Destinations

Magnificent Mexico: Adventures at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit

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The place: Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The drink: Whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s all-inclusive baby!

When I was greeted with a cool beverage and a shoulder massage upon check in at the huge open-air lobby of Grand Velas I knew I’d found a happy place. The resort has one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, all with private terraces and gorgeous views. This all-inclusive includes all dining, premium alcohol and the prettiest wooden wristband, heads above the usual plastic ones you get at other resorts. Restaurant selections range from the casual seaside snack bar to gourmet Mexican at Frida, international cuisine at Azul, gourmet French at Piaf and Italian-Mediterranean at Lucca.

I may have been content to spend my entire time here lounging poolside while enjoying the view of Banderas Bay and the Sierra Madre mountains, with occasional breaks for the swim-up bar and an order of fresh guacamole.

But leaving the resort to swim with the dolphins at Vallerta Adventures was a highlight and resulted in my first dolphin kiss, fulfilling a fantasy nurtured since childhood viewings of Flipper.

On our last night we hit the nightlife in nearby Puerto Vallerta, where our group of five women enjoyed a variety of adult beverages and danced to a loud, pulsating beat in several bars, including one in which I posed for a photo in a cage that I then texted to my husband. Because nothing says, “I miss you” more than that.

Reasons why our all-inclusive bracelet for Grand Velas is way better than the usual plastic kind. 1. I could take it off in the shower or bath. 2. It goes with every outfit, from Lily to Lacoste. 3. I could take it home and relive wonderful memories.
From the night I discovered just how big a party town Puerta Vallerta is. Just a few memories: tequila shots at Hooters, dancing with a group of 15 years olds celebrating a quinceanera, dancing with a few geriatric men just celebrating being alive I suppose, meeting up with a guy who was Twitter buddies with the girls and sending my husband a text with a photo of me standing in a cage in a club. A few more drinks may have been consumed. Oh yeah, and returning back to the resort barely before sunrise. Here are (l-r) Rachel, April, me and Megan.
One of the most romantic spots on earth

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