Our First Trip to the West Coast of Mexico

Source: Q-Roo Paul

My wife and I take frequent mini-vacations around the Yucatan Peninsula exploring new areas and repeatedly visiting some of our favorites. For the most part, I avoid writing posts about our trips for two main reasons:

  1. I want to differentiate this blog from the thousands — if not millions — that follow that format.
  2. I really think people would get tired of watching Linda and I have fun all day.

The exception to this is when I have some useful tips or recommendations that can help others. Most of these are contained in the section Q-Roo Paul’s Picks.

That being said, I’ve decided to deviate a bit from that policy — due to numerous requests from readers to do so — and tell you about our first trip to the Pacific side of Mexico.

Disclaimer: There aren’t many useful travel tips, if any at all, but there are plenty of nice photos.

Puerto Vallarta

One of our New Year’s resolutions was to visit other parts of Mexico so we decided to spend our 17th wedding anniversary in Puerto Vallarta.


We spent seven nights at the Fiesta Americana, an all-inclusive resort that is located a few minutes away from both the Malecón and the Marinas.

The hotel was fantastic and our room had a great view of the Bahía de Banderas. Almost every morning, we were able to see humpback whales from our balcony.

View from the balcony of the hotel. (Source: Linda Kurtzweil)


Beautiful sunset in Puerto Vallarta. (Source: Linda Kurtzweil)

First Impressions

Everywhere that we have traveled in Mexico, the people have been warm, friendly and helpful. Puerto Vallarta was no exception and we immediately felt welcome in this new city.

The thing that I did notice is that the street vendors were not as “pushy” as they are in the Riviera Maya. The moment that we said we weren’t interested, every single one of them immediately stopped trying to sell us anything and politely went on their way. I could get used to that.

The thing that we liked most about the area was how strikingly different it looks from the Caribbean side. The dark sand beaches and the mountainous backdrops were stunning. We came to PV looking for something that we couldn’t get on the Caribbean side — and we found it.

Enjoying the Malecón. (Source: Q-Roo Paul)


One of a dozen selfies we took in PV. (Source: Q-Roo Paul)


Since we were new to the area, we chose to rely on excursions to show us around as opposed to venturing out on our own. We went to Sayulita, San Francisco (San Pancho), Yelapa and Majahuitas. We were worn out by the end of each day but we had a ball.

The view as our boat pulled into Yelapa, Mexico. (Source: Linda Kurtzweil)


A view from the beach in Yelapa, Mexico. (Source: Linda Kurtzweil)


The road to the beach in Sayulita, Mexico. (Source: Linda Kurtzweil)

Let’s Wrap This Up

We had a great time on vacation and we’ve officially added Puerto Vallarta to our list of favorite places in Mexico.

I could end the post right here but then some readers would inevitably ask me which coast I prefer, so I’ll go ahead and answer that one: Although we love PV as a vacation destination, the Caribbean is still the place that we prefer to call home.

The reason is the temperature of the water. The water on the west coast was way too cold for us and we had to limit our swimming to the hotel pool. That’s a sharp contrast to the Riviera Maya where we can comfortably enjoy the water 12 months a year. Since we moved to Mexico to be in the water as much as possible, that makes our choice clear.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Become a Patreon member to get access to our live Q&A sessions as well as our private Facebook group where you can ask us questions. For more information, click HERE.

About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) to share their experiences as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

25 Comments on "Our First Trip to the West Coast of Mexico"

  1. Welcome to PV! We are headeding back to Fiesta Americana for our 4th consecutive trip soon! Love that hotel; glad you enjoyed it and PV!

