Mexico, Puerto Vallarta – Part 6.
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  Posted December 26th, 2009 by Zdenko  in Travel | One comment

Puerto Vallarta riviera

Puerto Vallarta is one of the friendliest and most diverse beach destinations in the world.  Once but a tiny fishing village, Puerto Vallarta is now a world class resort that has retained all of the quaint charms of the original village yet embodies all of the characteristics you’ve come to expect in a modern resort.

A Champagne Vacation On a Beer Budget

Mexican Journey – Part 6.

A Series of Personal Experiences (Nov 28 – Dec 15, 2008)

 Hola!

 For those of you who still follow our little adventure, we hope you are enjoying  reading about it just like we injoyed it while we were there.

 

This time Vera and I are journeying Mexico’s central part, far away from the popular tourist zones; well, kind of. We are visiting the biggest lake in Mexico, Lake Chapala. From the central Mexico we are going to travel to western coast and tourist places like Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta. We thought that we should investigate this part of Mexico, and unlike most other tourists opt to venture far beyond the all inclusive resorts.

Puerto Vallarta is one of the friendliest and most diverse beach destinations in the world.  Once but a tiny fishing village, Puerto Vallarta is now a world class resort that has retained all of the quaint charms of the original village yet embodies all of the characteristics you’ve come to expect in a modern resort.

 

This is our second visit to Puerto Vallarta. This beautiful city by the bay has a population of over 300,000 friendly residents and covers more than 1,200 square kilometers.  This is a city with modern infrastructure and conveniences that has somehow managed to maintain its unique Old Mexico charm, unlike so many of the other more glitzy resorts.  In many areas of Puerto Vallarta you will feel like you are taking a step back in time.

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The beauty of our traveling is that we didn’t make any hotel reservations. We just drove to the Old Town, found parking spot, and went searching for the hotel on foot. I did a little research over the internet prior our trip, so I had general idea where to look. One of the places I selected was a small B&B “Casa Andrea”. It was easy to find as they are located right in the middle of “Zona Romantica”. Luck was on our side, because they rented out all standard rooms with exception of their “penthouse suite”. We got this three bedroom suite for the price of one standard room.

 

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Casa Andrea yard… our balcony is left, above the tree line.

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  Casa Andrea: our living room with balcony view of the ocean.

 

Once we settled in a room and unpacked, we were ready to explore the city and look for the restaurant to have a dinner. The selection is amazing… every house in surrounding area was either a hotel or restaurant.

 

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 One of the restaurants in the Old town also called “Romantic zone”.

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  Beautiful church of Guadalupe in the downtown Puerto Vallarta.

 

Puerto Vallarta is city with many different faces.  The scene changes everywhere you go.  Old traditions co-exist with the ways of the modern world. This truly amazing city is ever changing but somehow always manages to retain the charm and true friendliness of Old Mexico.  I brought my camera to Puerto Vallarta and started snapping pictures everywhere we went. Instead of words, here are my pictures…

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  New condo building by the beach and Malecon…

 

Puerto Vallarta almost defies description as a resort.  Offering an extremely wide variety of attractions and entertainment options.  Puerto Vallarta has something special for everyone, regardless of your personal preferences. There are many cultural events and exhibits, exciting day trips to the jungle, relaxing days at the beach and countless romantic hideaways. Immeasurable activities, both on and off the water that will keep you entertained, until it is sadly time to depart. 

 

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Night life abounds with many popular night clubs and an array of quality restaurants to please even the most discriminating palette. 

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  Many of the crafts available here are made by local Indians who have been producing their wares using the same methods for hundreds of years. 

 

A modern marina and cruise ship port attract visitors on ships and yachts from all over the world. The city’s clean, friendly atmosphere, unique Old Mexico ambiance and incredibly diverse shopping possibilities attract International and Mexican tourists in droves.  These unique attractions lure many of these visitors to return over and over again.  Many of these tourists end up becoming full time residents or retiring in Puerto Vallarta. 

 

As was the case in every Mexican town we visited so far this year, Mexicans join together for the festivities of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Every day and night there were festivities throughout the town and on the main plaza, by the beautiful Guadalupe church.

 

Thousands of the faithful from around the country make the most important pilgrimage of all those undertaken during the year to the Basilica of Guadalupe, in Mexico City, where the miraculous image of la Virgen Morena is kept.

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 Pilgrimage walk from far away to the Guadalupe church in PV

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  This is one of the most important dates in the Mexican calendar and the festivities last for 12 days in December. We were warned about the fireworks and early morning rocket launching from the main town plaza. 

 

 Puerto Vallarta enjoys over 300 sunny days a year with temperatures averaging right around 83 degrees. Many visitors do not realize that Puerto Vallarta is situated on the same latitude as Hawaii and enjoys a similar sunny and tropical climate.  English is widely spoken, especially in the downtown shopping and dining areas.

