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I won a trip and can't believe it, please advise.

surrey bc
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I won a trip and can't believe it, please advise.

I know. I can't believe it! I'm a single mum of two teenage boys and we go camping every summer Aah, to go to Mexico with my best friend,who also has two teenagers is a dream come true. Buddies and no kids!

Any pointers for us? We're in our early 40's but not dead yet. We're on a very, very limited buget but would need to bring home gifts for the family and make the most of our trip.

We're to stay at the Vallarta Palace which looks fabulous, all inclusive with a few trips/excursons planned. However, as this is a once in-a-lifetime trip for us, we want to squeeze whatever we can into our week.

We have to take the trip by December 15. so are planning the 3rd week in Nov? Can anyone comment on the weather then? Are there any "Must Dos?

We will probably buy Silver for Christmas gifts for our kids, etc. Any Hints?

Thanks for any suggestions or tips.

PS We are Canadians.. Is it best to take pesos from Canada or take US $ and convert there?

Thanks. I am soooo excited!

Burnaby, Canada
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12,543 posts
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1. Re: I won a trip and can't believe it, please advise.

Wow ... lucky you!!

Re: money, and all. Take Cdn $$ and/or ATM card, and get pesos in Vallarta ... there's no need to convert to US $$ here, and then to pesos there, you lose with the double exchanging. Our dollar is well-accepted, and gets a good rate of exchange in Vallarta. If you do choose to buy some pesos here before your trip, get them at a good financial exchange facility in the city, 'not' at one of the exchange booths at YVR (very poor exchange rates at them).

Re: the weather. From our experiences, several trips in Nov-Dec, and another planned for this year -- the weather in Nov and early-Dec is just fantastic!! November is one of our favourite times to be there. It's the start of the dry season ... with the weather is usually warm, sunny, and dry, and much less humid than the previous months.

Happy planning!!

Rochester, New York
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3,288 posts
119 reviews
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2. Re: I won a trip and can't believe it, please advise.

Vallarta Palace is a great resort, the included trips will save you money! Take the city tour and shop then, matter of fact we had them leave us and we stayed till late evening and took a taxi back for about $20. The night life is great in Puerto Vallarta downtown, walk along the beach area and there are hundreds of locals hanging out selling their art, food and doing free acts like juggling and dancing.

If you are up to it, listen to the sales pitch for the timeshare, it takes about 2 hours, is high pressure but even if you say no they give you Palace money to spend on the gift shop, spa or tours that are not included.

When you check in they will ask you to set up your appointment for the timeshare, you can say no then and they will leave you alone or you can barter then for how much they will give you in Palace money, they start at $100 and we got them up to $300. We were able to take extra tours then for free.

Always eat big at the resort and bring bottle water from your room before you head out on a tour to save money.

Also eat a large meal or bring some snacks from the resort before you head to the airport to fly home, there isn't much to choose from and it saves you money!

We never exchange for pesos, they except amercian and canadian well, but you will get peoso as change so bring small bills!

We always use a credit card for big purchases, you get the best exchange rate that way.

Have fun, you will love Vallarta Palace, we did!

Burnaby, Canada
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12,543 posts
227 reviews
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3. Re: I won a trip and can't believe it, please advise.

stella6 ...... I would strongly-recommend you avoid attending a timeshare pitch -- unless you really feel up to losing time from your already too short holiday in the sun, or just enjoy being absolutely badgered to buy a timeshare. :-)

We don't use US currency in Canada -- there's no need to purchase it here, to use there, or to convert to pesos!!! We never use our currency when we travel to Mexico. The currency of of the country is their peso. We use it for everything - dining, drinking, tips, shopping, and travelling around while there, etc. Just convert what you need, when you need it ... at any cambio or bank, and you'll always to be set to go. I would advise against exchanging at your hotel or in stores ... such places usually offer the poorest exchange rates.

And a small caution re: using a credit card -- do not fully-count on always being able to use a credit card for your purchases, shopping, dining, or the like. Many places in the city accept 'cash only'.

