Puerto Vallarta and Yalapa, then and now

March 1, 2017 at 10:45 pm 2 comments

After vacationing in Puerto Vallarta last year with my friend Susie, we decided we had to come back again this year.  Susie and I have been the closest of friends since preschool.  Her husband doesn’t like to travel much so we’ve become great travel partners!


After a harrowing trip from Wenatchee across Stevens Pass, we made it to my apartment in Seattle to spend the night before flying out in the morning.  We thought the worse was behind us but in the wee hours of the next morning, we found out that we were still in for a few challenges.  I had scheduled the taxi the night before and after calling several times and waiting for him to arrive for about an hour, he informed me during my last conversation with him that he was stuck in the snow and wasn’t coming.  Thank goodness for the Uber driver!  I gave him a call and he was there in 8 minutes and we were soon on our way to the airport on the snowy, icy roads of Seattle.  We discovered that the flight was delayed after all so we were there in plenty of time!


We arrived in sunny Puerto Vallarta and to our condo just in time to have our favorite guacamole and chips and of course an ice cold cerveza as we watched the sun set on beautiful Banderas Bay!

We were blessed this year to see whales and dolphins swimming and playing in the bay below our 11th floor veranda.

A perfect view from our 11th floor veranda to watch the whales, dolphins, stingray in the water below, and the pelicans in the air.

A perfect view from our 11th floor veranda to watch the whales, dolphins and stingray in the water below, and the pelicans in flight right in front of us.

It’s always fun to go to the Saturday Market in Old Town.  Susie met up with her friend Chantel who sells jewelry made from vintage silverware, and I got a new supply of lotion from Banderas Soap Blends.

Music, bakery goods, arts & crafts, and so much more at the market

Music, bakery goods, arts & crafts, and so much more at the market

We also met up with some other friends of Susies who have the pleasure of staying in PV for several months each year.  I totally enjoyed Pam and Zach’s company and the time we spent with them!

Spending some relaxing time on Playa Los Muertos with Pam and Zach.

Spending some relaxing time along the boardwalk on Playa Los Muertos with Pam and Zach.

One day we all took a bus up the Cuale River to El Rio BBQ for an early supper.  What a beautiful spot!  And look at those ribs!!!

20170301_093941And this year we decided to go to Yalapa for a day.  So we hopped on the bus to Boca where we took the water taxi to Yalapa.  It was an exhilarating ride to say the least!

Yalapa today

Yalapa today

I was anxious to go because I had been there about 25 years ago.  And boy did it bring back memories of that trip so long ago.

My daughter Heather who was 10 at the time and I were with my cousin Bruce along with his wife and son Dustin.  And what a wonderful trip that was!  It was the first time I had gone to Mexico, well, except for a trip to Tijuana but that’s another story 🙂 and when I totally fell in love with it.  I still can’t believe how lucky I have been to be able to see so many different parts of the world on my limited income.  This was not the last time I traveled with my cousin Bruce.  He is such an inspiration to me and has the same love of traveling.  Thank you Bruce for including me on these wonderful adventures of yours!  Not everyone would let an out of shape, inexperienced old lady travel with them, but he was such a good sport to let me tag along.

This is what La Cruz looked like when I was there 25 years ago

This is what La Cruz looked like when I was there 25 years ago

We rented a little house in La Cruz for a month.  La Cruz was just a small fishing village on the northern most point of Banderas Bay, but I hear that it’s grown up so much now that I wouldn’t recognize it.  I felt like I had gone back in time to a simpler, more relaxing moment in history.  We frequented little cafés like 3 Amigos and Ballena Blanca where the food was so fresh and delicious I can still taste it.  The kids walked to the neighborhood grocery store to get an ice cream every day, and I remember how good the granola and yogurt was that we had every morning for breakfast.

The Huichol Indians came down from the mountains one day to sell their crafts.  I couldn’t afford to buy much but couldn’t resist getting a small item.  I decided on a beaded prayer bowl made from a coconut shell.  I have it displayed in my little apartment to this day and think about that trip every time I look at it.

A Huichol prayer bowl similar to the one I purchased.

A Huichol prayer bowl similar to the one I purchased.

One morning I woke up early and decided to take a walk before everyone got up.  I found myself at a little café and decided to have breakfast.  I ordered eggs and toast and a cup of coffee.  As I was waiting for my breakfast (a VERY long time compared to US standards) I was smiling and thinking to myself “Are they waiting for the chicken to lay the egg?”.  But I wasn’t impatient.  As I sipped my delicious Mexican coffee I fell in love with the idea of no hurry, no worry!

Bruce had his sailboat moored at Nuevo Vallarta so we decided to take an excursion to Yalapa which is at the southernmost end of Banderas Bay.  As we sailed along, the water got very rough.  In fact so rough I was really seasick.  Bruce saw a small inlet with a palapa on the beach and a house up on the hill behind it so we pulled in for the night.  I will never forget getting off that boat and onto shore with the owner/proprietor greeting us.  He was so kind and let us sleep under the palapa for the night.  In the morning he made delicious huevos rancheros for all of us.  I was joking (kind of) that I was going to marry that man and stay there forever.  But alas, we got back on the boat and continued our sail to Yalapa.

Sailboats moored at Yalapa today

Sailboats moored at Yalapa today

Wow!  What a cool place this was!  Very few people with a few palapas on the beach.  There was no electricity in Yalapa and we met a man who had built a solor powered house on the hill behind the beach.  He said he spent half the year here and the other half running a café in Alaska.  What an amazing life!  In the evening we went to the ‘Yacht Club’ to dance.  I remember it was a slab of cement close to the beach with a great band playing.  My kind of yacht club!

We took a hike up the mountain to the waterfall and a little café.  Along the trail was a creek where women were washing their laundry.  And the waterfall was beautiful and so refreshing after a long, hot hike!

Beautiful waterfall at Yalapa

Beautiful waterfall at Yalapa

On the beach were ladies selling slices of pie.  Heather wanted chocolate coconut so that’s what we got.  The best pie EVER!  And at night we stayed in a thatched covered room along the water.  It had a nice stone walled shower in the bathroom that was so refreshing!  It was lit with kerosene lanterns and I remember thinking that these were pretty comfortable and modern facilities for an area as remote at this.  Well, that is until I was sitting on the steps on the morning we were leaving and watching my room being cleaned and prepared for the next guest.  The maid pulled the sheets back and swept the bed before remaking it.  She then swept the floor and mopped it with kerosene to keep the critters out.  I’m sooo glad I hadn’t seen that before staying there, ha ha!

Pie lady and rooms to rent in Yalapa

Pie lady and rooms to rent in Yalapa

Today Yalapa has been discovered by all.  Tours leave every day from Puerto Vallarta for guests to spend the day snorkeling, hiking to the waterfall, or just lounging on the beach.  And water taxis leave several times a day to bring people down for the day.  It’s still a quaint and fun place to go, even with the new hotels and hundreds of umbrellas and lounges on the beach, but it’s not what it used to be.  There are a couple of things that haven’t changed however.  The pie ladies are still there selling their delicious slices of heaven, and the rooms I stayed in so very long ago are still there.  Hopefully they’re not still sweeping the sheets between guests any more though!





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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Margriet Bakker  |  March 3, 2017 at 9:56 am

    What a beautiful story. I enjoyed it and want to come too, next time.

    • 2. roadrunner33  |  March 3, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      That would be wonderful Margriet! I know you’d love it!


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