Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Our Getaway to Puerto Vallarta: Marriott Resort and Rhythms of the Night

It Felt Like We Were in Hawaii!

View of Puerto Vallarta from the Marriott Resort

     Jon and I debated for months about whether to take this trip during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April when we were originally planning our getaway to Puerto Vallarta and to see the Rhythms of the Night show, our daughter told me, “Don’t go! This virus is dangerous!” As it happened, Rhythms of the Night canceled their shows in April due to the spreading virus, so we couldn’t go at that time.
     On June 15th, when hotels and beaches in Puerto Vallarta reopened, we discussed going again. If we would have asked our oldest son what he thought, he would probably have replied, “Do you think that’s a good idea?” Our youngest son, an adventurer like us, would likely have exclaimed, “Why not?” We thought, "Others are vacationing in Puerto Vallarta—why not go, as long as we are careful?"
The Marriott Resort Pool was Beautiful and Uncrowded

      Life is short. We never know how many days we have left on this earth. Today could be my last day. I want to live as though this is my last day on earth. I’m so fortunate that Jon feels the same way. We have been adventurers together for over twenty-five years. COVID-19 has taken that away from us for long enough!
     We decided to do it! We needed a three-day weekend getaway and decided to stay at the Marriott Resort near the Puerto Vallarta Marina, a hotel that we trusted to follow all of the protocols, procedures, and preventative measures recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We were very impressed and had a wonderful experience!
View of the Beach from our 8th Floor Balcony

     Masks in place, we arrived by taxi at the Marriott. A short 20-mile-trip from Sayulita, we felt we had traveled thousands of miles from home, as though we had stepped onto one of the Hawaiian Islands. The warm, humid air and the colorful tropical gardens prompted the memory of our last trip to Kauai about ten years ago when we decided our budget no longer included trips to Hawaii. This felt like Hawaii, but much less expensive.
A Garden at the Entrance to the Marriott Resort

     A friendly, masked front door attendant took our temperatures with an electronic gun-shaped, no-touch thermometer, asked us to clean our shoes in foot baths and dry them on a mat. Proclaiming us ready to enter the property, he offered to take our luggage to check-in, but we thanked him and declined, not wanting to increase any possible transfer of the virus. At check-in, we were told that masks were mandatory in all public areas except when we were seated at the pool, in the pool, at the beach, or at a restaurant.
The Marriott Infinity Pool and Swim-Up Bar 

     Seating areas were spaced well apart and the pool was not crowded, so distancing was easy. The only area that appeared too crowded was the swim-up bar—too bad. We soon settled onto lounge chairs at the pool, introduced ourselves to a man and woman about our age from Idaho who were lounging ten feet away, and ordered margaritas from the passing waiter. We weren’t the only ones who were tired of staying at home. Vacation time!
View of Puerto Vallarta from Rhythms of the Night Boat

     The next day was my 64th birthday and we had tickets to the Rhythms of the Night Dinner Show—our second time to see it. Vallarta Adventures, the company that puts on the Rhythms of the Night show, was meticulous with their procedures to keep guests safe. Not only did they follow all sanitation and health protocol, but they also used extra boats to keep passengers well-distanced from each other. While each boat is designed to carry 250 passengers, they only allowed a maximum of 100 passengers on each boat. I was surprised that there were two boatloads of international tourists and expats, two hundred people excited to see the Rhythms of the Night show at Playa Las Caletas!
Cruising by the Natural Arches (Los Arcos) Near Mismaloya

     The boat ride from the Puerto Vallarta Marina was half the fun. As we sipped our margaritas, the boat cruised along the shoreline of Puerto Vallarta giving us a tour of the city from a new perspective. We slipped between the natural arches near Mismaloya and watched the sunset as we neared Las Caletas where the dinner and show were held.
Sunset View from the Boat Near Playa Las Caletas

     During the hour-long boat ride, professional photographers mingled, taking photos of couples and families. They were careful to stage the shots so that groups being photographed were separated from other guests while they were without their masks. The memories they captured of our special vacation were priceless.
Jon Gave Me a Happy Birthday Kiss for the Photographer

     Tickets for the Rhythms of the Night dinner, cruise, and show were heavily-discounted at this time so I expected a few corners to be cut. The dinner was served family-style to minimize exposure between servers and guests, and, unfortunately, that caused the quality to be less than it had been two years ago. The show had fewer dancers and performers but was still spectacular, performed in the outdoor theater in the middle of the jungle. Guests were seated well-separated with every other row left empty and groups at least ten feet from each other. We are so happy that Vallarta Adventures was able to put on this dinner and amazing show while keeping people safe from COVID-19.
One of the Many Acts in the Rhythms of the Night Show

     We have two weeks before our next planned adventure, so there will be plenty of time to find out if we develop the SARS-CoV-2 infection. We think we had it once already, back in February (see my article Our COVID-19 Antibody Test in México), though our SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were undetectable. We are careful to prevent exposure to the virus, but if we do become infected, I feel confident that we have memory T cells that fight the virus, helping minimize symptoms. Also, doubling up on vitamin C, taking Zinc and vitamin D, as well as getting enough exercise and fresh air help build our immune system. Watch for my article about our next adventure.

     Have you read my “Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico” true-life adventure books and my “In Sickness and In Health” novels set in México? Check them out at my Amazon Author Page.
Pickle Jar Test: A Novel

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Terry L Turrell, Author

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