Our final stop on our seven day Mexico cruise was a place I've always wanted to go, but never had the opportunity to. This stunning place known as Puerto Vallarta definitely exceeded my already high expectations. The moment our ship arrived, I had a sense of fulfilled wanderlust. We booked an excursion for this day, so I was antsy to explore and witness what this beautiful city had to offer!
Our excursion began as soon as we boarded a much smaller boat to take us to the island of Las Caletas. The boat ride there was around an hour, but it didn't seem like it was that long. We cruised along the stunning coastline of Puerto Vallarta, admiring the colorful homes in the mountains and swooning over all the beach side resorts nestled upon the sand and slow moving ocean. On our way to Las Caletas, we got to see Los Arcos Marine Park up close. When you travel south in Banderas Bay, it is clear why this protected area is a huge attraction for snorkeling and scuba diving alike. This natural sanctuary is home to dolphins, giant manta rays, sea birds, turtles, swallows, parrots and even humpback whales. The best part of it all has to be its lack of civilian contact which allows the biodiversity to stay stunning. The clear water, natural caves and cliffs make these special rocks iconic to Puerto Vallarta.
Although we chose a beach excursion rather than one in town, we got to see many points of interest on our boat ride. One of which is the crown topped steeple of Temple of Guadalupe. In Old Town Puerto Vallarta, (also know as Zona Romantica) cobble stone streets, restaurants and an open air market are some great things to consider participating in on your trip here. I can't wait to roam the streets, admire the homes and buildings along the mountains and take in all the culture of Puerto Vallarta next time I visit here.
Ahh, finally. We arrive at Las Caletas, the excursion we had been looking forward to the entire trip. This hidden, secluded paradise is only accessible by sea which is one reason which makes it so special. Tropical vegetation, hammocks sprinkled along soft, golden sand, kayak galore and turquoise waters make this area one of a kind. As soon as we arrived here, we arrived in paradise.
The first thing we did as we arrived here was eat! We had lunch prepared for us, buffet style and all the fresh tortillas we wanted. This paired with a refreshing and salt rimmed margarita was definitely a good introduction to what type of day we were going to have on the island. With a toes in the sand kind of meal and stellar service, we felt welcomed and were transformed into a state of pure bliss.
After getting settled in on the island and roaming the candle lit dirt paths lined with parrots and monkeys, we made our way to the hilltop spa to indulge in a little something special. A massage here was just what I needed after five days of being on a cruise ship. The simple decor and soothing sounds provided just the right environment to collect myself and my thoughts after the many travels and experiences we had the previous days. The spa was located next to an outdoor yoga center above the ocean. The combination of it all gave me a sense of peaceful serenity and the massage was just as wonderful as I expected, all within a tropical forest.
After our relaxation at the mountain side spa was up, it was time to have let loose and have some fun! We grabbed some paddle boards and found ourselves soaking in the sun on a large floating wood block with views and vibes meant for two. After, we swam over to a larger boat floating in the sea decorated with palm trees and surrounded by salty ocean water. Every way I turned I wanted to see more, every path that lead to the unknown I wanted to take, and every breaking wave, I wanted to embrace.
Of all the places and explorations during our time in Mexico, this day was certainly the highlight of our trip. I could have spent days, even weeks on this tiny island, drinking out of coconuts and channeling my inner-mermaid. After a great day of paddle boarding among the sea life, a hot shower at the spa and endless smiles, it was unfortunately time to make our way back to the main land for a quiet authentic meal before heading back on the cruise to set sail to California. Needless to say, I found paradise in Puerto Vallarta.
Have you ever witnessed the beauty of Puerto Vallarta before? What was your experience like there? I'd love to hear if you have ever been on an island escape before and where you've found paradise! For even more travel inspiration and guides, follow me on Instagram and stay connected with Sunshine Daydream on Facebook.