Puerto Vallarta Vacation Review

Just returning from a wonderful trip to Puerto Vallarta, I’ve decided that tropical vacations are good for the “soul”. It’s important to take the time to get a way from the everyday routine.

What a different “To do” list you find yourself making:

* Open window or balcony so surf can rock you to sleep each night.

* Apply plenty of sunscreen (don’t forget the top of your feet).

* Relax, enjoy.

* Make time for sunset each and everyday.

* Spend time with your partner.

* Practice your foreign language skills…Hola, Buenos Dias, etc.

* Read a couple of good books.

* Enjoy a refreshing drink at the pool.

* Take time to chat with the locals.

* Make sure to exercise…walk the beach, enjoy a bike ride, boogie board, explore town.

* If you forget one or two….no worries.

It had been almost 20 years since we had last visited Puerto Vallarta and I believe we returned as better and smarter tourist. With a better understanding of the culture, acceptance of the poverty, and a more relaxed attitude we truly enjoyed the hospitality of Mexico.

It was a vacation of experiences; out kayaking as a pod of dolphins’ swims by; you just can’t beat that! Having a great laugh as we caught a wave on the boogie board. People watching, families enjoy each other’s company and romantic couples strolling along the beach. Enjoying a couple dance the night away to the Mariachi Band as they celebrated 50 years of marriage (she 73 and he 83). We had a great time using local transportation (buses), it was easy and very inexpensive, we were even serenaded on one particular trip. We enjoyed an adventurous trip to Yelapa, south of Puerto Vallarta (Andy James say’s it’s like a visit to “Gilligan’s Island”), you can only get there by boat. Here, the local women sell incredible pies by the slice; we tried the Lemon Meringue and the Coconut Cream, we’re still dreaming about them (delicious!). We spent an afternoon at Punta Mita (it’s as far north as the bus will take you) here you can watch the surfers ride the waves, or just enjoy a leisurely day on a beautiful white sand beach. Our best meal was at “La Palapa” where the fish was amazing and the Mexican coffee prepared tableside was a fun treat.

It’s such an easy trip to Mexico via Apple Vacations, on a plane and three hours later you’re there, no connections, no long hauls. We stayed for 7-nights which worked out well; it allowed us to really get into the vacation mood and gave us the time we needed to enjoy each day. Being a good travel agent I felt it was best to stay at two very different properties. Club Marival located in Nuevo (New) Vallarta north of town, you can walk for miles along the beach, there seemed to always be a nice breeze and the boogie boarding here was a kick. It is an all-inclusive large resort that always has something going on, great for families of all ages. They have several pools, one of, which was great for children with slides and other fun water toys. We found the food and drinks to be moderate in standards, there was always plenty of it. Our room was clean yet small without a view; location was great easy access to beach, pool and all restaurants. They have a nightclub for those who want to party all night.

We later moved to the Inter-Continental Presidente south of town, a small, intimate hotel where each room is beachfront with a balcony, overlooking a quite cove. This hotel is older and was built at a time when hotels were more an art form, the room was very large and comfortable, but sometimes the smells were a bit offensive (you know those older hotels). It’s also an all-inclusive the meals were delicious, the service was amazing all the staff very attentive and gracious. This hotel is best for couples or families who want a quiet location. The old saying rings true you get what you pay for.

All in all we had a great time and recommend a vacation for the “soul” to all.

Traveling Abroad: Heeding U.S. Travel Warnings

Traveling abroad presents certain risks for Americans, especially in light of the recent bombings in London, England. For the most part, terrorists are the problem, although drug, gang, and criminal activities can also be a factor. In addition, local health conditions can be a separate problem. Thankfully, the U.S. State Department regularly issues and updates Consular Information Sheets for every country in the world. These sheets give valuable information to travelers, information you must know before you take your next trip.

As mentioned, the Consular Information Sheets provide important information for travelers. You can also check the State Department’s Current Travel Warning list to see which nations the U.S. government encourages Americans to avoid altogether. Currently, the following countries are listed:

Uzbekistan

Kenya

Iran

Iraq

Congo-Kinshasa

Nepal

Israel, the West Bank and Gaza

Afghanistan

Haiti

Nigeria

Saudi Arabia

Indonesia

Yemen

Colombia

Lebanon

Central African Republic

Pakistan

Kyrgyzstan

Philippines

Zimbabwe

Liberia

Côte d’Ivoire

Algeria

Libya

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Sudan

Burundi

Somalia

Several of the countries listed should be of no surprise to you as they are either embroiled in a war or are hotbeds of terrorist activity. These countries include: Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Algeria, and Libya.

Colombia is listed because of the ongoing violence related to the strong influence of the drug cartels there. Haiti is marked because of protracted civil unrest, while Uzbekistan has been identified as a possible terrorist breeding ground. In all cases the U.S. government warns Americans to avoid these countries as citizens may find themselves caught in the middle of an armed conflict.

Please note that just because a country is not on the Current Travel Warning list, you should still obtain the country specific Consular Information Sheets from the State Department to be aware of certain risks.

Travel Blog Your Next Vacation

Some years ago, I took an extended trip to Europe. During that vacation, I kept a travel journal in which I made notes of the places I visited, the people I met and the events that occurred. I still get out that travel journal and read through some of the entries. The problem with the journal was that the entries were not easy to share. I still had to write postcards and letters to my family and friends.

Now, with the advent of blogs (web logs) your travel journal can also serve as a way
of sharing your vacation with your family and friends. Your friends will be able to
immediately read about your adventures as soon as you’ve written about them. No
need to buy stamps or send letters via snail mail.

Because you’re writing a blog, there’s also no need to send out multiple emails
either. Write it once and your done. Your friends and family can subscribe to your
blog and they are automatically notified when you make an entry. Additionally, your
friends can make comments on your blog post that are available for others to see,
giving your friends an opportunity to actively participate in your vacation.

The best part about your blog is that while you are sharing your vacation with your
family and friends, you’ll also be making a record of your vacation so that you’ll be
able to easily remember what you did and reminisce about the great times or the
challenges that you faced.

Because blogs are web-based, you can make an entry from any location that has
access to the Internet. Many of my friends have started to make regular trips to an
Internet cafe a standard part of their vacations. Many hotels also offer and Internet
terminal that you can use for a few minutes.

There are many websites where you can post your blog for free. Many of them even
allow you to post pictures. Some blogs even specialize in travel logs. Two of my
favorites are:

Travellerspoint – Allows you to create a public travel
blog or a private travel diary that is password protected for selected viewers.

TravelBlog – Provides blog space and allows for unlimited photos
in your travel journal.

If you’ve got the travel bug, but can break away from work or don’t have appropriate
funds, you can go on a virtual vacation by subscribing to a travel blog that someone
else is keeping. You may also want to read through a blog of someone who’s been
to the destination that you’re planning to visit. You’ll get first hand travel tips and
advice for that destination.

A travel blog can enhance your vacation by allowing your friends and family to
participate as well as creating a record of the trip that you can enjoy later. Make
sure you create one for your next vacation.