We love Vallarta ..... bet you will too!!


Rochester, New York
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3,288 posts
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4. Re: I won a trip and can't believe it, please advise.

I only suggested the timeshare because you mentioned you were on a tight budget and this is a way to get some hotel money for gifts or trips.

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104 posts
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5. Re: I won a trip and can't believe it, please advise.

cool..how did you win the trip???

Shawnigan Lake...
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5,485 posts
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6. Re: I won a trip and can't believe it, please advise.

We tried to book into the Vallarta Palace for the first two weeks in Nov and it was sold out until the 18th..:(......Please check to make sure you can get in then.

This sounds wonderful for both of you..I was a single mother many years ago and my hat is off to you!!!

Please let us know you got the dates you wanted!!

Vallarta Palace sounds so nice!!! We are going to the Marival but last minute we tried to get into the Vallarta and can't get in..:)

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7. Re: I won a trip and can't believe it, please advise.

Congrats on the trip. My husband and i are staying at the Vallarta Palace departing lovely Chicago O'Hare Airport on Thanksgiving morning (nov. 22nd through nov. 29th). I too tried to get the week before but when speaking with a Palace Resorts member, I was informed that the entire resort is booked from November 1st to the 18th - some corporate gig.

I have previously stayed at the Moon Palace in Cancun and LOVED IT! Reading many good reviews about the Vallarta Palace and cannot wait to go!

Good luck on all of your travels.

New Jersey
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1,464 posts
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8. Re: I won a trip and can't believe it, please advise.


You need not worry about whether or not to do the membership pitch; Palace only solicits married couples. They won't even bother you.

Have a fantastic time!

Pt. Coq., BC Canada
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600 posts
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9. Re: I won a trip and can't believe it, please advise.

Hi Stella, congratulations on your trip, the first time that my husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta I had also won a trip and we have been going back to Mexico every year since then.

Have never stayed at the Vallarta Palace but you have definitely picked the right time of the year to go. We go the last week of Nov. and the first week of Dec. each year and the weather is usually nice and hot during the day and quite comfortable during the evening. You may want to consider taking a light weight cardigan for the evenings, I didn't need it last year but the year before I did.

I myself would not bother with any timeshare people they just waste hours of your time that you could be doing more fun and interesting things. I usually take down all 3 currencies: pesos, US $ and CDN $, I think that this year with the CDN dollar being as high as it is I'll probably just take down US $ and use those, I've been buying online small amounts when ever the dollar goes over $0.94.

Be careful when going thru the airport upon arrival because there are timeshare people in the airport before you walk outside and they hassle you to death, waste your time and tell all kind of lies. After going thru customs and such just keep walking until you are outside and that is where you will pick up your transfer to your hotel. Also hold onto your luggage when going thru the airport because the porters can be very aggressive with taking your luggage and then you are expected to tip them.

When buying souveniers always start out bartering at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the price that they want and only settle on a price that you are comfortable with, I can't tell you how many times vendors have come running after me once I have said that their price is too high and have started walking away. Also if buying silver make sure it has 925 stamped on it and there is something else that is supposed to be stamped on the silver but for the life of me I can't remember at this time what it is. I'm sure one of the other TA members will be able to provide that info. If not you can look up silver in the search area.

Try and take an excursion if you can and if you can afford it, I myself like the different water/sailing excursions that way you usually get to see the whole Bay of Banderas sp? while in the boat. The snorkleing is not very good on this side of Mexico, I find it to be a waste of money for the little that you can see.

Bring down your own camera, if it is the type that uses film make sure that you bring enough of that along, it is very expensive in the resorts. Also english reading books, sunscreen, snacks such as pringles, etc. are expensive in Mexico. You can take a bus to Walmart and they have great prices on real Vanilla and also much better prices for liqour than at the duty free at the airport, make sure to bring lots of ziploc bags for packing things to take home.

I hope that you and your friend have a wonderful and relaxing vacation.


10. Re: I won a trip and can't believe it, please advise.

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