Wow! Once again, we managed to pack an awful lot of fun into our last few days in Puerto Vallarta. Our entire 7 days were sunny, 27 Degrees and not a cloud in the sky. You really can’t beat the weather here! The highlight of our last couple of days was getting to release baby turtles into the sea. This normally takes place earlier in the fall, but this year there were still baby turtles hatching in early January, so we were lucky to be able to participate in this event. The Concierge at the Marival let us know that they would be releasing the turtles at the Luna condominium complex, about a 20 minute walk down the beach at sunset. We took a bunch of the kids down and for 32 pesos per adult (government fee) and a donation, we got to listen to a biologist and some volunteers tell us all about the endangered species of sea turtle that lives in this bay and how they are helping to repopulate them. They hold the newly hatched turtles in a safe area until sunset as their chance of survival is best at this time of day – with less threat of being eaten by birds or fish on their way into the sea. It was truly an amazing experience and my 8 year old has been talking about it for days. If you are interested in this type of activity, just inquire with the concierge at the Grand Marival and they will let you know when/if it is taking place.
We also had the chance to try two other a la carte restaurants, the Amalfi Italian Restaurant and Las Palomas Mexican Restaurant. For the Amalfi, we had a group reservation that the hotel was kind enough to reserve in advance for us. It is a very good, but very long dining experience. It would be fantastic as a romantic date for a couple and they have tables overlooking the sea and sunset. It took about 2 ½ hours for our 5 course dinner, which was just a little long for the kids – we had everyone from our group, all 35 at this restaurant so there were lots of kids. The service was also outstanding and they were very accommodating of the kids. The Las Palomas, we enjoyed just the two of us, with no kids. It was a very nice dining experience. The restaurant is very Mexican in feel and they start you off with an assortment of appetizers to share as well as fresh guacamole made tableside. After that you pick your soup and salad and main course and then there is desert samples for sharing. They change the menu here several times a week – we had the Baked red snapper and a soup that had chicken and rice and avocado – the food was very good and it was probably my favorite meal of the week.
We considered using the services of the doctor at the hotel as one of our twins had a fever and bad cough for a few days and we wanted to get her checked out before our flight home. When we went to the doctors office on site, the doctor wasn’t in yet. By the time we could have gone back, she was starting to feel better, so we decided against going. The doctor is on site from 11am-6pm most days and the cost to visit the doctor is $50 USD, plus additional if medical or additional services, etc are needed. It was very convenient having the option to see a doctor right on site.
A few other observations and tips about the Grand Marival – there is a kids playground at the kids club that you can use anytime and it’s right beside the Mini golf. The Mini golf is shaded most of the day, so a good activity for kids to get out of the sun for a bit. There is also an Arcade/teen area with pool tables that lots of our kids enjoyed, even if they weren’t quite teens. They allowed kids of all ages in this area, but younger kids needed to be supervised. They have an area by the quiet pool set up every day where kids can paint a piece of pottery for $10 USD and they will finish it and glaze it and you can pick it up the next day. The kids liked this and it was a nice keepsake. Last but not least, the pool bar at the quiet pool had bartenders who make the classic Caesar drink and they made them very well. This was a nice surprise for us Canadians who enjoy our Caesars!
Our return trip home was pretty smooth. The shuttle was right on time and it was only 15 minutes to the airport. The check in and security lines moved pretty quickly. Once through security, there were lots of dining options and duty free, but it was BUSY! There were a lot of flights leaving late afternoon on the weekends and there were a lot of long lineups to get food and it was hard to find a place to sit. Otherwise, the flights were pretty close to being on time and the biggest hiccup was a long wait for luggage at the Saskatoon airport – again with no strollers as they didn’t bring them to the gate. That was probably the biggest annoyance of the whole trip was having to do the Customs and baggage waits with no strollers both ways. All in all, it was a fantastic trip – as my 8 year old said “best trip ever!”. We loved experiencing this destination as a group and getting to spend lots of time together and the kids had a blast. Looking forward to the next one already!
If you enjoyed hearing all about my vacation feel free to check out Uniglobe Carefree Travel’s Instagram page where our whole team shares photos of their best vacation moments. You can find us at @UniglobeCarefreeTravel.