Margarita in hand, the pristine turquoise Pacific Ocean in front of you, the lush rain forest of the Sierra Madre Mountains behind you and the warm Mexican sun beating down on you.
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All of this is now (once again) within easy reach for UK travelers – and Manchester in particular.
As of May 3, direct weekly flights begin from Manchester Airport and London Gatwick to two of Mexico’s most attractive Pacific coastal resorts Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit.
There were previously direct flights to the resorts, however since the 2008 fuel crisis brought an end to the non-stop flights, it has been trickier for UK travelers to get there – until now.
There really is something for everyone – surfing, whale-watching, trekking in the jungle and sailing for the adventurous types; over 200 miles of glorious golden beaches for the sun seekers and a range of spas and golf courses for those seeking a little luxury.
Both regions boast a rich history with archaeological sites, colonial towns and indigenous communities, while legend has it that Mexico’s Aztec ancestry is rooted in the Isla de Mexcatitán. Nayarit is considered to be the birthplace of the Aztec people.
Puerto Vallarta International Airport will serve both resorts, which are united at Banderas Bay – the second largest bay of the Americas.
The 192 miles of the golden coastline of the Riviera Nayarit begins to unroll 10 minutes north of the airport while Puerto Vallarta, part of the state of Jalisco, which is home to two of the country’s greatest exports – tequila and the Mariachi – sits in the bay.
Puerto Vallarta was first put on the map after the 1960’s cinema classic The Night of the Iguana starring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner was filmed there.
However, it wasn’t the film that launched the resort into the spotlight – it was the scandalous affair that Burton and Elizabeth Taylor shared on its golden sands that did it.
It is unsurprising then that both resorts are still popular with big celebrity names.
Eva Longoria is currently celebrating her belated birthday in the resort and, rumor has it, Kourtney Kardashian is planning to wed her fiance Scott Disick in Punta Mita.
Not only listed as one of the most romantic destinations for weddings and honeymoons, Puerto Vallarta is fast becoming one of the top LGBT destinations in the world.
Interestingly, it is the more traditional old zone of the resort that is the epicenter of gay nightlife and it will see the annual Puerto Vallarta Pride taking place at the end of May, which from this year on will be extended to a five-day-long celebration.
Flights are being snapped up quickly, as Richard told us, so those wishing to explore this mind-blowing Pacific paradise better get booking.
By Hannah Marshall