Updated: Nov 3, 2020
During my vacation in Mexico's Riviera Nayarit, I am seeing Nuevo Vallarta (N.V.) in a new way, and noticing some things - some of which I am sure were always here, but which have a new light shining on them. So why is now the optimal time for you to visit N.V.?
1. Biggest reason: the maximum hotel occupancy allowance in the Mexican state of Nayarit is 30 percent. Yes, 30 percent!! This is huge. Essentially you have your resort to yourself! That's how I was able to get a shot of Grand Velas' beautiful infinity pool in the late morning with nary a person in the picture. Well, there is is one, but he is hard to see.
If you are hesitant to travel, this is a big plus in your favor. This is the start of the tourist high season, yet with the Covid-19 restrictions in place you will be able to maintain safe distancing indoors (tour vehicles, restaurants, shopping) and out (beaches, golf courses) during your stay. Other states, such as that perennial favorite Quintana Roo in particular, are allowing a maximum occupancy of 60 percent, and currently have a higher rate of infection. I thought you should know.
2. Temperature checks when entering all public venues. The shopping mall, restaurants, and the local tour operator's meeting location at minimum perform infrared temperature checks with handheld devices. Many, including the airport, have computer-mounted infrared cameras monitored by an agent. Oh, and there is hand-san a-plenty, enough for you to bathe in.
3. The undivided attention. I visit N.V. a few times per year, and enjoy the friendly, hospitable residents. This time, their charm is off the charts. Local restaurants and stores were closed for months, and just as it was for many of us, 2020 was a bust for them. They are now eagerly re-opening and happy to see us return. The smiles, the service, the joy! I've been impressed, and pleased to be on the receiving end of so much happiness. It's contagious; and it is visible despite the masks. Some restaurants invested in upping their game by redesigning their decor, and re-vamping their menus. What is old, feels new.
With many popular international destinations still under the influence of the pandemic, the countries that are open to tourists are exercising the utmost caution with your health and safety. In fact, within those countries, the 'safest' areas (i.e. areas with lowest infection rate) are the so-called 'tourist areas' (such as Jamaica's 'resilient corridor') where what might seem as over-caution is the practice. It's proving to be successful.
There you have it - three reasons to 'get thee to Vallarta.' And do you really need a reason? By the way, the five AAA-rated four-star restaurants at Grand Velas - sumptuous! Their spa is heavenly (and my only experience was the wonderfully fragranced air within, although I wish it could have been more). The phrase 'all-inclusive luxury' doesn't happen everywhere, and the two standards sometimes end up being mutually exclusive. However at Grand Velas, they marry beautifully. Remind me to tell you more about it.
'til next week.
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-Juliet Weller, Founder