Login | Register | Subscribe to the GG RSS Feed

Mexico Bound - My Second Life in Spanish

Spanish the Puerto Vallarta way

Story By Carly Milne

I've actively wanted to learn another language for at least two years now. I say "actively" because in the past I have both fought the opportunity, then later lazily thought about it.

Mexico Beach BathingMexico Beach BathingBut now? Now I'm being active about it! Now I'm actually making an effort! Now I'm writing down the web address and phone number when I see those Rosetta Stone ads! Come hell or high water, I will learn to speak a language other than English!

I'd expressed this desire to a well-traveled friend - who speaks several languages fluently - over dinner one night, and she advised me that the best way to learn another language was to immerse yourself in the culture. Shortly after that arose the break in my schedule that I needed to take a trip to Puerto Vallarta. Apparently, the universe wanted me to start with Spanish... and so Spanish, I would learn. Some of the phrases that are now a part of my repertoire:

El vuelo se ha demorado
Translation: The flight has been delayed.

And delayed. And delayed again. I was starting to wonder if I was going to get the opportunity to call myself a seniorita in an authentic Mexican setting, but finally the travel gods smiled upon my plane and allowed me to get one step closer to breaking down one my language barriers.

El cuarto es increíblemente magnífico, y lo que una vista!
Translation: The room is incredibly gorgeous, and what a view!

After an uneventful flight and a quick taxi ride through town, I arrived at the doorstep of Hacienda San Angel, located on a quiet cobblestone street overlooking downtown Puerto Vallarta. From the outside it looked relatively nondescript, but walking through the front door was like entering paradise.

Hacienda San Angel is actually made up of three neighboring villas - one of which was formerly owned by Richard Burton - and connected by gardens, making it an incredible interpretation of the traditional boutique hotel. I walked past the open air kitchen to the pathway leading to my room, taking in the view as I went - gorgeous statues rescued from demolished churches in the 1930s, tile floors, and little tea lights illuminating my way as I walked up the stairs to my room.

My room... oh, my room. Situated on the second floor, I had two mini-balconied windows that looked out across Puerto Vallarta, right across from my bed so I could watch the city as I relaxed. Then there was the marble bathroom with a giant tub, which looked out onto the terrace that held a table and chairs. Beneath it, a pool with a fountain created the kind of white noise that lulls you into a state of relaxation. On the wall next to my bed was a large painting of Our Lady of the Rosary (or Nuestra Señora del Rosario) from the 17th century, right next to an English armoire from the early 1900s. On the nightstand next to the bed was a hand carved Mexican statue of the Virgin Purisima from 1780. I couldn't have been further from my English-speaking norm if I'd tried. I would've been happy to stay in my room forever, except...

Querría dos margaritas, por favor.
Translation: I would like two margaritas, please.

Every afternoon during cocktail hour Hacienda San Passport to FunPassport to FunAngel entertains its guests with a mariachi band, appetizers and delicious drinks. Guests are invited to mingle in the commons area next to the open air kitchen and enjoy the music, along with their tasty libations. (Seriously, theirs is the best margarita I've ever had the pleasure of drinking.)

¿Cuán distante al mercadillo y super mercado?
Translation: How far to the flea market and super market?

Hacienda San Angel is conveniently located, so it's easy to get down to the main tourist drag featuring restaurants, churches, and more silver jewelry stores than you can shake a stick at. But the best flea market is over the bridge on the other side of the river (ask anyone - they'll know where you're talking about.) There, you'll find a bevy of treasures from the knick knack to the exquisite - and bargains galore. The super market is great for no other reason than to take you out of your element, but be aware - when you ask for directions on where you're going, you'll always hear the same response:

Es tres bloques aquí, y dos bloques eso allí.
Translation: It's three blocks that way, and two blocks that way.

Always, without fail, these were the directions that were given to me. Even if I'd gone the three blocks and the two blocks, it was still another three then two. Just trust that eventually you will get there - wherever there is - because you will. At least you'll have a fantastic walk through town (when you're not walking right next to the ocean.)

¿Podría traer usted nuestro almuerzo a la piscina?
Translation: Could you bring our lunch to the pool?

Lovin' ItLovin' ItOf course, you're going to work up an appetite buying Mexican wrestling masks and high-end tequila - I did. So I hightailed it back to the Hacienda and placed an order with the kitchen - ceviche, naturally - and asked them to meet me by the pool. Few things beat the heat like laying poolside with all of Puerto Vallarta laid out beneath you, chowing down on some of the freshest seafood available. There's only one way to make it better...

