Puerto Vallarta: An Exquisite Time Away

We’ve just returned from a three-day getaway to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. What an exquisite place! Mike traveled there on business earlier in the week, and I followed Friday and stayed through the long weekend. We flew home late Monday night.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

View from the balcony of the Westin Hotel, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta sunset

Puerto Vallarta sunset the evening I arrived

After our protracted recovery from the flu, this trip was exactly what the proverbial doctor ordered.

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

We walked along the beach, read, took naps, and explored the grounds of the gorgeous resort hotel.

We enjoyed fruity drinks with our tortilla chips and guacamole in the casita facing the sea. San Jose has a heavy Mexican influence, but it was still fun to enjoy a dish that originated in Mexico.

 The name is derived from two Aztec Nahuatl words—ahuacatl (avocado) and molli (sauce).

Tropical cocktails with a plate of tortillas and guacamole

Tropical cocktails with a plate of tortillas and guacamole

I’m always intrigued by the local wildlife, like this clever black bird, called a Great-tailed Grackle. He seemed to know that he could swoop in for a chip, after they cleared the dishes.  He knew not to approach any of the tables with guests, but as soon as the dishes landed on a clearing tray, he made his move. Once he claimed the chip, he flew into the rafters, hopping and chirping from row to row.

On Saturday night, we ate a spectacular, five-course vegetarian meal at Café Des Artistes by Thierry Blouet. Their website describes it as

” French cuisine with Mexican inspiration. More than 25 years being the gourmet tradition in Puerto Vallarta.”

The Café Des Artistes is carved into the hillside and sits above Old Town, the heart of the city.  The main floor is a bar, with the upper two stories featuring open-air dining under the trees. They seated us on the third floor surrounded by towering bamboo and ancient trees. From there we could look down on the garden terrace.

I could go on and on about this place, but instead I’ll sum it up in one, long sentence: Dining in Puerto Vallarta with the man I love, sitting under a canopy of trees wearing a sleeveless dress with live music playing while enjoying a full-course vegetarian meal, served by a charming and devoted team of wait staff who delivered a story about each wine pairing left me breathless.  What a night!

After our meal, we walked along the strand in Old Town Puerto Vallarta before heading back to the hotel.

Three days passed quickly. We hope to return for a longer stay, to experience whale watching, snorkeling and other local activities when we have more time.

Our hotel was an easy walk to the harbor filled with boats and lovely vistas, and of course we couldn’t help but price the local real estate.  It never hurts to look, eh?

I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of our trip highlights.

Turtles sunning themselves in a pond next to a Japanese restaurant.

The hotel cat name Mitzy

Some of the brilliant colors of Mexico

Con afecto, Alys.

 

 

 

60 thoughts on “Puerto Vallarta: An Exquisite Time Away

      • Next trip starts in mid February, and we’re off to the north, FNQ, to explore the gastronomic riches of the area. I fully expect to come home several kilograms heavier, but it’ll be a beautiful and peaceful trip. We’re luckier with the heat than some right now, but it’s still very hot in the day, and the heat doesn’t moderate much at night. South Australia’s the worst just now, with temperatures hovering around 107F. I’m thinking the windows are going to help a fair bit!

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  1. What a fabulous getaway – sea, sunsets, guacamole and cocktails, fabulous three course meal – and a hotel cat! Of course there was a cat 🙂 And all of it done in the company of the man who loves you – I hope you both returned home refreshed, enlivened and healthy again. Completely wonderful post Alys, now on with the AC! 🙂

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    • Pauline, Mike spotted two kittens, side by side while I was bathing. I spent the next two days hoping they would make another appearance, but no luck. We saw another cat at a neighboring hotel and then of course the delightful Mitzy. I felt right at home (but no litter box to clean and no bowls to wash.) We’re back to good health and plan to keep it that way. The AC installers have been here for two days, and will return in the morning for a final couple of hours. They’re both cat-lovers, and honored careful instructions about who could go out the front door (Mouse) and could not (Tessa and Lindy). Then for a brief time Tessa went missing. When she finally reappeared, it was from the crawl space under the house. The tip-off was the spider web mask she sported. I kept her in my room for the remainder of the day, and when they left they returned the trap door cover. Then M came home from school and could hear Mouse crying. He managed to sneak under there too! It’s been one of those crazy days.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Your good company and your beautiful country are next. xo

