Like most people, I love a sunny tropical beach getaway. Hawaii has typically been our first choice because Blogger’s Husband and I were engaged, married, and had our honeymoon on Maui. When my husband mentioned taking a surf vacation to Punta De Mita, Mexico; naturally, I was a bit skeptical and had some initial trepidation about exploring an unknown area. To my amazement, this fashionista’s holiday south of the border was filled with adventure, relaxation, as well as a few high jinx.
Phoenix to Puerto Vallarte is a fairly easy two hour flight. Upon deplaning, my first impression was the fast paced, disorganized chaos of people and cars outside the terminal. I also expected it to be much more humid and muggy, but was pleasantly surprised at the moderate mid 70’s temperature. The humidity was just enough to make my dry Arizona skin feel soft and hydrated. There is something wonderfully energizing being near the ocean. I always feel recharged, happy and more youthful.
My husband pointed to a white Volkswagon Jetta and stated matter of factly it was our rental car. Gasp!! Parked in front of me was a hubcap-less jalopy, bucket of bolts. In addition to a hubcap-less car, the seats were stuck doing their best impersonation of the letter “L.” Upright driving and sitting is not something I will ever get used to! Can you imagine not being able to recline your seat??!! Neither had I until we drove off in our rented white Jetta.
Meanwhile, on our way to Punta De Mita, I got terribly car-sick because of the constant stream of cars weaving erratically in and out of traffic. Drivers in Mexico are much more aggressive and don’t believe in turn signals. (I was told there would be turn signals) It was a free for all trying to avoid cars doubling as Mexican jumping beans. I literally turned green because of all the convulsive braking by my husband. Here’s a tidbit of information about blogger’s husband: he’s a leftie, and therefore, his right foot might as well be a wooden club. It’s great for going fast, but not so great for finesse. If ever renting a car in Mexico, be prepared to utilize defensive driving skills, for aggressive drivers, and turn signals that are blatantly ignored. Let me put it this way: Dayna Without Rules experienced Driving Without Rules!!
We arrived in Punta De Mita and discovered charming, but equally treacherous cobblestone streets due to lack of maintenance. (Some trivia…Cobblestone roads were originally built to give horses better traction when pulling heavy loads) Huge potholes big enough to swallow the tires of our car were strategically located to cause mayhem. Blogger’s husband had to weave between the chickens in the middle of the road, while simultaneously navigating around said potholes. On a sidenote, I have waited a long time to see a chicken cross the road! But then again, they were also loitering all over the streets of the town.
We stayed at a condo called El Faro II, located steps from the beach. Our view was an expanse of ocean and sand. Every evening, we would open the sliding glass doors and fall asleep to the sound of breaking waves kissing the shore as they retreated back into the ocean. The constant rhythm of the ocean’s tide was metronomic and would lull me into the deepest sleep. Blogger’s husband was in surfing heaven as he was able to surf right in front of our condo. We also took a five minute boat ride to a local reef break called “La Lancha,” which means “the boat” in Spanish. The waves here were much bigger than the long rollers in front of our condo. The waves at Lancha’s broke both left and right and were for the more serious surfers.
Now….one of our vacations would not be complete without an incident. Toward the end of our session, I was hit by a rogue wave while holding my long board and was held under for a little tumbling session. The force and strength of the wave barreled the fin of my surfboard into the side of my thigh, causing the entire fiberglass enclosure of the fin box to break. A tennis ball sized divot on my thigh was a reminder of how forceful mother nature can be. Fortunately I was only hobbled and out of commission for a full day. Talk about an unlucky break on our first surf day.
One of the highlights of our trip was THE FOOD!! I salivate and drool thinking about the delectable pastries, the savory local street food, the plethora of restaurant choices, and the fresh margaritas. The dining was absolutely out of this world! There are hidden gems everywhere. One such place is Naef Cafe, an oasis hidden behind a nondescript wall. They undeniably had the best pastries in the town. If traveling to Punta De Mita, this is a foodie destination worth making time for. The ambiance is tranquil, calm, and seemed to be laid out to optimize feng shui. We were greeted by Juanita, the house hen, who tried her best to hypnotize us for food (more succinctly put…she begs). I struggled with the moral dilemma of feeding her eggs….so french toast it was.
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Being foodies, we love finding hole in the wall eateries; however, we also enjoy the experience and ambiance of a nice restaurant. Consequently, blogger’s husband and I decided to dine at Aramara, an Asian/Latin fusion restaurant located at The Four Seasons. Upon exiting our jalopy, we were met with panoramic ocean views and a towering thatched roof. It was a tropical paradise reminiscent of Hawaii….breezy trade winds, tall palm trees, lush greenery, and views of the white sandy beach below. From our freshly muddled margaritas to the perfectly timed vanilla soufflé; the attention to detail did not go unnoticed nor unappreciated.
As an FYI, The Four Seasons Punta Mita is one of only ten Four Seasons Hotels to have maintained a Five Diamond rating for over 15 years. Pretty impressive in my book!! I would also be remiss if I neglected to mention the outstanding service…everyone went above and beyond to ensure we had a wonderful dining experience. We loved it so much, we dined there twice in one week. Even if you’re not staying on property (like us), I highly recommend dining at the Four Seasons Punta Mita. You will not be disappointed.
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One of my adventures ended up a solo undertaking because my husband decided to opt out of a horseback riding excursion. It has always been a dream of mine to ride a horse on the beach. Being the ever doting spouse who always aims to make me happy, blogger’s husband booked an hour on horseback to fulfill one of my dreams. My guide, TC, took us into the jungle, through a portion of Higuera Blanca (a small town), and down a steep rocky hill that had our horses walking sideways. Eeks!! We finished our descent to the sound of high tide and the smell of salty sea spray. I reverted to that little inner girl as I squealed in absolute delight!
I can unequivocally state Litibu beach went on for miles and miles. We walked our horses, we trotted, and then we took off galloping along the beach. It was liberating! I almost lost my baseball hat and my cell phone in the process, but it was so exhilarating feeling the wind against my face while hearing the waves crash onto the shore. I was galloping next to the other horse, side by side, laughing and shrieking from sheer joy and happiness. Hopefully, I will be able to share the same experience with my own horse, Lechoso. Grateful for such special day is an understatement.
All in all, our Mexican vacation blew my expectations out the window. Despite being active, exploring the area, meeting the locals, taking copious pictures, we returned home rejuvenated and with a nice golden tan. Now that we’re back stateside, blogger’s husband is already planning our next Mexican adventure. Despite some initial trepidation on my part, I loved adventuring, discovering, and experiencing Riviera Nayarit for the first time. I look forward to sharing my next travel journal with you and hope you were able to experience the fun and excitement of our Mexican adventure from this post.
Thank you for reading. Xoxo, Dayna~