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“My Tropical Paradise”
Review of Puerto Vallarta

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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Level Contributor
92 reviews
98 helpful votes
“My Tropical Paradise”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2007

Never been? Check it out. In the past 10 years the resort has evolved with a presence of retiring baby boomers purchasing a condo or villa in the Banderas Bay Area. With that has arrived a constant flow of fine dining, great shops, little boutiques, large stores [as WalMart, Office Depot and Sam's], hospitals, tons of tours and other activities like bungee, canopy tours, dune buggies, surfing, sailing, whale watching, etc. There are Internet groups to join for free and learn all one desires, some on Yahoo as OldTown/SouthSide. Feel free to contact me with questions and I will attempt to assist you!

San Francisco, CA./Puerto Vallarta, JAL.

5 Thank Gary B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lorain, Ohio
Level Contributor
5 reviews
8 helpful votes
“Absolutely Marvelous!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2007

We arrived inPuerto Vallarta on December 26, 2006 and stayed through January 2, 2007. My husband and I CANNOT STP RAVING about this trip. Although a little cooler in the mornings and evenings (mid 60s) this time of year, we were quite comfortable. This is also a perfect time for whale watching since the humpbacks are mating and birthing in Banderas Bay during this time.
We enjoyed an all-inclusive stay at the Marival Resort & Suites in Nuevo Vallarta. The complex itself could easily provide you with food, entertainment and all the necessities for a grand vacation, but we gave in to the many temptations of what the greater Vallarta area had to offer. Our Apple Vacation representative at the resort, Daniel, was more than gracious in helping us choose and arrange these excursions.
First , the resort: We had a spacious room on the second floor over-looking the tennis courts and entertainments area. Although we were disappointed we did not have an ocean-front room, we were satisfied since we rarely spent time in our room anyway. Some of the two-story buildings in this resort do not have elevators so if you are need of one, make sure you request a room in a building with one. The room was quite comfortable other than we found it very noisy. This is probably quite common in many resorts here since they are made of concrete and tile, and have many open-air balconies, windows, and passage ways. If you are a light sleeper it would be best to take ear plugs. The grounds were quite beautiful and meticulously maintained. The staff was friendly and helpful and we did not experience a language barrier. The resort features six restaurants (the veal in the Italian restaurant is to die for!), seven bars, four swimming pools (including a quiet, adult pool and a children's water park), two pool bars and two snack bars, and live nightly entertainment. I could go on about the resort, but you can look it up to see for yourself. I would definitely recommend this place although when we go back we plan on exploring a place closer to town or perhaps a less touristy location. The Marival is located among other resorts but is a cab ride or bus ride away from everything else.
Now the excursions:
Bull fights: Not for the tender-hearted but a MUST SEE if you love a tradition which combines art and sport. A short cab ride away from the Marival, the talented matadors bravely and gracefully engage the bulls in an age old dance to the death. Four fights can be seen each Wednesday night. Beer and other beverages are sold at the arena.
Sunset Cruise: We were lucky to do this on the Isis, a sleek, teak-lined sailboat which has quite an interesting history and a tremendously friendly crew. We enjoyed beer, rum punches, and a fabulous sail across Banderas Bay.
Whale Watching: We chose to do the day long whale watch and trip to Marietas Island for snorkling. we were delighted to sail again on the Isis again with the same crew as we had on the sunset cruise. What a simply wonderful way to spend a day! We saw many whales along our leisurely cruise to the island. After several hours aboard this well-equipped and comfortable boat, we were allowed to snorkel just off the island. It was my first time and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I HIGHLY recommend this trip - well worth the money and definitley worth dong again.
Canopy Experience: This is a thrll and if you are traveling with teenagers a MUST do (although we were a group of 38-54 year-olds and we loved it). First, a short taxi ride from the resort to the marina. Then a speed boat across the bay to a charming cove. You then climb into the back of a four-wheel drive truck for a ride through a off-the-beaten-track village. Training for the zip-lining is followed by a 25 minute mule ride up the mountain and another 20 minutes of walking. From there it is one thrill after another as you are hook by your harness and hardware to a series of double lines stretched high through the foilage on the mountain. Traveling at 25-30 miles an hour, you zip over amazing waterfalls, ravines, and greenery. I HIGHLY recommend this.
DOWNTOWN PUERTO VALLARTA: ABSOLUTELY A MUST! Make sure you take good walking shoes and plan on spending an entire day. Cobblestone streets and uneven sidewalks add to the charm of this quaint town. I cannot say enough about this area. Walk the boardwalk where you will see modern bronze sculptures basking in the sun. The bay is in constant view as you meander among the shops. Here you can enjoy a beer as you walk , or sit and relax in one of the many open-air restaurants or cantinas. Bargains are to be had in town as well as in the flea markets. The market that runs along the river is particularly scenic. The locals here are friendly, eager to do business but not at all pushy. We also felt entirely safe here. We loved it so much downtown that we chose to spend New Years Eve there with the locals. If you want a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience spend NEW YEARS here. Imagine Times Square Mexican style with fireworks that will put any American display to shame! UNBELIEVABLE!
We HIGHLY RECOMMEND Puerta Vallarta and we plan on repeatedly going back, maybe even retire there.
A FEW TIPS: Don't both with dressy clothes. Dockers and an oxford short was as dressy as my husband needed and cotton skirts and a nice tee were fine for me. Comfortable walking shoes are a must outside the resort. A small backpack works better than a purse for the ladies. A light jacket or some sort of wrap is needed for this time of year (Dec-Jan)
Exchange money in a bank for the best exchange.
Use that camera!
Away from the resort, always carry a few pesos for the restroom. Mexico seems to have an odd tradition of charging for the facilities (they called it a cover charge in the flea market) or for toilet tissue (the bull fights here and in Acapulco). Strange but true!
Reserve your dinners and excursions early (2-3 days) at the resort.
Start saving toward your trip back ASAP!