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      • Cats and crawl spaces, especially new ones, are ‘a thing’. Orlando is the only cat I have ever had who does not come home covered in cobwebs. However he does come home covered in dried leaves from the garden where I swear he sweeps with his tail daily! You will be waiting for your summer with some equilibrium now Alys, cool air is wonderful! We have cooler temps here today and my energy level doubles!! In countdown mode now 😀

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        • I love the image of Orlando sweeping with his tail. My now deceased Fluffy once came in with a snail embedded in her fur. I found it while petting her, to my great surprise. Ewwww.

          Yes, a cool home this summer will be an extraordinary treat. I’m so glad to hear that cooler temps have arrived. I know what you mean about doubling your energy. Hot weather really saps your energy.

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  2. In this single beautiful post you’ve captured so many of my favorite things about Mexico — without the sunburn! 🙂 I’m happy you and your fellow found your time in the sun so restorative. And thank you for sharing your gorgeous photos too, which are like a balm for my soul on this cold, dark, wintry morning. ¡Un abrazo!

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    • Hola, Heidebee! Thanks for your kind words and good cheer. I’m sure a few days in Mexico would do your soul good. You’ve had such a bitter cold winter so far. Have you been to this part of Mexico? My friend Marcia did her student teaching there (she’s a bilingual educator) and loved it.. Mike is a fluent Spanish speaker, so it really adds to my enjoyment hearing him converse with the locals. I’ve always struggled with a second language, and as such know a smattering of French and German, mostly useless in California. I would love to have his language skills. Do you speak Spanish?

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      • How wonderful that Mike is fluent in Spanish — what a talented guy! You’re right that it adds a whole new dimension to our travels when language barriers aren’t a concern. (Especially in tourist areas where you’re otherwise more likely to succumb to the occasional rip-off.)

        And yes, I did visit Puerto Vallarta a couple of times as a kid and have fond (but very fuzzy) memories of it. More often we could go to my uncle’s house at lake Tequesquitengo — which I remember vividly, because the “lake” was actually a volcanic caldera and the smell of sulfur was omnipresent — in the water, in the air, in the soil, in the food … everywhere. I recommend sticking with Puerto Vallarta for future vacations. 🙂

        And how wonderful that you speak a smattering of French and German — me too! I’ve been working on both on and off but find it’s difficult to acquire language as an adult. It requires real commitment and consistency, traits which have not been hallmarks of mine so far. 🙂

        But Spanish, yes. I grew up speaking it from a young age so I’m lucky to be a native speaker of both Spanish and English. If we ever do a gals’ getaway I will be glad to serve as the interpreter. 😀

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        • I love the thought of traveling with you! You know all the good places and have the eye and the appreciation for things off the beaten path. Mike’s parents immigrated to the US from Argentina (though his dad earlier immigrated to Argentina from Italy). Mike was born in the US but also spoke Spanish from childhood. My dad was born in England and my mom, Canada, so between us, our parents represent four countries.

          Here’s what I’ve learned about second language acquisition: We lose all our natural abilities around the age of ten, which, annoyingly is the age they start teaching it in school. I think bilingual education is a great idea, but it is not always looked on favorably, mostly by people who don’t understand. I worked as an executive assistant for a company many years ago after they were acquired by Daimler-Benz. I studied German three days a week at Berlitz. I picked up phrases and it helped with pronunciation, but if you’re never in a place where you can use it, it fades quickly.

