I know I say this a lot, but now I’m really serious: the trip my family and I took to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in the summer of ’07 was one of my favorite vacations of all time.
Having still not experienced a trip with comparable fun levels three years later, I credit the success of the Puerto Vallarta vacation to these factors:
- We stayed in a vacation rental. Of course, I’m a little biased but hear me out: In a small hillside city like Puerto Vallarta, expansion is difficult, so hotels respond by building tiny hotel rooms. To avoid this, you can either A) Stay at a spacious resort a half-hour outside of town, or B) Stay at a vacation rental! Five minutes from downtown! With tons of space, a pool and ocean views!
- We invited friends. My brother and I both brought friends, which added some extra spice to the trip. Not to say that my family’s boring, but bringing friends just meant even more hilarious conversations than normal and an even bigger drive to go out and do fun stuff. (Note: Not all friends are created equal. This portion of the formula works best with friends who are easygoing and adventurous.)
- We had a chef. I’ve mentioned this before — scoring a vacation rental with a chef provides multiple, extraordinary benefits. In Puerto Vallarta, our chef’s name was Jesús. Every morning he prepared us a huge breakfast with two main components: yogurt (to prevent tummy upsets Americans frequently get in Mexico) and MARGARITAS. That’s right, come 9AM when we sat down for breakfast, there would be a pitcher of delicious margaritas — ranging from mango to strawberry-flavored — in the center of the table. A constant reminder that we were on vacation.
Plan a vacation that includes these three factors, and you’re golden. If you can nail down two, you’ll definitely have a good time, but there’s something about the combo of all three — like the mixture of tomato, basil and mozzarella in a Caprese salad — that is just magical.
Do you have a formula for a great vacation? Or a special factor that guarantees a good time? Do tell!