Fantasy beach vacay

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta…everybody’s favorite beach town. On the west coast of Mexico, this town is dripping with colorful bougainvillea and crawling with tourists. After a visit there for my birthday, I had to admit I could see why people come on vacation here and end up buying property before they go home.

Our Puerto Vallarta Favorites…

Hotel: Grand Miramar Resort. One of the prettiest hotels we’ve ever stayed in. Harper adored the pools, and I loved sitting on our balcony watching the sun set over the water.


  • Salud Super Food: healthy, fresh, delicious.

  • Tony’s Hideaway: This place is in Mismaloya, and it’s a treat. The floors are sand-covered and there’s no menu—a server will bring by a tray of raw offerings (fish, shrimp, steaks) and you pick what you’ll have and how you want it cooked. We had a beautiful meal here and were served by Tony himself.

Beach: Playa Las Gemelas. About 15 minutes drive (depending on traffic) from Zona Romantica, this beach is a hidden gem. Quiet, secluded, good swimming. You won’t find lines of restaurants here…or a place to buy beach toys, which we discovered too late, sadly—but fortunately a water bottle cut in half makes for a decent shovel, who knew! What you will find is a pretty little family beach with plenty of shady spots and great Instagram potential.

Botanical Gardens: One of our favorite days in Vallarta was spent at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens. Huge, sprawling gardens with cacti, orchids, vanilla and cacoa trees, and lots more. We ate lunch there too, and the food was good but it was the most money we spent on a single meal our whole year in Mexico. (Order cautiously!) You can get the bus to the gardens from Old Town (about 30 minutes).

On the other side of the country is the Mexican beach destination everybody loves—and loves to hate. What’s so hot about Cancún? Read on…