Larry Turns 70
In celebration of this milestone, Larry Grossman is hitting all seven continents with the help of THIRDHOME. For more information on Larry and his exciting plans, check out the first installment in this blog series here.
I decided to celebrate my 70th year on this planet with friends and family at a “destination birthday party” in my favorite city in the world: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. This was the official kickoff for my 7 at 70 (7 continents at age 70 World Tour).
The guest list, which started at 8, grew exponentially over the last few months until a crew of 50 people said, “count me in” and showed up to partake in the festivities. A bash of this sort requires just the right setting, and with assistance from my THIRDHOME consultants, I scored several condos at the Vidanta resort across the bridge from PVR in Nuevo Vallarta.
My birthday party destination requirements were the following:
- Great restaurants… Check! From tacos to sushi to French cuisine, Vidanta has it covered.
- Swimming pools of all shapes and sizes… Check! Choose from 27 pools on the property, including the Grand Mayan Lazy River and several swim-up bars.
- Luxury accommodations… Check! Vidanta was recently named the #8 resort hotel in all of Mexico by Travel and Leisure magazine. For good reason, amigos.
- Directional assistance for lost and disoriented Gringos… Check! Great customer service on the property, which is helpful to navigate the 9 miles of boardwalk that wind through the lush, tropical jungle setting.
- And finally, a beautiful and wide beach for morning walks and meditation time… Check! Each day began with a stroll on the widest beach in Vallarta.
My birthday guests arrived from Seattle, Chicago, Tucson, Puerto Rico, Virginia Beach, Baltimore, Denver and several Mexican localities, all intent on participating in The Larry Fest Birthday Bash 2021, so-named by my good friend Fiesta. (Everyone who vacations in Mexico should be so lucky to be joined by a friend named Fiesta.) We had all the essentials covered, including sunscreen, cigars, a kick-ass Spotify “Old Guy Playlist”, sipping tequila, and, of course, extra-strength Tylenol for those who had one too many margaritas the prior evening at happy hour.
Our crew selected 3 “off property” adventures that proved to be trip highlights.
We began with a boat ride to the small town of Yelapa with Vallarta Adventures. This outing is a mandatory component of any Larry-initiated Mexican adventure. We snorkeled, kayaked, and banana-boated our way up and down the Bay of Banderas. Yelapa is also one of the few places in Mexico that produces raicilla, an agave cousin to tequila and mezcal. This 100-proof liquor is used in Yelapa beachfront restaurants to make margaritas that are not for the faint of heart. Our Yelapa adventure culminated in a hike to the waterfall with a group plunge into the cold water under the falls. The walk to the falls is both picturesque and challenging as the narrow road features donkeys, ATVs, and numerous vendors selling souvenirs, fresh pie, and carved wood products. En route is a beach town surrounded by jungle that time forgot. It is every photographer’s dream to travel this path and find the abundance of tropical and colorful shots around every corner.
The second off-the-resort highlight was a trip to downtown Puerto Vallarta to walk the Malecón, PVR’s pedestrian-only boardwalk. It was a hot, humid, and sunny afternoon, and the Malecón and downtown market were hopping. COVID was not stopping tourists from visiting the unique statues and sculptures that decorate downtown Vallarta. Nor was the pandemic stopping mariachis from singing, street vendors from selling, and the Flying Men of Vallarta from doing the Danza de los Voladores, the native Mexican pole flying exercise that dazzles the imagination. Combined with tacos on the beach, it was the perfect south-of-the-border afternoon experience.
Rhythms of the Night is a PVR cruise and dinner show not to be missed. The evening combines a sunset cruise on Banderas Bay, a spectacular Cirque du Soleil-like acrobatic and musical performance, and a delicious candlelight dinner on a romantic and tropical beach named Las Caletas. It is an unforgettable night that always reminds me of what a unique and spectacular spot Vallarta is.
Finally, we met one of my personal heroes, Lalo Gomez, Sheriff of the small town of Colomo, located 45 miles northwest of Vidanta. Lalo and his family provide support services, food and clothing to some of the poorest families living in the Sierra Madre Mountains. I was extremely proud that after spending time with Lalo, my crew agreed to help sponsor a “Christmas in Colomo” event happening this December.
Conclusion: Best birthday of my life, can’t wait til 71!
To read more about Larry’s adventures with THIRDHOME, click here. Stay tuned for more of his travels!