Yo me sentía enfatizado, pero ahora, no tanto.
Translation: I was feeling stressed, but now, not so much.

That's right - an in-room massage. Though the Hacienda doesn't have an on-site spa, they do have connections with incredibly talented masseuses that set up shop right in the comfort of your room and give you a rubdown to end all rubdowns.

Estoy repleto, pero tengo todavía el espacio para el postre.
Translation: I am full, but still have room for dessert.

Hacienda's outdoor dining area faces south, giving diners an incredible view of the city, ocean and mountains while they digest... and there will be a lot to digest. The dinner menu is an incredible mix of meats and fish dishes, including smoked salmon Carpaccio, roasted yellowfin tuna and rack of lamb, but make sure you save room for dessert. The warm chocolate cake is to die for, and the cheesecake made with ricotta runs a close second.

¿Tenemos que salir realmente nosotros?
Translation: Do we really have to leave?

Take the above itinerary and multiply it by two - that was my weekend in Puerto Vallarta, and I was distressed to see it end. Staying at the Hacienda was the perfect way for me to disconnect from my Angelino lifestyle and immerse myself in a new Spanish-speaking reality. It's something I hope to do again sometime soon.

I can't wait to start practicing Italian.

For more information, visit Hacienda San Angel in Puerto Vallarta. Carly hopes to learn at least 10 new languages before she moves on to the next life.

Read more of Carly's articles on GoGirlfriend:

Related Stories

Rate This post


Love these suggestions. i'm going to Mexico this winter and i'm bookmarking this site so i can come back and memorize this stuff before i leave. thanks!

Post new comment

GoGirlfriend Recommendations

Connect With Us



Membership is free and with it you can set up a profile, vote on stories and post your opinions.

Already a member?

Not a member? Join!

Most Recent Comments

  • On Lesbian Adventure Travel, ELLA Travel said "Thanks for the great article!! If you're travelling to Europe check the ELLA International Lesbian Festival (ellafestival.com) and ELLA Travel (ella-travel.com), organising lesbian events and trips! "
  • On 5 Nudist Resorts that Will Blow Your Mind, John Ruze said "Hi Julia, There is a brand new, very popular nudist resort you should think about reporting on in your next article about naturism. It is the New Terra Cotta Clothing Optional Resort and Spa in sunny Palm Springs, California.. The original Terra Cotta Inn was a fantastic nude resort. Repeat guests from around the world stayed there. TCI was sold in Nov 2015 and greatly missed. Well, this July 2017, it was revived at a new location in Palm Springs. The site is HotelTerraCotta.com. Guests are super happy. It's perfect for couples and girlfriend getaways. And Tom and Mary Clare from the original Terra Cotta Inn work with us, so it has the same relaxing, fun feel. "
  • On The Best Naturist Resorts in Ontario, Dennis Wilson said "Love the freedom feeling going nude . 1st time ever was at freedom fields ranch near Tamworth On,Hector & Eyvon are super hosts ,hope to visit this summer but want to learn of more places to visit."
  • On An Open Letter to Hotels Everywhere, Lynn said "I agree on the night light thing. Since hotels have none, I end up keeping the bathroom light on all night with the door ajar. Windows. I understand in the litigious US of A, hotels need to prevent folks from throwing themselves out the windows (or else the hotel could be sued?!!). Ok, fine. But for those of us who dislike A/C and only use it when absolutely necessary, can't we still have the option for some FRESH AIR? There ARE ways to allow windows to open up only so much, while at the same time preventing an entire body from throwing itself out the window. Bedskirts. Am I the only one who gets the skeevies when I see hotel beds with bedskirts that hit the floor? I always had images of food crumbs, bugs, and god only knows what...as being hidden behind that bedskirt. I'd much rather a bedskirt that's at least 2" above the (usually carpetted) floor. Towels. Can't we get nicer towels that don't feel like cardboard? Carpetting. Am I the only one who never walks barefoot in a hotel room ...esp when there's carpet? Blech. I'm sure those things are very rarely cleaned. "
  • On How to Choose a Cruise Ship Cabin on Your Next Cruise, Tinu said "Thank you for this post! I was dragging my feet about going on a cruise. Now that I know there's such a thing as a balcony cabin, I can't wait to book a trip!"

Blogs We Love

beautiful Vancouver, British ColumbiaCheck out our GoGirlfriend Facebook page to follow us as we seek new adventures and create memories in our own part of the world.