Nuevo Vallarta Journals

My First Trip to Nuevo Vallarta

A January 2004 trip to Nuevo Vallarta by E. B.

Destilería Porfidio Photo, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico More Photos
Quote: I have never been to Nuevo Vallarta before. The only other time that I have been to Mexico was a very brief venture into Tijuana. Since I had glimpsed the seedier part of Mexico, I was ready to see the more glamorous side of Mexico.

My First Trip to Nuevo Vallarta

Overview

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There are so many things to do here: parasailing, jet-skiing, kayaking, tours to tequila factories, jungles, and Huichol Indian towns; but I think the most enjoyable experience is to just lie on a beach and soak up the sun as you listen to the soft whisper of the waves that lull you to sleep.Quick Tips: If you're a US citizen, I strongly recommend that you go ahead and have a passport for your trip. Although you can travel with a driver's license and original birth certificate, it's far easier and quicker with a passport, especially as strict as the airports are getting with international travel. Do it and save yourself the headaches, especially if you look "foreign." US Customs is much kinde...Read More

Mayan Palace Nuevo Vallarta

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Hotel

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Best Things Nearby:Puerto Vallarta, Punta Mita, Bucerías, Porfidio Tequilería, a water park.Best Things About the Resort:There are so many activities and things on this resort--spa and salon, a variety of restaurants and shops--that you literally don't ever have to leave the grounds. It also has the 2nd largest pool in Latin America, although it's not heated. Water is cold, but can you imagine the heating bills if they did heat it? There's a private beach next to the pool, a train, a boat, and kayaks.Resort Experience:It was hard to figure out where I was supposed to park, so I parked valet. At the entrance, water falls down a pillar into a pool with a bird...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 19, 2004

Mayan Palace Nuevo Vallarta
Av. Paseo De Las Moras S/n, Fracc. Náutico Turístico
Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico 63735
+52 (322) 226-4000

McDonald's in Paradise Plaza

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Restaurant

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I have not been to McDonald's in a while. My sister wanted to check it out since she was tired of eating Mexican food. I was willing to check it out for the purpose of comparing it to the burgers in the States. We both ended up ordering Big Macs. It was like a trip down memory lane. In the U.S., Big Macs are served in paper containers and are cooked in vegetable oil since we have become so health-conscious. Big Macs in Nuevo Vallarta are served in the old styrofoam containers and cooked in oil that did not taste like vegetable. I think it was the old beef tallow that they used back in the '80s. The Big Macs were even the original size rather than the shrunken things they serve to keep the cost d...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 11, 2004

McDonald's in Paradise Plaza
Paseo de los Cocoteros #85
Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
+52 322-226-6770

Guido's Italian Restaurant

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Restaurant

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We decided to try Guido's, since it was close to the resort. It was empty, since most folks ate at the restaurants located within the resort. We ordered a mixed salad (Insalata Mista) and two "personal size" pizzas, which were actually medium-sized pizzas. One was a vegetarian pizza and the other was a seafood pizza. We preferred the veggie pizza, since it seemed to have more flavor than the seafood pizza, which appeared to have only a few shrimps and clams. They gave us courteous service and asked us to sit down as we waited on our take-out. My sister has this habit of wanting to eat in front of the TV; it's so American. When we ate the food in our room, we noticed that they provided us ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 11, 2004

Guido's Italian Restaurant
Blvd. de Nayarit, L-3
Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
+52 (322) 297-2184

Bakal Restaurant at Mayan Palace Nuevo Vallarta

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Restaurant | "Bakal Restaurant • Café"

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My sister wanted to order take-out from Bakal. She is a couch potato who prefers to eat in front of the boob tube, so we ordered our food to go. She ordered quesadillas (traditional with no meat), and I ordered a ½ chicken parrilla. The food was great, and both came with a plate from the buffet filled with salad and dessert pastries. We ended up with more food than necessary, but the food ended up being tossed by the maids. We did not realize that we had daily maid service in our room, and our refrigerator was not working, so we left the food outside on the table since the air conditioner kept our room cooler than the refrigerator did our food. Unfortunately, the maids tossed our leftovers. We m...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 11, 2004

Bakal Restaurant at Mayan Palace Nuevo Vallarta
Bay of Banderas
Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Snack Bar Balché at Mayan Palace Riviera Maya

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Restaurant | "Balché Pool & Snack Bar"

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This is the pool bar where you can order your drinks as you lie on a chaise longue, glistening from sweat and suntan lotion. There are bar waiters that approach you every ten minutes to see if you would like either a drink or something to eat. This happens whether you are at the beach or the pool. One thing that happens at the beach is that you will be approached by street hawkers to purchase their merchandise. They are carrying sarongs, serapes, jewelry, sunglasses, even hammock chairs. Just tell them, "No, gracias," and they go on their way. When you're baking in the sun, it's nice to have someone offer to bring you a drink. I do not think it's a good idea to drink alcohol while you are in the...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 11, 2004

Snack Bar Balché at Mayan Palace Riviera Maya
Km 48 Carretera Federal
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Tumtah Restaurant

