Bar Hopping in Puerto Vallarta

Mexico is known for its tequila and mezcal. And where there is demand for a good strong drink, there are bars. Bar hopping has become a favorite pastime of party-goers. But just as there are different kinds of nightspots, there are different tastes and sophistication for bar hopping. In Puerto Vallarta, travelers can find loud, disco bars as well as quieter, more upscale pubs to drink the night away.

La Barra Cervecería

With probably the biggest collection of alcohol in the city, La Barra Cervecería lives up to its name. On their menu you can find 34 varieties of ale, 12 pale ales, 22 IPAs, 12 weissbiers, 1 barley wine, 4 dunkels, 3 porters, 5 fruit beers, 11 stouts, 43 lagers, and 9 pilsners. They welcome you (on their website) with the following words:

“By yourself or in company, to celebrate a victory or forget a defeat
the excuse to start a conversation, to enjoy a long talk or mend a broken heart,
taking a beer is always a good option.”

Come to La Barra Cervecería on Thursdays for their promotion of 2×1 beer mugs. The menu is sizeable with burgers, fries, tacos, and pizzas. Whether you come for dinner or just drinks, you’ll find something to rave about at this bar in the Marina Vallarta zone.

The BeerBox Prime

Fans praise The BeerBox Prime for their selection of craft beers, IPAs, and beautiful views of the marina. Almost everyone who visits once comes back for more. A recent TripAdvisor reviewer said:

“Been in PVR for three weeks now and The Beer Box is a regular stop with great beer selection and a knowledgeable and friendly staff . . . Keep up the great work and see you tonight for another new IPA.”

With seating inside and outside, you’re never far from great service and a tall cold one. The BeerBox Prime is located in the Marina Vallarta zone, at Paseo de la marina #121.

Bar Morelos Mezcaleria

Situated in the Downtown zone but right near El Malecón, Bar Morelos Mezcaleria portrays itself as the perfect blend of an upscale scene with plenty of PARTY. Their logo includes the words food/PARTY/drinks, with the emphasis on party. But timing can be everything. If you come earlier in the evening, you might find a quiet atmosphere with a pleasant ambience for your family gatherings. The music never gets too loud, but the drinking and dancing go deep into the night.

Twisted Palms Rooftop Lounge

Head south to the Romantic Zone to find Twisted Palms Rooftop Lounge, a “great martini bar” according to one reviewer. Comfortable furniture in an outdoor setting make this nightspot a can’t-miss. While you won’t find much food here, the cocktails and specialty drinks are the main attraction. A TripAdvisor patron wrote:

“Twisted Palms is a great place to come and drink and socialize. It’s a hidden gem that’s not the easiest to find but nevertheless it’s a great place. Martinis are half price on Mondays, there’s plenty of chairs for relaxing . . . It’s one of our favorite spots to visit.”

Roxy Rock House

Another nightclub in the Romantic Zone is Roxy Rock House. This is a rocker’s place to party. Here you’ll find live music every day, ladies’ night on Thursdays, and various bands filling the stage from time to time, including tribute bands for Led Zeppelin and Guns ‘N Roses. Calling itself “Puerto Vallarta’s Capital of Rock,” people come here for the music and atmosphere as much as the drinks. Jack Daniels is sold 2 for 1 every day. A local regular said:

“I just love this bar with its live rock music and Jack Daniel’s flowing like water. I live in Puerto Vallarta and come here about once a week! Always a lively crowd.”

Where to Stay

Club Regina Puerto Vallarta is located between the Sierra Madre Mountains and Banderas Bay. It is within walking distance of the marina.

Club Regina Puerto Vallarta

Club Regina Puerto Vallarta

Villa Vera Puerto Vallarta is located in Marina Vallarta.  All units in the Mediterranean style resort offer pool views and some offer marina views as well.

Villa Vera Puerto Vallarta

 

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Memories are Forever: Travel Cameras & Tips

Cameras help us capture those unforgettable moments when we travel – that sunset on the beach, the historic cathedral in Europe, that exotic dish in a Mexican cafe. If you’ve spent any time on social media, then you’ve probably become a bit envious of the travels of others, as they post photos of their vacation memories with hashtags and captions.

