For the past 3 years Mike and I have celebrated 4th of July with our friends Gary and April, who moved to Los Angeles a few years ago. This year we all headed a little more south to Puerta Vallarta.
Mike and I left from SFO early Saturday morning and arrived in Mexico late that afternoon. The flight was just under 4 hours and I thankfully slept for most of it. The only bummer about our trip was that I still had to wear bandages on my chin from having stitches in last week. Before we left I was feeling pretty sorry for myself because I was going on vacation with these ugly, blood soaked bandages on my face (that I couldn’t get wet!) but I mostly got over it before we left and just accepted it.
The airport in Puerta Vallarta was more chaotic than what I’ve experienced in the past. There were lines of people shouting at you, trying to get your attention and accept their taxi ride offers. We had already arranged transport to where we were staying and had someone with Mike’s name on a sign waiting for us. Right when we stepped outside of the airport, the humidity hit me (and I slightly regretted not taking the free margarita that was offered as we made our way through costumes). Luckily the car wasn’t too far and there were ice cold Coronas waiting for us to slurp down as we drove around the bay to Punta Mita; the luxurious property that we stayed at for the weekend.
Honestly, I loved the ~45 minute drive there. Everything in Puerta Vallarta was so colorful and beautiful. Most of the buildings had art painted on the walls and, as we moved our way out of the city, the land was green and endless.
The anticipation of a great vacation set in when we arrived at the property. Punta Mita is gorgeous and I couldn’t wait to see Gary and April or the house we were staying in!
The house was a beautiful 3 bedroom place that included our own private infinite pool in the backyard, a hot tub on the upstairs patio, an outdoors shower connected to mine and Mike’s room, and a golf cart for us to get around the property in.
After we toured the house and unpacked, we headed to the small downtown area for dinner. We went to a restaurant called Sí Señor, which was located right on the beach. We appropriately started the night with a round of margaritas and toasted to our vacation with good friends in a beautiful place!
For dinner I ordered the verde chicken enchiladas that came with a side of refried beans. I also tried the grilled octopus Gary ordered as an appetizer. The grilled octopus was good but a little chewy for my taste (something I seem to routinely feel when it comes to a lot of seafood). The enchiladas were amazing and I quickly devoured all four that were on my plate. The refried beans were really the only thing during the whole vacation that I didn’t like at all. I don’t know if this is because they were made traditionally with lard or if they just weren’t my thing… We ended the meal with tiny scoops of guava sorbet that was delicious and refreshing.
After dinner we headed back to the house and spent the rest of the night in the backyard pool, drinking beers and catching up. Overall it was a relaxing first few hours in Mexico, just the way I like my vacations!
The next day we slept in and had a lazy breakfast at the house. Around 11am we took the golf cart to one of the beach clubs on the property. I was amazed by how luxurious this place was! There was a huge infinite pool with lounge chairs sprawled along the edges. And just down a few more steps there were more lounge chairs on the sand, right along the shore. Since we were one of the first groups to arrive, we scored plush chairs with mattresses on them and two umbrellas to keep us shaded throughout the day.
We alternated between dipping ourselves in the pool and our toes in the waves (or, my toes at least… Mike, Gary, and April were able to go in and get their faces wet). We ordered drinks and drank tons of bottled water. We applied layer after layer of sunscreen and still managed to get burnt. We ate chips and guacamole poolside and then, later, burgers and onion rings and seafood and salad at the beach club restaurant. We were there for the majority of the day; soaking in the sun, the booze, the atmosphere, and each other’s company.
Around 5pm we headed back to the house and went straight into our backyard pool again! A little while later, April made cheese quesadillas for dinner. Then, armed with micheladas, we went back outside to stargaze and watch a thunderstorm
On Monday, our final full day in Mexico, we decided to go explore Sayulita, a town about 30 minutes from Punta Minta. Sayulita is a fun, cute little beach town and I am so happy we went! The only downside was that we didn’t realize most places only accepted cash, something we didn’t have much of on us. Luckily we found a restaurant that accepted card, where we ate lunch and had a few beers. Before we left, someone had told me they did fine with all of the food in Mexico except the meat. I had meat near where we were staying and it didn’t upset my stomach but for some reason, in Sayulita, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head so I stuck with a cheese quesadilla for lunch. Gary and April ordered breakfast and Mike ordered a shrimp tostada and all were fine after so, I probably could’ve got a little more adventurous…
After lunch we spent the cash we had on popsicles and walked around town. I wish we stayed longer but it was so hot and humid (and since we didn’t have much cash), we left shortly after lunch.
After a quick power nap at the house, we headed back to the town nearby for our dinner reservations at Rosa Restaurante Mexicano. Again, we started our meal with a round of margaritas. We munched on chips and the best salsa made fresh right at our table while we waiting for our food. I ordered roasted shrimp with veggies and sweet potato mash. The shrimp and vegetables were delicious but the sweet potato was overwhelming flavored by rosemary. I left most of the potato on my plate and stole some of Mike’s steak from his fajitas instead. For dessert we ordered churros and ice cream. I don’t think the four of us have been ever been as quiet as we were licking up every last drop of dessert.
On our way back to the house we decided to take a detour through the golf course. The sun was just setting and it was gorgeous out. Zipping through the grass – and coming up with excuses in case we got caught on the course – was probably one of my favorite memories from this vacation. Particularly because our adventure landed us at a really nice restaurant on the property where we stayed for a few rounds of drinks. April and I both ordered the Gin Gin Martini (twice) which was a refreshing blend of ginger and cucumber. We enjoyed our drinks with our toes dipped in the pool. There was also a few fireworks (I assume because it was 4th of July) that Gary and Mike went and watched. (I’ve personally have a take-them-or-leave-them mentality when it comes to explosives in the sky…)
We ended the evening splashing around in our backyard pool again. Suffice to say, we fully utilized that pool having spent every night in it. Few things beat a personal pool with a view of the beach!
The next morning, after packing all of our stuff, Mike and I took the golf cart to check out a pier that was nearby the restaurant where we had drinks the night before. We saw giant pelicans at the end of the pier, a ton of little fish that they were likely snacking on, and – on our way back – an iguana on the side of the road.
Our car picked us up around 1pm to take us to the airport and, having only had a banana and coffee for breakfast, I was starving! Luckily getting through security was a breeze and we were having our last meal in Mexico shortly after arriving at the airport. In an effort to eat some veggies, I ordered 2 slices of vegetarian pizza (definitely not a typical last meal in Mexico). A few hours later we boarded our flight and were on our way back to San Francisco. Until next time, Mexico!