Twenty Years of Fun Times in Mexico

We bought our first Vidanta time share contract in 2002 .  We have been in Mexico at least once for almost every year since.  We have had so many fun experiences it is hard to choose, but here are 20 of our favorite experiences, stories and activities on and off Vidanta resorts in Puerto Vallarta,  Nuevo Vallarta,  Riviera Maya and Los Cabos.  You will likely find some great vacation ideas for yourself.   You can click to see our other Tips for Mexico vacations.   

Police Stop

Ok, this isn’t a fun thing to do , but it is a fun story.   We have only been stopped once in twenty years of driving in Mexico.  It was actually during our first trip to Riviera Maya that we rented an originaloriginal beetle Volkswagen beetle .  We were pulled over in Cancun and the polite policeman pointed out that we hadn’t  used our seatbelts.  In hindsight,  I think he was trying to get a bribe, but I was concentrating on my Spanish and trying to convince him to give us a break.  He finally  gave up and said “You  Can  Go “      Super polite persistence is the answer to almost everything in Mexico. If this story worries you , check out our "Safety in Mexico Post?

Finding Limes and Half and Half


We long ago started making our own margaritas and sometimes breakfast.  If we are not staying in a Luxxe unit, we make our own coffee.   Of course that means navigating the local grocery store.  It took us quite some time to discover that 1.  There are no lemons in Mexico.  2. Therefore Limons are actually limes and 3.  Limas which we thought we wanted are actually tiny limes used to make a Yucatecan lime soup.  Sheesh.  Also if you like half and half in your coffee.  Good luck  
The Spanish is medio y medio para café.   However, the store employees usually have no idea and it is often in a different area than you expect.  You can always use pure cream , it just takes more stirring.

Wait Staff At The Resortwaiter on resort

Most of the waiters at Vidanta are fun, friendly people.  At poolside,  some people slip 200 to 400 pesos  to the waiter when they order (and when supervisors are not watching)  and get great service all afternoon.  My favorite story is about Rudy at Riviera Maya Tramonto years ago.  It was like having a comedy act during dinner.  He was such a character and so thoughtful !   When I joked about my dessert not coming with a truffle that everyone got with theirs,  he slipped me one on the QT , acting like he was smuggling contraband. 

Italian in Cabo

salvatores restaurantOne of our Vidanta member friends suggested we try Salvatores in Cabo San Lucas.  If you are staying at the Grand Mayan in San Jose del Cabo, you need to make at least one day trip to San Lucas and definitely consider Salvatores for dinner.  If it not cheap, but you will feel like you are in a back alleyway restaurant in Florence.    If you don’t love Salvatores,  then maybe Mi Casa .  I LOVE their Chiles en Nogada.

Eight Margaritas

One of the lessons we had to learn early in our Mexico travels was about 2 for 1.   We were at the River Café in Puerto Vallarta Old Town.   Our wives went to check out the shop at the restaurant and we ordered two for one Margaritas .  You know,   get four,  pay for two.   OOPS !!   When the girls came back, there were 8 margaritas on the table.  If you want four you order two.  This is sometimes true at Vidanta, but they have mostly gone to jumbo size instead of 2 for 1.

8 margaritas


Whale Watchingwhale watching

If you are in Puerto Vallarta area between December and very early March, you really need to do whale watching at least once.  We have gone a couple of times.  The tour by Vallarta Adventures had a bigger group and was more touristy in general.  I would like to say the ecotour was better, but honestly, the tour guide for Vallarta Adventures was so  fun and knowledgeable  AND  because we saw a lot of whales.  I think it is best to go in the morning, but it will often be a bit brisk for an hour or two

Larry and the Cockroach

Our friends Ann and Larry went with us one year and we were eating outside on an unnamed resort. cockroach Two get the humor , you have to understand that Larry works out and is a volunteer sheriff deputy on the side.  In other words, a manly man.  Except when a rather large cockroach is running around under our table.  The next thing I know Larry is up on the chair like a cartoon housewife escaping a mouse.  When I finally stopped laughing,  one stomp and the show was over.  Larry, however, is still living that one down.

Reservations Parties

We always make it a point to do a dinner party for our friends that work at the resort.   We couldn’t provide the rental service without them.  Over the years, in addition to providing high quality tequila shots, we have done conversation cards.  The stories we all share across very different cultures and subcultures are priceless.  Honestly,  it is one of our favorite things about going to Mexico.  le of our friends this year said “ don’t forget to bring the cards” !!

The Snake and the Mezcalsnake in mezcal

After one of the above dinner parties, several of our young Mexican friends said they were headed to a great mixology bar called Alquemista  (the alchemist). They invited us along and being a retired pharmacy faculty, I was not going to miss that.  Turns out the big attraction was a huge jar of tequila/mezcal with a dead snake in it.  I plucked up my courage and gave it a try.  Honestly, it was delicious and no , I didn’t get sick.  I am sad to report my wife chickened out of that one.   I am abit heartbroken to also report that Alquemista is not permananenlty closed.  The pandemic took its toll.

