The calendar says it’s Summer but the weather here is San Francisco is a little too brisk to even consider wearing shorts or running through the sprinklers. I’m pretty used to it after spending four summers shivering through Fourth of July fireworks and craving heart soups instead of light salads while the rest of the country basks in sun. But having spent my whole childhood sweating through 100 degree temps, hosing myself in the backyard and laying on top of the comforter listening to the hum of the air conditioner at night, I still find myself checking the weather expecting to see the optimistic sun graphic in the ten day forecast.
It’s around the end of June that I start craving real Summer. I head down to Manteca to get my 15 minutes of relentless heat (all I can really handle before I’m pining for the cool breezes of SF) under the guise of visiting my parents. I convince Roem to take a Zipcar across the Golden Gate to warmer pastures; intent on getting my monthly dose of Vitamin D. Sometimes though, it all gets to be too much. I need some time on a beach without wearing a sweatshirt. I need the freckles across my nose to return in all their spotted glory from winter hibernation. I need a good excuse to read trashy books without hiding them behind more studious covers. I need sun in 12 hour cycles.
So last month, Roem and I discussed some possible summer destinations on our rather meager vacation budget. I originally had my heart set on a European adventure but quickly decided that spending $1,500 a plane ticket for a 9 day trip just wouldn’t work for us. Even with visions of freshly baked baguettes, runny stinky cheeses and glorious picnics in Provence, I couldn’t justify it. We tend to budget our trips based on a daily price tag, so $3,000 in airfare over three months wouldn’t be inconceivable at $33 a day, but $333 a day is way over our daily price point. Unfortunately, due to increased gas prices, extra flight surcharges and a decrease in capacity from the airlines, flights this Summer are more expensive than ever.
I am not a patient person by nature but I took a deep breath and waited. When you are working with a small budget, it’s never a good idea to have a single destination in mind because in the end your budget will pick the location. So I compulsively checked airfarewatchdog.com for possible sales and read every blog online looking for deals. I included previously dismissed locations like Hawaii, the Carribean and even a few locations within the continental US. And finally a few weeks ago, I came across cheap tickets to Mexico that were $450 inclusive of taxes and fees bringing us to a reasonable $100 per day flight budget.
You may recall that last year for our honeymoon, we traveled to Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. The only destination we traveled to in Mexico on that trip was Playa del Carmen and, while beautiful, it wasn’t really our style. It was perfect for our relaxing, luxurious honeymoon but we still yearned for the more authentic side of Mexico we only caught glimpses of during that trip. For this trip, we consulted the well traveled foodies over at Tacolicious for some advice. They showered us with recommendations for beautiful guest houses, amazing resturants and great off the beaten track attractions. It wasn’t long before our flight into Mexico City and out of Puerto Vallarta was booked for the first week of July.
Our itinerary will include a few days in Mexico City, then a bus to San Miguel de Allende, another bus to Guanajuato, and an overnight bus to Puerto Vallarta with our final destination being Sayulita. It’s a full itinerary but with our main objective being to stuff our faces with as many street tacos, fresh seafood and authentic mole as we can find, I think we will be in good shape (or not, based on aforementioned taco consumption). So any thoughts/suggestions/admonishments for us? Have you been to these locations? And most importantly, where do you recommend we eat?