anniversary we had a few little necessities.
- The flight needed to be short. After the long 10 hour flights to-and-from London, the thought of another long flight felt draining.
- We should go somewhere relaxing, somewhere that wouldn’t leave us with a long list of must-see’s but rather leave us with more opportunity to enjoy each other’s company.
That was pretty much it. After we looked into a few places, Puerto Vallarta made sense as a small yet beautiful city in Mexico that was just a little less than a 2.5 hour flight away.
We decided not to book an all-inclusive hotel because, well, we love Mexican food. The thought of eating the same food made at the hotel every day just didn’t feel right. We wanted to try what the city had to offer. Instead, we booked our hotel away from all of the new all-inclusives by the airport and stayed at a hotel 40 minutes away in downtown, also known as the Romantic Zone or Zona Romantica. This area is basically like an old town Puerto Vallarta with some older yet classic streets yet still very tourist-friendly. Side note: Tristan spoke Spanish with the cab driver all the way to the hotel. He’s pretty amazing.
We stayed at Playa de los Arcos which had a reputation for being a family-friendly hotel. We wouldn’t deny. Their service was impeccable – they even remembered Tristan’s name and greeted us when we’d pass by the lobby! As you can see in the pictures below, it was more classic than modern which I enjoyed. Why travel to a different country to stay in a modern hotel that looks just like home? Of course, it’s definitely a matter of preference, but this hotel worked great for us.
What a view, huh?
Our first day there was sweet and simple. We just relaxed, walked around, went to find some dinner along the beach (where Dominic also spilled a glass of OJ all over us #parentlife), then caught the sunset on the way back. Funny thing is that it was pouring rain for a bit while we were eating, then it all cleared up just for the sunset. We made sure to get some good sleep in so we could really enjoy our first full day.
One thing I really noticed about PV after our first day there was that it’s really built for tourists. Most people speak English and every restaurant has English translations. If you don’t want to be taken completely out of your element in Mexico, PV is a great city to go to. It’s a nice blend of tourist destination and Mexican culture.
The next day, we went to get breakfast then went to enjoy – what else? – the beach! This was our first time really taking Dominic into the water because it was so comfortably warm. At home, we could only let him stay where the waves just brush his feet because of how cold it is so little man was a happy camper!
This photo always cracks me up! Dominic must have spotted the vendor with the sand toys…
Experiencing the wonders of sand… by throwing it!
Since it is a big tourist destination, there are a lot of vendors that walk around to try to sell food, drinks, and trinkets. We didn’t let it bother us too much though; this is how some of the families here are making a living. We understand that we didn’t pay for privacy; we paid to visit their home. If you’re not interested in what they’re offering, a simple “No, thank you” or “No gracias” will suffice. We were thankful though because one vendor really was selling sand toys, so we bought one to show Dominic how to make sand animals and sand castles.
Below is the Playa Los Muertos Pier which was right outside of our hotel. It’s become the centerpiece of downtown as they work on reviving the city. It stands out being so new and modern (inaugurated 2013). It’s beautiful at night as it glows in different colors, and I’ll share some of that in a later post.
Lots of boats to look at! They took guests to different islands or even out fishing.
After we freshened up, we took a walk down the Malecon, which is basically a long promenade along the coast. You’ll find some beautiful statues and other pieces of art as well as a priceless view of the ocean. At the end of it, you’ll find yourself across the street of The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe which was absolutely beautiful inside and out. I didn’t take any photos inside though because I was getting tired (and it was super hot).
On the way back to our hotel, we noticed a little lagoon area with a restaurant and a spot offering free tequila tastings. Tristan wanted to check it out, so we headed down. It was such a beautiful and tropical little piece of land that almost felt isolated by the water. There’s also supposed to be a great flea market on the other side of it, but by the time we wandered through, most of the vendors had already closed up shop.
I asked him for a kiss, and he gave me the most excited and slobbery kiss ever. My heart!
While Tristan sampled a few tequilas, Dominic and I walked around the area to look at the paradise surrounding us. There were so many tropical birds around here, and Dominic would point and yell “bird!” Can you see the giant one here? (He’s somewhere near the middle).
Like I said, beautiful artwork and right along the water. Perfect for sunset silhouette photos 🙂
The sunsets we saw here were probably the best we’ve seen on any vacation.
For dinner, I wanted to sit right on the beach to enjoy the sunset, so we found one by our hotel and just enjoyed the food and company of each other. The nights were like this every night, and it was pretty magical. I love these guys.
Once we went back to the hotel, we got Dominic ready for bed, and after he fell asleep (and after we built a pillow fort around him to keep him secure haha), Tristan went out to grab some ice cream and we just enjoyed it out on the balcony. After all of the craziness of this year, this trip was really what we needed.