Acre in Cabo

There is a famous farm to table restaurant in Cabo called Flora Farms.  mezcalUnfortunately, by the time we heard about it it was fully booked for the week. However there was a second restaurant called Acre(pronounced  Ah-Cray) that was supposed to be equally as good. We had to drive out into the countryside and this modern structure in the middle of a farm was a beautiful place to have dinner. This was the place that we learned to love mezcal. They had multiple choices and the bartender was an excellent resource. I totally recommend one of these two restaurants if you are staying in the Cabo area, but don't expect to get away cheaply.



Surprise Margaritamargarita delivery

One of the best things about vacations are the surprises. Who were staying in a loft two-bedroom sweet when around 9:00 PM there was a knock at the door. A beautiful young Mexican girl was smiling there with a platter set up with do-it-yourself margaritas. Apparently, it was a perk of the loft level accommodation at that point in time. We had no idea that is was coming,  so it was a lot of fun to make our unplanned margaritas and finish our evening in style.

Lazy River

lazy riverFloating on the lazy river at the grand Mayan in Nuevo vallarta is one of the great relaxing experiences in Mexico. Even if we are staying in the lux, we will head over at least once you make a few laps. Our first time there we had a friend with who had some of his own built-in flotation, if you know what I mean, so he didn't need to even use an inner tube. He was so relaxed and happy he wasn't sure he was ever going to get out. Maybe we should add the lazy river to our Mayan rental ritual for relaxing at the beginning of vacation.

Puerto Vallarta View at Night

puerto valllarta viewwe have learned from Mary, one of our traveling companions, to really enjoy the simple things like a sunset. So , when we had dinner at the Quinto steak restaurant at the top of Luxxe  building 6 on Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta Resort, we took extra time to soak in the fabulous view of Puerto vallarta at night. My three recommendations are to pick a day when it's not windy in the afternoon,  to ask for a table on the Puerto vallarta side, and to order and after dinner drink to linger over.

Cirque du Soleil Riviera Maya

Currently, if you want to experience a Cirque du Soleil performance in cirque du soleil mexicoMexico, you will have to do it at the Vidanta Riviera Maya. It has been a few years since we enjoy that dinner theater, and I am a bit anxious to go back. You can book dinner theater at the same time as the performance. It is a bit expensive but if you don't do the extras or the VIP it is tolerable and, quite honestly, one of the best meals I've had in the last 20 years. In addition, the cocktail bar right outside the dinner theater is equally phenomenal. I apologize for the hyperboles, but in this case, they are completely deserved. The Cirque du Soleil show is of course also fabulous, as they are in all their locations.

Mary and Linda’s Excellent Adventure

two women in mexicoBack before John retired, his wife Linda and our friend Mary decided that they had had enough of January snow and headed off to stay at the Mayan palace in Puerto Vallarta Marina district. They stayed a week and had a fabulous time. They learned that when you are two unaccompanied women, people tend to strike up more conversations and to look out for you in various ways. The staff at the Mayan Palace was actually a little concerned that they were driving around on their own. But with Mary driving and Linda navigating, they had absolutely no difficulties. They did encounter a rare heavy rain and minor flooding on one day but it was all just part of the fun story and they ended up in the Mayan palace bar with the good looking, young bartender giving them samples of various tequila until they had to quit, if you know what i mean.  Wink, wink.

Turtle Release

They don't seem to publicize it much, but both Vidanta Riviera Maya and Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta resortsturtle rescue do turtle rescue and release programs. They vary as to time of year, but are always at sunset to avoid losing baby turtles to the dastardly frigate birds.  It is certainly worth asking your concierge if they are currently going on. It is a heartwarming experience to watch the little turtles heading on to the waves and hopefully surviving to repopulate the world with Pacific green turtles.

Snakes and Iguanas

I usually think of myself as a more experienced international traveler. As such I tend to eschew touristy activities. For example i don't think i would ever do the pirate ship party in puerto vallarta harbor. However being at the right place at the right time I have occasionally overridden my better judgment and ended U with an iguana or a boa constrictor wrapped around my neck. I'm not going to say anything more about this


Le Petit Chefle petit chef

I apologize for a couple of the repeats from a recent post, but I do think I need to mention that the combination of really good food and high tech 3D entertainment makes Le Petit Chef worth a one time experience for sure. And as I mentioned before, this is not an inexpensive experience, so be forewarned.

In Case You Missed It

I have posted about this before, but this is one of the best  reasons to upgrade to a Luxxe level unit at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta. You have access to book an hour in the luxuriant outdoor oasis at the Luxxe Spa (the Spatium).  This relaxation has dry sauna, team  sauna, cold plunge pool,  huge jacuzzi pool, and nooks where you can sit and drink a cool fruit water and drop your pulse by at least 10 points.

Spanish Coffeespanish coffee at eddies

The final experience is an ongoing experience.  Eddy’s restaurant briefly opened a second restaurant on the marina.  It didn’t succeed, but  we visited and when we ordered Spanish coffee, we were treated to a spectacular cascading fire show.  And the end product is delicious. The waiter with the show skills is Oscar, who now works at the original Eddie’s.  We take friends and relatives there every time we are in Nuevo Vallarta. 


There you have it, highlights for the past 20 years.  The good news is that it gives you ideas for   twenty fun things to do on vacation in Mexico. 

1 Comment. Leave new

  • Guildo Godbout
    January 11, 2024 4:03 pm

    Yes we had a, meal, at Eddie’s. Their food is great especially the coconut shrimps.

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