  2. Janine MacIntyre | February 26, 2017 at 1:50 pm |

    I have spent many vacations on the Gulf side of Mexico but it was not until a trip to Punta Mita on the West coast that I fell in love with it. The climate in January/February is heaven. No humidity and every day is sunshine. I do love Puerto Vallarta however you must try Mazatlan and walk the Cerritos beach. It is Puerto Vallarta but quieter. It is a real city with commerce and not just tourism. You can eat a wonderful meal for $100 pesos in Mazatlan. There is no doubt that the water on the eastern side of Mexico is the clearest and bluest of anywhere I have seen, but the west coast has the WHALES!!! You can watch them from your hotel or condo balcony! I come to PV or Mazatlan for January/February each year and have never turned on the AC yet. I had to over in Cancun at that time of year because of the humidity. Another reason why I love the West coast of Mexico!. Thank you for your blog, it is a wealth of information. I enjoy reading each posting!

  3. Carmen Moreno | February 26, 2017 at 1:51 pm |

    Hi Paul,
    This Carmen, we met on the trip to Yelapa. I’m really enjoying your blog.

  4. Thanks much for the blog and pictures.

  5. Next time you’re on the west coast, make your way down to manzanillo. Much more traditional and a beautiful port city of about 180,000 4 hours south of peurto villarta. My wife and I fell in love with the town and we’re buying a home right on the pacific ocean.

  6. Charlie/Carlos | February 26, 2017 at 3:35 pm |

    Paul, I agree with your wrap up comments 100%. That is why I also live in Akumal. I enjoy reading your blog a lot. Thanks for putting forth your efforts.

  7. Thanks for the report on your trip to PV. I hope to meet you on our next trip to Playa.

  8. Your tips and advice on all things are great…but I particularly enjoyed this one. I’m really wanting to discover other places…! So I hope it won’t be the only one like this. Already others have suggested other places….so my list will grow.

  9. Great photos & comments about PV/West Coast of Mexico compared to the Caribbean side. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Welcome to our neck of the woods! Glad you enjoyed your visit here!

  11. Another great blog Paul and Linda. My partnee Chris and I are in Akumal “as we speak “, for 2 week vacation. So far a good experience. We were in PV for a couple of days on our way to San Pancho (aka San Francisco) a couple of years ago. Accept for the very early morning rooster serenades we loved SP. PV also a good experience, especially the art galleries.
    We’re seriously considering living part of the year in Mexico so your blogs are especially interesting and useful.
    Keep well and keep blogging.

  12. Have you been to Isla Mujeres or Holbox? What was your thought on Yelapa and/or Sayulitas in comparison ?

    • We have been to both Isla Mujeres and Holbox. I actually wrote a post about Holbox several months ago.

      They are difficult to compare to Sayulitas because they are very different. Holbox is still fairly rustic and the water is shallow and quite blue. You can wade out and enjoy the sun without being afraid to be swept away by a wave.

      Isla Mujeres is similar to Sayulitas in the sense that it has a touristy, friendly, cool vibe to it. The comparison ends there when you go to a beach.

  13. Liz Valentine | February 27, 2017 at 1:17 pm |

    I love everything about this. We are retiring to Tulum in 4 years and it couldn’t come soon enough. I love watching your blog and all your adventures. Can’t wait to live that life too.

  14. Thank you for your continuing blogs. My husband and I love to read them. 19 months and we too, will be Expats. Your blogs and our continuing research helps keep us focused on our goal. We will be be back to Quintana Roo in May looking at possible cities and Puerto Morales might be a consideration. Any info on that would be helpful. Thanks again for the enjoyable read!

    • Q-Roo Paul | March 2, 2017 at 5:51 am |

      Thanks for following the blog. I have some trusted real estate contacts if you want someone to show you different properties while you’re down. Just send me a message through the contact form.

  15. We move in 2 weeks to the Chapala area. All retired and packing up the last bits and pieces. I thank you for all the useful information first off, like medical, prices of gasoline and practical advice. But the description of your everyday life and the places you visit are the icing on the cake. I refer to you and your blog often and really appreciate your style of “reporting”. I am sure I will continue to read even when we live there.

  16. We love the west side, but I agree the water is too cold.

Comments are closed.