Hola Vallarta

September 2, 2017

What did we do before Airbnb? The last time I stayed in a hotel was for a work trip. And for my last work trip, we stayed in an Airbnb.

This past summer, 12 friends and I traveled south to Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico (Puerto Vallarta basically, but I feel less basic saying Nuevo Vallarta). I’m hoping this becomes a tradition (please, please let’s make this a tradition!). We are a great travel group. It started with camping trips to the river, then condo rentals on the river, then a long weekend in Napa, then a wedding in Cancun. Our wallets have gotten larger, but our thirst for travel (and cocktails) has remained. What’s also great is that there are enough of us where you can always find SOMEONE who wants to do the same thing as you.

Sit by the ocean and talk.
Drink piña coladas.
Sit by the ocean and read.
Drink piña coladas.
Go into town.
Drink piña coladas.
Talk a walk on the beach.
Drink piña coladas.

We stayed 5 nights at a beachfront luxury residence that was 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, and (most importantly) included a staff of three that kept us fed and with a drink in hand constantly. The food was incredible. Every morning began with a plate of local fruit and omelettes or chimichanga or burritos or whatever your stomach desired. AND for those of us who got up extra early, we were sometimes treated with the presence of the property puppy! We devoured poolside snacks of quesadillas and homemade guacamole. Dinner was always a feast. I felt like royalty there and on several occasions questioned how much we were paying for it all.

Our first group outing was an afternoon snorkeling. Think unlimited sun, splash, cerveza, annnnnnd jellyfish. But not the stinging kind (although that didn’t keep me from swimming away squirming). On the boat ride back to shore we were greeted by a sea lion. I have such mixed feelings about this. On one hand, THERE IS A SEA LION RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME AND I WANT TO TOUCH IT. On the other hand, I don’t want to support the unnatural captivation of unwilling animals. **Free Willy**. But… I also feel this way about people who buy purebred dogs (non-rescued) and don’t get me started on toy breeds. At the end of the day, it’s not the animal’s fault. If he wants to give me a kiss so he can get get a snack fish, shouldn’t I be that person for him? Don’t judge.

The more adventurous of the group went on a second excursion and can you believe I was one of them? Not going to lie, it was rough. It’s one of those things where I’m glad I did it, but so glad it’s over. The last leg involved jumping to your death. Sure you’re attached to a rope, but for two solid, looong seconds you were free-falling. This wasn’t my first time free-falling. It also happens to me about once a week in the middle of the night and ends in a my dog startled and upset. But it’s different when the height is short, or there’s water at the bottom. Plus, the direction wasn’t to jump down, it was to jump OUT, “like Tarzan” they said. This company, Vallarta Adventures, knows what they’re doing. These people are basically assembly line travel adventurers. Once I was next in line I decided there was NO WAY I was going to do it. Before I knew it the guy pointed and gently guided (pushed??) me off the ledge. They were even mean enough to video it. Don’t get too excited, I didn’t shell out the $20 for that footage. The language wasn’t PG-13 anyway.

The total cost for this trip including airfare was less than $1,000. That doesn’t include clothing/accessories I purchased for the occasion, but that is for another day. I can’t wait to go back.