PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico, December 8, 2011 —Puerto Vallarta transformed itself in the last half-century from a sleepy fishing village to one of the most coveted vacations spots in Mexico. The city offers the ultimate couples retreat: a romantic destination that features a plethora of boutique restaurants, miles of white sandy beaches, with a throbbing nightlife scene.
The Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa is said to be the most beautiful resort in Puerto Vallarta. The open-style architecture beachfront suites range from 3,700 to 6,000 square-feet, from one to three bedrooms, with each suite offering panoramic views of the beach and Sierra Madre Mountains. Relax on the balcony in the private outdoor Jacuzzi, and afterwards enjoy an unparalleled sunset from the hammock. The hotel restaurant, Blanca Blue, has an award-winning wine cellar containing over 2500 different wines from around the world. The resort is a favorite for weddings, with the white sand, mountainous horizon, and ocean presenting a spectacular backdrop for a ceremony (1br, $546/night).
Experience an exciting excursion with the Vallarta Shorex which departs from the Hacienda Doña Engracia ranch. The Hacienda is located 15 minutes from Puerto Vallarta and contains a family-owned tequila factory. The tour beings with an ATV ride through the Mexican countryside, followed by a stop at an outdoor hot tub filled with the clear, hot springs of the active volcano, Volcan Nevado de Colima. After a relaxing 15 minutes in the tub, the tour continues to a lake with waiting horses. The participants have the opportunity ride the horse through the lake, and essentially swim with the horse. The tour ends back on at the ranch, where you can experience tequila tasting at the on-site factory (Complete tour, $100).
Visit the Ohtli Spa at the Casa Magna Resort for a unique couple’s spa experience. The 2hour, 50 minute spa service includes treatment in a private 280 square-foot room, where you will receive a sea salt body scrub, obsidian stones massage, followed by relaxation in the rose petal strewn private Jacuzzi ($450 per couple).
For a night out, take a stroll down the famous boardwalk, the Malecon, and have a drink at one of the many pubs and bars downtown. Sara Sanchez of the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Bureau suggests visiting Barra Bar, an upscale lounge that plays music and videos from the 70s, 80s and 90s, as well as Punto V, an outdoor restaurant with a rooftop lounge. Other upscale bar choices include Mandala, Roo, Strana, and La Bodeguita del Medio.
Café des Artistes is a romantic French restaurant in downtown Puerto Vallarta, with artful décor in its outdoor and indoor settings. The outdoor partition makes for a very intimate and lush ambiance, with lighted trees covering almost every inch of the ground, dangling white orchards that occasionally drop in your lap, and violinists that treat you to a private song. Try the flower pot salad and the prawn and pumpkin cream soup.
Another must-do is the “Rhythms of the Night” voyage to Las Caletas- a private island only accessible by boat. Las Caletas will treat you to the experience of a candlelit dinner, literally: the island has no electricity, and is entirely lit by thousands of candles. Afterwards, enjoy a performance under the stars by a talented Mexican dance troupe at the Las Caletas outdoor theatre (boat ride, dinner & performance, $98).
Adrienne is a graduate of Hampton University, and helped develop the lifestyle section of the Hampton Script as a contributing writer. She is a passionate traveler, and loves to discover hidden gems and little known destinations.
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