Grand Mayan in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

We spent my week of spring break at the beautiful Grand Mayan in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. When I say beautiful I mean every inch of the resort was immaculately landscaped and felt like you were literally in the middle of a jungle! There were so many pools, swim up bars, a lazy river, water slide, wave pool and not to mention the beach. The lobby of the hotel was amazing. There were HUGE statues and it was just so impressive!

Grand Mayan Lobby




Our first night we arrived pretty late and pretty hungry. We went to La Cantina immediately after check in for Mexican food and margaritas. We got the biggest bowl of guac I’ve ever seen and I was just so happy.

The next morning we set out for Wal Mart to get some supplies for the week. There were literally whole chickens sitting out uncovered (but on ice)! Um.. what?! We passed on that. But you could buy anything from a stove to an ATV there as well. {Side note, we carefully planned what we were going to buy because we thought we would have to carry it to our room. When we arrived back concierge transported everything back to our room for us and we felt so dumb for not realizing this but got a good laugh at ourselves!} We spent the rest of the day just lounging on the beach – and getting sunburned despite the total body sunscreen we applied. Mountains surround the Banderas Bay, so you get a pretty impressive view. There is also a sea turtle conservation program on the resort. They collect the nest year round and protect them then release the babies daily when they hatch. The babies were just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!

Beach Views


Baby turtles. I die.

On Monday we had a 12 hour offshore charter with PV Sportfishing but I’ll write a separate post on that because it was one of the best days of my life so far!

Tuesday through Thursday were pretty much the same. We spent the entire day either on the beach or at the pool or both. We met some fun friends from Iowa at the pool and played pool volleyball.  Happy hour was every day from 11am-3pm with 2 for 1 drinks! I am almost ashamed to admit how many times we order chips, guac and pico (and margaritas) from Ola Mulata Snack Bar but I mean, one we were on vacation and two what is better than eating it Oceanside? Relaxing was the whole idea for this trip!

New friend
More new friends?

We checked out a few restaurants on the resort while we were there. Gong was seriously so good. We had sushi, pad thai, and crispy octopus and I had an amazing blackberry margarita. We had the chef at Samba prepare a piece of the tuna we caught. He made us each a tuna tartare dish to start followed by a salad and then grilled tuna with manga salsa over risotto and zucchini and eggplant. I never wanted it to end and ate until I thought I would die. The rest of our meals we had in our room.

Pre dinner sunset beach walk
Incredible sunsets


Dishes from Samba – SO good!


We checked out Santaurio one night and enjoyed the entertainment there. We also went to the Fiesta Mexicana beach party, which was pretty fun with different buffet lines, open bar, and entertainment.


Headed to the beach party


Overall, we had a really great and relaxing week. A lot of the reviews I read before going said they felt trapped on the resort but we felt like it was super easy to get a taxi into town. There were also a lot of complaints about the amount of walking but we enjoyed exploring the grounds. It is a HUGE place though. Everything we ate was delicious and reasonably priced. This is a timeshare resort but I would highly recommend it. There was a great mix of couples, families, retirees and spring breakers when we were there.

What more could you ask for?

First half of J1 – DONE!

I cannot believe we are half way through our J1 semester! We officially finished today and are on spring break and after this week I am so thankful we have a week to recharge and relax!


We had our second concepts test last week and this week we had our second tests in Assessment and Pharm and a practicum check off for Concepts and I was sick for most of the week. Yikes – being sick during nursing school is the worst. There is no such thing as a “sick day.” I can honestly say that I did not study as much for these exams leading up to them as I did for the first set. I walked away with an 86 on both Concepts and Assessment, which I am still pleased with, but I know a little more effort could have boosted me to an A like the first test. Somehow I managed a 98 on the Pharm test. I literally could not believe my eyes when I saw my grade! I am really enjoying that class. 🙂

Literally how I feel after every test.


Our second Assessment test covered the abdomen, male genitourinary system, anus, rectum and prostate, heart and neck vessels, peripheral vascular system, ears, nose, mouth, and throat. Yeah… that’s a LOT!


Concepts covered skin integrity and wound care, medication techniques, critical thinking and the nursing process. Let’s just say that the nursing process and critical thinking have been my least favorite topic so far.


Pharm covered psychotherapeutic agents, drugs for endocrine disorders, drugs affecting the blood and principles of IV therapy.


For our Concepts practicum check off we had to draw a skill from a hat that we learned this semester, gather our supplies, perform the skill, and document with our clinical instructor watching. The entire thing was pass/fail for the ENTIRE course so no pressure or anything. Luckily, I have a really laid back clinical instructor. I also practiced my skills so I felt really prepared and not nervous at all. I ended up with an insulin injection and a dry sterile dressing change. We had 45 minutes to complete everything but I literally think I finished in 25 minutes! What a relief to pass and be finished with this week and the first half of the semester!


I am off to Mexico tomorrow and I am so looking forward to a week of sun, sand, and hopefully catching some big fish! But a nursing student’s work is never done… I’ll be bringing my head to toe check off to practice on K all week and probably some Pharm notes as well. 🙂

grand mayan