Friday, August 16, 2013

The Girls Go To Mexico Part 2 - Excursions and Sustenance

¡Hola Senoritas!

On Wednesday I posted Part I in my Mexican Vacation series and since our vacation was so incredibly fabulous, I do not want to keep you waiting too long for the second installment, so with no further ado...

The first installment was all about the resort itself.  Now that you know where we stayed, I want to share what we did.  Since we've done this so many times, we have developed a very strict itinerary:

Day 1
-Board a plane bound for paradise
-Arrive, catch the private van to the resort, check in
-Take in surroundings
-Go to Mega for groceries
-Hit the pool
-Head back to the room to make dinner

Day 2
-Coffee (and breakfast?) on the balcony
-Full pool day
-Dinner at Meson Bay in Buscerias

Day 3
-Massages in Puerto Vallarta
-Late lunch/ Early dinner in Puerto Vallarta
-Back to the resort for a few pool hours

Day 4
-Coffee (and breakfast?) on the balcony
-Full pool day
-Dinner in the room to try to get rid of as many of our groceries as possible

Day 5
-Head to the pool as early as possible
-Back to the room to shower, pack, and check out
-Return home

Now that you've seen the itinerary, let me illustrate.

Since we have a full kitchen, it's perfect to stock the fridge and not have to worry about going out for every meal.  (This also means we can have fresh guacamole whenever we want and as often as we's become a requirement for this trip)  Right after checking in, all or some of us take a cab to Mega which is essentially a Super Walmart.

Mega has EVERYTHING.  Groceries, household items, clothing (I still have a pair of pink flip flops I purchased here on our first trip), tires, and even mattresses!  If you need ANYTHING, head to Mega!

Apples, tires, mattresses, and electronics.  They've got you covered.

Janice, Brianne, and I were in charge of the grocery shopping for our stay.  Though, Janice and I soon came to the conclusion that we were essentially useless when it came to picking out any melon.  (Don't put two analytical people in front of a pile of melons, they'll be there FOREVER attempting to assess each melon.)

While Mega carries the usual suspects, they also have quite the variety of produce we'd NEVER seen before.

After filling our cart with produce, we headed into the heart of the store.  We were not alone in navigating the store.  Julio was EVERYWHERE!

What is this all about?  Good question.  I didn't know either, so I looked it up, but the YouTube videos aren't coming through.  Click here for Julio.  You're welcome!!

After more fun than anyone should have grocery shopping, we went back to the resort and unpacked.  5 girls + 5 days + Mega = 2,137 pesos.  BIG SPENDERS!  Not really, it was like $35 a piece.  Ah, Mexico!

And here's what it all looked like!

In addition to what we purchased, the policy here is, whatever is left over, you leave for the next guests, which lends itself to even more fun when going through the pantry!

No one knew what this was and I think we were all too scared to open it to find out.  It remains a mystery to this day.

Since we didn't know how long these had been there, we were afraid they might have spoiled.
Brianne brought her juicer (yes, you read that right) along and while I had a good laugh at that, I will concede that it was a genius move on her part!  We made some incredibly refreshing drinks with AMAZING fresh juice which she boiled into a syrup to enjoy while cooking.

Strawberry Mint Syrup!!
 While the syrup was cooking, Tina made fresh salsa.  Incredible!

 DAY 2
Before we left for Mexico, Brianne discovered that we could have private yoga sessions.  Since I'd never gone to an actual yoga class before, I was really excited.  The first session was overlooking the water after our pool day on Day 2.  This was one of the few deviations from our itinerary and it was worth it!  Such a beautiful experience.

After decompressing from a long day at the pool, we started getting ready for dinner.  During our first trip, we were advised to go to what used to be a small little fishing town called Buscerias for dinner.  We took what turned out to be phenomenal advice and stumbled upon a restaurant RIGHT on the beach called Meson Bay.  After that first visit, we knew we would return every year.

Why, you ask?  Oh, I think you'll understand soon enough!

 On a dirt floor, under a thatched roof, Brianne looks lovely!

 Once the margaritas arrived, it was no more bets!

Tina, taking a selfie.

 Yours, truly.

The drinks were fabulous and the food was spectacular (as always)!

 Janice tore through her fish!
 Not too long afterwards, we all slowed down.

 And then trouble happened in the form of complementary tequila shots.

Uh oh...
Nite, nite, Sophie!

Historically, our second full day is our day for venturing out.  This year we did not stray from our plan, but Janice, Brianne, and I had something to do before we left the resort.  Sunrise yoga.  Yup, I willingly got up before the sun while on vacation, and I didn't regret it at all.

Brianne made an amazing beet concoction and we were on our way.

After returning home, I was finally able to have some coffee.  We made breakfast and then hailed a cab to Puerto Vallarta.

This is where you go to feel like a million dollars.  We have been coming to Venus Moon since our first year.  The massages are very reasonably priced and I've always come out of there free of the knots that seem to be have taken up permanent residence in my neck, shoulders, and back.  Why look any further?  Total must if you are in Puerto Vallarta!!

