Break my toe in Mexico.
All my life I lived in a state that border our southern neighbor never setting foot but indulged in it’s food, listened to it’s music, and known it’s history, until seven months ago. Now, within seven months I’ve been twice and look forward to the future ones. It’s not that I’ve never not desired to go, oh I have, it was all about timing. This time around I visited Puerto Vallarta in the state famous for it’s tequila, Jalisco! It was also a first staying on a resort and a broken bone. Keep reading for details on that.
I still think it’s crazy that a round-trip flight to our southern neighbor cost the same as to Europe. But it’s definitely not the same. The full intention of the trip was to attend one of my closets friend’s wedding, and of course I was going to make an adventure out of it. Indeed did.
With anything, and I mean everything I do, I try to maximize my time which sometimes lead to too much. Before my trip I searched for places to explore only to find that many said you can’t go anywhere without a guide. I initially took that on as a challenge, but continued to read from those whose lived there it was sadly true. At first, it was disheartening to hear, but I regain perspective of the real reason for the trip…dun dun dun dunnn, dun dun dun dunnnn (supposed to be wedding bells).
Minus the guide tours factor, there quite bit you can do. The adrenaline junky in me tends to get excited for activities such as zip lining, waterfall repelling, off roading, which you can all do in PV. But my overall happiness lies being on the water. Whether it’s a chill kayak paddle or jet skiing, there’s the love of the water that always lures me back.
One of the sights that caught my eye was Islas Marietas. This beautiful island with a cenote. As I arrived and spoke with someone (more like the haggling that happens at the airport upon exiting trying to sucker you into buying timeshare), I quickly learned it’s only accessible not only by guided boat, but you can only be inside the cave for a limited time. It’s because until two years ago, visitors would come and vandalize this gorgeous bird sanctuary and also damage of the coral. With other options and what my friend’s were doing, I went on this boat trip solo. I wasn’t down for zip lining and doing a tequila tour, because I’m more of a mezcal kind of girl.
I also did some exploring by foot. With all activities requiring a guide, it also makes for an all-day outing and I had limited times some days so I ventured out to walk around Old Town in Puerto Vallarta. Initially, I was headed to Bucerías for small town artsy vibes, which I love, but after talking with a couple people they talked me into checking out old town. I took a cab from the resort that dropped me off at Malecón. I was staying at Vidanta’s The Grand Mayan in Nuevo Vallarta which is about 20-30 minute car ride from the airport and is around 200 pesos (and that’s what I negotiated for my trip back). It’s a touristy boardwalk that initially turned me off, but I kept walking trying to get lost only to stop and stare in admiration of the old architecture, colors, and vibes. It was a lot more mellower than I expected and the people carry friendly faces.
Walking around solo I felt completely safe. I kept walking towards the mountain in fascination of the white buildings sitting against the green lush mountain. As much as I tried to get lost, I didn’t. At one point, another tourist couple came up to me speaking Spanish thinking I was a local. I thought it was such the compliment, but I’m far from one, I barely know a few phases. After a good laugh, they directed me to the church. The church’s tower is this completely beautiful ornate crown looking sculpture.
Whist taking some photos, I overheard a local man tell another couple of a viewpoint. So of course I had to go. I quickly continued to journey on my walk up hill and staring up at the buildings when I stumbled upon tower the man was talking about. Right before reaching the tower, a local man noticed all the photos I was taking and tipped me off to a bar further up with more grand views.
Only to have more time! At the top it has you memorized. If only I knew about it earlier, for I would have spent more time gazing out at the diversity of rooftops, flowers, and the ocean. I wanted to spend sunset up there, but I had to run back to the resort to get ready for our group beach Mexican BBQ dinner!
I was way too engaged in my walk that I didn’t eat all day, just a Clif bar I packed from home, so dinner was sounding amazing. And it was! It was an idyllic setting on the beach watching the sunset that went on for hours, noshing on endless good BBQ, watching traditional Mexican entertainment of dancing, music, and honorary indigenous learnings, just minus the other hundred or so people.
My full day of fun arrived! The day before I was speaking with one of the concierge in my hotel and he “has a friend” that would give me a better rate for the Islas Marietas boat excursion of $70 USD and not the hotel price of $85 and I though, “What a steal!”, if only I met him. See we agreed on a meeting spot at the gas station, but I didn’t quite go there, but it ended up working out in my favor. It began when my taxi driver asked where I was headed and in such confidence informed him Puerto Vallarta, but not realizing there are four ports. Oppss. So I began telling him I was meeting a guy named Martin at the gas station to go to Islas Marietas, but he was still confused and then I realized I have him number! I searched vigorously through my backpack taking every item in every pocket out to realize I didn’t have it. I left it in my hotel room along with my sunglasses and it was too late to turn around. Was that it? Was I not able to go on the island?
The taxi driver reassured me he knew where to take me. As we come upon the port we drive pass the gas station and I point that out. He rolls down the window and speaks to a guy standing at the port doors telling him my deal. At that moment I almost had a flashback to my time in Morocco where I got lost walking back to my riad and without money for a cab, with my luck I asked this nice vendor man who ended up walking me to the cabs and told the cab driver my ordeal. He used his week’s earning to pay for my cab ride, but the whole time thoughts of being kidnapped and rape were haunting my mind. I get out reluctantly only to be reassured by my cab driver that this man will help me. He walks me over to a tourist office, and I thought, “Awww man, a tourist trap.”, but it all is! So he offers me a deal of 800 pesos, but the paper said 1200, anyways that $40 USD, a way better bargain than what Martin was giving me! Although, I tried to negotiate for 700 so he let me have the deal with the BBQ on the boat. Done! He walks me back and I pay all the port fees and buy a pair of sunnies since I left mine’s back at the hotel.
All aboard! It was finally time to set off. It’s a large catamaran and on the way there they warned us about sea sickness, but I haven’t ever and am pretty immune to it only to find out I felt queasy, and it didn’t help a girl puked right next to me. It seemed like a long ride, maybe because was incredibly eager to get off and snorkel, kayak, and paddle board, and that I did. I think I was the most happiest kayaking, they just don’t let you go off too far from the boat. Once you’re done with that, they take a small group of people at a time to one of the small islands to check out the hidden beach.
Since it’s protective laws and small island, we were only allowed a mere 10-15 minutes to roam around and soak up it all up. Back on the boat. We had to swim to hop on the small fisherman’s boat to take us back to the big catamaran and that’s when I stubbed my toe pretty hard. What I thought was a bruise actually is a broken toe. It happened as I was getting the small boat when a small wave rocked the boat and I slipped and hit the groove at the bottom. It wasn’t until we docked and I was walking down the long corridor that I felt the pain. “Grreattt, and the wedding is tomorrow.”, was my first thought. So I spent the night in missing the pre-wedding festivities all the other were partaking in, but a friend reminded me it’s tomorrow that’s the important day. So many icings and room service and work made for a night in.
The beach wedding and many great memories…uhmmm maybe some not so much remembered, all made for a great time. Like any trip, I wish I had more time to do all the other activities. I’m just glad I was there to witness one of my dearest friends get married, spend time with old ones, and make some more! In the mean time, I’m hobbling along waiting for my toe to recover for more adventures!