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Siena Aug 10th, 2007 11:43 AM

Would I like Mexico?
My husband and I are planning a vacation and are considering Puerto Vallarta as one of our destinations (all others are in the Caribbean). We are vacationing on Marriott points, so would be staying at the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa.

I have never thought of going to Mexico and am not sure if I would like it. We are looking for a relaxing vacation, but would like to take some day and/or half day excursions (could be hiking, sightseeing, water activities, sailing, etc).

For some reason, I don't have a good picture of Mexico in my mind. I think poverty/crime/etc.

Would we be safe in Puerto Vallarta? Would we enjoy it? How expensive is the area? We are on a budget this year.

Thanks in advance for any help you are able to provide. I am torn with trying Mexico or trying a new destination in the Caribbean.

Thanks again!!!

suze Aug 10th, 2007 02:24 PM

While I personally love Puerto Vallarta and have been there many many times, I would NOT recommend it for someone who is timid about Mexico.

You will not likely see crime & poverty staying at Casa Magna Marriott in PV, but it IS Mexico and VERY different from the U.S. or vacationing in the Caribbean. People do speak Spanish, you will need peso, you need to be careful about food and water, things work differently, etc. (just my experience and opinion).

Siena Aug 10th, 2007 02:27 PM

Thank you suze!

Would you mind elaborating on that a little bit?
What did you like and not like?

I don't mind the currency or the language and I understand the water, but what about the food. Is it the same as when we traveled to Costa Rica? They just don't wash their produce as well?

Any details you can provide us with would be great.

Thank you so much!!!

suze Aug 10th, 2007 04:13 PM

Oh believe me there is not a single thing *I* don't like about Puerto Vallarta!

But have heard others people complain that the town is too commercial and touristy, they don't like there is a Wal-Mart, there is a LOT of street traffic so can be the smell of diesel in the air from the trucks and busses, downtown can get very noisy and conjested in places, too many Mexicans on the beach, it's overdeveloped, not authentic Mexico, on and on...

It's not about washing produce; potential problems come from where it is grown. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be/are soaked in a solution to remedy this.

Again, don't hear me wrong, I love PV with all my heart. But you sounded reluctant in your post (mentioning you think of crime and poverty etc.) that I would never be one to highly recommend you give it a try. That said, maybe you'd love it.

As far as costs it can be very inexpensive or you can spend quite a bit. Just depends on the kinds of places you eat, what types of activities you choose to do, like that.

The two best websites I know of are:

plus the Puerto Vallarta forum over at (not the hotel reviews section but the Forums).

Dude Aug 10th, 2007 05:28 PM

I think this is hard one. We went to Hawaii about 25 years ago, then went to Mexico and have never returned to Hawaii but have gone to Mexico probably 50 times plus. On the other hand I have a co-worker who has always wanted to go to Mexico, has traveled extensively in Europe, went to Cancun last spring and says she's never going back to Mex. So some people love it like me, and it is just not a good fit for others. I can't think of any other way than giving it a try. I generally go to Oaxaca and have never had a bad experience in 20 years even with the problems of late. It is a very different culture and you do have to be careful about some things, food and crime, but I think that applies to most places. Some of my most enjoyable travels have been busing or driving around in Mex. I would say give it a try and see how it goes for you.

KVR Aug 10th, 2007 06:21 PM

We have traveled to the Caribbean side of Mexico several times. ie, Cozumel, Cancun and Playa del Carmen. We've also been to several Caribbean Islands and Hawaii. Of all the places we've been, we love Mexico the best. The feel is a lot slower and more relaxed, we've meet some of the nicest friendiest people. We just love the food and the overall atmosphere. There are many things to see and do off the resort grounds, so you don't feel like your stuck at your hotel. We've never had any concerns with saftey, but then again, we are cautious and use common sense. I had more concerns when we went to St. Thomas and Jamaica than Mexico.

Mexico has very nice all inclusive resorts with great amentites that will cost you much extra $$$ in other areas of the Caribbean.