I picked the perfect day to NOT wear black.  It wasn't until we were all standing in a row that we realized we were dressed in the colors of the rainbow.  As Tina said, "Taste the rainbow!"  So we got in ROYGBIV order and had the driver from the hotel who brought us into PV take our picture.  I'm just now realizing, we were in backwards order...

While the rest of us got massages, Tina took a walking tour of Puerto Vallarta with my camera and got some A-Mazing shots.  Perhaps this three part series will turn into a four parter since she took just under 100 photos.  That deserves a post in and of itself.  So let's skip over that so that I can share with you our next stop.  The first two years, we went to a fantastic restaurant right on the river running through the middle of town, appropriately called the River Café.  Not sure why we strayed from there (since it's amazing) the third year to instead go to a restaurant in the heart of downtown, but last year, the girls discovered a phenomenal destination restaurant called Ocean Grill.  While getting there is a bit of an ordeal, going back will be no hardship.

If you don't want to hike through the jungle, the only way to get there is to take a water taxi that the restaurant provides.

The jumping off point of the afternoon

Brianne (and part of Tina) on the water taxi.
After a short ride, we came upon our destination!

We got there about an hour before our reservation to enjoy the private little beach.

Unfortunately, we were greeted in a rather ominous way.

 There was a little exploring,

 A little frolicking in the water,

And since the rocks were calling our name, some quality rock time was in order.

The rocks were also great for lounging.

 Though some preferred to lounge on the sand.

Exhibit A, for your consideration of exactly why I do NOT lie on the sand.

 I prefer a towel under a nice big umbrella.  So this was my view.

 Then it was time to head to the restaurant.  Getting there is half the fun?

Thankfully this was not part of the route!
The welcoming committee for the Ocean Grill is WAY better than the welcoming committee for the beach!  Meet Winston.  

That's a big puppy!
Yet one more place with spectacular views and spectacular food!

After that perilous trek, drinks were definitely in order.

Captain Ron!!!!
Janice's octopus
Heather's garlic shrimp
My sweet pepper shrimp with plantains
This is going to sound VERY odd, but one of the most unique things about this place is the bathroom.  Let me illustrate.

This is as close to the camping experience of peeing in the woods that I will probably ever get.  I'm good with that.
I'm sure no one has ever had a view this great while doing their business in the woods.

You walk past this area on your way to the bathroom.  I think we need to spend some time here on our next visit!

 It's impossible NOT to fall in love with this place.

When it was time to go, Winston couldn't be bothered.  Being a host is exhausting!

 Our chariot awaits!

After a day of decadent relaxation and decadent food, we headed back to the resort for a few hours at the pool.  It really is the only way to end such a fabulous day.  Our first year, after dinner we went to partake in the Puerto Vallarta nightlife and it was terrible.  Hot, crowded clubs with terrible Michael Jackson remixes and the stereotypical guys who think they are Rico Suave.  We soon learned that if we wanted to go out, we could do that at home and officially designated this trip for relaxation.

Our last full day of vacation starts with balcony coffee time.

Sorry if you're sick of the 'coffee with a view shot.  I simply couldn't get enough.
After a few hours down by the pool, we ventured back up to the suite for lunch.  The goal of this day is to try to consume as many of our groceries as possible.  Lunch consisted of shrimp fajitas and fresh fruit!  SUPER YUMMY!

After many more hours of lounging by the pool, we headed back to see what king of a dent we could make in our remaining groceries.  This is what happened.

I would like to go on record and say that our analytical skills totally paid off.  The cantaloupes that Janice and I were stressing over were delicious!
Another perfect avocado!  We were quite proud of ourselves since all they had was under-ripe avocados and through our combined genius, we were able to ripen about 10 avocados in record time!!

AMAZING guacamole!!  This must have been the third batch of the trip, but it was the largest.  No avocado left behind!

The magic station.

Refried black beans?  Yes please!  
And after we plowed through that can (in all fairness there were five of us), we made a second batch on our own and not surprisingly, they were SO much better!

And we washed it all down with some more juice concoctions.

Fun fact.  One half of a watermelon has this much juice.  
Watermelon juice, simple syrup, strawberry mint syrup, and sparkling water is paradise in a glass!

Ah, Annual Villa La Estancia Trip, how I love you!  5 days in paradise with fabulous ladies, fabulous food, and fabulous adventures?  It doesn't get much better than that.

I've gone through SO many photos already and there are still more...not sure if this will be a three or four part series.  We will see.  On a certain level, it's a little painful to go through and keep reliving such a fabulous time.  I think I'm still in mourning that it's all over, but I just have to keep reminding myself that we will be there again next year and that's what keeps me going!

¡Hasta la vista Senoritas!


  1. Craig asked, is making Mexican food in Mexico like playing Dave Matthews Band outside of a Dave Matthews concert?

    1. Whether preparing it, or going out for it, Mexican food in Mexico is required.