Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Written by Adam
There’s just something about being in Puerto Vallarta.  We’ve been there a couple of times before, but in a flash somehow ten years suddenly passed by since our last visit, so we were really looking forward to a two month long revisit after spending a couple of months being on the road in Europe.  

But, spending a few days in California visiting old haunts sounded like a good appetizer for the Mexican beach lifestyle, so once we got that out of the way we boarded a non-stop jet in San Francisco.  A few hours later we were dropping out of the clouds and coming in for a landing in Puerto Vallarta.  

It was a bit humid and steamy once we finally got off the plane, and after a few required Mexican formalities we soon found ourselves among the strangely familiar and the foreign all at the same time.  Once our taxi driver deposited us close to our rented apartment for the next two months, we quickly noticed all of the hockey games being viewed in the bars and restaurants in the Old Town.  Canadians from all of the provinces raised their beer glasses (and voices) whenever someone scored a goal.  It was either red and sunburned faces or the whitest of the white walking around all over the downtown area.  The Mexican people had their usual great tans going on.  Our tans were officially deemed works in progress.

To go along with all of the televised ice hockey available everywhere in town, now you also had wall-to-wall curling coverage coming in direct from Canada.  You come all the way down to Puerto Vallarta to escape the forty below temperatures in the Great White North, yet you crowd into the bars to watch all of the live hockey and curling action on the ice?  Luckily I really like Canadians, so the fact that now Puerto Vallarta has also become a haven for Canadian snowbirds is yet another part of its easy charm, eh?  In Puerto Vallarta, ice is used to make margaritas and to keep the beer cold.  That shows you the biggest cultural difference between Canada and Mexico right there.

We settled in quite nicely after a few days of serious attitude adjustment.  All of the really nice restaurants were still there, and there were seemingly even more dining options than we remembered.  There were even more people in town, but somehow it was never really that crowded while walking around on the Malec√≥n.

One thing that is really great about Puerto Vallarta is that it is honest about what it is: a growing town dedicated to accomodating tourists just looking for a good time.  Whether that means having a few beers, savoring a great gourmet dinner, enjoying some fish tacos, laying out on the beach, shopping...the town is remarkably flexible and lets you do your own thing for the most part.  Drag show and a gay scene?  Has those.  Dance clubs?  Has those.  Want to volunteer in the community?  You can.  Wanna learn how to cook Italian food for the hospitality industry?  The town government provides classes for citizens so that they can perhaps work in a hotel using their newly-acquired culinary skills.  Quit your job up in LA and move down to Puerto Vallarta with only your suitcase, and during that same week find a gig playing bass in a rock band?  No problemo.

You get the deep sea fishing trips, the inflatable multi-seat banana towed by a speedboat, the cheesy souvenir shops, the solemn religious festivals, the jungle treks, the holiday parades, the tequila shots and shrimps on a stick, the sunbathing and swimming, the tanned retirees, as well as the kind and proud Mexican people serving as your genial hosts.  There’s just something about being in Puerto Vallarta.

We just happened to be in town for "The Day of the Dead" celebrations.
Nearly every night you get a memorable sunset with spectacular atmospherics displayed directly over Banderas Bay. 
Just look at this crowded beach. 
South of the Municipal Fishing Pier are numerous resorts that feature beach volleyball, infinity pools, and beachfront dining along with endless libations.
There are much smaller iguanas hanging out in the branches of the trees growing over by the Cuale River. 
Our private balcony overlooking Banderas Bay in Puerto Vallarta.  You could be out there for most of the day comfortably, even late into the night.
Try to make my Tequila Sunrise look just like this, bartender.
Festive street scene in the Zona Romantica of Puerto Vallarta.
Somehow we stumbled upon an active tortilla factory in the Old Vallarta section of Puerto Vallarta.  The proprietor shared a warm corn tortilla hot off the assembly line with us; it was pillowy and just melted in your mouth. 
Just a little oasis on the Bahia de Banderas created by a local hotel. 
Los Muertos Brewing Company is one of the newer businesses that we discovered in the Old Vallarta section of Puerto Vallarta.  Here is Karen posing with an employee of theirs, Gabriele or "Gabi".  She typifies the hospitality provided and the friendly rapport that is shared with guests who spend their vacation time visiting and enjoying the many watering holes and restaurants located within Puerto Vallarta.  
Walking towards the Playa Los Muertos from the downtown area. 
During the Christmas holidays the local Catholic church is a social hub that fosters community and the holiday spirit.

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