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Mixed Drinks, Mixed Feelings

October 27, 2008

That could easily sum up our vacation! Since it was all-inclusive, you could pretty much order any drink you wanted, and if you didn’t like it, you just gave it back and ordered another to try. My favorite “easy” drink were the Bahama Mamas and Pina Coladas (though the Pina’s were better with an extra shot of rum!). In the evenings I couldn’t get enough of the chocolate martinis. We also had some amazing mango margaritas at La Distileria (a tequila distillery/restaurant) in downtown Puerto Vallarta.

Here is Ronnie with our first drinks ordered from the swim-up bar on our first day, before the Mexican kids showed up for the weekend. It was like the calm before the storm. I don’t recall what these drinks were, orange something (even though they look green), but I wasn’t a fan so I didn’t get any more of them!

On our last day they had the “Coco Loco” beach party, where they made us dance in a congo line in order to go get a mysterious sweet blue drink in a real coconut. Here they are preparing the coconuts, and then Ronnie and me enjoying our coconut drinks. We actually didn’t drink much of it because they were way too sweet, and the coconuts were so heavy my arms were shaking every time I picked up my drink!

The resort was quite immaculate, super clean and well designed. Here is the view from our room on the top floor, and also me in the hotel lobby. Then, we snagged someone to take a picture of us in the central garden/terrace area before dinner.

The beach was pretty – not the white sand and turqouise waters of the Caribbean, but what I liked were the mountains along the coast. Banderas Bay where Puerto Vallarta sits is a huge C-shaped coastline with mountains as a backdrop. Here are a couple pics taken from our beach.

The dinners – we had some of the best dinners and worst dinners of our lives in Puerto Vallarta. The dinners at the resort were mediocre and by the end of the trip, down right disgusting. If we had gotten a chance to go to the resort restaurants, we might have had a better experience. But even though it was all-inclusive, they required reservations, which we attempted to make on our first day there before doing anything. We got into two, the first which was Japanese-inspired, and had a decent sushi appetizer. I should’ve just asked for more of that for my dinner, because the sweet-chile shrimp was not good. Ronnie’s sesame crusted salmon was decent, but his stomach was already not feeling well after his lunch at the buffet earlier that day! We didn’t get into any of the other restaurants during our stay. Well we did on the last night but we didn’t end up going because we were so sick of the resort and found some friends to go into town with for a fancy dinner instead.

Onto the photos…first dinner at the buffet. I will say the service was amazing. It’s just the food that sucked. We still tipped well no matter what because the staff worked very hard!

And the following are from the amazing dinner at the rooftop restaurant El Panorama in downtown Puerto Vallarta. First is Carrie and me (we met her and husband Joe from Pasadena) as we “help” the tableside chef prepare Ronnie and Joe’s tequila shrimp. They gave us girls complimentary tequila shots and sombreros!

Here is Ronnie and I at sunset on the rooftop. It was an incredible view overlooking Banderas Bay.

We also took a group photo of us and our new friends. There were three other couples that we met up with on various occasions. Starting with me and Ronnie and going clockwise, there are Megan and Jeff (newlyweds from Boston), Diane and Paul (celebrating 31 years from Rhode Island), and then Joe and Carrie from Pasadena. Here we are at our favorite patio bar at the resort.

Then here is what the patio bar looked like at midnight. There are seriously kids sitting at the bar stools…

Here are pics from our first trip downtown to the Malecon, which is like a boardwalk along the beach where all the restaurants and shops are. There were giant sand sculptures along the way. This one is Mother Mary and Jesus, and is at least 10 feet tall!

Here is a concrete mime. He wouldn’t move or talk unless you put money in his tip jar and then all of a sudden he’d reach down and say thank you. He startled a lot of people.

We had gone with Paul and Diane, and they wanted to stop at a Mexican restaurant to try some good traditional tequila, so we stopped at La Distileria where they made their own. Here are two $20 shots of tequila. Yes, $20! We didn’t realize that till we got the bill. Four people, a single order of guacamole, six tequila shots, 6 real fruit margaritas, total was $180!!! We were shocked, but it was all good and the experience was worth it.

It was an open air restaurant that overlooked the ocean, and they had a large mariachi band that played throughout the evening.

I would’ve loved to stay longer that night at the Malecon, but Ronnie’s stomach was really messed up, and turns out, so was Paul’s, so we headed back to the resort.

Overall, we’d give this vacation a “C” grade. There were some great parts and some bad parts (the resort food and the ridiculous amount of Mexican children splashing around the pool and even in the adult pool!). We would never go back to this resort, but would definitely visit the city again. I might actually choose a non-all-inclusive because the city was so neat and had so many nice restaurants. After talking to many of the people we met, we think we might make Dominican Republic our next destination, but there we’ll definitely be choosing an adults-only resort, and probably stick with the same chain we went to on our honeymoon. But that’s still probably two years away, so for now we’ll try and remember the good parts of this vacation, forget the bad, and just enjoy being home with Skyler for awhile!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    October 27, 2008 8:09 pm

    I really enjoyed your thoughts on PV! It’s disappointing you didn’t have a better time but I had a lot of the same feelings that you did, especially in regards to the beach. There were 8 of us on our vacation so it was a guaranteed good time but if I had to rank PV in terms of vacation destinations, I’d probably put it close to the bottom. As much as I love Mexico and as cheesy as it sounds, Cancun is by far the best place we’ve been there. PV would probably be second (only because of how much there is to do), followed by Cabo.
    I’m sure it feels good to be home though 🙂 Welcome back!

  2. Adria Hunter permalink
    October 28, 2008 2:54 am

    bummer about the food and crazy kids. sometimes you have such high hopes for something and think about it for soooo long that no matter what it can never be the paradise in your dreams.
    i think it would be fun to meet new people to go out with!

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