If you haven’t read the expense update from the first half of this trip, check it out below:
After our five weeks on the east coast of Mexico, we were anxious to see how the west coast compared. Our last stop on the east coast, Cozumel, was our favorite stop on that portion of the trip, so the state of Jalisco had a tough act to follow. Originally we thought that we would spend a couple weeks in the Puerto Vallarta area and then also a couple weeks in Cabo, but once we arrived we decided that we wanted to spend more time in the Puerto Vallarta area and would check out Cabo on a future trip. We ended up spending about three weeks total actually in Puerto Vallarta and four days in a small village about 45 minutes southwest of there called Boca de Tomatlan.
On this portion of the trip, we again took advantage of some discounted stays at a timeshare resort, due to having a family member who was unable to use all of their timeshare weeks this year. Plus, many of the resorts in Mexico are having difficulty staying booked due to the pandemic and are offering lower prices to entice people to stay there. The resort we stayed at was only at about 25% capacity according to the staff there. This was perfect because there was plenty of room for everyone to keep their distance while lounging around the pool and beach as well as when eating at restaurants on the property. As I mentioned in my last expense update, two big downsides of staying at resorts, even when the prices are discounted, is that food and drinks are always much more expensive, and the resorts are often not conveniently located which makes walking from the resort to explore the area more difficult. Because of this, we never feel like we get an authentic feel of an area when staying at a resort. We decided to spend two weeks at a resort in Puerto Vallarta to enjoy the nice accommodations, pool, and lounging in the sun, and then an additional week at an Airbnb in a neighborhood in town to get the real experience. Here’s how this portion of the trip was broken down:
- 14 days at a timeshare resort in Puerto Vallarta
- 4 days at an Airbnb in Boca de Tomatlan
- 7 days at an Airbnb in Puerto Vallarta (Zona Romantica)
We felt that breaking up our time in Puerto Vallarta with the stay in Boca was better so that we’d start and end this portion of the trip closer to the airport, and this turned out to be a good choice.
Puerto Vallarta was amazing and ended up being our favorite stop on the entire Mexico trip! It had a great mix of delicious food, nearby activities, beautiful beaches and scenery, and relatively low prices. We frequented the Malecon (boardwalk), beaches, and taco stands set up throughout the city.
Boca was an awesome place full of natural beauty and tons of friendly locals. We were able to go hiking, jet around on water taxis, and discover several gorgeous, secluded beaches. The downside was that it is very small with no real grocery store and limited restaurant options. We enjoyed our time there but felt like we were ready to get back to PV after our 4 days/night there.
Stay tuned for Whitney’s next post about all of our adventures on the trip, but for now I’ll focus on the expenses incurred while traveling through Jalisco. Keep in mind that all of the expenses that I’ll talk about below are my expenses only, since Whitney and I have quite different spending habits. We split all shared expenses evenly, so I calculate the numbers below with my half of the shared expenses and then my individual expenses.
Accommodations: As I mentioned above, we spent the majority of this portion of the trip at a timeshare resort which meant that accommodation expenses were higher than normal. We also chose Airbnbs that were in more desirable locations and with a kitchen which cost extra. We really enjoyed each placed where we stayed though, so the extra costs ended up being worth it for us.
- Total for my expenses: $599
Food and drink: We splurged a decent amount on food again but did our best to balance out those more expensive meals with delicious meals at inexpensive local food stands, plus doing some of our own cooking. At many of the street food stands, tacos and other delicious Mexican foods cost $1/each or less which is extremely reasonable. I could spend $4-$5 to get a delicious and filling meal at many places around town.
- Total for my expenses: $360
Transportation: By far my biggest single expense on this portion of the trip was the flight from Cozumel to Puerto Vallarta. We thought about booking this flight with points, but after looking at the value we’d get for the points, decided against it. We ended up paying $121 each for our flight with one connection in Mexico City. The next biggest expense was taxes/fees for our first class flight from Puerto Vallarta back to Virginia at the end of the trip. This was our first experience flying first class! It cost us extra points and money in fees, but overall we enjoyed the experience and extra comfort on the long flight. Besides the flights, transportation expenses were pretty low. Buses in the Puerto Vallarta area were convenient and low cost. We took buses several times, including to the airport, for only 10 pesos ($.50) each per trip! Besides the buses, we used Uber a few times especially when in a hurry to get somewhere, but luckily Uber is pretty inexpensive there as well.
- Total for my expenses: $207
Activities: I didn’t spend nearly as much on activities during the second half of the trip when compared to the first half. We got two massages while in PV, bought some souvenirs, took a day trip to Yelapa (beautiful and well worth it for a day trip for those considering it from either PV or Boca), and did lots of walking and sightseeing. We spent a lot of time at the pool and at the beach as well. Before leaving Mexico, we had to get COVID tests to return to the US which I’m including here as well since it doesn’t fit into any of the other categories.
- Total for my expenses: $113
My total expenses for 25 days in Jalisco, Mexico including accommodations, transportation, activities, and food were approximately $1,279!
Running total for entire trip to this point (my expenses only): $3,205
As much as I enjoyed the first half of our trip, the second half was even better. The weather was actually even better on the west coast, the costs were very reasonable, the sunsets over the water were beautiful, and just about everyone we talked to was friendly and helpful. Check out some of our favorite pictures on our Facebook page and our Instagram where Whitney did a great job documenting day to day!
Stay tuned for a full summary of this trip and cost per day, as well as the number of airline miles used in the next post!