Posts tagged ‘mexico’

Puerto Vallarta and Yalapa, then and now

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!

20170301_102525

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!

20170301_094403

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!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

March 1, 2017 at 10:45 pm 2 comments

Puerto Vallarta 2016!

My friend Susie and I usually take a trip together at least once a year. We both love going to Mexico and have both been to Puerto Vallarta on separate trips so we decided to take our annual vacation there this year.  We were so glad we did!

The Condo!

I found the wonderful condo Girasol Sur on TripAdvisor. It was so reasonable and after checking out reviews and pictures we decided this was a good place to stay!  The units are mostly studios with a couple of floors with larger apartments.  The complex came complete with a bar, restaurant, mini mart, laundry room, rec room, pool, private seating areas, I could go on and on. It was perfect!

We stayed in a studio on the 11th floor overlooking the entire bay.  What a gorgeous view!  The water was so clear we could watch the fish and stingray swimming, and Susie even saw a turtle!   It was perfect for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.  I’ll definitely bring my snorkel gear next time!  We also saw fireworks almost every night from the veranda!

Girasol Sur from the road side

Girasol Sur from the road side

Susie and I on our veranda overlooking the beach

Susie and I on our veranda overlooking the beach

I loved watching the pelicans flying right past our veranda :-)

I loved watching the pelicans flying right past our veranda 🙂

The pool!

The pool!

The Bars & Restaurants!

For a mere 8 pesos (about 40 cents) we took the 20 minute bus ride into town. I absolutely love the open air restaurants in PV.

We celebrated Susies birthday at Munchies 3rd Base Sports Bar.  Several of her friends from Wenatchee frequent the place when they come to PV.  It’s a small but really friendly bar where lots of Americans come and hang out.

We celebrated Susies birthday at Munchies 3rd Base Sports Bar. Several of her friends from Wenatchee frequent the place when they come to PV. It’s a small but really friendly bar where lots of Americans come and hang out.

Burros Bar right on the beach

Burros Bar right on the beach

Waiter preparing fresh salsa and guacamole right at the table at MargaritaGrill

Waiter preparing fresh salsa and guacamole right at the table at MargaritaGrill

 Enjoying our coconut and banana margaritas and chips with the freshly made guacamole and salsa at MargaritaGrill

Enjoying our coconut and banana margaritas and chips with the freshly made guacamole and salsa at MargaritaGrill

Sipping bloody mary’s while watching the iguanas at River Café

Sipping bloody mary’s while watching the iguanas at River Café

One of the many iguanas climbing around on the trees surrounding the River Café.

One of the many iguanas climbing around on the trees surrounding the River Café.

Waiter serving an assortment of freshly made pastries to enjoy with our breakfast at Vitea Café on the Malecon.

Waiter serving an assortment of freshly made pastries to enjoy with our breakfast at Vitea Café on the Malecon.

Our own wonderful restaurant at the condo.  Our waiter offered us tequila, we said "No Gracias!"

Our own wonderful restaurant at the condo. Our waiter offered us tequila, we said “No Gracias!”

Delicious dessert our waiters served us for Susies birthday.

Delicious dessert our waiters served us for Susies birthday.

Old Farmers Market!

Every Saturday vendors sell only locally made, baked or grown products at this market. There is an assortment of organic vegetables and coffees, delicious fresh pressed juices and baked goods (the line for the bagels wound clear down the lane.  One lady in line explained it was well worth the wait, the bagels were so delicious), homemade tamales, burritos and much more.  Local artisans sell jewelry, soaps, pottery, etc.

One booth called New Beginnings sold jewelry made by women from an extremely impoverished community near the Puerto Vallarta garbage dump. The women previously worked as recyclers at the dump and now make a much-needed better income making beautiful jewelry and learning a craft.

 Chantel, a friend of Susies who moved to Puerto Vallarta 15 years ago sells jewelry from reclaimed silverware

Chantel, a friend of Susies who moved to Puerto Vallarta 15 years ago sells jewelry from reclaimed silverware

Music at the Farmers Market

Music at the Farmers Market

I fell in love with this cute sculpture at Lazaro Carenas Park where the Farmers Market is held

I fell in love with this cute sculpture at Lazaro Carenas Park where the Farmers Market is held

Botanical Gardens! Who knew?

