Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.
— Oscar Wilde
Oh, love! Is there a purer or more glorious feeling? Maybe there is. How about the feeling of traveling with the person you love? Last July Erik and I celebrated our first anniversary going to one of my favorite Mexican getaways, Puerto Vallarta. Erik had never been there before. But as I expected, he was enchanted by it.
Located in the Banderas Bay on the west coast, Puerto Vallarta is one of the most beautiful and romantic destinations in Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is relatively a new town; the first modern settlers arrived in 1851 and it didn’t gained the municipality status until 1935. However, it wasn’t until the early 1960s that Puerto Vallarta became internationally famous when it received simultaneously big Hollywood stars, national celebrities and American intellectuals for the shooting of the film “The Night of the Iguana”.
Today, Puerto Vallarta is a destination for tourists from Mexico and all over the world. Its exceptional geography, between the sea and the Sierra Madre Occidental, make it a perfect place to practice aquatic and extreme sports. Its small town feeling and gorgeous sunsets make it a great romantic getaway. Because of some financial setbacks, we traveled on a budget, but still got to see and do a lot in this earthly paradise. We stayed at Hotel Suites Las Siestas, a low-budget hotel near the center of the city with an espectacular view of the bay. Las Siestas might be ranked as low-budget, but we had everything we could ask for, a large enough suite with a small stove, fridge, cooking utensils, a comfortable king size bed and a sofa that faced the large window with the amazing view.
The major misfortune with that hotel was that we weren’t close to La Zona Romántica, my favorite part of town. But we were not too far either, around 15 minutes walking on the malecón, which in perspective wasn’t bad at all, the malecón is one of the most beautiful attractions of Puerto Vallarta. We were there for 5 days and we probably walked more than 10 kms going back and forth between the hotel and the romantic zone, but it was worth it!
I enjoyed the food—especially our first dinner at Las Palapas, a beautiful restaurant on the beach where we celebrated our anniversary—, the sunsets, beaches and nightlife. But my favorite part of the trip was spending most of one day at a recluse beach, just the two of us. It was a very romantic and spiritual experience at the same time. There are no roads to get there, so we took a water taxi full of tourists and produce heading to Las Ánimas, another beach that can only be reached by boat but that attracts a lot more tourists. We were the only people who disembarked half way from the final destination and, to be honest, I was a little scared. The water taxi took us as close as possible to the shore of a really small beach enclaved in a narrow cove out of sight of the main bay. A set of stairs led to an abandoned house and the jungle behind. When the taxi turned around and left, we realized that if they forgot to pick us up later in the day, we would be stranded there for God knows how long.
However, our fears soon disappeared when we took off our clothes and swam in the tranquil and crystalline waters of the cove. Little fish swam around our feet, pelicans and other birds came and went at their pleasure, and I think I saw a sea turtle dive when I got close to it. The sand was not as fine and white as the one from the Caribbean, but it was a beautiful whipped cream color and nice enough to walk and lay on it. Of course, our phones didn’t get any signal out there and if we were forgotten and had to stay the night, it would have been pitch black after sunset. I was more than fine with that, sometimes unplugging from the world is what you need to get a different perspective on life.
The water taxi company did not forget about us and they were right on time to pick us up. On the way back to Puerto Vallarta I had time to reflect how fortunate I am for having these adventures with the person I love. Back in town we ate dinner, watch one more breathtaking sunset and went to a bar, another part of the trip that I also enjoyed, but not as much as spending a day in solitude with nature.
Soon I will write some of my recommendations to eat in Puerto Vallarta. Stay tuned!
Ben, the Trekking Huarache