I am so glad we are almost to the holiday season. This year has been a challenge trying to adjust to being a working mom. I feel like I’ve been working more now than I did before Traveler #3! Anyway, because I’ve been heads down in work, I am excited for the holidays since it means we get more time off. And time off always equates to family vacations…. so of course, we have a couple coming up so I am looking forward to blogging about those in the coming months.
In the meantime, we took a short family vacay to Puerto Vallarta a little bit ago. I actually wanted to write about it earlier but then Hurricane Patricia was headed to Puerto Vallarta so I thought publishing a post encouraging everyone to visit would be ill-timed so…. it kind of just sat in the back of my mind collecting mental dust. Thankfully, Puerto Vallarta escaped the wrath of Patrica so with the super favorable exchange rate between the USD and Mexican Peso, now is a great time to go!
On this last trip, we did a quick weekend getaway. We opted to try out a new resort this time and chose to stay at Garza Blanca since it was the #1 hotel on TripAdvisor. I wanted to see if it was worth the hype.
The resort is fairly new and built less than a decade ago. In fact, a lot of newer hotels are located at the fringes of the city and this resort is no exception. Garza Blanca is located a bit south of Puerto Vallarta, approximately 20 min taxi ride away from downtown.
The resort was beautiful with its two large pools overlooking the ocean and its tastefully appointed modern rooms.
We got an ocean front honeymoon suite which was a corner room with a wrap-around terrace, hammock, and an outdoor jacuzzi overlooking both the pool area and ocean — all for less than $200USD/night (see what I mean about the favorable exchange rates?)!
Given the new resort and nice room, was this place worth the #1 rating?
Ehhhhh….. maybe not. Generally, hotels with #1 ratings have excellent service and I thought the service at Garza Blanca was spotty. While the first impression of the resort was a great one, the service in the restaurants was consistently mediocre and slow. We didn’t do the resort’s all-inclusive package, but if we did, there’s no way we could maximize that package given how much time it took just to order something and have it served! Also, in case anyone’s curious about all-inclusives, I recommend you skip the all-inclusive here unless you plan to eat and drink yourself silly – normal eaters could save more than a pretty penny just ordering a la carte. We actually paid an extra $50/day to have breakfast included in our rate, but had we ordered a la carte, we could easily have paid just $25/day for breakfast (for two) with the exchange rates now. If we visit Puerto Vallarta again, we’ll check out a different hotel next time especially since there are new ones opening up all the time now.
Anyway, since our trip was short, we used it just to steal a bit of relaxation and spent the couple of days we had maximizing our pool time with only one side trip into town for dinner. While mini-vacays are always fun, they are also always too short!
Here are some more photos from our trip:
After this trip, I have been having lots of urges to visit South America again. I miss the culture, food, and sites of our friendly neighbors. While we don’t have any South American trips planned, we are planning to go to some more Spanish speaking destinations soon so maybe that will satiate that desire for a while.
Have a great weekend!