We were in Punta Mita, Mexico for a family surf trip. It's a sleepy little resort town about half an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. We split our time between the main drag there and an unbelievable private residence, called Casa Privada, which we had booked through Portico.
My daughter was thrilled when on our first day we met Neptune the surfing dog (he's a longboarder, if you were wondering). That night we walked down the beach to an outdoor restaurant where they'd cleverly tied up tapestries in the trees to create canopies above the tables. Waiters brought by an ample line-up of fish hanging from a long branch, so you could choose your dinner on the spot (gave new meaning to the term today's catch).
One afternoon, we rented a boat to go exploring to the Marietta Islands, which are protected as a national park area. Our eight-year-old was too freaked out about snorkeling around an uninhabited island, so we left her in the boat as we swam through a cave opening and onto a hidden white sand beach. My husband and I agreed that whole experience in the water felt very Life of Pi. I believe the island was called Azul because of a certain blue-footed bird, which likes to hang out on its rocky shores.
Back on the boat, we circled to the eastern edge where we were able to hear whales, which can be found during breeding season. Sure enough, we saw a baby and its parents playing on the surface, blowholes and everything. It reminded me of when our daughter was younger and she heard a rooster cock-a-doodle for the very first time. "Mommy, is that real?!" she asked in all seriousness -- I guess that's a city kid for you.
At the beachfront villa we had a private chef and learned from the housekeeper that a scene from the movie, Limitless, was filmed at this modernist gem of a house next door. In the morning, we got massages and then went on a little road trip to a charming town, where we stumbled upon a marching band practicing in the local playground and had an impromptu dance party on the merry-go-round (maybe you had to be there).
Along our drive back we saw a Mexican cowboy and found out there's an old silver mining depot about two hours away. Alas, our vacation time ran out before we had a chance to mosey on over. Next time!