Maybe you’re ready to “up” your game and make others jealous of your travel adventures. A good camera can go a long way in helping you post dazzling photos and videos.

First, when you’re shopping for a travel camera, think about what you want to capture. Still images or audio and video? People or landscapes? Still photography or lots of action? Underwater shots?

Shopping for a camera can get very complex very quickly. Do you see yourself taking a photography class? Or reading books and manuals? Do you have a semi-pro photographer friend who can mentor you? Will you be using photo editing software like Photoshop?

If the answer to those questions is no, then that makes it all the easier. Just keep it simple. Don’t worry about every feature and spec that are available. Concentrate on the size of the camera, price, main features, and convenience.

“Choosing the best travel camera is more about finding one that allows you to shoot the photographs you want.”

Cameras come in all sizes and prices. More expensive cameras will usually have better quality, but the high-end cameras are for the professionals. Amateurs can take some great photos without spending $2000.

Point-and-Shoot

These cameras are designed for convenience and readiness. You can carry one in your pocket or purse. They are easy to use but limited in scope. They will have some optical zoom, but because the lens is fixed, you can’t really improve on it. For general photography, a point-and-shoot can get the job done. For traveling, they make a lot of sense because they are small, lightweight, and don’t require lots of gear to use them.

 

 

Advanced Compacts

Advanced Compacts have a bit more punch to them, but essentially they are still point-and-shoot cameras. Their lenses are more powerful. Their lenses cannot be changed, so you want to be careful to buy a camera with versatility. These cameras are also recommended for general photography, but can also capture wildlife or other things in the distance with decent optical zoom.

 

DSLR Cameras

Digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR) are some of the most popular digital cameras today. They range in price from $300 to $5000+ with the option to add gear, lenses, and filters to fit your needs. The kit lens that comes with most DSLR cameras is intended as a starting lens. Most people in the market for DSLRs plan to buy more lenses in the future and are willing to learn the many features of these cameras. A DSLR in the hands of an amateur might not produce the best photos because an inexperienced person does not know how to set up the camera for each shot.

A little knowledge can go a long way in capturing stunning photos with a DSLR. Especially travel photos! Don’t be afraid to learn a little bit and make that camera perform for you.

“You don’t have to be a professional travel photographer to take stunning photos of your travels, but without experience, you may end up disappointed with your shots.”

Final Tips

Keep in mind that cameras (like all technology) are updated constantly, so be sure to do your homework at the time you plan to purchase. Read product reviews, but realize that some reviews are fake. Look for authentic, official reviews from trusted sources (like Consumer Reports).

Spend some time in a store trying out different styles of cameras. Tell the salesperson that you are in the market, and you’ll take all the help you can get. Buy what you need, but be wary of all the accessories that are often paired with cameras. Unless you know exactly what the accessory is and how you will use it, it is likely you don’t need it. Just stick to the essentials: camera, memory card, and maybe a bag or pouch to protect it.

Remember your smartphone probably has a decent camera. They can’t do all the stuff other cameras can do, but smartphone cameras have become better over the years and can be really useful if you’re in a jam.

When you’re on vacation, keep shooting!

 

How to Stay Fit on Vacation

When you’re at home, it’s a bit easier to keep your commitment to workout routines and healthy eating. Vacation is an interruption to your daily routines – that’s the point. Get a break. Get out of town. Go see the world. And for many of us, once our daily ritual is thrown out, it can be hard to keep going in the right direction with staying fit. Fitness on vacation comes in many forms, and you’ll thank yourself later if you make even the most modest effort.

Reasonable Eating on Vacation

Vacation is the time to indulge yourself. You’ve earned this time off, and you’re going out for some fine dining or even street food to experience the local fare. Food is a big part of why you’ve come. Don’t feel like you have to select your meal only from the salad bar. Enjoy those barbeque ribs, succulent lobster, and that Crepa de Manzana. But balance heavy meals with light meals. Have a hearty breakfast, followed by a light lunch (or even just a snack), and then a nice dinner. If you visit the same restaurant more than once, try picking the lighter option the second time.

