I wanted to share a few pictures from the first part of our honeymoon! We opted to take a day after the wedding to not have to travel very far which, in hindsight, was the best decision we ever made. We really needed a day to regroup a bit and it was nice to say goodbye to our families and friends without feeling rushed and on the clock. We hosted a little breakfast gathering and got to rehash the night before, giggles and all. After we said our final goodbyes, and Patrick side-hugged me as we waved goodbye to his parents and siblings driving off (I might have been crying...), we took a cab to the airport to rent a car and then drove to Richmond for the night. We ate wedding cake and looked at pictures and our wedding rings and our suitcases and ourselves and couldn't. stop. smiling. If you have the opportunity to take a trip right after your wedding, DO. I can't stress that enough. I wouldn't have been able to function had I been forced to return to reality, and it truly is one of the best times to ever take a vacation.
The next day we flew to Puerto Vallarta via Atlanta. I was the obnoxious girl wearing a "wifey" tee and telling all the airline attendants we were on our honeymoon haha! Everything was going smoothly until we went to snag our luggage in Mexico. Mine didn't make it... I definitely got flustered there for a minute, but I realized that there was absolutely nothing I could do. On the bright side, I had thrown a bikini and coverup into my carry-on just in case and am so glad I did. Plus, we were on vacation! Could I really be that mad?
Our driver, Julian, met us in the parking lot at the airport and drove us over 2 hours -- up a mountain, through the rainforest, through a jungle, on the cliffs, over water, through the middle of nowhere, through tiny towns, through fields and fields -- to our destination. At one point we looked at one another wondering where the heck we were going. We had no cell service and Julian couldn't speak English so we jammed out to the local radio station and patiently waited.
And then we arrived at Hotelito Desconocido which translates to small unknown hotel. They opened the gates, and it was as if we were being transported into an alternate universe.
We were greeted with star fruit juice in this cool, airy lobby. ^^^
When I told our greeter that my luggage didn't make it, she handed me a pair of flip flops (that was one of the things I didn't have!) that were magically my size. I quickly realized I wouldn't need much else in such a peaceful place. It was almost more relaxing having the bare minimum if that makes any sense.
My first real signature as Virginia McAnaney! ^^^
She walked us to our little bungalow or as they call it, palafito. Other than a solar powered outlet to charge your phone or camera or to plug in a fan at night, there was no electricity! And everything felt very open, in a good way.
At night, they would pull the sheet around the circular bed (um, where can someone buy one of those?) closed to keep out the bugs. We had a bird loose in our room one night which was interesting! Our little porch had hammocks and overlooked the lagoon.
^^^ Check out that outdoor shower & tub!
After having a late lunch (the food was unreal!), we went up in the watch tower to look at the views.
^^^That was our palafito, Campana, in the middle. Other than one other couple who was there only for our first day and a bunch of people who arrived just as we were leaving later that week, we had the entire resort to ourselves!! It was crazy. You'd leave your palafito and the workers would suddenly appear, asking what you might like to eat that day. They were all so, so friendly and the chef would make us anything we wanted and it was all absolutely delicious.
We came downstairs for drinks and dinner. Never-have-I-ever had a better margarita. It's fresh cherry! ^^^
In the evenings, they would light a million candles. ^^^
We played a lot of pool by candlelight and listened to music.
...and enjoyed pretty drinks.
The next morning, it was time to row across to where they serve breakfast and lunch (you can only get there by boat). Patrick wanted to see if he could row us himself rather than ask for help. Here's a snippet of how that went down. Let's just say that we totally drifted and someone had to come save us and bring us to shore. Never a dull moment!
They asked us if we wanted American coffee or Mexican coffee. Mexican, we replied. It has cocoa and cinnamon in it, and it is the best thing on the planet!
They always started breakfast with fresh melon, papaya, pear, and pineapple drizzled with honey and nuts with a side of yogurt. Can I have that every morning please?
And then they'd bring out something like this. ^^^ It was unbelievable! Everything was local and fresh. Apparently that cheese was churned in the little town up the road.
An infinity pool on the beach with water hammocks is basically heaven. ^^^
We decided to explore a bit, and saw an armadillo! You can barely see him sneaking away.
Look at the roots on those trees, too! ^^^
I love the little baby! ^^^
If you know me, you know I have a weird ability to make animal noises. I was totally speaking turkey language to that couple. ^^^
I have never been more relaxed. Ever. I would read, take a nap, eat, read, take a nap, drink fresh coconut water, eat some more, kiss my husband, and listen to the waves.
there was a lot of salsa, guacamole, and ceviche! ^^^
...and tacos and iguanas :) ^^^
My luggage ended up arriving on that Wednesday and as bad as I felt for the Delta employee who had to drive allllll the way to where we were, I was really happy to have my things and know they weren't lost forever.
another sunset, another surprise cocktail! ^^^
my mister ^^^
...who can't sit still. It's so funny. I could lie in the sun and read for hours, but Patrick is like a giant kid, always splashing around the pool or kayaking in the lagoon. He'll keep me young :)
The hotel is also an animal sanctuary and reserve, and one day we had the unbelievable opportunity to help some newly hatched and critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtles. The mother sea turtle lays her eggs and leaves them, returning to the ocean. Once they hatch, predators prevent many of the baby sea turtles from ever surviving their waddle into the sea so we helped them by carrying them close and ensuring they made it safely to their new home.
A few of them would accidentally turn over on their backs, their little fin-limbs waving frantically, and we'd have to go turn them right side up. It was pretty darn cute.
run, little babies, run! (I actually shouted that as they waddled haha!)
Sometimes the waves would only move them right back on shore so we'd have to try again. They're so tiny!
You can see the waves taking the last little one out here.
The only thing that could top our turtle experience? riding horses! ^^^
Our guide, Ramon, didn't speak a lick of English, which made for some pretty funny conversations. I got my words mixed up and kept calling the horses calletes instead of caballos so I was basically telling them to shut up every time I referred to them. awesome. My horse had a plan of its own on what it wanted to do that day so we ended up putting her on a leash which you can see in the picture above :) ^^^
We rode through a dirt path and through a lagoon to get to the beach, which involved trotting up and down a steep little cliff and through the water. I was definitely a little nervous, but the experience was so worth it.
We walked up the beach for a good hour. While listening to their hooves in the sand and the crashing waves, I had this overwhelming sense of peace, knowing I would never forget that moment.
People sometimes ask, Where's your favorite place on earth? I found it. This hotel. It is so different from normal life in the best of ways and I hope I have the chance to go back one day.
Stay tuned for the second half of our honeymoon and how it didn't get started on the best note..!