Well, we have reluctantly returned to the USA after the most enjoyable vacation I’ve ever been on. We took off for 5 days in sunny Puerta Vallarta and stayed at the swanky Garza Blanca Resort located 40 min. south of the hustle and bustle of town (GREAT call!) We spent one day hiking up 61 flights of “stairs” through the dense jungle only to discover you are supposed to go with an experienced guide…oops, but we live to tell about it and it was kind of amazing. The birds, the rivers, the random basketball court in the middle of the jungle, the sounds of who knows what might be lurking in the trees…it was all awesome- plus we saw monkeys…score! The next day we opted for a 4 mile round trip kayak/snorkeling excursion. The scenery was beautiful and it was very cool to paddle up and down the coast and gawk at the gorgeous homes that line the beach (including the palatial house owned by the Garza Blanca owner, Mr. Corona- former president of Puerta Vallarta). Our rock formation destination provided a snorkeling opportunity to see colorful fish, a sea turtle, and a yacht with some random skinny people filming some type of show on the deck complete with audio crew…I’m not going to lie, I might have been more sidetracked by that than the ecosystem below the water. (What if it was my beloved BELOW DECK reality show?! it wasn’t.) (P.S. Kayaking is fantastic couples therapy…you must work together like it or not…poor James, stuck in a kayak with me barking my frustration to paddle straight and no cocktail or xanax in sight!) I’m sure he thought of a few other ways he could have used that kayak paddle during the 2 hour trip. Once again, we survived to tell about it and looking back, I highly recommend it. The spa at Garza Blanca was beyond anything I’ve ever seen. It is really worthy of it’s own blog post so here’s the short version- they provide 6 “stations” that you experience in a certain order to improve your circulation and balance each of the body’s chakras. The hot sauna, the cold high pressure shower, the warm calming tub, the icy freezing plunge (that one was the toughest!), the hot tub with various showers of different pressure, and the steam room with ever changing aromas. Once we completed our spa obstacle course, we moved into a beautiful rooftop room overlooking the jungle for a fabulous couples massage. The restaurants and service at Garza Blanca were way above the standard you would expect- We really felt like royalty everywhere we went and the staff was over accommodating and went above and beyond any request our group had. Shrimp with garlic and butter not on the menu? no problem. Grilled fresh fish caught today? no problem. 4 seats in the private lagoon area in the pool? no problem. Green juice? no problem. Surprise anniversary rose petal turn down? no problem. (thanks hubby!) You name it, it was taken care of immediately and with a smile. I cannot say enough about this amazing gem of a place (suggested to us by our honeymoon travel agent who never steers us wrong). The rooms feature outstanding views from every room and a panoramic deck with a built out bathtub and 2 person hammock. I’m telling you, they did not miss a beat when designing Garza Blanca…can you say, heated toilet seat? If you are looking for a luxurious vacation, incredible food, the kindest hardworking staff, immaculately clean and no expenses spared property..this is the place for you! Until next year Garza Blanca…adios!