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A beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

This is what we booked. We looked at all the reviews on TripAdvisor for this place and it made us pretty excited—you can hike to a waterfall an hour away and swim there, and you can kayak to a snorkeling site for free. Beach is kinda rocky because of the last hurricane, but it’s also supposed to have nice seashells.

—Writer/friend Gwendolyn Zepeda, via email, last spring

Gwen was inviting a few friends, including me, to join her, her husband, and another couple on an upcoming trip to Puerto Vallarta. But I was busy at work, feeling like I should save money, and so the opportunity passed me by. 

I’ve had more than one chance to regret the decision: first, hearing stories over beers in my backyard, and later, reading her account, which you can see for yourself, in this month’s guide to traveling in Mexico. That such a talented writer just happened to be traveling to the country, in time to contribute to the feature, was a win for Houstonia. (By the way, don't miss her other story in the magazine this month, on how to throw a great tamale-making party during the holidays.)

Man, I wanted to wander that Puerto Vallarta grocery store with the group. I wanted to be a player in the drama surrounding whether everyone would, or would not, take a day trip to Sayulita. I wanted to witness the satisfaction that the pro-Sayulita faction experienced when the excursion was a resounding success. I wanted to take part in late-night hijinks at the hotel and compete with the others on who spoke the best Spanish with the cab driver. I wanted to swim on that beach, eat that taco, see that rainbow.

There will be other trips, of course—in fact, the crew so enjoyed their long weekend, they’re already planning to go back to the same spot next year. And why wouldn’t they? Like the other destinations our writers visited for the feature, it’s easily accessible to Houstonians, inexpensive and pretty darn safe.

And so, I’ll be getting a rare second chance at a missed opportunity. I don’t think those come along very often. You can bet I’ll find the time and the money, and grasp it with both hands. 

Catherine Matusow
Executive Editor

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