December 2019
  • Day1

    Travel in to Puerto Vallarta

    December 27, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Though we planned this trip as an escape from the cold, Christmas in Wisconsin has been reasonably mild. Still, the anticipation has definitely been building for us.

    Mira is staying with her grandparents (and their new doggy / fun playmate) while we're away. Tough to leave the pup behind, but we know she's super happy with Grandma and Grandpa.

    It was a bright and early start, with a 4am wake up. I might have been a little grumpy. We slammed some coffee, and started our journey. Both flights, first to Minneapolis and then to Puerto Vallarta, were uneventful for the most part. For the second leg, Laura and Caty had the luxury of sitting next to an unhappy baby (I was several rows back). Once we landed, we began a wait-a-thon to get through passport checks and customs, and finally to our shuttle to the hotel.

    The resort is pretty magnificent. Perched high above the town, it was a twisty ride up, but the view can't be beat. We hadn't eaten since breakfast, and Caty was beyond hungry. We decided to eat in at the fancy hotel restaurant, and it was a great decision. We watched the sun set, ate Ceviche, and drank wine (Chocolate ice cream for Caty). All is well.
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  • Day2

    Lazy day

    December 28, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

    (Apparently I only took pictures of food and drinks today)

    Fairly lazy day today. We slept hard (me especially being the one who can't sleep on planes). All the same, Caty woke up around 6, and had to suffer until 7 for breakfast.

    After breakfast, Laura and I hit the gym for an hour while Caty read and watched movies, before spending some time at the pool.

    Once the sun came out in earnest, we took a taxi down to the Malecón (boardwalk) to walk around and get lunch. Caty was starving by this point (and the grumpies had settled in), but we powered on and meandered towards Layla's, which opened right as we arrived. It took a while before we had food in front of us, but it was well worth the wait. Laura had fish (which will be a constant on this trip), Caty had a hamburger, and I had spicy spicy chicken (spicy will also be a constant for me). I also had a surprisingly good Mexican craft beer -- very unexpected.

    After lunch we continued waking the boardwalk until Caty hit the point of exhaustion, and taxied back up the mountain to the hotel for a nap and more time at the pool/hot tub.

    For dinner we went back into town and had grilled meats and cocktails. We had shrimp wrapped in spiiiiicy peppers and a dish of Ceviche appetizers. Matching our experiences thus far, a meal out was a multi hour affair, so by the time we were done Caty was ready for bed, and we went straight back to the hotel, after a brief stop to pick up sunscreen for tomorrow.
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  • Day3

    Marietas Islands

    December 29, 2019, North Pacific Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Up at the crack of dawn again to ride town to Port to catch our boat to and around the Marietas islands. It was a relatively cool morning, with winds on the ocean making us glad we packed the hoody and jacket I packed.

    It was an hour long boat ride in, with several humpback whale sightings along the way! Once we arrived, we suited up in our wetsuits and dove in to go snorkeling along the rocks. Lots of pretty fishies down there! Caty got pretty cold, so we flippered our way back to the boat and dried off and ate some meager fare until the boat started off to the next location -- the beach!

    We were lucky enough the the clouds started to part as we arrived, and got to spend a good hour in relative warmth. Caty had a blast getting pushed around by the waves and having her suit and hair filled with sand and rocks (which now coat our shower floor).

    The sun was out in force on the ride back to Port, which was very welcome as I drank down several Pacificos, They taste pretty good after the second one, and put me to sleep on the taxi ride home -- I'm getting old...
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  • Day4

    Dolphins, Tacos, and Beach Time

    December 30, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Our last day in Puerto Vallarta, and the weather was everything we had hoped for when planning the trip. We split up for the morning -- Caty and Laura went to swim with dolphins, while I slept in before exercising and going in to town to see if I could find the best authentic tacos.

    Caty said the dolphin adventure was 'the best experience in her life', so we'll count that as a win. Laura loved it too, both the mama and baby dolphin were super smart and super cute. We won't have any pictures for a little while, but we'll get some sent to us by the company.

    My mission was also a success. I did some research (wanting very much to not have a plane ride home dealing with food poisoning) on local street carts and settled on Tacos El Mareno. By the time the cab had made the 10 minute drive down the cobblestone road from the resort, it was the lunch rush. Tons of locals were milling around, which I took as a good sign. I summoned the remnants of high school Spanish to place my order, and then shortly thereafter tucked into freshly made carne asada tacos -- super cool to watch them make the tortilla in front of you. The hot sauce was no joke either. Yum.

    I had some time to kill before Laura and Caty's cab brought them back to meet up, and wandered into a craft brewery in the gay section of town. While not amazing, the beer was better than expected and my fellow patrons and bartender were pretty friendly.

    When Caty and Laura arrived, we headed down to the beach to enjoy some magnificent sunshine and surf. Caty loved getting pushed around by the waves. After ~45 minutes we had to drag Caty out of the water, lest she turn into a lobster. While walking towards a cab location, Laura let out a shriek -- I turned around and found her horizontal, nearly submerged in the water as the tide pulled her towards the sea. She had tripped on a towel, we think; it happened so fast she can't quite remember how she found herself in that situation. She was embarrassed, but laughing too hard to pull herself upright... I ran over and fished her out. We all got a good chuckle out of it, but Laura's phone paid the toll due to water damage :(

    We bundled up our wet belongings and went back up to the hotel to lay in the shade at the pool, aka Caty went swimming again.

    For our last dinner I found an authentic Mexican restaurant in town. Caty was grossed out that they served cricket tacos, and I may have threatened to get some for the table... We had some tasty margaritas, smoked fish tostadas, barbacoa, and duck carnitas. Heavenly. Caty was a big 'flan' of dessert #DadJokesAllVacationLong.

    That's the end of the family Mexico journey. Another early morning to catch a plane back to Madison -- we're ready to see our pup!
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