We are not familar with the Western side of Mexico. ie; Puerto Vallarta, Cabo, Aculpuco, etc. but we have decided to give PV a try April '08 for my 40th birthday. We needed something new. From my research, Western Mexico does not have the nice beaches with white sand and clear water. It's more like Hawaii, which we did not like. Also, in order to be close to town, the hotels in that general area are not as nice as what you'll find in Cancun or Playa. You'll have to go outside of PV. We've had a very hard time chosing a hotel to stay in.

Give it a try. If you don't like it, then you'll know. There are some destinations we would never return to, but we were glad we got to experience them first to make that decision.

suze Aug 10th, 2007 06:25 PM

I was thinking on this post & another thing is if you care about the type of beach... The west coast of Mexico is more rough, Pacific style, even within the Bay of Banderas. It is not the white sand, turquoise water of the Caribbean side (either of Mexico, or the islands proper).

chimani Aug 11th, 2007 02:13 AM

But we are not talking about Mexico here, are we? We are talking about Mexican beach resorts.

Can't help there, but it is a wonderful country to visit - easy to travel around and so much to see.

Have you considered Belize?

Siena Aug 11th, 2007 06:04 AM

Thank you all for the posts.

It is funny that you mention Belize - that came up last night in our discussion.

I definitely want to give Mexico a chance, but not sure if '08 is the right time. I am a little concerned about the comments about food and being pregnant - so maybe we should push this off until after the baby.

For those of you that mentioned Cancun, we were thinking PV over Cancun because we were thinking of the crowds - did you not feel that it was really crowded?

Thanks again for everything. You have all been very helpful.

suze Aug 11th, 2007 06:16 AM

I have not been to Cancun to speak to your question about crowds, but I can say Cancun has many mega-resort hotels along their beachfront. There is also a downtown there but most tourists don't seem to go there.

Puerto Vallara has the new mega-resorts out in Nuevo Vallarta to the north of the city. But also The Marina, Hotel Zone, El Centro and Old Town offering a wide variety of types of places to stay. Literally from $25/night rooms to... well I don't know the high end price but there's some real nice places too.

Cancun was developed by the Mexican government to bring tourists. Vallarta was a town first that attracted tourists naturally over time.

pepper131 Aug 11th, 2007 06:59 AM

I have visited the Carribean side of Mexico pregnant and returned with a 3 month old baby. We just returned from our yearly vacation (my son is now 4 1/2) - none of us have ever had a problem with getting sick, feeling unsafe, etc.

We go to Tulum (90 minutes south of Cancun) and find it extremely relaxing; most find it to be boring. It's mostly a collection of small cabana hotels; not mega resorts with over-crowding.

markalito Aug 11th, 2007 07:43 AM

I just have to say that in order to decide if Mexico is a good option you definity should decide what kind of vacation you would like. And maybe consider diferent locations in Mexico if you are not to sure if you want to go into a busy town like PV. I would say mexico is defenitly the ONE place in which vacations are really great, food is delicios (if you dont like spicy theres always options)Restaurants are always tourist friendly and I have to say people in Mexico are really nice and willing to help tourista. You know that some towns depend on tourists for their growth and richness. So I would defenitly recomend Mexico, if Puerto Vallarta seems to much of a big town you could always consider Zihuatanejo, PdC, Cabos which are also touristy but very nice beaches. If your are afraid about the water, drink it from the bottle.

KVR Aug 11th, 2007 10:33 AM

I agree you need to determine what tyoe of vacation your looking for. Cancun is more of a AI based large resort type destination. Many of the AI hotels though are turning adult only and offer very nice amentities, ala cart resturants and upgraded rooms/service. Cancun still caters to some of the Spring Break crowd, so I would definatly avoid it between Janaury and the end of April. We like Cancun in November before Thanksgiving or the 1st weekend in December.

For a much slower pace, Playa del Carmen, about an hour from Cancun would be an better option or even Cozumel. However, I don't think you could use Marriott points there.

Though, we haven't been to PV yet, we have been to Cancun and I would think PV would be a slower, less crowded destination depending on what time of year you went.

Siena Aug 11th, 2007 01:22 PM

Thank you all for your advice. We will be traveling with my brother/sister in law and we are going to meet with them tomorrow and I will fill them in on all of your great tips/suggestions/advice.

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