Whole Life Magazine

February / March 2018

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Page 23 of 35

I 'll admit, the latest Mexico travel warn- ings made me a tad nervous about vis- iting Puerto Vallarta. But then again, I'm not a cartel member, so not the tar- get murder demographic. Meanwhile, in the US, the target changes daily, from gang violence one day to 'wrong place/wrong time' the next. I suspected the places I'd enjoy visiting in Puerto Vallarta — vegetarian restaurants and yoga studios — wouldn't be high on the cartel hit list. So, I went ahead with a quick winter break in Mexico and had no problemas whatsoever. EL CENTRO VS. RESORT e main accommodation choices are downtown hotels or all-inclusive resorts. e advantages of downtown are having a lively, colorful experience, being able to walk all over town, and more integration with locals. Resort advantages include quiet, ease, food and drink included, and plenty of on-site activities so it all de- pends on personal preference. I chose to stay downtown in the Hotel Catedral, a darling folk art- themed hotel. I loved the cheerful courtyard, my bright magenta accent wall, and the proximity to shops, restaurants, and beaches. As a wom- an traveling alone, I felt safe. I'd timed my visit to correspond with the December Guadalupe processions, a 12-night series of religious parades winding up at the Guadalupe church about three blocks from my hotel. e spirited processions and accompanying festival were great fun. How- ever, I hadn't counted on the church bells ringing till late at night, then starting again at 6:30 a.m. I also visited Casa Velas, an upscale all-inclusive resort in Marina Val- larta, a 15-minute Uber ride from downtown. is adults-only, 80-room hotel sits in the middle of a golf course and o ers a shuttle to its nearby private beach. It was as quiet as downtown was loud. e sta gave me a tour and pointed out the amenities, including a gorgeous pool, separate vegetarian/vegan menu at the excellent restaurant, an organic garden, a choice of 45 spa treatments, and on-site peacocks (including Pancho, who begs for peanuts from the bar). e wellness suite was stunning. I fancied the outdoor massage table beside the personal plunge pool, framed by sweeping bougainvillea. Inside the suite, an exercise bike sat beside the bed and a pair of ve-pound weights lurked beneath the dou- ble sink. e minibar featured almond milk and coconut water. Guests have seven choices on the pillow menu, and can choose which essence they want di used in their suite. IN TOWN e area around Puerto Vallarta o ers all sorts of tour opportunities, including boating to the nearby village of Yelapa, snorkeling, ziplining, and hiking. But on my quick, 48-hour trip, I stuck to town. Strolling the Malecon is practically mandatory for visitors. I made at By Teresa Bergen Puerto Vallarta Puerto Vallarta the Warmth of A Quickie Winter Break 24 wholelifetimes.com

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