One creative way to taste as many of the foods you want is to order several dishes for the whole table and share them. Everyone can taste a little bit of everything. Depending on the portions and the size of your group, you could end up eating less than you normally do, but still feel full.

Healthy Vacation

Eating right is probably the tougher discipline on vacation. But no matter how healthy you eat, your diet should be paired with regular exercise.

“You do want to maintain a little activity while on vacation, primarily to keep your metabolism up as a hedge against packing on the pounds from all the delicious food you’ll be eating.”

Fitness coaches have high expectations for their clients. Maybe they’re realistic, maybe not. What you’ll see here is a range of suggestions. The big idea? Tailor your exercise routine around your environment and schedule. If you’re used to three workouts a day at home, then you’ll probably do at least one daily workout while on vacation. If you’re doing three workouts a week at home, then you’ll probably make time for one to two workouts during your trip. Be realistic.

A healthy vacation can be fun; it doesn’t have to be that time you tried a new diet, new exercise routine, made impossible goals for yourself, and then ended the week discouraged and right back where you started.

Exercise Ideas

Working out while on vacation is not a crazy idea. You want to get out of the hotel and sightsee, so take a walking tour. Or a bike tour. Riding in a taxi or bus is great, but you don’t burn any calories that way.

“For a unique sightseeing opportunity—and a real cardio boost—consider booking a bike tour. You’ll get to see everything at a faster pace, while burning extra calories. For those heading to beach towns, another active option is to rent kayaks; paddling for an hour burns roughly 345 calories.”

Vacation is a chance to try new activities. Maybe you’ve never tried stand-up paddle boarding. When you’re experiencing a new activity like that, the fun you’re having helps you forget how much work you’re doing. Take Nikki Fogden-Moore’s advice and get out in nature:

“Embrace the surroundings. If you are on an island or beach holiday, head to the water for your workouts. In the countryside or even in a city that has amazing parks, head out and explore by hiking, running, walking, biking or even look at horse riding for a more adventurous twist. Try surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, windsurfing or kite surfing to get some fresh air and wake up some muscles you may never have known you had.”

It’s not hard to be active while on vacation. You go to these exotic places to experience them for yourself. Take advantage of the amenities of your hotel, but don’t let the comforts outweigh the chance to explore the city, parks, historical sites, and beaches.

If you come with your kids, go outside and play with them in the pool, ride bikes, climb a mountain, do an obstacle course together.

“Go ahead, relax and sunbathe a little, but make sure you have some calorie-burning fun with the kids, too. Play ‘Marco Polo’ in the pool. Go bike riding. Shoot hoops. Pick up sea shells on the sea shore. Warm up those decades-old-but-you-never-lose-‘em ping pong skills. Chances are, you’ll have as much fun (maybe even more!) as the little ones.”

Specific Workouts You Can Do

You may have a gym membership where you live. Or some home equipment that you can’t take with you on your trip. Don’t let that stop you. Here are some specific workouts to help you stay healthy and fit, even if you don’t have access to a gym. Both of these workouts are designed for men and women, but with slightly different approaches.

Workout Suggestion from Nikki Fogden-Moore (vitality coach):

“15-minute Express Session: Quick walk or jog followed by a superset of 25 push-ups, 25 crunches, 25 tricep dips and 25 prisoner squats. Finish with three yoga poses to stretch; for example, downward dog, triangle pose and a classic forward bend.”

Workout Suggestion from Matt Reynolds (strength trainer):

“Do the following exercises, one right after another without stopping. When you complete a circuit, take a break for one or two minutes. If you’re a rank beginner, start with one circuit, and then try to work your way up to six.”

  • Air Squats 1×10
  • Push-ups 1×10
  • Lunges 1×10
  • Chair Dips 1×10
  • Sit-ups 1×10

Enjoy your vacation, and get some exercise while you’re at it. When you get home, you can get back to your routines. Only by then, you’ll want to add some new activities to your repertoire.

