After 15 years and over 20 visits, Theresa Luza has experienced the growth and evolution of Nuevo Vallarta and the Mayan Resorts. Here she shares her experiences and advice to saving money and having a memorable experience for those visiting the Mayan Resorts in Nuevo Vallarta on their first trip or an annual visitor.
1. Travel during the “non peak” season.
May-October, is the slower off season for Nuevo Vallarta. Take advantage of the smaller crowds and cheaper flights for a more authentic local experience. The weather is a little bit warmer (OK, hot!), but perfect for relaxing and enjoying the comforts of the resort. Cool off in one of the immaculate pools, grab a frozen margarita at a swim up bar, get pampered at the spa, or lounge in a cabana next to the sparkling Pacific Ocean.
2. Shop Local and cook
Upon arrival make one of your first stops at the local Mega Market or Walmart. Stock the fridge in your condo with groceries and drinks and save money on your meals. Take advantage of your fully stocked kitchen (excluding studios) and have a home away from home without having to worry about washing dishes! Enjoy the fresh tropical fruits and vegetables. Sample the amazing local Mexican meats and cheeses. Feast on fresh chips, salsa, and guacamole. Wash everything down with a beer on your balcony as you take in the sunset over of the Pacific Ocean.
The local Mega Market is convenient and provides the freshest fruits, vegetables, and also has a great variety of Mexican favorites. Try some of the local Mexican brands and be surprised at the quality and price. Open from 7:00am – 11:00pm, its located in nearby Bucarias.
The Super Walmart is also a good choice and is conveniently located in front of a major bus stop. There is a large Costco just a close taxi ride away.
For an authentic shopping experience the local Bucerias Sunday Market. This is the place to be for best local fresh fruit, seafood, and many other things. Located in the town of Bucerias near the river.
3. Take the bus
The vibrant culture, boutique shopping, and abundant nightlife of nearby town of Puerto Vallarta is must for any traveler, but the cost of taking a taxi can add up, not to mention the added environmental pollution. Save money, experience local culture, and help save the environment by taking the bus with the locals. The clean and well marked buses are simple to use and costs around 12 pesos ($1.00 USD). From the resort take the bus marked “Centro” into Downtown Puerto Vallarta, the Marina, and the Hotel Strip. Avoid buses marked “Tunel” unless you are heading towards Old Town and the Romantic Zone.
Bus lines extend North to Punta Mita, the surfer village of Sayulita, and into nearby Bucarias. For directions, pick-up locations, and timetables contact the concierge, check with your bus driver, or simply ask a local. When you board, pay your fee (no big bills) and hold on because buses take off quickly. Grab a seat, but reserve the yellow chairs behind the driver for the elderly, sick, and pregnant.
4. Stroll through Puerto Vallarta
Take a walk through Puerto Vallarta’s cobble stone streets and alleys to explore some the magic of the old colonial city. Discover small boutique shops amongst the rows of traditional red-tiled roofed buildings clad with iron-covered windows. Visit one of the most recognizable sights in Puerto Vallarta the picturesque Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Its open daily and English services are held on Saturdays at 5 p.m., and Spanish and English mass takes place every Sunday at 10 a.m.
Continue walking down the malecon, the ocean side walkway, and take in the majestic statues and sand sculptures while enjoying the music and sights of street performers lining the arched walkway. Known as Los Arcos, the seaside arches act as an amphitheater for musicians entertaining locals and tourist alike. Gary Thompson, the owner of Galeria Pacifico, shares his 30 years of experience in the Vallarta art scene with a free walking tour on Tuesdays mornings at 9:30. Learn more about the sculptures lining the beautiful Banderas Bay, enjoy a presentation by a local artist, and finish the tour with refreshments at the gallery.
5. Volunteer to help sea turtles
A sea turtle reserve right on property can make a lifelong memory of your vacation. From July to December watch as golfina, leatherback, and hawksbill turtles use the beaches of Banderas Bay to hatch their offspring. Enjoy an evening walk on the beach and experience a mama turtle laying their eggs. Likewise there have been many times I have watched the newly hatched baby turtles scampering to the ocean waters on my early morning beach walks. For a more hands on experience volunteer and help restore the marine turtle population.
6. Take advantage of the resorts amenities
After 15 years we still haven’t tired of staying at the Vida Vacation Resorts. There are so many things to do that don’t cost anything! Cool down and relax some of the best pools in all of Latin America. Enjoy a cocktail while floating down the lazy river or swim up to the in pool bar for a drink. For kids both young and old take cool down on the water slides or in the wave pool. Likewise, take a dip in the beautiful Pacific Ocean, play in the sand on the beach, or relax in the shade of a cabana. Take a relaxing stroll through the meticulously manicured botanical gardens and soak in the sights and smells of the tropical foliage. Finally, after a hard day in the sun relax in one of the lounges with a drink and enjoy a live performance by local musicians.