Earlier this year Dave and I took a road trip of a lifetime. I have always wanted to go to Puerto Vallarta since I was a young girl (more on that later) and we wanted to explore Mainland Mexico so it was a win/win for both of us. We could have driven to southern Baja and taken the ferry over to the Mainland, but where is the fun in that? We have already seen a lot of Baja and wanted to experience new areas. The road trip from San Quintin, Baja to Puerto Vallarta was roughly 1,500 miles, consisted of 18 toll booths (roughly $80 USD), 7 military checkpoints, fabulous roads (compared to Baja) and miles and miles of beautiful scenery. We drove through 4 States in Mexico (Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit and Jalisco) and the scenery varied from beautiful desert landscapes, to corn fields to tropical greenery.
Our first stop was San Carlos, Mexico. The beautiful desert landscape and the Sea of Cortez were breathtaking and instantly captivated me. We were able to stay a few days to explore and we decided we must plan a return trip so we could soak it all in.
I am always a planner and plan trip to a “T”, but Dave challenged me to just “go with the flow” and not plan anything. We knew the dates we needed to be in Puerto Vallarta, but we had a whole week to explore and drive and stop wherever we decided for the night. This proved to be amazing, stressful and a learning experience all rolled up into one. We stopped in quite a few beach towns including: Mazatlán, San Blas, Chacala, Guayabitos, San Pancho and stayed a few nights in Lo de Marcos.
We made it to Puerto Vallarta and this was our view from the balcony. We knew that it would be a fun 4 weeks in Puerto Vallarta.
We were surprised to see that the marina had an interesting visitor. He stayed there the whole time we were there and we even named him Alfie.
This trip we had a special treat in that we had visitors in Mexico. These would be the first people to “brave” the travel to Mexico. First Dave’s sister and brother came to visit and later in the trip my sister and her friend came.
Day trip to Sayulita was fun visitng all the shops, eating street food and sweating; it was a super hot day.
The pool at the condo was big, mostly empty and was almost too warm to consider “refreshing”. But it was nice to have lazy pool days where we could enjoy the sun and try to keep our toes out of the way of the iguanas running around the pool.
We played tourist and walked the Malecon (boardwalk). The artwork along the Malecon was amazing, but it was super hot and the vendors were relentless. I think my voice went hoarse from saying “no gracias” so many times.
I have mentioned before how I love old churches. I think that the one in Puerto Vallarta was one of my favorites. I mean who wouldn’t love a church with a beautiful crown on it. I will have to do a blog post sometime with all the beautiful churches I have visited.
We spent many days at the Beach Club in Nuevo Vallarta, watching the waves, listening to music, laughing and drinking piña coladas.
Dave was a good sport, even though he was outnumbered he drove us girls around for adventures in Mismaloya, El Tuito and Downtown Puerto Vallarta.
I had previously watched a YouTube on Puerto Vallarta of things to do and one thing mentioned was a hike to a small white cross, known as Mirador de La Cruz. I heard that the views from the top were amazing so I convinced my sister and her friend to go with me. The views from up top were breathtaking and well worth the effort. I have to admit that I was out of breath as we trudged up steep hills, a dirt path and several sets of steep staircases. It was totally worth it and also a built-in workout.
I absolutely love street art/murals and they are everywhere in Puerto Vallarta. There are so many amazing and talented artists helping to beautify the city by covering up graffiti on walls. There are too many pictures to post in this post, but I will do a post soon of just the street art. Here are my favorite two from Puerto Vallarta.
My parents went on a trip to Puerto Vallarta in the early 80’s. When they got home they were sun-kissed and sporting some cute Puerto Vallarta t-shirts made from terry cloth. They told me stories of how amazing the food was, how much fun they had on a sunset cruise and they told me about musicians playing while they were walking site-seeing and they even stopped to dance in the middle of the street. I was mesmerized by their experience and vowed to make it to PV someday. At age 45, I was finally able to make it to Puerto Vallarta and it is purely a magical place and has left a lasting impression on my heart. I couldn’t find any terry cloth T-shirts to match my parents, BUT I just found out that my Mom has kept her T-shirt all these years and put it on for a quick photo. I can’t wait to tell her all about my trip and hopefully bring back some great memories for her.
The trip to Mainland Mexico went too quickly. Our last few nights we enjoyed amazing sunsets, thunder and lightning storms, cool iguanas, shrimp tacos, Thrifty’s Ice Cream and celebrating Puerto Vallarta’s 100thBirthday. This has been a trip to remember.
It all looks wonderful. I love churches also. The old Mexican architecture is so cool. Have fun and be safe. New asphalt jobs await you if you every return.
Love, love , love your adventures in Mexico and all I could say, besides being amaized by the beautiful pictures, was: “they are so brave to have driven that far”
I’m so happy you had a great experience there! I love Mexico!
Oh Jen! Such a feast of visual beauty and excellent photography! I LOVED the churches as well, but especially your mom in her shirt that she still had after all these years! Thank you for sharing such a special trip! Surely missed seeing you while I was in CA!
My favorite picture (all are awesome) from your travel log is the badass iguana. A proudly ancient reptile poised in magnificent defiance. Captured brilliantly.
Your adventures are truly terrific. You are enjoying life.
Your pics and stories make it enticing for those that love a good road trip Travel safely and keep sucking in the beauty of the earth.
Jen those pictures are insanely gorgeous 🙂 We stayed in PV a two years ago. I definitely want to go back. Let me know if you liked where you stayed, we stayed was not great. So glad you ‘winged’ it!
Awesome pictures. Thanks for sharing and glad you guys had a safe and fun trip. Dave, I will give you a buzz next time we are in Rio Hardy.
Happy New Year Don!!! Let us know the next time you are in Rio Hardy as we would love to come and visit you and see that part of Baja.
What an adventure! Gorgeous scenery, yummy food and good company. Who could ask for more? Wish I could’ve been there too!!!
Jen, this is your talent for sure, and we are so grateful for your gifts. Love seeing the changes in PV since our trip in 1969. Keep on moving!