By Jan Schroder
When I was greeted with a cool beverage and a shoulder massage upon check in at the huge open-air lobby of Grand Velas I knew I’d found a happy place. The resort has one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, all with private terraces and gorgeous views. This all-inclusive includes all dining, premium alcohol and the prettiest wooden wristband, heads above the usual plastic ones you get at other resorts. Restaurant selections range from the casual seaside snack bar to gourmet Mexican at Frida, international cuisine at Azul, gourmet French at Piaf and Italian-Mediterranean at Lucca.
I may have been content to spend my entire time here lounging poolside while enjoying the view of Banderas Bay and the Sierra Madre mountains, with occasional breaks for the swim-up bar and an order of fresh guacamole.
But leaving the resort to swim with the dolphins at Vallerta Adventures was a highlight and resulted in my first dolphin kiss, fulfilling a fantasy nurtured since childhood viewings of Flipper.
On our last night we hit the nightlife in nearby Puerto Vallerta, where our group of five women enjoyed a variety of adult beverages and danced to a loud, pulsating beat in several bars, including one in which I posed for a photo in a cage that I then texted to my husband. Because nothing says, “I miss you” more than that.
For more photos, visit the Girl on the Go blog.
Note: From the U.S. Department of State site: “Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major trafficking routes. Nevertheless, crime and violence are serious problems and can occur anywhere.”
Before traveling anywhere, please check current conditions and for any travel warnings with the State Department at travel.state.gov.