First of all, what is a Maycation? Simple: It’s an annual vacation in May. But for Theo Tabah and his friends, the tradition they created is much more important than a month and a destination—it’s about celebrating life’s little victories, like new jobs, new homes, and graduations. Here are Tabah’s tips for your own annual friends trip, for whatever month you choose.
Theo and his friends’ approach to dining in Puerto Vallarta was simple: eat like locals. “One of the main reasons we chose Puerto Vallarta as a vacation destination is the food! The food is delicious, and we took advantage of everything the local chefs had to offer.” In order to immerse themselves in the full culinary experience, they asked their personal Mexican chef to cook up only local dishes. Their philosophy was, We’re in Mexico. Why eat anything that’s not Mexican? Tacos were the lunchtime staple that the gang couldn’t stop ordering but tacos aside, Puerto Vallarta is an impressive culinary destination with loads of local dishes worth trying. Some of the group’s favorites included Pozole, a soup or stew with red broth, pork or chicken, and giant corn known as homily; Birria, another typical dish, a stew of beef or goat meat in a spicy chili sauce; and Torta Ahogada, which means “drowned sandwich,” and is made with a special local bread, stuffed with meat or eggs and then drowned in a spicy red sauce. And, of course, there are always tacos.
Don’t Miss the Sunsets
The views of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Puerto Vallarta are stunning at any time of day, but in the evening they’re truly must-see viewing. From the nearby village of Mismaloya, Theo and the gang saw some magical sunsets fall over the Bahía de Banderas—in fact, they never missed one while in Mexico. “We would watch the sunset every single night around 7:45 pm. As soon as the sun started to set, we all knew it was time to grab a beer or a margarita and get comfortable. Then, when it was over, that was the signal that our night was getting started.” Strolling along the Maleçon boardwalk in the heart of Puerto Vallarta is another great way to enjoy the nightly sunset show. Another is from the sparkling Garza Blanca Beach, a short drive from each of our featured Puerto Vallarta villas (see below). But a private home offers our favorite vantage point—whether from your backyard pool, your terrace, or your master suite balcony, you should make margaritas and sunsets a nightly routine.
Seek Out Luxury Puerto Vallarta Villas
A resort town with an old-world vibe, Puerto Vallarta makes for a relaxing yet adventurous vacation spot. With beaches galore, delicious cuisine, and a Eurocentric Old Town, PV suits all types of travelers. Nearby Mismaloya has an array of mountainside mansions where you can lounge by the pool and enjoy movie-like views with world-class service at your beck and call. Between January and June, the sun is out nearly every single day, though you’re spared the blistering heat of the summer. Just another reason you should turn your vacation into a Maycation, according to Tabah. But for any time of year, a trip to Mexico with friends should start and end with one of these impressive Puerto Vallarta villas.
Casa Mismaloya has a grandeur that makes it feel like an upscale hotel with no one else around. Built on the hillside of Lomas de Mismaloya south of Puerto Vallarta, the home inspires easy conversations under a palapa or sweet drinks by the pool. Its artwork and interior decor are funky and vibrant, and you can’t go wrong with the view from any of its seven spacious bedrooms. The upper floor can’t help but host a get-together; it features a deluxe lounge with a home entertainment system and a games room. Guests can order from the wet bar (bartender on-site) between games of foosball, poker, pool, or blackjack and craps—each has its own table—while enjoying ocean views out the floor-to-ceiling windows. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert are all cooked and served by the Casa Mismaloya staff.
Theo’s Take: “Casa Mismaloya is great for a party crowd. The grandeur and energy of the villa really just gets you in the mood to grab a drink and dance. The game room upstairs was perfect for our group because we like to gamble a little—we gambled small amounts of pesos, but even 10 or 15 pesos was exhilarating to win or lose.”
With a homey feel thanks to Italian-style decor, warm wood interiors, and an oceanfront location, this home is your destination for a relaxing vacation in the sun. Owned and operated by renowned health author and founder of the Center For New Medicine in Irvine, California, Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D., Los Arcos is a true wellness villa where health consciousness permeates the property. Start your day right with a workout facing the ocean. Cool off in the infinity pool with one of the best water purification systems in the world, or keep the sweat going in the infrared sauna with healing waves. Replenish your system with organic foods made available to you via your personal cook. And end the day by easily dozing off in your Tempur-Pedic bed for the ultimate night’s sleep. The villa is named after two large arched rock formations in the Bahía de Banderas visible from the home. (Los arcos translates to the arches.) Also in sight: those beautiful Puerto Vallarta sunsets.
Theo’s Take: “A stay at Los Arcos gives you a chance to decompress, to disconnect, and to get away from it all. It’s peaceful and the staff makes you feel right at home.”