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Restaurant | "Tumtah Seafood Restaurant"

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This is a fine dining establishment that is situated inside the Mayan Palace right next to the beach. We were seated right away at the table closest to the ocean. Our server, José, spoke English fairly well, but upon discovering that I spoke a bit of Spanish, teased me by introducing the other waiter as Juan "Mentira," which means lie as in "liar." They both laughed as I looked very surprised, so I think they were checking to see how much Spanish I knew, since I have never heard that unfortunate surname. I ordered a Cuban Mojito while my sister ordered a Sprite. We noticed that soda in Mexico doesn’t have much fizz. I ordered a Ceviche Taitiano to start, which is cooked shrimps marinated in co...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 11, 2004

Tumtah Restaurant
Mayan Palcace, Av. Paseo De Las Moras S/n
Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, México 63735
+52 (322) 226-4003

The Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta

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Attraction | "Kayaking through Algal Canals"

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My sister and I decided to try out the tandem kayak that is offered free of charge to those staying at the Mayan Palace. They also have single kayaks as well as triple tandem kayaks. When we got splashed, we realized that the water was very green with algae, and that perhaps sitting in puddles of pond water was a little more adventurous than we preferred. It was my first time kayaking, while my sister had kayaked previously in Hawai'i. We were still both beginners. The kayaks get a lot of wear and tear, since most of the folks that take them out are beginners like my sister and me. We almost ran aground at least three times. We were unable to take the kayaks out very far, just a few canals and lakes. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 10, 2004

The Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta
Mayan Palace
Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
01 322 226 4000

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If you have very small children, they might enjoy the train ride that goes through the Mayan Palace grounds. The track is very short. It takes you from the parking lot up to the convention room and past the lake where you can kayak. It's hard on the conductor since he has to get out and manually switch the direction of the tracks that circle around at the endpoints. It's not much for adults, but little kids get a kick out of riding on the train, and it's free. The train rides are every 30 minutes. If they were to increase the track to circle around the entire resort (past the golf course, beach, swimming pool, all the resort buildings, and restaurants), then it might be a pretty cool t...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 10, 2004

Train Ride through the Mayan Palace Grounds

Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

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We went to the Wal-Mart Supercenter first thing to buy any necessary items. We bought mostly water and soft drinks since we were unsure if our room would be ready. It was very lucky that we only bought drinks, since we had a tiny little refrigerator instead of a full-sized one in our room. We also checked out the Mexican store, Gigante, but found more stuff at Wal-Mart than at Gigante.

At Wal-Mart we bought a huge jug of water (at least 5 liters) for only $13.87 MXN, while the hotel was charging $12 (about $1.20 USD) for a measly 1.5-liter bottle. Do yourself a favor - if you are going to stay for a while in Puerto Vallarta, definitely stop by the Wal-Mart.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 11, 2004

Wal-Mart Supercenter
Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Sunset Market

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Attraction

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This is a convenience store located within the Paradise Village Plaza. We checked out the Sea Market at the Mayan Palace versus the Sunset Market at Paradise Village. Although the Sea Market has a better collection of paperback books, this market has a much better selection of fresh fruit, water, and alcohol. The alcohol selection beat out most local stores. Good varieties of tequila, and I was impressed with how low the prices were for beer. I like Bohemia beer; it was priced lower than $3 USD for six bottles when I paid over $4 for six cans of Tecate at the Wal-Mar...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 11, 2004

Sunset Market
Paseo Cocoteros 85 Sur Local A/14
Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Destilería Porfidio

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Attraction | "Destilería Porfidio (Porfidio Tequila Distillery)"

Destilería Porfidio Photo, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
Quote:
We drove to the Porfidio Tequila distillery to see if there was a tour available, or at least tastings. We encountered a caretaker who spoke only Spanish. We asked if they were still open. It was around 6pm. (Later we discovered that we were let in after the closing time.) He said that it was still open and asked if we spoke Spanish. I told him that I spoke only a little bit of Spanish and asked, "¿Hay una persona que habla inglés?" He said there was, and we waited as he went to get an elderly gentleman with white hair and a hat. His English was pretty good, although not fluent enough to give a lengthy lecture on the tour. That was fine for us, since I already know how tequila is made, and my sister d...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 18, 2004

Destilería Porfidio
Carretera a Tepic No. 5818
Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Paradise Village Grand Spa

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Story/Tip

Quote:
My sister and I tried to book a spa appointment at the Mayan Palace, but Kaaná was totally booked. Note to those of you who stay at the Mayan Palace, book an appointment as soon as you arrive. If you wait too long, all the appointment times are GONE. We were not hopeful when we stopped by the Paradise Village Grand Spa. It is rated among the top 25 spas in the world. This was the nearest spa to the Mayan Palace. We asked for a same-day appointment and got it for 7pm, even though we dropped by at noon. I asked for an Aromatherapy Massage, since they did not have deep tissue available. My sister decided to go with the Deluxe European Facial with Vitamins. Both treatments cost $72 USD for 50 minute...Read More