Our mini vacation to Puerto Peñasco

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It’s no secret my wife and I love to travel. We have had our share in the six years we have been together and let me tell you we have very fond memories. Puerto Peñasco is not an exception, living up to all of my high expectations of the perfect Mexico vacation.

We weren’t 100% sure we were going to go at first. We had many reservations. First of all, neither my wife nor son had passports. Second of all, baby had never been in the car for more than 50 minutes (he hates the car seat remember?) And last but not least, the plans I had did not involve having my son with me all day and he’s never been away from me longer than three and a half hours. It’s especially problematic when he remains highly dependent on nursing to nap, go to sleep and STAY asleep. So here’s how it went…

First things first about fabulous Peñasco

Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point is a very popular tourist destination in the state of Sonora, Mexico. We call it Arizona’s beach due to such close proximity being less than a 3.5 hour ride from Phoenix! It is frequently visited due to it’s safe reputation, welcoming more than 1.1 million visitors from Arizona last year alone. It is also an award winning beach for being the largest certified cleanest beach in the country! Snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, and kayaking is just a short trip away.

Getting to Rocky Point

The ride there was not too shabby at all. Our son watched Sesame Street videos for the first 50 minutes and fell asleep. Luckily it was nap time and he does not veer off his schedule. He remained asleep for another hour or so before waking up and wanting out of the car seat. At this point we had stopped to wait in line to cross the border to Mexico so I took him out to stretch his legs, give him a snack, and some juice. To my even bigger surprise he put no resistance getting back in the car seat to continue our journey. He watched the same four Sesame videos for the last 2 hours of the trip. Hence my mind was blown.

Arrival

Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort.

Lobby- Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort.

We arrived straight to our hotel accommodations; Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort. My first impression was how clean and elegant it appeared. My second impression was leaving the lobby on our way to our room. Right off the bat you could see the stunning blue ocean along with the most gentle, cool breeze caressing your whole body. “WOW…” I exclaimed. “This is where I belong…” My shock factor did not end there.

As we entered our condo, I again saw the gorgeous beach off our living room. This was home for the extended weekend! We stayed in a two bedroom condo with a fully stocked kitchen, a four seat dining table, a livingroom with leather reclining sofas, two bathrooms and a gigantic balcony accessible via living and master bedroom. I could have spent half the day there if I could. To envision drinking the most delicious cup of coffee in that balcony to the most magnificent sunrise is an understatement. And I wasn’t the only one impressed. Our son was thrilled. He just kept running back and forth pointing out to the ocean and we wasted no time! We headed immediately down to see the stunning property and that beach, just steps away…

Condo- Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort.

Condo- Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort.

A little while later I headed to El Malecón. El Malecón is a boardwalk, 1/4 of a mile long with breathtaking views of the Sea of Cortez. You will find many restaurants, bars, clothing shops, ice cream parlors, coffee shops all while enjoying often live music. My in-laws love to come here for the fresh sea food. It came highly recommended as a must to visit and I can see why now. Would love to return for fresh mariscos!

Afterwards we headed to a wine bar called El Tapeo Wine Bar where I got to enjoy live salsa! All while I enjoyed a cold sangria and the most delicious tapas and artisan cheeses. Did I tell you last time I had a sangria was my wedding? It was the most delicious one I have ever had. Did I also tell you, the last time I was out past 9 p.m. was when I was pregnant? Lol! Yes I’m serious. This mama, loved every minute of it. If you LOVE live music while dining, this is the place for you!

The adventure continues

Infinity Pool- Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort.

The following day after a delicious buffet style breakfast at Citron inside our resort, we enjoyed the heck out of the pools and beach. I probably got about five shades darker. 🙈 Our son loved the kiddy pools! They had these whale and frog fountains he kept running to. My wife loved the lazy river and I, well it’s a toss-up between the infinity pool and the swim up bar. And let me tell you, they had the best micheladas! There were plenty of lounge chairs underneath straw umbrellas at the beach to relax in while your toddler plays with the sand next to you. Gosh I needed that. I grew up spending my weekends at beach front resorts and missed the heck of them!

View from Puesta Del Sol Restaurant.

Puesta Del Sol Restaurant.

