Bye husbands, hello Puerto Vallarta All-Inclusive Resort
Eating at the Resort (Vegetarian-Style)
One night, I can’t remember what they were serving at the Mexican buffet for dinner, but my mom and I asked for just tortillas (because we don’t eat meat), and later, the chef came and brought fresh cheese and pepper tamales right to our table for us! It was so nice!!!
Dreams Villamagna – Nueva Vallarta: Pools and Beach
Here are some more views of the resort’s pool and beach:
There were three pools and plenty of chairs, we never had to fight to sit anywhere. The pools also weren’t too crowded, which was nice. The water temperature was great, and waiters would bring drinks to you by the pool. The beach water was FANTASTIC! It was so warm!
The only bad thing was that the beach was a public beach, and vendors would constantly be walking by, asking to show you their wares and sell you things. My mom and I bought 2 pairs of earrings from a guy for like $40 USD, even though they look like you could by them at the mall for $7/pair. But then the guy told us we were his first sale that week, so we felt a little better that we were able to help him out.
"How do we get new towels?!"
The weather was hot and extremely humid, but my mom and I were plenty prepared with large sunhats and loads of sunscreen (we did end up having to buy more at the gift shop, though). My mom and I had so much fun just relaxing, playing Yahtzee and cribbage by the pool, and getting our drink on.
The only hitch was that we had to figure out what was up with the towels! We received a towel card on our first day that said we would incur a fine if we lost it, and that we could trade it in for a clean towel. They took our cards when we got towels, so we were so confused about how we were supposed to get clean ones, especially considering that the towel shacks closed around 5:00 but the pools were open much later.
We people-watched for like an hour trying to figure out what people did with their towels, but we only saw people taking them up to their rooms. We were so confused! Eventually we found out that you take them back up to your room at night and then bring them back down in the morning to trade in for fresh towels.
Around the Resort
We enjoyed some delicious drinks and spicy peanuts.
My mom was super excited when she got to pet the resort’s resident pest-control hawk.
All around the hotel are these sand decorations with real flowers, and we actually saw someone going around every morning stamping the shell decoration into them by hand.
Excursion: Marietas Islands
By far my favorite day was Saturday, when my mom had booked us an excursion to visit the Marietas islands. They are a chain of small uninhabited islands near Nayarit. It is a great place to see wildlife because these islands are protected from both fishing and hunting. However, Las Islas Marietas are a national park, and therefore there is a small fee that you need to pay to visit them (85 pesos).
1. Getting Wristbands and Breakfast
We booked the Islas Marietas Eco Discovery tour with Vallarta Adventures, which did not visit the Hidden Beach (a popular tourist attraction), but if you did want this feature, you could book the Discovery Tour. For any adventure, make sure to bring a towel and biodegradable sunscreen. I can’t remember exactly what time we needed to be at the port, but we had to get a taxi from the hotel while it was still dark (6:45AM maybe?). Once you get to the Vallarta Adventures building, you pay your national park conservation fee (mentioned above) and then you get some cool wristbands.
Then, you get to each your continental breakfast (included in price of excursion). Once the boat is ready, you are called to board in the order you that you checked-in. Basically, first come first served. We were among the first group to board. We chose to sit on the top level of the boat, but keep in mind the only bathroom is on the first level.
2. Getting to Las Islas Marietas
The whole duration of the trip was supposed to be 5 hours, but I swear it felt longer than that. Be prepared to be outside ALL DAY. It took us probably an hour and a half just to get to Marietas Islands, and there were large birds (maybe frigate birds?) that were flying alongside the boat the entire time, swooping down to catch and eat the fish that were scared away by the boat. Here are some pictures of them (one was clearly post-edited ;).
The view of one of the islands as we approached by boat:
3. Water Activities
After you feel like you are done snorkeling, you can switch to a different activity, like kayaking or paddleboarding. So we decided to try our hand at kayaking!
4. Lunch, Drinks, and Blue-Footed Boobies
5. A Surprising Amount of Iguanas
We thought that our exciting iguana-seeing days were over, but little did we know that the sign warning of “iguana crossing” back at the port was no joke! As we were walking back to grab a cab near the Vallarta Adventures building, we spotted this guy!
Some tips for the tourist heading to a Puerto Vallarta resort:
Yes, I know it is an all-inclusive, but people expect to be tipped. And if you do, they will also be much, much nicer to you. I think we tipped around 20 pesos each time we ordered a round of drinks.
Try to speak Spanish, the staff really appreciate the effort.
Maybe bring a plastic coffee stirrer with you. The drinks were often unmixed, so when you took a sip from the bottom, you got straight alcohol.
Sunscreen the places you thought would never need sunscreen. My armpit got sunburned from hanging my arm off the edge of the boat all day and it was a horrible feeling.