ABOUT OUR PARTY
We went to this location, with 9 other friends and family. Our range of age was 37 to 65, and we had a room for every 2 people, and we started off this vacation having all various interests, and not knowing how this vacation would work out. Some where married, some where friends. some teachers, some in medical field, some retail and others just retired. The hotel we chose. the Tropicana, in Puerto Vallarto was rated in all brochers we could find as 2 and low 3 star, however one couple in our party had stayed here the last three years and swore by it after staying in 4 and 5 star hotels in the area.
It is not an all inclusive, but you can at a low cost purchase breakfast as a package daily, and we chose to do that just so we could have a meeting place, because there was so many of us.
We stayed at the Tropicana for 2 weeks knowing it might be really bad because it was during March break 2005. The experience we had at this hotel was nothing short of incredible.
The check-in was flawless, and the hotel staff is the best I have seen anywhere in the world that I have travelled. English was no problem, and every request was handled with a smile and nothing but politeness.
The hotel itself has 3 large buildings and is situated right on the beach. The first building is the older one, which does not have t.v and is quite basic. The middle is a bit more modern with tv, and the third is larger suite areas with tv. We arrived on different flights from various areas around North America, and we had couples in each building. The girl who went with me, decided it would be nice to upgrade and take a suite, so for an extra $100.00 american each we stayed for 2 weeks in the suite.
All the rooms we had occupied where overlooking both a large pool and the ocean. The view in all rooms where nothing short of spectacular.
The bedding was taken out of each room and fresh sheets and towels where put in every day. The room we had with the suite had a very large bathroom, with bottled water brought to you every day, white marble floors, comforters where always made to look like butterflies, towels like swans, beds where huge and comfortable, walkout patio with chairs overlooking beach and ocean, and the t.v. had lots of stations of which three quarters where in English. The rooms where all extremely clean and had a very Mexican influence, unlike some of the 4 and 5 star hotels which where very modern and touristy. It was nice to have a Mexican influence felt while in Mexico. At night one could sit on the balcony and see the breathtaking sunsets, without ever going out of the room.
There is only one pool, but it is large. There are lots of chairs around it, everything is extremely neat and it is close to a bar that serves light snacks like burgers, Or there is the bigger dining area close by where we ate our breakfast at the hotel. Again all this was around not only pool but ocean views and tropical flowers and palm trees.
The beach at this hotel is fantastic. It is cleaned every night and there is never any debris on it. It is spotless. In front of the hotel is the perfect spot to go in the water for a dip. Parasailing is in front of the hotel, balloon riding, crusie liners go by as well as ski doos are present although we didn’t see too many, of those. To the left you can walk about 20 minutes and go to an area where there are some rocks in the water. Though we didn’t go in the water at that spot, the locals did. To the right of the hotel, the swimming did continue for quite a way, with a little boat dock area for fishermen to go out fishing a bit further down. When you went to the beach area, they would immediately come and set up an umbrella and chairs for you, and give you towels.
The only drawback was if you didn’t like vendors walking by with things to sell. You had mangos, and fruits cut up, flans, fresh nuts, shrimp, lobster, hats, bags, carvings, jewelry, sunglasses, tops, you name it. It would go by you. On the other hand, it was great if you wanted to do some shopping and not have to walk to do it. The prices where great.
If you didn’t want to be bothered looking at this, then you just moved down closer to the rocks and they did not go that far.
I have heard other years of people saying you might be offered a time share, but in the 2 weeks we where there none of us saw any.
As I said the beach was beautiful, clean and quite a lot of people, but not so many you where crowded out, as it was March break, afterall.
The restauaunts where plentiful and the food was out of this world. We ate at a different one every night. They ranged from french, italian, mexican, american, etc. They where all within walking distance of the hotel, in different areas, depending on what we wanted to eat. And all with different atmosphere’s, like trees in the middle, mexican pottery, cafe’s, etc, but with no doors or windows, so you had a great view, no matter where you went. The prices where fantastic. The pancake house was great, as was the steak. One reastaurant (can’t remember the name) in particular, was owned by an american living there during tourist time, was only 5 minutes from the hotel. One night we went over and ate there. We got a 4 chickens barbequed, potato salad, macaroni salad, bread salad, cokes, cabbage salad, rolls, and he threw in spareribs, and it cost us $5.00 American a piece. You have Domino’s, Hard Rock Cafe, etc. Everything is close by. The food was great.
