Resort Life: Nuevo Vallarta


Baby Flyer checks out the view of the ocean from Villa Del Palmar.  She could get used to this.

We spent a week this summer in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico at the Villa Del Palmar Flamingos. We flew American Airlines and had an overnight layover in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor on the way, and a couple hour layover in DFW on the way back. You bet Baby Flyer visited the Centurion Lounge on the way back, plus the adults all had 15 minute massages!  It was a welcome treat after having an almost 2 hour wait for our bags at baggage claim after customs because everything shut down because of lightening. Of course, safety is important but the wait was unexpected.

We stayed in the Aloft in Phoenix on the way out which has a free shuttle, is very close to the airport, and has a relaxed playful feel. They just started renovating and updating the whole hotel, including the rooms. They have a simple bar menu and we weren’t in the mood to go out for dinner since it was already around 7:45pm. We had grilled cheese- a guilty but tasty dinner, and Baby Flyer roamed around and stretched her legs. While we were waiting for our food, the hotel van took me to CVS to buy Baby Flyer a bottle of baby shampoo. Something I learned- they can take you anywhere within a three mile radius of the hotel for free (excluding tip). It was perfect!.


The penthouse deck of our humble abode for the week.  We could also get used to this.

Fast forward to finally arriving at the Puerto Vallarta airport- we got off the plane, cleared customs, (which is generally straight forward if all your passports are in order.  Tip for Mexico- they give you back half the form.  Do not loose this part, it’s your ticket back out of the country!).

This airport has undergone some expansions and renovation since we’ve started traveling there several years ago.  It’s nice to see, and makes the experience better.  There’s a small Priority Pass lounge, even, and the majority of the flights are served by standard jet bridges, rather than buses.

After customs, we moved onto the gauntlet of getting our reserved shuttle to the resort.  For whatever reason, in Mexico this is usually the sticking point.  The resort provides us one free transfer per year, which is great, but it does mean you have to reserve in advance, and then wait for them to verify it and find you a driver.  In the end it works out, but it can take some patience.  We did learn that Uber has arrived in PVR, and seemed operative and reasonably priced from the airport, but when CET tried to use it for her return trip, it said ‘no cars available’ from the resort.

That all sorted out, we arrived safely and simply put, Baby Flyer LOVED resort life!  Her day typically looked something like this:

After she woke up, she would often visit the pool or play in the room with her Mema and Bumpa while I worked out. She slept in while on vacation too!  She would wake to nurse around 6 and then go back to sleep for a couple hours. Think her later bed time, two hour time difference, and all the pool time made her sleepy. Then we would meet for breakfast and she got to pick a pastry of her choice (total treat) which she had along with some watermelon or berries and orange juice. Of course, her favorite was what I initially thought was a bran muffin, but turned out to be a chocolate muffin- another first for her. This also was her first time having orange juice and she certainly enjoyed it.


Check out those curls!

Once we were done eating, she would walk out of the restaurant and lead the way to the pool, so more time splashing around until it was time for her afternoon nap and a quick lunch. Afterwards she would head out to the pool once again, then play in our room while we all got ready for dinner. After dinner, she often would finish the evening with one last wade since the restaurant was next to the pool and it was too tempting not to stop as we walked back to our room. We paddle boarded and played a couple games beach volleyball one morning. It was fun, but let’s just say I have some room for improvement with beach volleyball.

Baby Flyer even managed to stay in her high chair during our long dinners. Something that has rarely been happening lately. But was a welcome change!


I never appreciated the pool as much as I did on this vacation. As silly as it sounds, I really noticed all the features of the pool while playing with Baby Flyer. From the wading pool to the sprinklers and waterfall steps, to the infinity edges and gradual beach shoreline slopes. There was so much Baby Flyer could do! She doesn’t always like being held in the water when she can’t touch the bottom so she loved being able to walk in so many areas.


I could have packed Baby Flyer a few less outfits but she did wear almost everything I packed. I thought I was being silly bringing a whole package of swim diapers but we left with only two extra. Her long sleeve UPF rash guard was my favorite since it covered all of her arms and I didn’t have to worry about sunblock. After one afternoon when she wore her short sleeve rash guard and it seemed like she got some sun, despite putting on sunblock multiple times (it’s strong down there!), I ended up just always having her wear the long sleeve top. It turned into a tan, but still…mommy guilt abounds.


We’ve been going to this resort for years now, and many of the staff are familiar faces which makes it extra fun.  This year for simplicity, we opted for the all-inclusive meal plan so that meant we ate a lot of our meals at the resort.  However, one night we took a cab to the neighboring small town, Bucerias. Pre-baby, we used to do the 30ish minute walk all the time, but since it was so warm that really didn’t sound like much fun with Baby Flyer. We had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Sandrinas. They take Visa and MasterCard but offer a 15% discount if you pay in cash. We also really enjoy Mark’s and Karen’s Place. Both are in Bucerias. Karen’s Place is on the beach which is perfect for watching the sunset. In the past, they have been cash only but there is an onsite ATM (in the adjacent hotel).

Bucerias is a fun town to walk around and get more of an authentic feeling for the area.  Since we’ve been going for so long, we’ve been able to see how it’s changed over the years. They have open air markets where you can find some good deals than from the sales people on the beach.