4 Thank BlueskiesTeacher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Puerto Valllarta
1 review
6 helpful votes
“Beware of timeshare salespeople exiting customs area”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 16, 2006

Not enough can be said to warn unsuspecting passengers about the timeshare salespeople who work just outside the customs area of the airport in Puerto Vallarta.

They have constructed a large new area with counters, that many people mistake for a Puerto Vallarta welcome area. It is not!!

Once you exit the customs area, there are over 30 over zealous men and women, at all times of the day, who will use various techniques to get you into a conversation with them with the end being that you will attend a timeshare presentation of the hotel that they are pushing.

New international arrivals must "run the gauntlet" in order to get out of this area, fending off timeshare salespeople all around them.
These salespeople impersonate tour representatives in order to get the passengers attention, then lure them in at the counter.
Passengers are asked what tour operator they came with and they also ask them for their hotel voucher. Some even grab the passengers bag and ask them to follow them to the counter. They tell them that they will give them free transportation to their hotels. Passengers on charters have already paid for their transfers to their hotels.
These passengers are told that they will attend a 90 minute presentation, which will turn into over 4 hours of aggressive sales tactics, in exchange for some discounted tours and other lures.
Don´t fall for it. Once you leave the customs area with your bags, go immediately to your left and exit the frosted sliding glass doors. Do not stop until you see your UNIFORMED tour operator representative holding the companies sign. This representative will also have a welcome envelope for you and will have your name, and the name of the hotel that you are going to, so you will know that this is in fact your tour operator representative.

You should also know that busses are allowed only a set amount of time to pick up passengers at the arrivals area. When you realize that you are actually talking with a timeshare salesperson, and decide not to go to their meeting, they will not provide you with transportation to your hotel if you have missed the bus.

Beware of this ploy!! If you want to buy a timeshare while you are on vacation, there are lots of places for you look at, on your terms. If these salespeople misrepresent themselves like this from the beginning, what else are they not telling you? Would you really want to buy something from salespeople like this? How honest are they really?

Pass this information along to your friends who may be coming to Puerto Vallarta.

6 Thank Sunvoyager
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
3 reviews
1 helpful vote
“amazing trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 28, 2006

What a vacation. There is just so much to do!
We stayed at the Casa Magna Marriott. Excellent service, beautiful views. Kidz club (ages 4 and up) is from 9.30am to 3.30pm for $15 per child per day including lunch which they get to select from a kids menu. Being part of the club for three days also gives the kids a free club t shirt. Very safe and clean and gives the kids time in the sun and indoors for a variety of activities.
At 6.30 pm they place bebe turtles into the ocean on the beach which kids love to see.
The marina is five minutes away as is an atm machine since the hotel does not have one. There are a couple of corner stores at the marina out of which one takes credit cards. You can stock up on different types of beer and snacks etc. there.
Cabs are relatively inexpensive, about $6 to town. Be careful though, the cabbies try to rip you off for a couple of dollars if you don't pay attention.
For ice hockey lovers, check out the No Name Cafe where you can even watch Hockey nite in Canada!
Lots of people from BC and LA.
Check out the Cuban restaurant on the main strip, their food is excellent!
Lots of people out there soliciting for the 90 min. timeshare presentation which can get you a number of gifts or tickets to various activities. One of them being the pirate ship excursion.
For shopping, bargain with them, they generally come down a notch!

1 Thank riding_rockets
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
23 reviews
121 helpful votes
“Nice week in P. V.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2006

Puerto Vallarta was a nice week for us. We stayed at the Villa Del Palmar, and it was comfortable. Ive read a couple of good and bad reviews however our stay was pleasant. With two pools, a relaxing environment right on the ocean, near a drugstore and a super market, it was convenient and just a short drive to downtown. There were several good restaurants and shopping areas, some artsy places to visit and the locals were friendly. It was a relatively clean city, for Mexico anyway, and we never felt endangered. After leaving and arriving home we thought it was a nice place to visit but probably wouldnt return, but after a few months went by, we talked about it, and may revisit this area again someday.

5 Thank AlHenry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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