Wallet-friendly, charming and in a prime location -- a look at Villa Mercedes in Puerto Vallarta, hotel review

Beach Bliss and Villa Mercedes in Puerto Vallarta

Wallet-friendly, charming and in a prime location -- a look at Villa Mercedes in Puerto Vallarta, hotel review
The humid air hits me on the jetway, causing a smile to remain plastered to my face from immigration to crossing the street outside of the airport to get a taxi (hint: it’s cheaper if you grab a cab off airport property).

I hop in the front seat of my taxi and produce the address to my hotel, a boutique property a two-minute walk to the beach.

“Voy aqui,” I tell my driver as I hop in.

“Si,” he responds, and we are off.

Hotel Mexico Reviews

Getting Dreamy at Rivera del Rio in Puerto Vallarta

A look at the lavish Rivera del Rio boutique hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Hailed as the “house of dreams” by New York interior designer Billy Baldwin, the former home of “Silver” Maria Cortez is now open to house guests, thanks to the Alex Killen, who is the third generation owner of the mansion-turned-boutique Rivera del Rio hotel in Puerto Vallarta.

Here, eclectic meets lavish  meets indoor plunge pool complete with fake ducks bobbing under the gentle movement of air from the balcony overlooking the city’s Rio Cuale.

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Quirk and Comfort: Garlands del Rio Boutique Hotel

A review of Puerto Vallarta's Garlands del Rio.
There’s a big, black gate that marks the entrance to Garlands del Rio in the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romantica.

That’s it.

To the left of the massive gate is a door bell. Buzz that and within seconds, a latch clicks and then the tiny door can be opened.

On the other side of the door is a quirky paradise that is Garlands del Rio.

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Looking for a boutique hotel with a view of the city in Puerto Vallarta? Check out the lush Luna Liquida, located "up the hill" in Gringo Gulch.

Luna Liquida: A Look at the Boutique Hotel in Puerto Vallarta

Looking for a boutique hotel with a view of the city in Puerto Vallarta? Check out the lush Luna Liquida, located
Editor’s Note: I was a guest of Luna Liquida, a boutique hotel in Puerto Vallarta. You can review my disclosure policy here

Tucked on a cobblestone street, perched on a steep slope, this boutique hotel in Puerto Vallarta seems inconspicuous. If it wasn’t for a tiny sign hanging on the outside of the old building announcing the presence of Luna Liquida, it’s easily missed.

Which means it’s love at first sight for me.

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Travel tip: be a person, not a wallet

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Josh Keefe.

Always befriend locals when traveling.

This is obvious advice, but it usually involves a little more than just smiling and saying “please” and “thank you” in the native language. It requires being a bit proactive and chatting up strangers. This is not just a good idea because you can find the best bar or restaurant from a local.

Sometimes being friendly to locals can actually keep you out of danger.

Doing your best to make sure people see you as a human being instead of a walking wallet can really increase your safety.

This starts with chatting up cab drivers. Cabdrivers usually know where they’re bringing you, and they have a much better idea than you of exactly what the situation is going to be when you get there.

One Tuesday night in Puerto Escondido, a cab driver was taking us to a shady after hours bar we had heard about that apparently was attached to a whore house. As we chatted him up and talked about the area he became less surly and more talkative. Eventually we were laughing with him. Finally he slammed on the brakes, turned to us, and told us that there was simply no way he could bring us there in good conscience. It was way, way, too dangerous for gringos, he said. We thanked him and ended the night somewhere a little more tame. Of course, we tipped him well.

Don’t be afraid of handing out money. A bum could save your life.

To wit:

I was in Montreal years ago, before I even considered myself a Flashpacker, and my cousin and I ended up drunkenly separated from the group we had come with. We also had no idea where our hotel was.  A bum approached us and asked us for money. All we had left on us was five dollars, not enough for a cab. We gave it to him, and asked if he could tell us how to get to our hotel. He said he would walk us there. We thought this was very nice of him; we also figured he had nothing else to do.

We walked and we asked him about Montreal. He told us about his city, and the conversation soon become more personal, and he detailed some of the bad breaks that led him to a life on the street. By the end of our twenty minute walk, I really liked the guy, although I like everybody when I’m drunk. But still.

We reached the end of the street where our hotel was. We saw the sign, and thanked him profusely.

“No,” he told us. “I’ll walk you there.”

“Um, okay,” we said. The hotel was a block away. We could clearly see it. Now his willingness to walk us back seemed a bit shady. Was he going to try and come in with us?

We were just about at the door when we passed the alley next to the hotel. I turned and looked down the alley and a man who looked both homeless and incredibly aggressive was sprinting at us from the darkness.

Our man put out his hand in a “stop” motion towards what I assume was a would-be attacker, and said very sternly:

“No! Not these two.”

The attacker stopped immediately and turned and went back into the alley. Our man looked at us and wished us good night as we stood there shocked and confused. Then he turned and walked away.

So be nice to bums. Especially when they have Obi-Wan Kenobi powers.

 About the Author: Josh Keefe is a 27-year-old writer/blogger for Flashpackerguy.com and Locationlessliving.com who, up until recentl,y coordinated food delivery systems for a living (he was a waiter). He has also worked in the fashion industry (in a Laundromat). Find him on TwitterFacebook, or RSS.

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