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Suitcase & Kids : Our Trip to Puerto Vallarta

I am so late posting these pictures of our summer trip to Puerto Vallarta . Truth is, I felt it wasn’t worthy of a blog post. After a month or so of planning my kid’s first trip out of the country and my first trip to Mexico, I had high hopes for our time in Puerto Vallarta. I made a Pinterest board of all the places I would visit, restaurants I couldn’t wait to try, and even outfits that I would photograph for the gram. Nothing went as planned. The trip was nothing like I expected at all. So, I decided it wouldn’t go up on my blog because it didn’t have all of the beautiful food pictures and travel pointers that are expected of travel posts. But, you know, I am a very keep it real kind of person. I decided maybe we’ll just be authentic and tell this story from the angle of real life—Instagram v Reality lol.

Both Jasiel and my mother’s birthdays are in June so this trip was kind of a birthday excursion and a summer kick-off celebration. Puerto Vallarta felt like the perfect vacation destination because it offered traveling styles for both my mom and me. After our trip to Puerto Rico together, I realized my mother and I have very different traveling personalities. She is a resort lay on the beach kind of traveler. I, on the other hand, am an adventurer. I enjoy immersing myself in local culture, food, and experiences. That isn’t so much of her thing. So I thought Puerto Vallarta would be perfect for us to both get what we desired out of the trip.

We arrived in Puerto Vallarta around 1 pm on Friday afternoon. After long lines through customs, we were finally ready to leave the airport and commence with our Mexico vacation. My mother had a coworker who joined us on the trip and had a group of black expats who lived in Puerto Vallarta and would show us around during our stay. We didn’t have to get a ride to our hotel because they picked us up. But, travel to your hotel or Airbnb is extremely easy in Puerto Vallarta. Contrary to what I assumed from Pinterest, Puerto Vallarta is a very small city-one way in and one way out. And, the airport is pretty much 10 minutes from everywhere.

We stayed at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort. It was a beautiful hotel with a plethora of amenities. If you are a resort traveler, this would be heavenly for you. Cocktails on the beach, kids playground, cooking classes, restaurants, gardens-everything if you don’t want to leave the hotel.

But, I am not that kind of traveler. If I am going out of the country, I want an experience that I can’t get in America.

Ironically, my husband’s family is from a small town 77 miles outside of Puerto Vallarta called Tomaltan. During our time there, I made plans for Jasiel to meet his aunts and uncle, visit my his dad’s childhood ranch and home, and experience the mountainside of Puerto Vallarta. This is the Instagram v Reality part coming. Although, I wanted to really soak this moment in because I knew it would be the first and maybe last, it was a horrible and stressful experience. I learned that everyone isn’t adventurous as I am. That the things I enjoy or what I am open to experience others may not. While I loved the idea of renting a car and driving up winding roads into the mountains without American food anywhere in sight, my mother didn’t. Americans are accustomed to certain luxuries or amenities that aren’t the reality for so many others in the world. Traveling reveals that to you very quickly.

I love to see how others live and how their lifestyle is different than ours. It creates a better understanding of people and their way of life. I wish I had more time to take pictures of the people who lived outside of the city. I think the stories paired with the visuals would have made my trip more wholesome and well rounded. But, it was cut short, unfortunately. I will say life is simple in Mexico and I have a greater appreciation for my husband’s way of life. I’m so glad that I have this picture to print for Jasiel and the story to tell of how he went to his Dad’s homeland where his grandmother raised his father’s family.

Sunday we were back in the town and hung out with my mom’s friends at a Riveria Nayarit beach where locals hang out. It was vastly different from the beach at the hotel. Sunday is pretty much family time on the beach for locals. It was crowded but so peaceful and pleasant. We sat out and enjoyed fresh coconuts and the best ceviche I have ever had in my life. Amira is a water lover and an adventurer. We rented her a surfboard and she had the time of her life in the water. Jasiel slept most of the time and woke up to play on the beach. Salsa music and ocean waves were the most amazing soundtrack of our day.

During the summer, Mexico heat is another kind of hot. I would advise going down to the Malecon in the evening. Most of the locals hang out during the evening so if getting a taste of locals is what you enjoy go after 8pm. I really loved walking the cobblestone streets turning corners and finding treasures along the way like beautiful murals. The highlight of my time in downtown Puerto Vallarta was having the chance to go inside Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The architecture and details are just breathtaking.

There was so much more left unseen for me on this trip. I wanted to be able to take my time and really dive in and explore Puerto Vallarta. I didn’t have anything set in stone but the idea of getting lost in traveling and finding pockets of authentic experiences would have made this trip far more memorable than it was for me. While I did get a chance to venture off and have a tezmacal ceremony by a local healer, I wish that so many things I passed by while driving I could have pulled over and just captured.

That’s the lesson I learned! While I did get a video of some things- check my Instagram- a lot of this trip was nothing that like I had dreamed of. Traveling with kids is difficult but it can be done. But, traveling with adults who don’t share the same traveling styles can shatter your travel dreams. I wanted so badly to be able to share where I ate authentic posole with ya’ll, dancing salsa or even cumbia in a local place safely with masks, or take you along with me in a museum. That wasn’t the reality for me. I did a lot of compromising on this trip or well felt like I was deviating my mom from her wishes to just lay on the beach with a pina colada.

I will experience Puerto Vallarta again but with different plans next time. Next time, I won’t expect much. What was meant for me to see there will be waiting again.



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