Baby Flyer loved spending some time on the beach too, especially as the sun went down and the sand cooled.  Puerto Vallarta’s coastline is beautiful any time, but the sunsets were truly stunning.  No better way to end each day.

By the time we headed home, we were already looking forward to coming back next time!


To read more about our trip, you can head over to Cruising Altitude for CET’s trip report and more photos.

Inside Baby Flyer’s Suitcase- South of the Border Edition


The view from Villa Del Palmar- Nuevo Vallarta

We’re currently lucky enough to be on a week’s vacation at the family timeshare (massive thanks to Baby Flyer’s Mema and Bumpa, CAR’s parents, for being timeshare booking experts) in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico!  We’ve decided to embrace the fact that it’s summer, and we’re going to be making the most of Baby Flyer’s last few months as a lap infant.  We’re relaxing in Mexico, then headed to visit family in Seattle, will follow it up with a trip through Scandinavia (there will be updates), and finish the summer with a long weekend in Santa Fe, NM.

Back to the purpose of this post, we thought it would be fun to show you what we packed for Baby Flyer, since we get plenty of questions about what we bring on trips. We will probably be spending most of our time relaxing at the resort. Or as much relaxing as you can with an active 17 month old, so her suitcase is full of ‘resort ware.’

We believe there are different types of vacations and it’s alright to enjoy them all. Sometimes we do lots of exploring and see new things, and other times we soak up time as a family and enjoy the water and being in one place without as many appointments and expectations.

For all of our trips, I’ve been sharing a medium sized suitcase with Baby Flyer.  It seems more simple to have one suitcase to wheel around than two, especially when flying by myself.  I always seem to under-pack for myself and over-pack for Baby Flyer.  I never know how many outfits she will need in a day.  Some days she is fine with one and other days she needs two.  Luckily for this trip, the condo we’re staying in has private laundry, which is a huge benefit with a little one.

It’s the last minute items that always fill up our suitcase.  Things like her white noise machine, monitor (we just packed the monitor portion), eating mat, sleep sack, snacks, running shoes, and nebulizer to name a few.

For this vacation, I expect that we will spend a lot of time in the water, in the shade by the pool, and up in the room.  We are meeting my parents, sister, brother in law, nephew, and niece.  We haven’t all been together since October so I think we are all looking forward to it!


Baby Flyer typically flies in pants with either a long, or short sleeve shirt.  It’s comfortable and convenient for changing her diaper as you only have to pull down her pants and there aren’t any snaps.  She wore a pair of Robeez soft soled moccasins which are softer and less clunky and seemed for comfortable for when she stood on our laps during the flight.


Baby Flyer has fair skin and so we try our best to keep her covered up as much as possible, and have her wear protective swim clothing and sunblock.  Luckily she is excellent at wearing her sun hat without too much complaint.  The velcro closure under the chin has helped us keep it on.  It may have been a help that we’ve been putting a hat on her since she was a baby…maybe?  Sunglasses are a different story.  We haven’t had as much success, even though she does like to play with them.

All of these swim outfits have UPF fabric so we don’t have to worry as much about the parts of her body that are covered up.

I had wanted to buy Baby Flyer a pair of Native sandals but they didn’t fit her feet.  Her feet are pretty small, she just grew into a size 4, but they are still a little chubby.  I ended up finding a pair of Teva Water Sandals at the Nordstrom Rack for a good price.

Our whole family uses Coola sunblock.  We just love it!  It doesn’t even feel like you’re wearing sunblock when you have it on.  We use the Coola Mineral Sport Sunscreen and the  Coola Mineral Matte Finish Face on us, while we bought the Baby version for Baby Flyer.  Both apply so evenly and thinly and we find that they protect our skin.  I tried the Beauty Counter stick face sunscreen and didn’t find it protected my skin as well and always left it feeling sticky, like I could tell I was wearing sunscreen, and was hard to wash off.  However, I have friends who love it.  To each their own.


Baby Flyer tends to wear a lot of casual dresses so we packed quite a few.  Even though Mexico is hot and humid during the summer, we included a couple pants as options to wear with the dresses if she needed them.  Not pictured, we also packed a pair of white shorts to wear under some of her shorter dresses.  Sometimes she’s interested in her taking off her diaper so covering it up helps keep it on.

A family friend has an online Scandinavian children’s clothing store, Ittikid, so some of her dresses are from her shop.  We try to support her whenever we can plus the clothing is cute and always so soft!


I packed her a couple of rompers.  Baby Flyer had this Patagonia romper last year and we bought it at the end of the season when it was on sale for this year.  We love her Patagonia hat!  It’s UPF fabric, velcros under her chin, is reversible, and has a wide brim.  It literally goes everywhere with us and was a no brainer to pack it.  Her Keen sandals have been working out well so far this summer.  We had a coupon for the Nordstrom Rack and found a pair in her size there, so we only had to pay $9 for them.



Baby Flyer’s Mema found this top on sale at Old Navy and thought it had a perfect hint of patriotic flair for the 4th of July.

It may seem like Baby Flyer has a lot of shoes, however, up until two weeks ago she only had one pair of sneakers.  Just recently she outgrew them so we bought her two pairs in a size 4 for her to grow in to.  We also wanted something that would give her a feet some air since it’s warm in the summer where we live.

That’s pretty much the run-down!  We’re in Mexico for a week, so reviews and updates to follow from the beach!

~CAR & Baby Flyer