 

 

 

 

Channel your inner Old Man and the Sea

Fishing Marlin in Cancun

In 1951, Ernest Hemingway was inspired by the efforts of a Cuban fisherman to catch a hefty and obstinate marlin. The setting for his novel The Old Man and the Sea is not that different from the waters off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. Teeming with sea life throughout the year, the waters near Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and the Yucatan peninsula offer all kinds of fishing.

“Fisherman from all around the world, from beginners to experts, come to Cancun all year long to live the exciting experience of fishing off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.”

In Cancun, it’s not hard to find some charter companies that offer deep sea fishing. Fishingbooker.com features 43 fishing charters in the area. When choosing the best charter, consider these factors: price, availability, fishing licenses (required by Mexican law), the size of the boat, years of experience, and options for a group or individuals (shared charter).

Be wary of any company that guarantees you will catch a certain fish. Anyone who’s spent some time with a fishing rod knows that fish can be unpredictable. A fishing calendar can help you identify the most probable times you can catch certain species. The months of May, June, and July are ideal for catching blue marlin, white marlin, bonito, mahi-mahi, sailfish, and amberjack. Snapper is typically found in all the other months of the year. Knowing the fishing seasons can help you in your pursuit of a great catch!

“Many people go on deep sea fishing trips to experience the excitement of fighting a fish caught in the line and skillfully luring in the line and tackling it and being patient until you’ve got the big one. It’s a unique pastime that can throw in surprises anytime which makes it all the more fascinating.”

Some companies like Deep Sea Fishing in Cancun are a one-stop-shop for all your fishing needs. They provide all the fishing gear, bait, safety equipment, fishing licenses, soft drinks and beer you’ll need on the trip. Cancun Fishing offers bottom fishing and fly fishing in addition to their deep sea fishing excursions. Their English-speaking fishing guides know the best places to fish snook, tarpon, bonefish, and barracuda. Their flat-bottom bonefishing boats “can navigate even the shallowest water.”

The sea calls and many heed the call, venturing out to make a big catch. Consider Scottish novelist John Buchan’s words:

“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.”

It takes a combination of skill, gear, luck, and experience for a fisherman to catch exactly what he’s after. It’s the stuff of great novels.

Where to Stay

Club Regina Cancun is your gateway to ancient and modern Mexico. The resort is located near the gorgeous beaches, high-end shopping malls, and upscale restaurants of Cancun’s famous Hotel Zone, as well as stunning Mayan ruins and traditional Mexican towns. There are many things to experience in Cancun, and Club Regina Cancun puts you right in the middle of all of it.

 

Summer in Park City

It’s easy to associate Park City, Utah, with winter. It has everything you love about winter: snow, mountains, ski lifts, sleigh rides, and an alpine coaster. But did you know that it is home to the largest four season resort in the U.S.? Park City is hopping with visitors in the summer, largely due to the fact that almost everything that involves snow in the winter converts to a summer activity.

“The largest four season destination resort in the U.S. offers you an expansive variety of summer adventures and events.”

Park City Mountain Resort is not just for winter sports. Vacationers flock to the resort in the summer for all kinds of extreme and some not-so-extreme sports. Catch airtime with the summer zip tours. Rent a bike and try out the bike park or blaze your own trails while mountain biking. The whole family will enjoy the scenic lift rides, zip lines, and miniature golf. Your smallest family members will love climbing, sliding, jumping, and zipping in the Adventure Zone and Kids’ Zip Line, Rope Course, and Tubing. Make time for the Red Pine Gondola ride, Canyons Golf Course, horseback riding, and the Alpine Coaster and Alpine Slide.

Lost Prospector trail.

Summer in Park City is full of adventure, thrills, and fun in the sun. If you come in August, you can join in the festivities of the annual Park City Kimball Arts Festival.

Kimball Arts Festival

Every August, Historic Main Street in Park City is bombarded with hundreds of booths of jury-picked artists. The Visual Arts categories represented at the Festival include ceramics, drawing, fiber, glass, jewelry, metalwork, mixed media, painting, photography, print making, sculpture, and wood.

“Each year, we host over 50,000 guests, 220+ jury-selected artists from over 30 states in 12 categories, 30 live musical acts and an array of cuisine offerings.”

