Travel Tuesday: My Spring Break in Puerto Vallarta

By: Kit Klaes

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After a rigorous start to my final term at university, I was in desperate need of a break and, with the promise of sunshine, dancing, and margaritas galore, there was no better option than Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. A long way off from Scotland, this destination was not randomly selected. While it's a wonderful vacation spot, the main purpose of our trip was to attend our dear friends' wedding. 

I packed my bags (which doesn't take much effort considering my wardrobe in Scotland does not mesh well with the Mexico heat) and headed to my hometown of Houston, Texas. To make the two-and-a-half-day trip to Mexico more "worth it" in terms of travel, I bookended my trip by visiting family and going to rodeos in Texas. 

On Friday morning, we were off. The two-hour flight from Houston to Puerto Vallarta is delightfully easy. We had just enough time to knock back a few drinks and listen to our party playlist before landing in Mexico. I told my mom that I wanted to get a margarita as soon as possible. Luckily, I asked, and Mexico delivered. Upon exiting the airport, a woman handed out frozen margarita samples. I knew I was going to like Puerto Vallarta. 

We took a shuttle over to the Westin Resort where we were staying due to both its proximity to the wedding ceremony and its swanky hammocks. Our rooms were not ready, but that did not stop us. We threw on our swimsuits in the lobby bathroom and hit the outdoor restaurant to gorge on guacamole, succulent fajitas, and frozen piña coladas. 

Once bloated but satisfied, we hit the beach. The water was a perfect blue. I was slightly concerned by the sun, which fell intensely on to my pale skin but, alas, we basked. Several businessmen wandered the beaches selling jewelry, henna tattoos and, on the rare occasion, questionable (illegal) substances. Even so, we spent several hours enjoying the sunshine and listening to the calm crash of waves against the shore. 

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Around dinner time, we went downtown to Pepe's Tacos following our friend's recommendation. While the food was incredible, the atmosphere was over the top. Hanging on the wall, a sign read: ‘Don't drink the water, drink margaritas’. With the implication that tourists who drink tap water in Mexico will be struck down by ‘Montezuma’s Revenge’, they offer large fishbowls of margaritas. Frozen or on the rocks, these goblets hold probably too much tequila for the ordinary consumer. Naturally, we all ordered one each. 

Following dinner, we went further into town to check out the shopping and bar scene. I thought it was pretty interesting that they sold a variety of different prescriptions in their souvenir shops. Not just paracetamol - we're talking legitimate prescriptions. Alas, the jetlag hit me, and I went back to our hotel. 

Since our stay in Mexico was only short, we were awake by 8am the next morning and were ready for the beach. The sun tried to hide for a part of the day, but we continued to enjoy laying on the sand. 

That afternoon, we attended the wedding and the reception. Held on the beach, the wedding was exquisite. The setting was beautiful and, luckily, nobody stopped the ceremony to sell jewelry. The reception was full of drinking and dancing. Complete with fireworks above the water, it was a night to remember. 

We left the wedding around 11pm to prepare for our early morning flight the next day only to find out that the party continued until about 5am. I need to learn how people drink that much throughout the day and stay awake long enough to party. 

Overall, Puerto Vallarta offered beautiful sights along with delicious food and a great atmosphere. I wish I'd been able to stay longer to explore more of the city, but at least I have a reason to go back. 

If you're planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta, prepare to relax... And overeat. It's inevitable. 

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