Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

4:18 PM

 

Happy July Fourth weekend! I hope you're enjoying all the staples of this holiday: family and friends, swimming, fireworks... I know I will be tomorrow!

Last Tuesday, I returned from a six-day trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! It was such a fun time with my family, discovering a new country and having all sorts of adventures. I love going to different countries and I consider myself so so lucky to have been able to visit three already. It is so interesting to interact with people from different cultures and, in this case, try to use some of the Spanish I supposedly learned over the past four years of high school! In this post, I'm just going to talk about my trip and show you some pictures I took!

But first, I have a little announcement! I'm finally getting a domain name for my blog! (Yay!!) That means my blog URL will now be www.theyellowmailboxblog.com, without the "blogspot" part. (I'm not sure if it will automatically redirect you to this new URL if you type in the old one, so I just wanted to let you know before it went into effect.)

One more thing, then I'll stop rambling for sure. I created a video of this trip that will be up on the blog on Tuesday, July 5th. So look for that! It's pretty awesome if I do say so myself...



Okay, now onto the photos!


This cactus! With the cactus/succulent craze at its peak right now, it was pretty exciting to see one "in the wild". Puerto Vallarta is very hot, humid, and tropical, so I got to see all sorts of plants that don't grow where I live, like cacti! And really colorful plants like the purple one below. 



Those leaves!


This trip was the easiest international trip I've taken so far simply because Mexico is such a short flight from California. That means no jet lag! The flight was only 3 hours and 15 minutes long and the time changed by only two hours.



But what I was not expecting was the humidity!! I came back home feeling soooo grateful for the California weather that I enjoy every day! I will take the hottest California temperatures over Mexico's humidity any day. When we left the San Francisco airport after returning home, the crisp air felt amazing. Luckily, the hotel we stayed at had an incredible pool and beach, so I kept cool most of the time.



My sister and I had a good time taking photographs on the beach near our hotel. It was a private beach so there was hardly anyone there! The best part? The water was so warm, in both the ocean and the pool.


I later found out that there are sometimes crocodiles in the ocean. (Yes, crocodiles in salt water. They live in the rivers, then come out to the oceans to feed during the day.) So I was a little freaked out to swim in it, but that didn't stop me. Luckily, I still have all my limbs, not to worry, but we did have a crocodile sighting! It must have been 30 yards away. I was so scared it was going to run after us! You don't know how scary it is to stand near a crocodile until, well, you're standing near a crocodile. 


The sunsets were amazing there! I got to watch so many from the balcony of our hotel room. Since I was always awake an hour or so before everyone else in the morning, I spent a lot of time on that balcony. But I loved that time! The view was beautiful. (See below!) And I really liked people-watching from high up because they had no idea I was watching them. (Is that creepy? I have a thing for people-watching.)


The view from the balcony.


The people were the most fascinating part of this trip. What you don't see in the picture above is the hotel pool not a football field away. Tourists swimming in the bright blue water. This contrast was everywhere. Puerto Vallarta is sustained by tourism, but something about it just felt sad.

We visited a village that is accessible only by boat (no roads!). It was so interesting to observe the people there, especially the children. As we were walking, we passed by a little room with probably a dozen boys huddled around a single arcade game machine. Can you imagine what they would think of America? iPads, iPhones, computers, TV's at every turn? There were no schools, hospitals, or grocery stores. The houses had dirt floors and didn't have any window panes, just square holes in the walls. This baffled me, especially when I was back at the hotel listening to the nightly thunderstorms and imagining that village.


There were people everywhere selling things. I must have said "no gracias" a hundred times during the trip. We bought several handmade woven bracelets, including the ones below, but mostly we had to say no.






On one of our days there, we took a taxi to Zona Romatica and the Boardwalk. This felt more like genuine Mexico and less like tourist Mexico. I got to speak Spanish to some of the people and eat at a real authentic Mexican restaurant! And then... we went to Ben and Jerry's. Haha!


My Spanish teacher had those banners hanging up in her classroom, so it was cool to see them in Mexico. 


We woke up early to go on a morning walk on the beach to see what the tide washed up. I found this pretty shell!


Footsteps. 


My iguana friend!


About to hop off and go snorkeling! We were warned that there were jellyfish in the water, but I went in anyway. Let's just say that our snorkeling excursion ended with us frantically swimming away from several jellyfish and climbing back into the boat as fast as possible. One person on the boat got stung! Fear aside, it was really cool to see the jellyfish. They were so ethereal in the water and glowed purple! Later I got to hold a jellyfish in my hands!! (The non-stinging kind!) It was such a cool experience. Above water they're just a transparent lump.
I saw plenty of other fish, too. Lots of blues and yellows. Including one that kind of looked like Dory! 


Took my first ride on a speedboat! Emphasis on the speed. I had to hold on for dear life. (Though in this picture we're going relatively slow, hence the standing tour guide! That would not have been possible if we were going fast.)



Just riding a horse through the Mexican village of Quimixto.




I hope you liked seeing the pictures from my trip! I had a blast in Mexico and can't wait for my next adventure!

Remember: my new URL will be www.theyellowmailboxblog.com starting on Tuesday and, that same day, I am putting up a video recapping this trip! See you then!

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