ATV-ing!

During my Puerto Vallarta trip I went on my first ATV ride!

IMG_1556The red ones are the ones we rode. The blue one is a RZR

What’s probably amazing was that it was free– we booked our vacation via Flight Center and they were having a 20th Anniversary deal where you get a free ATV trip with your package if you booked during a certain time. I’m pretty sure we booked before that, but our Flight Center associate emailed us a few days after we had booked to offer these free vouchers to us anyway! We had originally wanted to pay for these ourselves since we thought it’d be cool. I guess it all worked out!

What to know before ATV-ing:

  • You turn using your arms, so get ready to have sore arms
  • Dress appropriately. We were provided bandanas and goggles to wear because the mountainside gets pretty dusty. Being in an exposed vehicle means the dust can get into your eyes/nose while driving, which may cause you to drive off the mountain
  • They will get you to drive through puddles if there’s any. It looks super cool as the muddy water splashes eveywhere, but when the water passes through the engines under your legs and basically becomes the temperature of hell itself, it’ll hurt. Both my boyfriend and my legs were a little red afterwards from these “burns”. They’re not severe or anything, but it does sting a little
  • You can probably opt to drive around the puddles. I did mostly because I was wearing white and the burning water hurt after a while! But definitely do drive through one or two. It’s fun 🙂
  • Driving isn’t hard. Push down on a lever and gas will be pumped through. What’s hard while driving along the countryside is the bumpy roads. Since you’re the one who gets the vehicle to turn, you’ll have to be diligent to steer your ATV back onto track after bumping and rolling through potholes
  • You will get tired, especially if you’re not using to using the muscles that ATV-ing requires. These are the muscles around your shoulders/biceps, and for me, my palms because of braking/accelerating.

It was no easy feat going on a four hour excursion under Mexico’s scorching heat, but it was well worth it! Easily one of the funnest things I did while there.IMG_1569

Wild Trek Adventures ran the ATVs that we went with, and they were pretty great. One of our guides spoke perfect english, while the others spoke enough that we could understand. We definitely felt well taken care of. They also help you take photos. They insisted we touched these wild bananas and pose for photos.

Wild Trek also ran this cool little cafe/bistro thing in the mountains, where we stopped for a 40 minute break. We could order food, drinks, and even take a dip in some clean pools! We were told to bring bathing suits for this, but in the end, we decided not to go in the pools because we were sweaty and changing would be a chore.

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They also included a tequila tasting! The milky coconut concoction was amazing— but it costed about $60 USD, so we held back.

All in all, loads of fun, and a different way to see Mexico’s countryside. I’m looking forward to trying this out again in the future, but maybe somewhere where I’m not sweating buckets!

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Mexico getaway before hecticness ensues

I just got back from my trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

It was my first time in Mexico, and hopefully not my last because it was loads of fun! A good balance of do-nothing-days and activity packed ones.

The resort we stayed at was Plaza Pelicanos Club, and it’s all inclusive with unlimited drinks (from either their bar, or either of their poolside bars), food buffet, and two more formal restaurants to choose from. Keep in mind that tipping is an extra expense you should factor in when you go to an all-inclusive!

One thing I wasn’t expecting was the lack of air con. Except for our hotel rooms, the eating areas, as well as basically everything else, didn’t have air conditioning.

Nonetheless, it was great having a private beach area, pools to choose from, and we even ended up getting a massage! The resort was nice. Again, only complaint was the lack of air conditioning, which I ended up getting used to halfway through my vacation. There are also vendors, usually dressed in all white to lessen the impact of the sun, who sold trinkets, snacks and henna tattoos on the beach, despite it being a private area of the beach. I’m guessing they have some sort of deal with the hotels.

Anyway, I didn’t mind them. They do usually try to make eye contact and get you to look at their wares, but I thought they had cool stuff. I never really bought anything from them except for skewered shrimp— these things are so delicous! By the end of my vacation, I had bought eight of these things. No kidding. The fresh lime juice, as well as the hot sauce, made these barbecued shrimps so amazing.

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It’s funny how much Mexico reminded me of Hong Kong. Mainly it’s due to the humid weather— always feeling slightly sticky. I miss Hong Kong, and am overdue for a visit 😦

In Puerto Vallarta, we did touristy things, as well as a few things that were probably not on a usual tourist’s to-do list. For one, we visited Pitillal, a nearby town where all the locals lived outside of the hotel zone. My boyfriend and I bussed to the town, first getting on the wrong bus, then finally on the right one. You can bet we were sweating buckets.

In the town there were loads of vendors, many that sold clothes, reminding me of Hong Kong’s street stalls. There were many restaurants, offering fresh tacos, morning gruel (I actually don’t know what the locals were eating in the mornings, but it seemed to be some sort of congee/oatmeal mixture?), and cold drinks. We walked around, admiring the low key architecture, and marveling at how many animals ran stray in the streets!

Our trip to Pitillal was very tiring, but I’m glad we ventured out!

We also visited a few malls in Puerto, including Plaza Caracol, which was about 2 blocks away from our hotel. We frequently walked over there after the sun set, since they’re opened quite late and walking at night is so much better than the morning! We also went to Gallerias Vallarta, which although looked quite fancy, wasn’t super exciting. I liked Caracol more, because it feels more authentic. There’s small stores selling clothes, shoes, candy (for cheap!), whereas Gallerias was taken up by Liverpool, a huge department store, and had more name brands that we were already familiar with.

This post will end up being way too long if I squeezed in everything on here, so I’ll separate my posts 🙂

In my next posts: ATV-ing, Cafe Des Artistes, and downtown Puerto!