Arriving 5:30 (ugh) AM in Puerto Vallarta after a 9 hr (ugh) bus ride, we took a much needed nap at Hotel Azteca, then explored the old part of the city. PV is a tourist town, but the older “romantic district” is much more Mexican than the high-rise hotel district. Having the best swimming beach, we spent some time there eating fish-on-a-stick, ignoring the exhaustive stream of hawkers, marveling at the aerobatics of the pelicans (almost as prolific as the hawkers-see video 2.5 meg WMV) and enjoying a couple of beautiful sunsets. In some ways it’s similar to many Caribbean beach resorts (“Braid your hair lady?”) but we actually enjoyed slowing down a bit and the time to sit on the beach and reflect.
We did bump up the excitement level a bit (Cynthia can’t sit still for long) by booking a canopy zip-line tour. Cynthia was very excited – Warren was not so excited. Going through the training and the first few lines was pretty tame, but then they started to become, let’s just say, more adventurous. The first really high one, the quiet of the jungle was broken by Cynthia laughing, shrieking, then, looking down, giggling a bit more nervously, “Oooh that’s high!” This did not help Warren one bit. He did make it through all the lines (even the one 500 meters long and over 90 meters high) although sometimes they had to pry his hands off the handles.
We also did a day hike to Las Animas – a beach normally accessible only by boat, but if you are the adventurous type, you can catch a local bus to Boca de Tomatlan and hike a “trail” from there. Although along a beautiful rocky coastline and through secluded beaches, the trail was rather technical in spots, particularly when we lost the trail and had to do some rigorous climbing on a loose, gravelly hillside – the bottom ending in the rock surf far below.Â We made it to Las Animas beach and refreshed ourselves then turned around and made the 1.5 hour trek back, but not without a swim at a lovely little deserted beach.
Passing as gringo “tour-ee-stahs”, it’s usually easy to wander into upscale hotels and enjoy their swimming pool. Walking the northern beach, we spotted a likely target and confidently strode into the pool area. They were having a beer chugging contest and Cynthia got dragged into it (kicking and screaming of course…). She lost in the second round, but as we started to relax on the pool chairs, we noticed that people were wearing wristbands…not good… all-inclusive resort. Exit stage left. At least we (OK, Cynthia) got a couple beers out of it.
For more pictures of Puerto Vallarta, visit the gallery
Next stop, the less touristy (we hope) beach resort of Matzalan.