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Trip Report Puerto Vallarta Trip Report - mother/daughter

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What a lovely time we had in Puerto Vallarta. I traveled there with my 3 yo daughter for 4 days in mid February. We stayed at the Marriott Casa Magna in the Marina area which turned out to be very central and convenient. I hired a driver to pick us up with a car seat from the airport. He also booked a tour for us for Saturday and gave me advice on getting to Sayulita one day(basically advised not to do a tour but just take a cab and go on my own). After that first pick up I traveled in taxi everywhere with my daughter and we didn't used a car seat. It was fine.

The hotel is very nice, the hotel staff was very friendly when we arrived and offered my daughter brownies and a little candy shaped like a bear. She was thrilled. We arrived around 2pm so the first thing on the agenda was lunch. We decided to eat at the outdoor restaurant by the water, Las Casitas. I ordered the fish tacos (they were pretty good but nothing out of this world). I also had a huge drink in a coconut. My daughter got a kick out of how they decorated the coconut with fruits to make a face. I gave her the fruit and told her my drink was "spicy". That usually stops her for wanting any. It was a beautiful, sunny day. After lunch we strolled the property a bit and my daughter found the kids pool. So we headed in to our room to change and we enjoyed the rest of our afternoon at the kid pool. I also checked out the kids club. When I originally was looking for a hotel I was hoping for a kids club where I could drop my daughter off for an hour or so in order to get a massage. This kids club won't take children until they are 4 years old so that idea was out the window but I was fine with it. I love spending time with my daughter (which is why I travel with her). I'm not sure I would have felt comfortable leaving her. She sometimes get a little anxious away from me.
It got cool around 5-6pm so we went in and called it a night. I ordered a pizza from room service which was surprisingly good and only about $9! That's one thing I was surprised about on this trip, everything is so affordable.

The following morning we got up relatively early and had breakfast at La Estancia restaurant. Our room rate came with breakfast included and this buffet was awesome. It had everything you could imagine.

We then jumped in a cab and went to Sayulita. I honestly hadn't had much time to research this trip so I had no idea what to expect. As we were driving there I was a little concerned that it wouldn't be a walkable area. But it was perfect, such a quaint little town full of artisans and juice bars. We spent some time wandering around and shopping and then we headed to the beach. On the way I was able to buy my daughter all the cute little Mexican toys and hats etc. The beach is a surfers beach, very wavy. But we had a great time splashing around in the water by the shore. There are chairs and umbrellas for rent right on the beach and they will take your order and bring you food. I had the fish tacos (yes again!). These were great and my daughter loved them. There are many vendors on the beach selling things. They aren't pushy which is good. I was able to get a fresh coco frio on the beach, so that was great. I honestly didn't want to leave, it was a perfect beach day. Eventually we found our way back to a central cab location and made our way back to the hotel. My daughter slept in yet car on the way back which worked out perfectly. It's about a 45 min drive each way.

The next morning we had to be up and out early to make it to the Marina docks by 730am. We took a boat tour to Las Caletas. I had read mixed reviews about this tour. It is a bit "touristy" but for a single mom with an active toddler it was perfect. The crew on the boat is so much fun and caters to every need. Once on the island there are plenty of activities such as snorkeling and even a small zip line. I think those things might be disappointing for most but I couldn't even partake in them. We just relaxed on the hammocks and played on to beach. There is an animal encounter with capuchin monkeys, parrots and snakes, perfect for a 3 year old. The other great thing is that they are photographing the whole time. I was able to buy pictures of our entire day for a very reasonable price. Priceless, since it's hard to get pictures of us together. Of course my daughter is so stinking cute that I think she got some more attention and we ended up with over 100 photos. The tour was from about 8am to 2pm. They provide a really nice lunch. It's about a 45 min boat ride to the island each way.

We did eat on the property again that night at the sushi restaurant Mikado, it was very good and again I was amazed with the affordable prices. I didn't intend to eat on the property so much but it was very convenient.

Our last full day I wanted to enjoy that pool and the property and also make it downtown. It was rainy in the morning but that didn't stop us from getting in the pool once it cleared a little. It was a little chilly for my taste but I grinned and beared if for my daughter who was having a blast. The pool water was actually warm, it was just overcast and cool out.

We then got ready to have a late lunch down near the Malecon area. A friend had recommended that I try a place known for their mole, El Mole de Jovita, they opened around 3:30 )but really weren't ready until 4:30). It's in the Zona Romantica which I'm glad I got to see. The mole is truly fantastic. After lunch we took a taxi to the Cathedral De Guadalupe and then walked along the Malecon. We had a great time just watching the waves crash as the sun was starting to set.

Overall the trip was perfect for us, exactly what I wanted for a winter getaway from cold Chicago. I think the experience in PV could be really different if you could enjoy the nightlife also but I honestly didn't miss it. I can see why people return over and over. I doubt I will be back every year, there are other place in Mexico I want to explore now (Playa del Carmen, Cabo etc).

PV is overall very safe. I felt comfortable everywhere we went. I do speak Spanish so I'm sure that helped.

I did get stomach sick when I returned from Mexico. I think I know what caused it. I had a margarita at the airport bar with ice in it. I thought the ice was supposed to be safe but apparently not. Oops! Learned my lesson.

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