When we spin our vacation-planning globe to a beach resort like Puerto Vallarta, we start searching hotels and flights to see what time of year prices drop. For the Pacific coast of Mexico — popular year round –- that happens to be fall, when the weather’s great and the crowds are gone.
Parents and grandparents traveling with preschoolers have already figured out that vacations between September and December are the best. Those who prefer to reap the educational benefits of travel — at the cheapest price — will also find that Puerto Vallarta’s rich Indian and Spanish culture provide amazing learning experiences for older children.
So, whether you head to Puerto Vallarta with diapers and carseats, or netbooks and homework, here are some tips to make your international adventure more rewarding.
Keeping Little Ones Busy in the Fall
We like to relax on vacation and, for us, that means finding an activity so engaging that electronics stay in pockets. That’s why Puerto Vallarta’s small downtown, where a beautiful Cathedral and the town hall surround an old stone main square, really appeals. On Sunday nights, there are free folk dance lessons outdoors. The seafront promenade features big public artworks to climb. Several local restaurants give cooking lessons. There are hundreds of taco stands to visit on a guided tour, and little galleries where Mexican artists and local expats are happy to talk about their work.
Active Adventurers for Older Kids & Adults
We discovered that if your family likes to horseback ride, you can do that and learn about Mexican ranch life at the Hacienda Dona Engracia. Canopy tours give everyone a new perspective on the beautiful jungle. At las Caletas beach, there’s even a zipline setup for ages 4+. Swim with dolphins, help release sea turtles back to the sea, take your tiny passengers (ages 6+) on an ATV and participate in one of the many autumn Mexican fiestas. And Si, se puede! learn some Spanish while you’re there.
Tips for Introducing Foreign Cultures to Kids
Sound too exotic for your brood? During a recent social media chat on Twitter, several family travel experts shared advice about international travel. “Introduce kids to new culture before you go with stories and YouTube movies,” advises Rebecca Darling, the @RWeThereYetMom.
“Eat local wherever you go,” proclaims Sujey @sujey_cardenas. When you arrive, “get kids to try new things by trying with them!” says Siobhain, known as @summer0001. “Ask hotel staff where they take their kids for fun, and to eat,” adds Nicole of @TMSfamtrav.
For planning daytrips, “get ideas from friends who have been there,” she adds. Adults worried about flying with infants and toddlers should get over it, say the experts. “Bring favorite toys; have blocks will travel,” says @2TravelDads. “Bring charged, loaded tablet plus snacks so no one gets hungry,” says Lisa Niver of @wesaidgotravel. @KidGlobetrotter adds, “Exploring plus fun stuff for kids is the magic formula,” when her family takes long plane flights.
Your Lucky Day
The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board has worked with partners to provide the best deals to visit their destination. To whet your appetite for more, they are also running a family vacation giveaway through October 31, for a weeklong trip to Puerto Vallarta. The prize includes air and a three-night stay in one of Puerto Vallarta’s 4+ star properties plus another three nights in a boutique property downtown. Talk about an affordable vacation!
Lisa TE Sonne, known as @ExploreTraveler, reminds us that family travel, “helps bring the world together one friend at a time.”
So, good luck on planning your fall family vacation or, as they say in Spanish, Buena Suerte!
This blog post has been sponsored by the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board and all opinions and travel tips are my own.
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