Sometimes, the best thing parents can do for their children is get away from them. That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? But it’s true. After having kids, many couples dive into the parenting waters and forget how to swim as a couple. The world revolves around the children and the couple forgets what it is like to share an adventure or tell a story together. Lives are focused so much on children that couples can lose their identity and sense of partnership.
Feeling the need for a vacation that included adventure, relaxation, and romance, my wife and I took a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Like many resort cities in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta offers a beautiful beach, luxury resorts, amazing food, and plenty of adventures.Thankfully, we experienced all that Puerto Vallarta offers.
Where we stayed:
We stayed at the Westin Puerto Vallarta, a luxury resort on the beach with pools and beach-side service. Our room was spacious (not that 2 people needed it) and comfortable with a beautiful view. I’m usually a beach all-day kind of guy, but the pools at the resort were calling my name. Actually, the swim-up bars were calling my name.
- This was a couples get-away, but I couldn’t help but notice that the Westin Puerto Vallarta looks like a great place to take kids. There is a Kids’ Club and the pools are shallow in areas for kids to play water sports and there are floaties to borrow. I saw many kids splashing around and having fun. I missed my kids and wished they were there…momentarily.
Where we ate:
The Westin has 4 restaurants, 3 of which we sampled. From formal dining to relaxing by the pool, the Westin has their guests covered with delicious options.
We ventured out into town for several meals, the most noticeable being Casa Isabel. Casa Isabel sits at the top of the city, and the restaurant offers beautiful views of the city, beach, and people walking around the streets in search of their own adventures. This was where my wife and I had our most romantic meal on vacation. The restaurant is casual enough that you can relax, while maintaining enough class that the night feels special. This was also where I learned that Mexican coffee isn’t just a cup of coffee to be served with dessert. It is an alcoholic beverage set on fire with a performance by the wait staff.
We also enjoyed a dinner with friends at Barcelona Tapas, which like Casa Isabel has beautiful views of the city and water from its multiple terraces. For a delicious informal lunch, right in the center of old town, we ate at Restaurant Gaby.
Our hotel was within walking distance of Plaza Marina, which is a long stretch of shops and restaurants. Tourists can find restaurants, bars, tours, and great food along the Plaza Marina. And if you look closely in the waters, you might spot an alligator.
Cuale Island Flea Market is where you’ll find most of the gifts you want to bring home to your family and friends. We purchased toys and clothes here for our kids. We also bought a few nicks-knacks for our home. Bargaining is exhausting, so if you are like me, prepare yourself for a long day of negotiating. The walk to Cuale Island is also particularly beautiful; keep an eye out for large lizards along the way.
What is a couple’s vacation without a massage? If you live with 4 kids, you have muscle pain. With pains in our back and neck, we scheduled a massage at Metamorfosis Day Spa. Both my wife and I enjoyed our massages and felt refreshed afterwards. Kinks in my shoulders were worked out and the knots in my wife’s neck and upper back were relieved.
And Puerto Vallarta, with its colonial historic downtown on the bay, is the perfect place to relax and meander. Its winding cobblestone lanes, coffee shops, and waterside parks practically beg one to spend a few hours doing nothing but soaking it all in.
Great food, beautiful resorts, and relaxing massages can much be found anywhere. But my wife and I wanted as a focal point of our trip a truly adult adventure. And boy did we find our adventure. We signed up for a 7-hour excursion with Vallarta Adventures.
We were taken first by high-speed boat across the bay, then by an off-road bus, to the foot of a mountain where we were given the rules of the day. We climbed onto mules, which carried us to the top of a mountain. The mules were the start of the adventure. Getting down the mountain was where the real fun began. To get down the mountain, we had to repel, zip-line, free fall, and water slide. The guides made sure we were safe and were mostly patient with us. Flying down a zip-line and repelling as couple sent us back to the time when we were dating and newly married and carefree.
Often, married couples with kids get caught up into the day-to-day grind of life. You get the kids ready, go to work, work, come home from work, eat dinner, put kids to bed. The next day, repeat. Taking an adventure with your spouse throws a wrench in the cogs of mundane life and places another story on the memory mantle place. Taking a mule, then zip-lining and repelling, and the ultimate splash into the water with my wife made us as a team once again.
I love my kids and they love me, but it is healthy for them to see how much I love being with my wife. Because of work schedules, my wife and I have limited time together during the week. Often, our kids see the end of day couple life – when I am tired from errands, parenting, and chores and my wife is tired from a day of work. Because of Vallarta Adventures, my kids see pictures and videos of my wife and I laughing together as we took on the challenges of descending the mountain. And for those who don’t fancy themselves as adrenalin junkies, Vallarta Adventures has a host of other excursions to choose from.
Puerto Vallarta was the perfect couples’ escape, but after spending five days there, I’m also convinced that it would make the perfect family escape too. Next time we may have to bring along the kids…or not.
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*Disclaimer: My Vallarta Adventure was provided to us at no charge in exchange to be included in this post. However, the words and ideas in this post are my own.