The live musicians will appear on the Kimball Stage, Miner’s Stage, and Food Truck Round-Up Stage. The weekend is packed with events like the Festival After Dark, Yoga Fest, and Live@Sky, featuring live performances in opera, dance, poetry, and healing arts.

This year the festival will be held August 4-6, 2017. The tickets are for the 3-day weekend. For more information, check out the event website.

Where to Stay

Park Plaza is a quiet family friendly resort that combines the very best of urban vacationing while offering easy access to Park City, Utah’s world-renowned ski slopes. Book your next stay at Park Plaza and you’ll be less than two miles from Park City’s ski lift and Main Street, where you’ll find many of the town’s fantastic restaurants, bars, and shops.

Girls’ Getaway Trip to Las Vegas

Las Vegas, the oasis in the desert, is the perfect location for your next vacation with your girlfriends. Las Vegas has it all—Shows! Dining! Shopping! Entertainment! and best of all – Pampering! There’s a reason they say, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Come visit Sin City for yourself, and you and your girlfriends will create special memories – to be shared with the world or kept secret among best friends.

Spas

Nothing says pampering quite like spas. When splurging traveling, creature comforts are a must—massages, foot rubs, robes, custom-blended essential oils, aromatherapy, body exfoliation, hot stones, deep tissue massage, full body algae wrap, facials, and steam rooms. You can go as a group, pair off, or even as individuals for a little “me-time.” Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas specializes in spa treatments from the Far East. In addition to the 18 different spa treatments, Mandarin Oriental offers beauty treatments, a Chinese foot spa, a beauty salon, and fitness and yoga.

“One of the few spas in the world to receive the esteemed Forbes Five-Star award, our spa offers a seductive retreat for mind, body and soul, high above the Las Vegas Strip.”

The Spa at ENCORE has a more decadent feel to it.

“The theme feels partly Indian and partly Moroccan, starting with the dramatic entrance: guests walk down a river-rock path lined with gold lanterns, to be greeted at the end by an 8-foot, hand-carved sculpture of Buddha.”

The environment was designed to help you relax and let the experts work their magic on your body. Between the waterfall showers, garden villas, Polynesian massage, and all the details designed with you in mind, your body will be rejuvenated and your skin will have a fresh glow.

 

 

Dining and Wining

Las Vegas is one place where you can really spend some money. And why not? This is what luxury travel is all about. When you’re out painting the town red, do it in style! Check out Jetsetter’s suggestions of high-end restaurants.

“Whether or not you hit the jackpot, Las Vegas has a restaurant for you. Be it over-the-top tasting menus with spendy plates, or hole-in-the-wall comfort cuisine – here are 10 Las Vegas restaurants where you can eat like a high roller right now.”

 

 

Shopping

What would a girls’ getaway trip be without shopping? Some of the best stores in Las Vegas are right on the Strip, like The Shops at Crystals, a collection of “50 of the finest luxury retailers in the world.”

“If you’re looking exclusively for designer names, The Shops at Crystals is home to the largest collection of flagship and unique-to-the-market locations in Las Vegas, including Prada, Gucci, Sisley and Tourbillon.”

The Forum Shops at Caesars has more than 160 shops in a high-end shopping mall that looks like a street in ancient Rome. Next door to Caesars Palace on The Strip, The Forum Shops have some of your favorite brands like Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. Chanel, and H&M.

Outlet shopping is here in Vegas, too! Check out Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas (south of the city), Las Vegas North Premium Outlets (closer to downtown), and Las Vegas South Premium Outlets (south of The Strip).

A vacation with just the girls is needed once in a while. Without the kids. Without the husbands and boyfriends. Just the girls. Las Vegas—it’s not just for the high rollers anymore.

 

Where to Stay

Polo Towers

Spacious, well-appointed rooms and an ideal location in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip make Polo Towers the place to stay during your next trip to Vegas. The resort is just steps away from fantastic restaurants and world-class casinos, including the MGM Grand and Caesars Palace, and within driving distance of stunning national parks and all the outdoor adventure you can handle. Once you’ve had your fill of Las Vegas for the day, take in the city’s neon lights from Polo Towers’ rooftop pool and spa or sneak in a workout at the on-site fitness center.

