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Posted: May 15, 2022

Travelling in the time of Covid (part two)

Budget Slow Travel

By Patrick Robertson

Last month I wrote about our month trip to the US southwest, our first international trip since the beginning of the pandemic. It went so well we decided to try flying to Mexico. I had booked a week at the Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta last July with the hope that nine months later the pandemic would be contained.

Our flight was on Westjet direct to Puerto Vallarta. We checked-in online with Westjet the day before we left. We had to submit a picture of our Covid Vaccine Passport as part of the check-in along with our Travel Passport information. Once that was completed, we were emailed our boarding passes. Westjet told us to arrive three hours before our 10:35 a.m. flight time.

The airport was not crowded and we sat in a deserted waiting lounge until it was time to go to our departure gate. Masks are mandatory in the airport and on-board the aircraft. Everyone on the plane had to prove that they were vaccinated and without symptoms. Mexico does not require proof of Covid vaccination or a Covid negative test to enter the country, but officials do take a heat image of you as you walk past.

The entry port was empty when we arrived and we cleared customs within five minutes. We had decided to carry-on luggage so we did not have to wait around the crowded baggage carousel and went directly to our prearranged shuttle to the resort. Our group of five were the only ones on the shuttle.

All the workers in the airport and shuttle services were fully masked and practicing regular hand washing and sanitizing. The resort had a policy of Extraordinary Standards safety precautions where all touchable surfaces are cleaned after every use. Seating at the pools and restaurants were far apart and all workers are triple vaccinated and monitored.

This is the largest resort in Mexico with 2,500 acres that contains six different Mayan resorts. There are 6,000 employees who are wonderful ambassadors for the resort. During the pandemic with the 90% drop in guests and the two months the resort was closed, all the workers kept their jobs and were given two meals a day and transportation to work.

Everything has been thought of in this luxury resort with 40 restaurants, countless pools and water features, two golf courses, high end nightly entertainment, millions of lush tropical plants with lighted and sound sculptured boardwalks through the jungle to different locations in the resort. There is a private two-lane cement roadway just for the shuttle buses that take you from place to place as it is a good 45-minute walk from one end to the other.

The resort recycles 73% of its waste and has a remarkable water treatment system that is part of the resort garden that feeds and waters the plants. There is a conservatory program that has returned 3.5 million turtles to the ocean and has a 40-acre garden that supplies the resort. They make all their own chocolate, candy, pastries, and bread on site.

Our place was a very large condo with an amazing balcony that overlooked the river and the Pacific Ocean. We loved watching the different large flocks of birds feeding throughout the day. The pelicans were followed by the frigates then by the cranes.

At the top of our tower there was a beautiful roof pool with hot tubs, day beds, loungers and food and bar service. The view was astounding overlooking Banderas Bay with Puerto Vallarta and the Sierra Madras in the distant background.

A 20 minute walk took us to another pool that was on the beach and the delta of the river that runs beside the resort. The whole pool area was well laid out with private sitting areas with loungers and day beds to be able watch the ocean and swim. There was chair service for food and beverages and we had massages by the resort spa staff right there.

We cooked all our breakfasts and dinners in the condo. The resort has a small well stocked store with all the basics fruits and vegetables including a cheese and meat counter, bakery, wine and spirits, as well as fresh chocolates and candies.

It was a wonderful holiday on so many levels. The resort and the experience was five-star. We saw proper procedures at all levels being followed to keep us all safe on each step of the way on our holiday.

From the arrival at the airport, the plane ride, the shuttle and taxi rides, enjoying everything at the resort, and the trip home. That was the most important take home experience for us. We now feel safe to travel again and I am already planning trips for the summer, fall, and winter.

Photo submitted

Patrick Robertson is a travel writer and long-time resident of Fernie. He is an expert in planning independent travel and finding budget travel deals. Go to his website for more information and pictures of this trip to Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta.

Read more travel articles like this HERE. Like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/budgetslowtravel for travel tips.


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