I’m in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, for my 30th birthday. I’ve always felt that if you don’t celebrate yourself who will at the end of the day? – And I’m not one to put things like that into the hands of others. I booked in mid February and so here I am. Other destination options were Cuba, Costa Rica and the Bahamas but I waited too long on flights, and Puerto was somewhat close – and new to me – for a 4 day trip. Some r&r under 80 degrees sun sounded like just what I needed. 

I’d done a little, very little, research on spas that I could visit prior to my trip, however I wasn’t finding anything appealing. (…Something that made much more sense once I got here – “spas” are EVERYWHERE – even on the beach at your feet if you want. Or the street corner. Or the hole in the wall.) So I acquiesced to just scouting a spa whilst here. And I’m really glad I did. I took to using Yelp the morning of my birthday while eating desayuno (breakfast) because I had nothing else to rely on other than tourists reviews and walking by basic kind of run-down spa setups. I really didn’t want to wind up somewhere unworthy of my birthday treat. I thought of making my way to one of the corporate hotels but felt that might be a cop-out and not supportive of local life. I found a 5 star review for a place called Metamorfosis in the neighborhood (The Romantic Zone) I was staying in and right up the street from where I was having desayuno. So afterward I walked the dos quadras (two blocks) and found the small store front where a beautiful and lively woman greeted me, Angie.  

It too was quite small but looked very cared for and not only was Angie extremely welcoming but allowed me to ask for a special service that wasn’t on their menu: a 30 minute facial (quickly becoming obsessed with these) combined with a 30 minute deep tissue massage. I booked an appointment for 3:00pm so that I could head back to my room and get into my bikini and go layout for a few hours before my appointment. Angie was a love and asked what I was doing for the day which is when I mentioned it was mi cumpleanos (my birthday) and that I was hoping to find myself at a nice relaxing beach where I could grab a drink and a bite. She suggested I check out a place called Swell, so that’s exactly what I did. Thank you Angie! I’ve now stopped in here everyday where the manager, Octavio, and other employees have been ever so gracious to me …seeing as I’m like the ONLY person traveling alone. Ha.

After turning my snow-white Irish and Swedish skin into my first layer of Mexican and Cherokee red-brown tan of the season, and consuming a margarita and a delicious watermelon salad, while turning down a thousand local beach vendors who walk by and ask you to buy things, I headed up the street for my spa day. 

Angie again greeted me with water and took me straight back to my own private room (where there were two beds 🙄…still not letting myself feel alone 😌) and I was given time to get nakey and under the sheet for my masseuse. Nancy began my massage by doing one side of my body at a time. It felt so good to be touched by such a strong hand after all the intense workouts I’d been putting myself through, and sleepless night (sooo much noise at my hotel!) and not so comfortable bed. After each side of my back was done she had me turn over in order to begin my refreshing and delicious facial. They use a Japanese product called Rejuvi. Smelt like oatmeal to me! There’s something about having certain spots on your face/head having pressure applied to that relieves a lot of stress. Nancy let the masque do its magic while she began massaging each half of the front side of my body. There was more massaging?! Heaven. After, Nancy removed the masque, pulled some blackheads (ow), moisturized my face, thanked me and left the room. Turns out they let my service become an hour and a half! How sweet was that!!? I felt so appreciated. 

I got dressed, and exited the room in a daze. I grabbed more water and checked out with the delightful Angie for only $50USD! I tipped 20% (customary here just like in the US). 

Overall it wasn’t exactly a “designed” space that I like to find myself experiencing but after seeing what my options were in this city i became grateful enough just for the services that were given with exemplary customer appreciation.

A little about my time here in Puerto…not sure I’ll be back with all the other places in the world there are left to visit. I’m simply happy I got to get out of town for a few days, have some down time, self-reflect and see new sights and practice my Spanish. I have zero complaints about service, I think it’s just a very touristy, alcohol drinking town, with a lot of junk for sale and it probably wasn’t the best idea to go it alone seeing as if I was with someone I could have gone on a lot more adventures. 

A few quotes I’ve found about traveling alone that I really like:

“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” – Mae C. Jemison

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you are always in the same place.” – Nora Roberts (One of my mantras – “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” & “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!”) 

“It is confidence in our bodies, minds and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures, new directions to grow in, and new lessons to learn – which is what life is all about.” – Oprah Winfrey

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” – Maya Angelou

“If you don’t get out of the box you’ve been raised in, you won’t understand how much bigger the world is.” – Angelina Jolie