Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful beach town in the Mexican state of Jalisco. My family and I have visited twice and we absolutely fell in love the first time. The weather is great, it’s a short flight from LAX, it’s budget friendly and it’s overall character keep us wanting to go back.
We’ve had the sweetest most unforgettable memories in Puerto Vallarta. The First time we visited we stayed at The Barcelo in Mismaloya Beach and last summer, we stayed in The Grand Miramar in Conchas Chinas. Both experiences where amazing.
With just three hours by plane from LAX this is a perfect destination for us especially since we have little ones. Let’s face it flying with small children can be difficult for both the child and the parents. A child sitting for more than 3 hours can become fussy or irritable. Luckily this flight is about a movie and a half away. We might try a longer flight this year, wish us luck!
According to American Express, the average expense for a vacation per person is $1,145. Wow! we are definitely NOT spending that much! Who can even afford that? We book all of our flights/trips through Expedia.com. For family vacations we stick to all-inclusive packages (because of the children) for around 6 – 700 dollars a person. Puerto Vallarta is also inexpensive itself. Food, activities and transportation can be very affordable outside of the hotel.
Both times that we visited were in the beginning of August during the rainy season. We love rainy weather and it is the most beautiful experience when the sun is out and it is hot and humid and just out of nowhere it starts pouring. The heavy rainfall cools you down. The rain is not constant though, it comes and goes. Also, watching the lightning at night in the middle of the ocean is an experience I’ll never forget.
Right as you enter Puerto Vallarta by plane you look down and the first impression you get is of the lush foliage. We like to stay in the older part of Vallarta right by the jungle. You can hear exotic birds squawking and shrieking from wherever you are standing. The dramatic sunsets are a treat and the calm beaches are perfect to swim in. It is just lovely.
Things to do
There’s an endless amount of activities in Puerto Vallarta. Some of the ones we have really enjoyed are…
We have taken a tour to Islas Marietas, which is an island and you have to swim through a cave to get to a hidden beach. It was intense swimming against the current but very rewarding once I made it past the cave.
Visit the Orphanage
We have visited the local orphanage to donate supplies. The children there were so sweet it was a really lovely experience.
Take a boat to the small towns
We have taken private boat tour to small fisherman towns that are only accessible by boat. Our boat driver/tour guide too us to waterfalls, secluded beaches and even swimming with exotic fish. We took the boat tours from Mismaloya Beach.
Take the bus to downtown
Taking the local bus in Vallarta is a neat and cheap way to explore the town. We like to take the bus downtown to enjoy a walk through the shops, eat at the restaurants or taco stops.
There are hidden waterfalls that you can hike to. Some are more difficult than others. The most difficult hike led us to the most beautiful waterfall.
The Grand Miramar
Our stay at The Grand Miramar was amazing. It sits on top of a hill which is a very steep and challenging walk uphill not recommended by the staff (we did it anyway) but, the seclusion is rewarding. The hotel provides shuttles to the beach and downtown. There are also restaurants in the hotel, pools, an adult only infinity pool that offers amazing views as well as a bar/lounge on the rooftop of the hotel.
I left my heart in Puerto Vallarta. It is so beautiful I could live there. I cannot wait to go back soon!