3 years ago today I returned from my honeymoon. We spent 2 glorious weeks in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. 2 weeks! It was extravagant. But it was our honeymoon. And we enjoyed every last second of it.
We spent our wedding night at a hotel near the airport and didn't get much sleep at all: we didn't arrive until nearly midnight, had never slept in the same bed together so had a hard time falling asleep, and then we had to get up by 5 a.m. (or so...I don't remember exactly). As the shuttle was dropping us off at the airport I asked Shannon to give me his passport, and, well, um, he had forgotten it. Yikes! Thankfully Shannon's good friend Steve came to the rescue: he was coming to the airport anyway to drop someone else off, so he swung by our apartment, banging on the door to wake up my mom in order to get his passport. We got checked in for our flight, albeit a bit late.
We arrived in Puerto Vallarta to this:
The living room/kitchen in the timeshare we rented. And yes, I brought my bouquet with me.
The bedroom (and HUGE bed!).
The view off our balcony.
The first few days we were there we did practically nothing. We were so exhausted from the previous 8 months: we had both traveled to Alabama twice (Shannon 3 times) and to Kentucky, and then to Alaska, Venezuela, Texas, Hawaii, and Florida in the 10 weeks prior to our wedding. I had also been to Alaska 2 other times in the 8 months we were engaged. So we laid around watching movies and lying by the pool, ordering room service and eating at a different restaurant in the hotel complex for every meal.
After a few days of vegging, we decided to get adventurous. We went into the city of Puerto Vallarta for some sightseeing. We wandered the streets, did some shopping, and saw rock statues and sand sculptures that people had done on the beaches. We got drinks at Starbucks. I got serenaded by a mariachi band. Shannon even got pooped on, which I hear is good luck.
We bought Shannon 2 new shirts this day, since pigeons thought his nice blue shirt was worthy of poopage.
A gazebo in "Old Town" Puerto Vallarta. Or maybe in "New Town." At least it was in "town."
Starbucks and Señor Frog's. We didn't buy anything in Señor Frog's, but enjoyed looking around.
This mariachi band serenaded us while we ate fantastic Mexican food.
Our hotel complex was awesome. We stayed in a timeshare, so we had a kitchenette and I made breakfast every morning. We went to Walmart one of the first days we were there and bought breakfast supplies. We brought International Delight coffee creamers from the States. We even bought a DVD player so that we could hang in our room and watch all the movies and Friends we had brought with us. The Grupo Mayan had 3 huge buildings and at least 15 restaurants. We ate at all of them and Shannon learned that he did like guacamole! We would spend our evenings walking around the complex, going to a new restaurant each time, and only going back to our favorites. We charged everything to our room and received a 10% discount upon checkout. Our hotel also had awesome swimming pools and the beach was thisclose to us.
One of the pools. I think our hotel had the largest (or longest?) swimming pool in the western hemisphere. Something impressive like that. And it was impressive.
It rained almost every evening, since it was August and hurricane season. The days were fantastic though: not too hot and a bit breezy.
I got this shot off our balcony one night. The lightning storms were fantastic.
However, one evening towards the beginning of our time there we got caught in the rain and came back looking like this:
Soaked to the bone!
We learned our lesson and made sure to be back earlier from then on!
Towards the end of our stay at the Grupo Mayan we decided to go on a timeshare presentation. We were finally relaxed enough to put up with having to say "no" a million times in order to get some great stuff. I think we came away with $200 cash and free tickets for a boat ride and lunch out at Las Calletas, a secluded beach. The timeshare presentation was a pain in the butt, but we think that we did well at saying "no" and still came out about $270 ahead for 3-4 hours of inconvenience. It was kind of fun, though, to see the cool places that there are out there!
The trip to Las Calletas was awesome. The boat ride alone was way cool and the beach was very neat. The only bad thing about it was that the water had lots of teeny-tiny jellyfish that would shock you just a tad. We explored the beach, had a fantastic (free!) lunch, and paid extra to swim with a sea lion. I seem to recall that there aren't many places in the world where you can do that.
Las Calletas: food, sand, monkeys, and parrots!
We got to hold this parrot. He was quite nice, despite the look on Shannon's face!
Shannon with the sea lion.
He gave me a kiss! Don't worry, Shannon approved.
Our flight back was fairly uneventful, although we did wait on our bags in Atlanta for what felt like forever. By the time we made it through passport control and customs we were going to miss our flight, so we ran to our gate and our flight was 100% boarded. They had already closed the doors but let us in anyways, taking our boarding passes as we walked down the jetway. When we got on the plane we were told to find whatever seats were available, so we ended up sitting apart from each other, and I of course got stuck between 2 very large men. A pleasant surprise was that we were on the same flight as these guys, who were also returning from their honeymoon.
All in all, we had a fantastic honeymoon. I would recommend Mexico to anyone for their honeymoon or for vacation: we spent only half of what we had budgeted for the 2-week trip, and we did not skimp at all. Granted, we don't drink, so we didn't spend money on alcohol, so that might jack the price up a bit. The Grupo Mayan was great, the weather was great, and the company was great. 2 weeks was the perfect amount of time, too: by about day 11 or 12 we felt ready to return to normal life, so we definitely relaxed and detoxed before resuming our crazy lives! After the crazy year prior to our honeymoon, it will probably always be remembered as the most relaxing vacation we ever had!