If you were lucky enough to have seen the movie Water for Elephants, you know exactly what kind of beach this article is going to convince you to visit. The rolling waves, the clear blue water, and the endless horizon – everything about this place feels like a scene out of a movie. If you didn’t see it, perhaps it’s time to add it to your Netflix instant queue.
This place has been on our bucket list for as long as we’ve been blogging. We dreamed about being able to spend a week or two on a beach in the UK, and now that dream has become a reality. Thanks to a few travel bloggers who convinced us to try out this luxurious destination, and we’re so glad we did. Here’s how it went down.
The first thing that’ll strike you when you step off the plane is how hot it is. The air is thick and sticky, making it hard to suck in any big breaths. As you look around, you’ll notice that everyone else seems to be struggling with the same issue. Even the people who live here seem to be fighting to keep their cool. It’s going to be a long hot summer (pun intended) – literally. As you continue to look around, you’ll see a vast majority of tourists. There are a few other locals here and there, but mostly it’s a mix of backpackers and European vacationers. You might even spot a few celebrities, as there’s a famous beach just adjacent to ours called Punta Mita.
The other thing you’ll notice is how loud the birds are. At least, that’s what it seems like. It’s not just the birds either – it’s everything. The cars, the people, the wind, the waves, the birds. It’s like being in the middle of a warzone with the volume turned up to 11. Perfect for drowning out the humdrum of daily life. We’d be lying if we said that this didn’t excite us. It really does feel like paradise. If you’ve never been to Mexico, now might be the right time to visit.
In terms of what to pack, it’s best to play it safe and go for a swimsuit cover-up. The beach isn’t too cold yet, but it’s already heating up. There are a few swimsuits on the market that’ll be suitable for the beach, but if you want to be extra safe, we’d recommend going for a wetsuit. You’ll definitely want to bring more than one pair of swimming shorts, even if they’re not 100% waterproof. As for the shoes, there are a few options available. You could go for a pair of flip-flats or huaraches. The main thing is that they match the outfit. You don’t want to wear anything too flashy or bright. For tourists, especially those from Europe, a white T-shirt with blue trim would look perfect.
Once you’re on the beach, the first thing you’re going to notice is how crowded it is. Especially on the weekends. There are a few spots that aren’t particularly busy, but it’s best to look for a hidden spot away from the beachfront. That’s where you’re most likely to find peace and quiet. To give you some privacy, many hotels have installed gates and ropes to separate the beach from the road. One thing you should keep in mind though, is that the closer you sit to the beach, the faster the evening shade will overtake you. Even though it might be balmy and brilliant at the beach, the air might feel a little cool and damp a few hundred meters away. Bring some sunnies and a big sun hat. If you want to stay cool, it’s best to stay put or walk a bit away from the beach. The nearer you get to the mountain, the cooler it’ll be. The fog will overtake you, giving you an otherworldly sensation. It’ll be like falling into a cloud. Just make sure you’re carrying an umbrella or raincoat if you plan to be near the beachfront. Especially on Sunday, when it downpours and you’ll be drenched.
Most of the time, the best way to explore a place is by foot. The town is small and you’ll easily be able to cover a lot of ground. When you get into the habit of walking, you’ll discover a lot about a place. For example, when you approach the mountain, you’ll realize that the road going down is actually one way and leads to the town. Going up is much easier and doesn’t require as much energy. If you’re carrying a lot of luggage, you might want to take the bus. It’ll save you the effort of climbing the mountain. As mentioned above, the town is quite crowded, especially on the weekends. There are a few cafés and restaurants there, serving food from all over the world. If you visit on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you might have the place to yourself. It’ll be a quieter and a colder day, so if you’re looking to laze away the day, consider moving to a warmer region. If you want to reach destinations outside of Vallarta, taking a taxi might be your best bet. You can download the Uber app and ask for a car at the airport. You might need to be extra careful though, as the traffic can be pretty heavy. If you do decide to walk, the air feels fantastic and it’s only a couple of kilometres to the town’s main shopping street. In terms of safety, Mexico is a well-known place for package holidaymakers to travel to. The crime rate in and around the resort is relatively low, so it’s a fantastic place to enjoy a peaceful vacation. There’s certainly no threat of violence or crime. Most of the time, you’ll feel safe and secure. The few exceptions are the resort’s outskirts, where you might experience some street signs broken, garbage and graffiti scattered around, and a few stray dogs on the prowl. Fortunately, we had the travel bloggers with us, and they made us feel instantly safer. Even the most dangerous animals – like the dogs – will probably hesitate to attack a group of people carrying cameras and the like.
There are a lot of cheap designer brands and knock-off items for sale on the streets. While we were there, we didn’t feel cheated at all. For those looking for luxury buys, there are plenty of high-end stores too. However, be careful not to buy any counterfeit items. There are a lot of fakes out there, and it’s not always easy to tell them from the real thing. You’ll be able to tell the difference once you’ve tried the product or service in question, but it’s still best to be on the safe side. A good way to check is by contacting the brand’s customer service directly. Most companies have a 24-hour service that you can reach by phone. If you run into problems, it’s usually best to be on the safe side and contact the company’s support team. They’ll be more than happy to assist you, especially if you’re a valued customer.
Yes, the beachfront is pretty enough to look at. There’s a pier that extends into the ocean. It’s where you’ll find restaurants and cafes, as well as a few bars. The best spot to swim is beyond the pier. When it’s crowded, it’s hard to reach the other side. The hotels’ pools are also a great place to relax and the water is always at a comfortable temperature. There are also some bars there, which is good if you’re looking for a bit of a change from the beachfront scene. If you want to take a quick dip, there are a few public beaches. Be careful though, as the water can be a bit rough. Especially in the north, where there’s a lot of seaweed floating around. The other option is to buy a kayak and go for a paddle on the lake. It’s a fantastic therapy, and it still feels like you’re out on the ocean. Except, you’re on a man-made lake. It’ll feel like you’re in a scene out of a movie. If you get caught in a downpour, it’ll be worth it.