It was an early morning flight on WestJet from the Vancouver International Airport. I definitely was way to excited and got there far to early. In reality for a Mexican bound flight you really only need to arrive two hours ahead of time. I was there, alone, three hours in advance. Thankfully, Starbucks was open. I picked up a much needed coffee, a Cranberry Bliss Bar and a sandwich for the flight. Unfortunately, WestJet doesn’t supply food anymore (cookies and pretzels isn’t food), however the coffee is now McCafe and is pretty good. It was a quick 4 hour flight down, however the in-flight entertainment left much to be desired. I always like to know where I am flying over, geography has always interested me, however as WestJet doesn’t have the screens in the backs of the seats anymore, the app you have to use doesn’t have a map of your location, just a rough idea of your flight duration time left, so I had no idea what town we were flying over, or which sea side city I could see in the distance. I was also very happy I packed my “Pocket Farmacy” from Saje. The two people beside me clearly had the flu, so I was lathering “Immune” under my nose the whole plane ride down (and no, I didn’t get sick!), I totally swear by this stuff travelling. I was able to sleep a bit and woke just before we landed. It was a rough landing into Puerto Vallarta. It was quite stormy, so I actually grabbed the seat in front of me when we were jolted touching down onto the runway.
Once safely on the ground and parked at the gate, we headed through border control and through the gauntlet of timeshare sales people. They are so pushy, even physical! I was so glad to get out of the airport and into the warm air (though extremely humid as it was pouring rain). There were about 16 of us travel agents, huddled under one of the shades, we waited for WestJet to set up our transportation. Once our mini bus arrived, we all piled in and headed to the Hyatt Ziva. On our way through town (about a 25 minute journey), we got to see the Marina areas, the Malecon and Old Puerto Vallarta. About 5 minutes later we arrived at the gates of the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta. Once we had pulled inside, we parked in front of the beautiful open-air lobby. We were checked in, offered a welcome drink and escorted to our rooms. It was just after 2:00pm, I was ready to refresh and explore the resort. My room number was 1611, an ocean view king room with a juliet style balcony (not really a balcony, but large glass sliding doors with a railing just outside). The waves were so loud. It was so soothing. A few agents and I walked around the resort checking out different areas. David (a good friend from my Flight Centre training class) and I ate lunch at Melanzane. I had a delightful Caprese salad and a much needed Mango Margarita. The rain had stopped and we walked around a bit more taking photos before going back to our rooms and getting ready for our welcome dinner at Casa Grande. The food was so good. It was a great time to meet everyone and talk about our businesses. I think a lot of us were pretty tired, so we retired somewhat early. I went back to my room to find a delightful turndown service. It included a few lush bites (chocolate cake, a Nutella filled macaron and a lemon tart), along with a hand written welcome note from the General Manager.
The next morning I woke to a beautiful sunrise. I ordered room service as I was just happy sitting on the couch in my room listening to the sound of the ocean. My order of “Divorced Eggs” (yes, yes I did haha), a fruit plate and Mexican Coffee (spiced with orange peel and cinnamon). Afterwards I got ready and met the other travel agents in the lobby for our official site tour followed by some training on the Playa Resorts family of hotels. We all had a free afternoon to which a few of us had lunch at Blaze (absolutely love this restaurant, the view is stunning). I then went up to my room, changed into my swimsuit and found a palapa with a lounger in the sun and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon with a few pina coladas and mango margaritas. Our group dinner tonight was at Melanzane. I had a caprese salad followed by a portobello mushroom and spinach pasta. Of course I finished it off with a tiramisu 😉 Tonight’s entertainment was a circus style show, with a clown, dancers, a juggler, an aerial entertainer and a ring gymnast. Some decided to go into town tonight, a few of us stayed behind. I perused the night market that was at the Hyatt Ziva that night. I do think it’s good they go this, however I didn’t buy anything as I was pretty sure prices were better in Puerto Vallarta proper. After a couple more drinks at the Sunset bar, I grabbed a cheesecake and a caramel macchiato from the deli and headed to my room. I can’t say enough how much I loved the sound of the waves. They are loud. There are times I woke up because of them, but I loved it.
