Puerto Vallarta Is the Perfect Summer Getaway

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Puerto Vallarta Is the Perfect Summer Getaway

There is no shortage of incredible beach options in Mexico for a magical summer getaway, but Puerto Vallarta stands out among the rest. Tucked within a stretch of Pacific coastline surrounded by mountains and facing the gorgeous Bay of Banderas, with its pleasing year-round tropical climate and an abundance of magic to discover, there is never a wrong time to visit Puerto Vallarta. With year-round direct flights available from many major U.S. cities, your getaway has never been easier.

The Fiesta Americana resort in Puerto Vallarta is a fantastic place to base a trip into this beautiful region, with its attractive all-inclusive options for those who want an easy, laid-back getaway while also having proximity to downtown Puerto Vallarta’s charms. The inviting quality of the resort begins with the entrance, consisting of a massive, open-air thatched hut structure housing the check-in alongside a misty waterfall, where peacocks can be seen strutting near the rocks at the top. The cascades fuel a trickling stream that creates a pleasant atmosphere around the desks intermixed with benches and cushy seating. The hotel opens up to a plethora of activities beyond this point. Tucked in a hallway lies the soothing Nakawé Spa, where the talented and experienced massage therapists offer pleasurable bodywork and hydrotherapy to bring your relaxation to the next level and help you set aside any lingering remnants of home to start your vacation proper. The adjacent gymnasium allows guests to maintain any desired exercise regimen with ample weights and equipment suitable to any desired workout.

Of course, fueling those workouts will be simple, as the resort offers a surprising variety of cuisine choices for even the most refined palate. Trying them all would be quite difficult; there’s traditional Mexican at El Mexicano, or consider enjoying a plate of pasta from Rosato, the Italian restaurant. The Grill offers a selection of hearty barbecue, or be thrilled by the spectacle of your meal prepared before you teppanyaki-style in a fiery show at the Asian restaurant Tiantang. La Cevichería is your place to get your seafood fix, and if you want to browse options at your leisure, head to the Chulavista buffet.

If you’ve booked a room with Fiesta Club status, your options grow even larger. Enjoy access to the SONNE Club Lounge, where the tailored snack and drink services and the elevated pool offering spectacular views of the Bay of Banderas promise a blissful time. Empty stomachs won’t last long while browsing the breakfast selections of fruit, cereal, yogurt, eggs, and more in the morning at Veranda, and don’t miss an intimate dinner experience at L’Isola. Getting its name from its location on a small peninsula jutting out into the main pool, enjoy the soft warmth of the lights blending with the wavy blues of the pool to create an intimate atmosphere perfectly suited to enjoy exquisite Italian dishes.

Although it can be tempting to let yourself lose track of time within the numerous options available at the Fiesta Americana, there is much that should be seen outside in Puerto Vallarta proper. Downtown and within the Zona Romantica, marvel at the stunning specimens of ornate Mexican architecture, historic streets, and charming parks, walls, and benches filled with art. Follow the sound of the ocean waves to the Malecón, a beachside promenade offering idyllic views of the mountains converging into the horizon. Admire the attractive oceanfront buildings, authentic Mexican street food, and the peculiar art sculptures, some of which are alive! Several performance artists frequently don costumes here, where their occasionally statuesque craft will leave you wondering what is and isn’t real.

If the pull of the ocean becomes too great, try booking a whale-watching tour with the Triton Catamaran. A fun day at sea beckons as you get an up-close glimpse of the clear, cerulean Pacific waters, where whales, dolphins, and other marine wildlife join thrilling views of the city from the unique perspective of the waves.

It’s impossible not to notice the curious rope bridges just off of the streets going over streams into somewhere mysterious; satisfy your curiosity and journey over them to discover the Isla Cuale market. The colorful smattering of vendors, scattered throughout a tiny island lined with leafy trees that are often home to sleepy orange iguanas, is packed full of homemade goods, vivid art, and other souvenirs perfect for commemorating your stay in Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta is in the state of Jalisco, an noteworthy region in Mexican culture famous for contributions such as mariachi music and—perhaps most famously of all—tequila. It should come as no surprise that the city comes absolutely alive in the evening, with downtown and the Zona Romantica bursting into festive spirit the only way Mexico knows how. While there is no shortage of bars, music, and fun to be found by simply picking a direction and exploring, one experience that must not be overlooked is the award-winning dinner excursion with Rhythms of the Night.

It all begins with a lovely 45-minute boat ride at sunset to the private beaches of Las Caletas. Imbibe some cocktails from the open bar downstairs, and enjoy the dancers and music upstairs kicking things off in lively fashion while the fiery gradients of the sun dropping below the horizon set the mood in the background. As night settles in and the beaches get close, the fiery flickers of torches create an immersive atmosphere, where floored visitors will also encounter living statues of performance artists in elaborate costumes leading to the dining area, offering a buffet-style feast with traditional, vegan, and vegetarian options. The tables, set slightly inland from plush beachside verandas and comfy chairs perfect for lazy moments at the beach, exude romance through their surfaces bathed in warm candlelight and the sight of the traveling musicians serenading each group against a painterly sunset sky.

The experience doesn’t end with the meal—far from it. After dinner, everyone moves and converges down a forested trail to a giant pyramid stage in the trees, where the evening is capped with a dazzling, intimate variety show in the woods. Stretch your beliefs watching the talented acrobats balance themselves on seemingly-improbable towers of strangely shaped objects, marvel at the mastery of the flame on display by the fire jugglers wielding flaming whips and staves, or find yourself dizzy trying to keep up with the speed and precision of the gymnasts literally launching and spinning other gymnasts with nothing but their feet. The illusions of disappearance crafted by the magicians are sure to blow your mind with their apparent impossibility, and enjoy a joke or two during the moments of levity in between acts delivered by the event’s master of ceremonies, who leads the processions in both Spanish and English.

The evening ends similarly to how it begins. The boat ride back to shore, now immersed in the darkness of night, becomes a lively affair with more illusionists adding an encore to the party with mesmerizing lit-up props to craft colorful tricks with, adding another feast for the eyes to conclude an unforgettable evening.

John Sizemore is a travel writer, photographer, yoga teacher, and visual entertainment developer based out of Austin, Texas. Follow him on Instagram at @sizemoves. In his downtime, John likes to learn foreign languages and get immersed in other worlds, particularly those of music, film, games, and books in addition to exploring the world.


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