It might be a 12-hour flight from UK shores, but the wonders of Mexico’s Pacific Coast are worth travelling to the end of the earth for. Stunning? Not half!
England is a long way from your feet,” giggles our waiting guide as we clamber about with suitcases that are ready to burst. About to peak at midday heat, our 12-hour flight ends with an emerging sweat-filled rush as we grow accustomed to life in Mexico. And our first stop: Riviera Nayarit.
Cancun or Mexico City might lead the tourist hot spots here, but Mexico’s Pacific Coast is a holiday destination unto itself that’ll have you planning your return trip before this one has even ended. An hour-long flight locally from the famous City, Riviera Nayarit and its 192 mile coastline stretches wide to offer the idealistic location for anyone in search of sunshine, naturalistic day trips with local wildlife, and their own slice of luxury hospitality.
Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta Resort and Spa (dreamsresorts.com), and its exclusive hotel complex, serves hospitality at its core. Almost always with a waiting smile, helping hand and glass of champagne, we were soon caught up in own own bubble of perfection. With two large pools intertwining downwards from the hotel towards the ocean front, there’s cocktails and your own private jacuzzi available in premium rooms. And with LGBT+ couples aplenty, it seems the word has most certainly got out that this idyllic hotspot will satisfy those looking to live out their own real life Ab Fab lifestyle.
Boarding in the very early hours, we headed out to the Islas Marietas National Park. With booby birds waggling their tales, their bold blue webbed feet surround us as we dive into the clear blue waters to snorkel and swim with the 100-strong birds and wildlife. Far from land, this is a day adventure to please the thrill seekers and sun worshipers in equal measure.
Grand Sirenis Matlali Hills Resort and Spa (sirenishotels.com) is our next stop. A hotel on a hill, the rocky greenery and mountains stand between you and your neighbour as hotel rooms hang off cliffsides and rooms resemble the surroundings – there’s even a hammock on the balcony for those wanting to doze off in this silent world. Although only accessible via provided transport or a tough upward walk, there’s a real sense of individualism here. For a silent retreat to read a book, switch off or even escape an ex, this is the perfect place.
If water sports – ahem, not that kind – are more to your liking, sports adventures can keep you busy for hours. A short trip to Sayulita and its American-style beach resort is the home to paddle boarding and other sports for those of any age or ability. Sunbeds and cocktails from an ideal viewing platform close-by are available for those of us who prefer the quieter side of life.
As we head out to dine inside our hotel, a local mariachi band blasts classics like La Bamba as we’re caught swinging our hips and downing tequila in unhealthy repetition before dinner. With Thomson now flying non-stop to Puerto Vallarta, the area is sure to become a preferred destination among British holidaymakers.
Making a quick detour, we take an exclusive peak inside a new addition for the island — the W Hotel. Like something from a Matrix movie, the low-lying lake, ultra-modern decor and spa facilities are sure to entice the very best A-listers from around the globe.
Casa Velas (hotelcasavelas.com), the last of our temporary new homes, is found in Puerto Vallarta; think of it as the LA of Mexico but without the trashy suburbs. As the private gates to this boutique hotel swing open, we move up the property, passing cute tortoises and peacocks, with the theme song to Jurassic World in our head. Not because of the animals, obviously, but because something pretty remarkable is stood right in front of our eyes we can’t quite believe.
In a hotel that’s housed the likes of Drake, we’re dragged kicking and screaming from our private pool to dine in our favourite restaurant on the isle – all located inside the hotel’s own grounds. First class food and service, no matter the time of day, is on offer here – and fresh really does mean fresh thanks to the local fish market found moments down the street.
Saving the best almost until last, we board a boat once again and head out with Wildlife Connections to swim with dolphins. Not those caught up in captivity, but those out in the wild. Climbing into the water as they hurtle towards us, we sit patiently waiting for them to swim and circle around us. Squeaking away louder than we’d ever expected, we capture the moment with a gasp and sense of shock, feeling that this is the closest we’ll ever get to joining the tribe. An experience of almost indescribable beauty, it left many, including us, speechless for moments after; a life goal most certainly complete.
With the skyline of London sadly scheduled for us in the not-so distance future and our bellies bursting from a local food tour, we take one final trip to Casa Kimberly, the home of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Locked away behind a private entrance, grand staircases cover the whitewashed wall, littered with infamous movie posters including Cleopatra. Along with a signed photo from Dame Elizabeth, a pink bathtub overlooking the hilly surroundings takes our fancy almost as much as the idea of staying. Plus, with Elizabeth Taylor’s actual bedroom available to sleep in, you can finally live out your days as the real diva you’ve always imagined you’d be.
After all, “Big girls need big diamonds.”
Gay Times travelled to Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport with Thomson. Thomson Airways offers return flights for a seven-night break in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico from £645 per person. Price is based on flights departing from London Gatwick airport in October 2016, thomson.co.uk, visitmexico.com, rivieranayarit.com, visitpuertovallarta.com.