Another restaurant about 15 minute walk away, we had a band playing, and we ordered the special. We got 3 platters full of chicken, ribs, and grilled steak, plus tortillas and sauce, vegetables, etc, again for about $6.00 each American . We couldn’t even emply one platter and they where filling it more, on this all you could eat.
The food at the hotel, was good mind you. For an all inclusive breakfast, you got juices, coffee, tea, pancakes, pork, potato hash, scrambled eggs, mexican dishes, and though it was good, 2 weeks got rather repetative even though there was a good choice.
If anything, next year I would like to go without the breakfast, because there is so many restaurants to try and the smells and the food is fantastic, including the breakfast places. There is absolutely no problem eating from any of these, (although the individual people selling something homemade on the streets we did not buy, because we where unsure on the water used in it.) The restaurants though, where fabulous and cheap, and with that much variety it wouldn’ t make sense to want to stay at an all inclusive and eat the same buffet meals every meal. Besides we needed the walk to lose the weight. It was like eating on a cruise ship.
There was a bar at the hotel, that is smaller, but outside. It is definately in a very pretty setting, and again light fair can be ordered to eat there, throughout the day. There was no wild parties or dancing at this hotel. It is quite Mexican and quaint. It has a quieter atmosphere, but offers options nearby.
This hotel is close to everything. We had the beach at will, different restaurants, within walking distance each night, shopping galore, again all within walking distance.
The malacone is only about 20 minutes walk away, where nightly entertainment is free on the stage each night, Vendors are set up around there all the time. Again shopping and restaurants are up to here and further. If you love walking this is the place, be it on cobblestone streets or beaches,up in hilly country side, or church areas.
Bus rides are very cheap if you want to go on excursions. We went to Peitiful. (Don’t quote me on spelling) A small town. Not much to do there, but definately interesting, and the nicest people. A poorer part of Mexico, but we enjoyed seeing the real Mexico, not just the tourist area.
We also went by bus, for about a hour and a half ride, to a small town down the coast. We stopped at the Marina, and saw the crusise ships, and then went to I believe it was spelled Busareas. It was wonderful anyway. Things can be bought even cheaper down there, and again the restaurants though not plentiful, where wonderful, and so brightly coloured in bright orange. Georgeous beach, not crowded at all, horse back riding on the beach and looked like a tropical island. These side trips we took for half a day each on our own and cost only a couple of dollars each way, per person.
We went on a tour up to the tropical rainforest. Though we didn’t eat up there because it was pricy, it was beautiful. In going there we went past where Night of the Iguana was filmed, and according to the tour, we all though we where going there too, but we just drove by the area. That was a disappointment, because from what we could see it really did look beautiful.
We also all went on the rhythum’s of the night tour. That was great. We hesitated because it was a bit pricy, (we are cheap mind you) but it is a must. The boat trip was great, the crew, is incredible and entertaining thoroughout, and they put a show on at a deserted part of an island, that has no electricity. It is all done on an area with tourches, like survivor, and again, the meal they gave was absolutely fantastic. Everyone was so full, and it was all you could eat, and absolutely wonderful.
We went on a tour by the rotary that take you on home tours. That was great. Some of the homes where beautiful, and the views breathtaking. It was also very, very cheap, and all went to a charity. It’s sold out every day, so buy tickets in advance a couple of days prior to going.
I have been to Spain, Hawaii, Freeport, all over the States and Canada, and it was by far the best vacation, in the nicest spot I have ever been on.
I work for a hotel chain and did visit some of our 5 star hotels in the area, and they didn’t compare to this place.
If you want value for your money, lots to do, in a totally safe area, where we quite often individually jogged, and walked at night or late in the early morning, this is definately the place.
Now if you are a party animal, you can have a good time here, but it is more Mexican and less touristy, then Neuve Vallarta, and definately not like Cancun. There are places to go within walking distance nearby, but we never saw anyone rowdy, or intoxicated, and we did see a lot of people. There is so much to do and see, you can have a relaxing holiday or never a dull moment.
So, if you love clean beaches, don’t mind gaining a few pounds from good food and want a relaxing holiday, this resort can be everything you want it to be. CHEAP. This 2 to low 3 star hotel, is definately comparable to a 4 or 5 star, other than 3 inclusive meals at the hotel. But if you don’t mind walking for 3 to 10 minutes you can change that quickly, and have a different choice of things to eat at every meal, and the vacation of a lifetime.
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