After nap time and a quick shower, I headed for lunch at Puesta Del Sol restaurant where I enjoyed a delicious fresh salad, streak and shrimp. This restaurant is also beach front with al fresco dining available! I recommend trying their chocoflan, it’s exquisite!

Banderita Shots at sunset beach dinner-Hotel Penasco Del Sol.

Delicious fish dinner- Hotel Penasco Del Sol.

After returning back to some more fun in the sun, we headed to have a beach side dinner at Hotel Peñasco Del Sol. It was just breath-taking. If you have never dined beach side, literally with your feet in the sand, I implore you plan it on your next vacation. Last time I had one was 3 years ago on our honeymoon. I tried for the first time a banderita shot proceeded by a strawberry margarita and the tastiest fish I have had in years!

Last day in the sun

Mayan Palace & Golf Resort

Golf- Mayan Palace & Golf Resort.

Golf- Mayan Palace & Golf Resort.

Golf- Mayan Palace & Golf Resort.

Golf- Mayan Palace & Golf Resort.

Margarita- Mayan Palace & Golf Resort.

Nachos- Mayan Palace & Golf Resort.

A new day came with a bright and early visit to one most gorgeous property I have been to, The Mayan Palace & Golf Resort. Everywhere you walked through from the lobby to the outdoor and indoor pools to the ponds you felt like you were in paradise. One of my favorite amenities was a child center where kids have ample entertainment from kiddy pools to piñata-making classes to beds to nap in! I left seriously impressed. Afterwards I had the pleasure of going to one of the top 20 most interesting golfing courses in the world; Vidanta Golf. Now, I am not a golfer. I couldn’t begin to tell how to, lol, but that course was unbelievable! It made me want to learn to go back there again! Since I didn’t know how I settled for a glorious margarita there instead. 😄

Lunch-Sonoran Sea Resort.

Dessert- Sonoran Sea Resort.

Lunch-Sonoran Sea Resort.

All that glorious sun brought on an appetite that was fulfilled for lunch at The Sonoran Sea Resort.  I ate my hearts desire with traditional Mexican food y’all. From enchiladas to chimichangas

Relaxing at Sandy Beach.

Coctel de Cameron at Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort.

After more pool and beach fun, I headed to a sunset cruise! Between another margarita, music and being in the middle of the ocean I was so content. I sat and watched into the sunset with my hair pulled back by the wind. For a few seconds, I closed my eyes and was so thankful to be there.

Sunset Cruise Puerto Penasco, Mexico.

I finished the day, having the most wonderful dinner at my hotel’s restaurant Citron. The dim lighting and live music set the mood right and the perfect way to end the trip with great conversations and delicious food.

Honestly a long weekend wasn’t enough! I could have spent an entire day dedicated to the multiple activities I enjoyed in one. I was glad my family and I escaped the Arizona heat and our son had a blast in his beloved water. My first trip to Puerto Peñasco blew all my expectations out of the water and more. With certainty, I cannot wait to return.

Oh and what happened to the passports you say? Consequently we paid for expedite, overnight and called every single day since filing to ensure they rushed it! They arrived at 10:30 a.m. the day we left! I know, I know we like living on the edge what can I say. 😄

Love,

Angelica

*This post was sponsored by the Tourism & Convention Bureau of Rocky Point. The opinions of my experiences are 100% honest from my point of view.

How to snag the lowest hotel price!

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How to snag the lowest hotel price!

How to snag the lowest hotel price!

Hi everyone! Excuse the quietness around  here last week as I just returned from vacation! As some of you know, my wife and I love to travel. When we got together we vowed to take at least two trips per year. Preferably one we had already  been to and one new one. We have kept this tradition for almost 6 years now. Now that we have our son, we are that much more excited to continue as a family! Now I decided to write about the tricks and tips to saving money on hotels WITHOUT sacrificing quality. This is my motto. So if you’re like me that like the finer things in life but are not immensely wealthy, well this is for you! Or perhaps you just simply want to make sure you add tools to your already money savvy skills.

Once I know my destination, I start with a smart travel search engine such as Tripadvisor.com But isn’t it just a review site? NO, you can now search and book you’re traveling arrangements! So for example purposes I’ll refer to my most recent search for San Diego hotels. I type in a specific location. My wife was VERY specific and wanted to stay on Pacific Beach beachfront. So I typed Pacific Beach, and no less than 4 star hotel. This is a personal preference obviously. But I have to tell you, it’s because by using my method, it will cost you the same if not cheaper than the 3 star crappier hotel choice (trust me, there’s a reason why hotels are star rated and yes it’s very accurate.) Then I sort by distance. What’s awesome about Tripadvisor is that is will give you a rate for every major traveling engine such as hotels.com, expedia.com, booking.com etc. You’ve condensed your search immensely.