The following morning we had breakfast at the buffet and then a few of us went downtown Puerto Vallarta and walked the Malecon. We were dropped off at La Iglesias de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (the beautiful cathedral) in the heart of Old Puerto Vallarta. I did add two Starbucks mugs to my collection, a “Mexico” one and of course a “Puerto Vallarta” mug. I also took my photo of the Puerto Vallarta mug in front of the cathedral. Right after that, I bought a beautiful painting of Puerto Vallarta, it was so colourful just like the colours of the buildings and streets. So it was my first impulse buy. I was on the hunt for a silver ring, similar to a ring I had seen the night before at the night market at the Ziva. I went into several shops, I did buy a pair of earrings and found a few magnets. We arrived back at the place we started from, two of the agents we had wandered with decided to go back to the resort, David and I decided to keep wandering. We walked to the South this time, taking in the beautiful scenery of Puerto Vallarta. We finally reached Olas Altas Road, a cobble stone street where the Malecon board walk ends and the street begins. At that point on the right hand side, there is a thatched roof hut. From what I’ve heard is a very honest silver dealer. Nothing alpaca. His name is Roberto and I actually read about him the night previous on several websites including Fudors, TripAdvisor and many other forums. He was very friendly and offered me a great price on two rings. It wasn’t the ring I was after, but I actually liked it better. The other was a small ring with two white opal stones. Afterwards we continued down the road and found another cute little shop not far down the street called Safari Accents. I bought a beautiful handmade christmas ornament for myself and one as a gift for my aunt and beautiful a small bowl. We went a little further and stumbled across Andales! Ok, I’ll admit it, I watch many of the Real Housewives shows, and I can see why Vikki loves Andales, David and I had to get a margarita (and a few photos of course). Afterwards, it was time for us to head back, so we found a taxi and went back to the Resort. When I got in, I went to the buffet again and had a late lunch. I didn’t know what time I would be eating again as we were going to be going to the Rhythms of the Night by Vallarta Adventures tonight. We left the Resort for the Marina at 5:30pm, at the marina I saw the most heartbreaking thing. A poor sea lion propped up, taking photos with cruise ship tourists. In all honesty I wanted to slap everyone and snap them out that they were supporting the harm to this poor animal. Quite a few of us travel agents did make loud comments on how wrong it was and one mother did come up to me after and thanked me. We took a catamaran out to Las Caletas, it was incredible! It looked like we were walking into a tribal council in Survivor. The entire island was lit by candle light and torches. The Rhythms of the Night tour was very good, although we ate quite late. By the time we ate dinner after the show, it was about 10:30pm. I would suggest eating before you go, or go and eat before the show. It was quite cool on the catamaran ride home, thankfully Freddie let me borrow his jacket, it does cool down at night here and I wished I would have packed light jackets. We got back to the Hyatt Ziva just after midnight and I went straight to bed.
In the morning, I again woke early. I took advantage and did what most tourists on vacations do, stake out the best palapas and lounge chairs for the day. David and I ate breakfast at Blaze, I had delicious crepes with fresh blueberries and Mexican Coffee. Afterwards, I checked out, said good bye to my beautiful room and stored my carry on in the day use area downstairs. They have lockers available for a $10 USD deposit. The wifi (which I have to say was awesome, worked absolutely everywhere on the resort) was extended until I left as well. I retired back to the palapa, enjoyed a few more pina coladas and enjoyed soaking in the sun. It had been snowing back in Vancouver and this was the first time in two months I had really seen sun. I was going to soak in ever drop of sunshine I could. David and I ate lunch at Blaze again, this time seeing iguanas basking on the rocks below. We also realized there was a monkey face in the cliffs there (no we hadn’t been drinking that much). I went back to enjoying the pool this time, pondering life and why I didn’t want to leave here. I had reservations about Mexico. I never thought I would be an “all inclusive” person. Three nights, although quick, was enough. I enjoy seeing other parts of a country, not to be confined to one area. The Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta was amazing. You see, every employee that works for Playa Resorts believes in “service from the heart”. Whenever you see a staff member the place their hand on their heart as a welcoming gesture, at first I thought it was a bit tacky, but it’s genuine. It’s heartwarming. The service at this resort is outstanding, I can’t say enough how staff go out of their way for you.
Overall, this resort is amazing! I would come back here in a heartbeat. The food is fresh and delicious. The resort and rooms are very clean. The beds are so lush and I couldn’t get enough of the sound of those waves. Every room faces the ocean, I didn’t miss having a proper balcony, It still felt like I did. The service is incredible and I just can’t say enough good things about it.
We regretfully gathered in the lobby, but not before watching the last sunset. It was the most beautiful one we had yet on this trip. We all packed into the van and headed for the airport. It was a long walk to the gate. Sitting, waiting for the plane, I could’t help but feel blessed. This year has really been a year of transformation, of exploration. Really, karma has been good to me. I’ve built this life from scratch, by myself. Heading home, we boarded the WestJet flight just after 9:00pm and touched down just after midnight. I was thankful I brought my Nexus as it was a quick and seamless entry and was out the arrival gates in no time. It was such a fun trip, and I can’t wait to see where my next journey will take me.