 

MORE: Las Vegas City Guide!

 

Day Trips from Phoenix

Vacationers in Phoenix have plenty of ways to spend their time in Phoenix, both indoors (shopping, sporting events, museums) and outdoors (hiking, outdoor markets, golf courses). But for those looking for day trips beyond the city limits, browse our list of sights and activities within driving distance of Phoenix.

Historic Old Town Cottonwood

Wine tasters, foodies, and antique bargain shoppers will be delighted by the variety of shops available in Historic Old Town Cottonwood. Located in the “Heart of the Verde Valley Wine Country,” the revitalized Old Town has 8 wine and spirit tasting rooms, 16 cafes and restaurants, 4 antique stores, 7 galleries, 3 boutique hotels, nature trails, live performances, and an art walk every 2nd Saturday of the month.

The video proclaims with flair, “This is Cottonwood.” Travelers appreciate the state parks, vineyards, annual chocolate walk in December, and the Old Town Center for the Arts. The weather is temperate and the townsfolk are inviting. Come see Old Town for yourself!

Tombstone, Arizona, and San Xavier Mission

Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday’s old stomping grounds have become one of the most famous step-back-in-time western towns in America. Tombstone is the location of the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Visitors to Tombstone can learn the history in the museums, take a tour on foot, in a stagecoach, or on a trolley, and even feel part of the action in an old-fashioned gunfight reenactment.

“This historic day trip from Phoenix to Tombstone is like traveling back in time from a busy, modern urban metropolis to the days of the old Wild West. Here in The Town Too Tough To Die, hear the tales of debauchery and crime from this legendary frontier mining camp, where wooden buildings and dusty streets make it feel like it’s still 1880.”

Plan your trip to start early if you’re coming from Phoenix; it takes 2 hours 48 minutes one way. However, you can include a stop at the Mission San Xavier del Bac near Tucson. This Catholic mission was founded in 1692, but the current church building was not completed until 1797. The Mission Church is open daily to the public, and includes a gift shop and museum, but keep in mind that this is a functioning church with regular services.

Apache Trail

Traveling on Arizona’s oldest highway, visitors take in the scenic beauty of the Apache Trail. Officially established in 1915, it was named for the Apache Indians who used this trail in the 1800s. The route became a historic unpaved highway used for the construction of the Roosevelt Dam from 1902-1909. Today, the 120 mile circle route takes travelers through the Superstition Mountains. The old slogan still rings true: “Every Mile a Scene Worth While! Sunshine All the Way!” Along the trail you can find attractions like Goldfield Ghost Town and the Historic Mining Camp Restaurant and Trading Post, both in Apache Junction.

President Theodore Roosevelt is credited with these words: “The Apache Trail combines the grandeur of the Alps, the glory of the Rockies, the magnificence of the Grand Canyon and then adds an indefinable something that none of the others have. To me, it is most awe-inspiring and most sublimely beautiful.”

Canyon Lake

1 hour 8 minutes in the car is all you need to get to Canyon Lake from Phoenix. Canyon Lake was created by the dams on the Salt River and is one of the scenic stops on the Apache Trail. Ideal weather, 950 surface acres of water, and an elevation of 1660 feet make this lake a wonderful spot for watersports of all kinds. Take a spin on a jet ski, catch some trout in a fishing boat, or windsail to your heart’s content. The rock formations and serene coves make this a great way to spend the day. You might spot some wildlife on the cactus-covered shores. Bighorn sheep and javelina (peccary or skunk pig) roam the mountains here.

Where to Stay

WorldMark Phoenix South Mountain Preserve offers comfortable accommodations amidst Phoenix, Arizona’s gorgeous desert landscape. The resort is located within South Mountain Park, one of the largest municipally operated parks in the United States that has more than 51 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails just waiting to be explored. Soak up the sun at either of the resort’s beautiful swimming pools, unwind in the invitingly warm waters of a hot tub, or enjoy a family cookout in the barbecue area.