PUERTO VALLARTA: VELAS VALLARTA
Andrea & Family (baby 22mos.)
We loved this place!!! We spent a week from April 8-15th here and wished we stayed longer. We rented a private condo directly from an owner online, so we did not do the all inclusive and therefore can’t really comment on the restaurants. But the waiters/service at poolside were great! How else can you explain 4 people downing 19 margaritas in about 2 hours? Even though we were not on the all inclusive plan, we were still welcome to the numerous sample appetizers that were brought out hourly at the pool – chicken wings, fruit cups, mini-pizzas, etc., and were able to charge food/alcohol to our room (rates were reasonable).
The grounds are absolutely beautiful. Lush gardens with winding lit pathways, meandering goldfish ponds, peacocks, iguanas, flowering everything, and birds everywhere. The two main swimming pools (one with a waterfall and the other with a swim up palapas bar) are connected by a winding “river” you can swim down amidst the lush vegetation. The third kiddie pool was the perfect toddler sanctuary. Only about 2 feet deep and warm, our 22 month old was able to stand and bounce around on her own (with the help of a lifejacket, numerous pool toys provided by the kids club and an ever present Grandma). A kiddie playground is located right next to the pool, allowing her to run back and forth from the pool to the playground (about 20 feet away). The whole kiddie pool area is surrounded by lush vegetation (with the occasional iguana and peacock passing through to add to the excitement) and the meandering “river” with a bridge crossing. Goldfish food was available at the resort store, so after a long day of swimming, our daughter ran from pond to pond feeding the fish. After the first day, our little one repeatedly exclaimed “I love it here, I love it here!”.
I highly recommend this resort for people with small children. The security was very tight and the U-shaped design of the complex felt very secluded. I felt very comfortable having my little girl there and we always felt very welcome. The kid’s club looked great (our girl was too young) and there was a constant flow of activities going on for them – treasure hunts, water-balloon fights, etc. The peacocks, iguanas, goldfish and hundreds of birds everywhere were a constant source of wonder and excitement for our toddler.
The beach was ok, but there was a strong undertow when we were there, so lifeguards were asking us to get out of the water. The beach was clean, and they have chairs and shade structures, but the venders are very pesky. To be honest, the pools were so fabulous that I preferred them to the beach anyway.
We were never approached by any time share people at all. Maybe we got lucky?