          Of possible interest:https://www.livescience.com/46938-why-adults-struggle-with-new-languages.html

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          • What an interesting background you and Mike have, Alys! You’re like really fascinating onions that get even more fascinating with each layer. 🙂

            Thank you also for sharing that Livescience article. It’s an intriguing concept, isn’t it — that maybe we’re just trying too hard. Perhaps that’s why I’ve had some success with Rosetta Stone. It hasn’t helped one iota with German grammar, but I do feel fairly confident in my vocab and pronunciation (even if the words are in the wrong order, ha ha).

            As for traveling together: I would love that too! Though I should warn you that my penchant for pausing to notice details wears thin fast on those around me. One friend described it as “taking a walk with the world’s most ADD dog.” 😀

            Speaking of German, did you ever read David Sedaris’ essay, “Easy, Tiger”? It’s got a couple of naughty bits that may offend the more sensitive reader, but is laugh-out-loud funny.

            https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/07/11/easy-tiger

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  3. It looks like you had a lovely time; so glad you could get away for a well deserved break! I know what you mean about the real estate being a lure. It’s hard not to daydream about owning a chunk of paradise – lol.

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    • Thank you, Sara. You’re right, too about the daydreaming. We know full well that that’s what were doing, but we still stand there and debate the merits of a lower floor condo versus and upper (the price climbs with the floors, and of course the view).

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  4. I’m so happy that you and Mike had this time together in such a magical place….everything you wrote warmed my heart and made me smile. Time to book the next visit!

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  5. Ditto on what Pauline just said and I’m a fan of turtles as well. I tried to post on your FB page that you and Mike look like you were made for each other in every photo I ever see of you two together. I think that’s where the term “made for each other comes from” . Don’t think I’ve ever seen a happier couple. I could sure go for one of those cocktails. 🙂 Have always been a bit leery about going to Mexico but you make it look quite appealing. Glad you had a relaxing time. It’s so important.

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    • Marlene, you’ll be delighted to know that the hotel has a sea turtle nursery where they house thousands of eggs each year. They release the babies after they’ve hatched. They return to the sea, and return later to lay eggs.

      Thank you for your “made for each other” comment. It took many years for us to find each other, but it was worth the wait. (Well, I suppose in the interest of full disclosure, I kissed my share of toads along the way.) xo

      There are parts of Mexico that are safer than others, much the same way it is in this country. Illicit drugs, kidnapping and extortion are a real problem in certain Mexican states. What a shame for the ordinary citizens living there. Thank you for your good cheer. xo

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  6. Ooh, looks like heaven with those pretty drinks, fresh guacamole, flowers and pretty sunsets too. And of course your hubby at your side – you look like a honeymoon couple! 😉 Glad you had a nice break Alys! Recharging the batteries and taking time out is simply necessary sometimes. 🙂

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  7. There’s so MUCH in this post, and it’s all happy-making! The getaway does sound like the perfect antidote to the California worries, including the flu, and you didn’t have to go into cat withdrawal!

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  8. Everything looked lovely, what a nice opportunity for some, ‘we’ time/ ‘me’ time ! Do you think the climate is very different than California? The flowers are beautiful. I love that they have a house cat, guest greeter. Did she like to sit on laps too? I’m going to love up Orlando because by then, I’ll be jonesing pretty bad I suspect.
    That’s a cute apartment with the seafoam trim and balconies! Tropical colours run through my veins I guess. Adios ! xox K

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    • You will be away from your sweet kitties for a long while. I know that will be a challenge. Once in NZ, you’ll get Siddy and Orlando. I can’t wait to meet them.

      Mitzy liked attention, but she didn’t seem inclined for lap sitting. It’s probably too hot and humid for that on most days. She was so mellow though. Really quite amazing.

      Mexico is quite a bit warmer and also humid since it’s close to water and closer to the equator. The average January temps there are 80°F (26°C) high and 62°F (16°C) low. Here is San Jose, our average January is 60 F with a low of 42 F. Mexico is 1,800 miles further south.

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  9. Now that’s a way to celebrate your recovery! It’s been on the cold side here of late, which makes Mexico sound all the more enticing but the closest I get is watching the cruise ships move in and out of the harbor.

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  10. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: A Tiny Treasure from my Travels – Gardening Nirvana

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