  

Beaches

Because Puerto Vallarta lies on Bahia Banderas, the second largest natural bay in North America and has over 100 miles of coast line, it is a haven for anyone who enjoys any type of beach activity, from whale watching to parasailing. The surf, at most beaches is normally very calm and safe for swimming year around.

 
 dsc_4267 Playa de los Muertos

 

Distinctly different beach zones with more than forty individual beaches mark Puerto Vallarta as one of the favorite destinations for the true beach lover. The first zone is north of Puerto Vallarta. Playa de Oro and the Marina district are here.  The Playa de Oro is a wide, sandy beach with a few rocky areas interspersed. It is also very popular with guests and locals alike, because of its water sports.  Even further north, the beaches of Banderas Bay are pristine and quiet as they reach up toward Punta de Mita.   If you’re into surfing, these northern beaches, which are subject to strong surf, perfect for catching a wave, the best windsurfing also takes place in this area.

  dsc_3941 Playa de los Muertos… gay friendly. 

 

Puerto Vallarta’s most popular beach, Playa de los Muertos, is located just south of the malecon and the River Cuale.  This beach is surrounded by the neighborhood of Olas Altas (Old Town or Zona Romantica), with it’s indescribable variety of restaurants and shops. It is lined with beachfront hotels and restaurants and is usually bustling with activity, sun worshipers by day, the dining and nightlife crowd after dark. The beachfront bars and restaurants in this area are a great place to catch one of the incredible Vallarta sunsets. Be aware, this area is also very gay friendly…

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  Playa de Gemelas and Girasol condominiums.. our favorite beach!.

 

South of town, you’ll find numerous small coves and beaches.  Playa de Mismaloya used to be a quiet, fairly remote cove, it is still fairly remote and remains a beautiful beach in spite of development and is a great place to relax on the beach for a day.  Boca de Tomatlan, the last beach that is accessible by road is more primitive with several small seafood restaurants and taco stands.  It is a great swimming beach, very quite and peaceful.  You can hire local pangas here to take you to Yepala, Las Animas or Quimixto. 

 dsc_4112 Playa de Gemelas: Waves are incredible here…

 

Destiladeras and Los Venaderos are two of the more enjoyable beaches in the northern area.   Snorkeling and also wind surfing (under the right conditions) are also great at the Las Marietas Islands , which have been preserved by the Mexican government as a bird sanctuary.  These islands are accessible by boats which can be rented on most of the northern beaches.

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  Las Marietas Islands

 dsc_4052 La Mismaloya beach and all inclusive Barcelo resort hotel…

 

 Another side trip was to El Eden. This is up a dirt road on the south end of town down by Mismaloya beach. It is where they filmed the movie Predator and they have a restaurant there. You can swim right in the creek at the restaurant while you eat, drink etc. It has also just added a “Canopy tour” on cables. We didn’t do this, but it looked fun. Was $80 per person. We walked down the creek a ways. Nice. The food was pretty average and VERY expensive, so we avoided eating there.

 

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Road trip to El Eden Ecopark by Mismaloya river… very dusty road!

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Beautiful natural pool in El Eden Ecopark!

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Adrenaline rush… dsc_4225 Time to pay for the daily Malecon show!

 Other thoughts about the trip…we ate almost every meal at the smaller restaurants. We never stepped foot into the bigger nicer places along the Malecon…just our preference.

Nice people in PV for the most part. The timeshare salespeople all over town are a little annoying, but that’s how they make there money. Pretty much like most other trips to Mexico. The prices are really not much cheaper than the US if you’re going just to look for a bargain. Most of the stores and restaurants are as high as the US. Had a great trip, relaxing etc.

 

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Local girls posing for my camera…

 

Another very romantic time can be had walking along the city’s cobblestone streets, especially in the downtown area behind the Guadalupe church, an area with  narrow sidewalks that invite couples to stroll calmly up and down, hand in hand.  And for a perfect end to a romantic day, finish with dinner in one of the restaurants with spectacular views of the town or the bay.

 

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 This bridge was built by Richard Burton, so that he can visit his Elizabeth in a night robe…

 

A stroll along the boardwalk is definitely not to be missed while in Puerto Vallarta.  This area is the perfect backdrop for the sculptures currently being exhibited there.

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The following stand out: the seahorse, which was the preferred emblem of the city for many years; the sculpture of “nostalgia”, which is considered to be the most romantic one; and the group of sculptures created by Colunga, attracting the attention of every passerby.  According to local tradition, the most romantic way for a man to declare his unrequited love to a woman is to watch the sunset from one of the iron-wrought banks, or underneath a palm tree.  After the sun has disappeared beyond the horizon, the lovers will buy some typical food or sweets to share together while talking and walking along the boardwalk… sure signs of a couple in love.

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Like PV itself, the aeropuerto in Vallarta is located in the state of Jalisco (on central time), but it is very near the Nayarit border, and as soon as you drive north and cross the bridge over the river (Rio Ameca), you pass into Nayarit state (which is on mountain time).

 

Sorry this is so long, just thought I would share our experience.

 

To be continued.

 

Hasta Luego!

 

 

 

 

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One comment to “Mexico, Puerto Vallarta – Part 6.”

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