Tripadvisor.com

Tripadvisor.com

Narrow down your Tripadvisor search.

Narrow down your Tripadvisor search.

Compare all rates from Tripadvisor.

Compare all rates from Tripadvisor.

Research. This is crucial to getting the best deal. Don’t just look at the cheapest price. Consider, is there a parking fee? WiFi fee? Resort fee? These add up and may end up costing you more in the end. Look at pictures from the people who have actually stayed there recently. (Another awesome thing about Tripadvisor if you aren’t familiar.) It’s not just professional photos from the hotel but real people. That leads me to my next tip…

Read the reviews! Tripadvisor started as the guru for reviews and it still is! Never ever ever ever book a hotel without first reading the reviews from people who have stayed there recently. For example, I would  have never  known majority of the hotels in San Diego at least the area I was staying in, do not have air conditioning! But it is 73 degrees there you say? No no no. Many reviewers stated how hot and muggy it got inside the room that they have to sleep with the screenless windows open in order for it to be tolerable. I would have not known this if I hadn’t read them. So I narrowed  my search further to require AC. P.S. I lowered my room AC to 74 degrees in order to be comfortable during my stay.

Get reviews right from Tripadvisor.

Get reviews right from Tripadvisor.

Alright so you narrowed down your search and chose the best hotel for the best price that fit your requirements/must haves. Great! Now you’re going to go to the hotels direct website and see what they offer the same exact room you want. Often hotels don’t allow internet site to sell their rooms directly through them so you’ll want to see are theirs cheaper? Regardless of whether it’s cheaper  or not, you’ll want to check from a different electronic. For example if you were searching from your cell, go look using you lap top/tablet. If you were on your computer go look on your cell phone. Allow me to explain the trick of the trade. Websites will give you mobile only prices automatically. Sometimes they are cheaper, sometimes they are not. For example, the resort I stayed in said 20% mobile discount for the room rate. But through a regular computer, it offered me a cheaper AAA discount which was cheaper than the 20% mobile one! Yup same dates, same room! But you are still not done!

The last step in to call the hotel directly. Sometimes they will have a room that they don’t sell online because of multiple factors. For example remember  the awesome AAA discount I found through my computer? Well because I waited too long, when I went back to book it, it was gone. So when I called I was offered the same room, different view for $40 LESS! Nowhere was this particular room offered online much less at that price.

Hotel price given with mobile.

Hotel price given with mobile.

Price given with computer/tablet.

Price given with computer/tablet.

So why not just start directly with the hotel you say? Well because it’s not always cheaper. Many times it is not actually. But you are triple checking to make sure you are getting the BEST price. And you would have never narrowed it down to that one hotel if it wasn’t for your Tripadvisor so don’t skip the steps, lol. So if it’s not cheaper through the hotel directly just simply go back to Tripadvisor to book the most affordable  rate.

But wait! You’re not done, I have one more trick up my sleeve. Remember when I told you an awesome part of Tripadvisor was that they give you the rates of other traveling websites as well? Well many of them have promo codes! Open a new tab and do a quick google for “hotels.com promo codes” or Travelocity.com promo codes.” At the time I was booking, hotels.com had 16% off code. So while on Tripadvisor, I would have just selected hotels.com, entered promo code and booked literally the choosing cheapest rate. You know for sure, you did your research!

If you have a credit card you can also check to see if your points will bring down the price. Through my American Express Travel, most hotel prices are inflated therefore it is a waste of points. It doesn’t  hurt to check though.

So remember: Tripadvisor.com, reviews, website directly both on computer  and mobile, call hotel directly and Google promo codes. Go on and book your next vacation! Share this with someone you know will appreciate it as well.

Do you have similar tips to save money when booking a hotel? Let me know  in the comments. Also you see a few pictures of my San Diego vacation on instagram. Follow me for day-to-day updates.

Love,

Angelica

How to snag the lowest hotel price!

How to snag the lowest hotel price!