Let me just start by saying that my boss is the coolest. I had no idea when I took this job what I was in for, and what I almost missed out on by almost not taking this job (that’s for another story).
Each year Bert sets a goal for the company that if met, he then rewards the entire staff with an all-inclusive trip to a destination of his choosing. The 2018 goal trip was set for Puerta Vallarta, Mexico and I was hired as a full-time employee just days before the cut off to go on this year’s goal trip. Whew.
Friday night I stayed up late packing then drove to the airport in a random and surprising snowstorm to pick up Brian from a work trip. We went home, crashed for about three hours, then returned to the airport once again to drop me off in time for my international flight. I was greeted at the terminal by a group of coworkers who shared my flight south and looked as equally as tired as I did.
After a half day of flights & layovers, we arrived in PV. The Rio Palace technically resides in Nuevo Vallarta, just 20 or so minutes north of the city. After muscling our way through customs and the onslaught of the airport we made it to our bus and headed out of the hustle and bustle of the city.
My first sight of the Rio Palace had me in awe. Both inside and out was stunning. As soon as I had my room key in hand I dumped my bags inside my room and started exploring the grounds. I was met out on the beach by my boss, his wife, and a couple of co-workers. Still fully clothed, we all found ourselves in the warm, Pacific waters just feet off the back steps of the Rio. After a bit of horseplay in the water, I noticed a splashing on the horizon that kept catching my eye. Sure enough, the humpbacks were out playing as well.
The next morning I was up before sunrise and snorkeling with the sea snakes. After drying off I took off down the beach to wander amongst the locals.
My walkabout took me significantly longer than I had initially anticipated & by the time I returned to the hotel I had a slight burn happening on my Alaskan skin.
Day two had me up again before dawn trekking down the opposite side of the beach.
After returning to the hotel I joined some of my colleagues on a shopping trip into a nearby town.
As if a trip to Mexico weren’t enough, Bert reserved a boat to take us to an island for a hike up to a stunning waterfall. Along the way, we stopped to do a little snorkeling as a group, but I was lucky enough to get in some one on one time free diving with Bert.
On our way to the island, we were all greeted by several humpbacks who took time out of their busy day to stop and say hello.
The hike to the waterfall was exquisite. We took a different route back to the beach and enjoyed our time with our feet in the sand while we waited for our water taxi back out to our boat.
Thanks to one of the lawyers I work with and his wife, I was much less nauseous on the way back to the city I was able to enjoy the festivities of the boat much more on the return trip than I had on the way over to the island.
The rest of my trip was full of much of what the first days were: sand, sun, laughs, drinks, exploring, and lots and lots of food. Thanks for everything Bert & my PLF family!