A 20 peso, 30 minute bus ride down the coast and up into the mountains and we arrived at the Vallarta Botanical Garden. What an absolute surprise!  We took a short, but very informative tour with our guide Rosie.  Besides the lovely flowers, shrubs and trees, the restaurant was a lovely surprise.  There were little sections all throughout the open air building to relax on a lounge or couch, have a refreshment, watch the birds, enjoy the breeze and look at the beautiful surroundings.

Several signs warned us to be sure and use insect spray with good reason. I’m very susceptible to bug bites and I got my share while I was there.  It was well worth it though!

 One of the many places to relax and enjoy the surroundings at the Botanical Gardens

One of the many places to relax and enjoy the surroundings at the Botanical Gardens

Watching the colorful birds at the Botanical Gardens

Watching the colorful birds at the Botanical Gardens

All sorts of exotic plants at the Botanical Gardens

All sorts of exotic plants at the Botanical Gardens

The Beaches!

We were so fortunate to have two beautiful beaches right at our doorstep. We went down the elevator, walked down the path and there we were!

Gemelas Beach just to the left of our condo

Gemelas Beach just to the left of our condo

The beach to the right of our condo

The beach to the right of our condo

We also took the bus 5 minutes down the coast to Mismaloya to enjoy their beach. This is where the movie The Night of the Iguana was filmed and there are some parts of the set still standing.  It’s a much busier beach with back to back cafes and lots of vendors.  You can rent a jet ski, fishing excursion, get a massage, you name it!

Small and VERY busy Mismaloya Beach

Small and VERY busy Mismaloya Beach

Fun in the sun!

Fun in the sun!

Carnival!

We happened to be in PV during Fat Tuesday, the day they celebrate Carnival. What a crazy and fun night that was!

A few of the MANY men in drag

A few of the MANY men in drag

A fun float

A fun float

The crowds!

The crowds!

Cool costumes!

Cool costumes!

What a great time we had (as usual)! We’ll definitely be returning next year!

 Cheers!

Cheers!

 

February 23, 2016 at 9:11 pm Leave a comment

Me Encanta Mexico

After leaving Panama we arrived in Mexico City and made our way to our hostel, a really nice place for $12 a night (including breakfast) and on to more new adventures!  We hired a cab driver who took us to lots of historical places around the city, old churches and then to the Teotihuacan pyramids.  Wow, was this an experience for me!  To think of how long ago these were constructed and how they are still around for us to experience, how amazing!

The pyramids

Now that’s a bag of cheetos!!!

Next we headed for San Miguel de Allende, a beautiful little town in the mountains with cobblestone streets, a huge church rising from the center of town, and music playing in the town plaza every evening.  There were lots of Americans and Europeans here.  We enjoyed a wonderful concert at Café La Bueno Vita (the good life) one evening and went to a Cina/Bar another evening.  This was a first for me.  A cocktail, popcorn and a movie – all for only $7.50!

One of the many markets we went to.

The Plaza in San Miguel De Allende

Next stop Morelia, another beautiful old city where the Monarch butterflies migrate to.  I had planned to go out to see them but unfortunately it was too cold and the tour guide said the butterflies wouldn’t be out so they cancelled the tour.  Bummer!  Hopefully I will return some day to enjoy this wondrous sight.  From Morelia we headed to Zuhuatenajo where we met up with my sister Bonnie and her husband Gary.  What a fun little beach town this is!  Lots of great spots to go out in the evenings, beaches to hang out at during the day, and we even took an old rickety bus, which took us to an old truck, which took us to a more secluded beach called Barra de Potosi, a lovely spot with palapas and hammocks right on a secluded beach.  We spent a great afternoon frolicking in the waves and drinking Coronas!

Celebrating with my sister and her husband.

The truck we took to Barra de Potosi

Continuing up the coast we caught several bus connections and made our way to a little surfers beach called Barra de Nexpa where we stayed in a VERY rustic wooden cabin right on the beach.  Everywhere we went we had the best seafood and met the most interesting people.  We enjoyed one of many beautiful sunsets here as well. 

Our rustic cabin at Barra de Nexpa

One of the beautiful sunsets.

We got up early, Bruce boiled coffee in a frying pan (I told you it was rustic!) and back on the highway we went once again to wait for a bus to take to Cuyutlan, another beautiful little town with black sand beaches covered with hundreds of umbrellas.

Black sand beach at Cuyutlan

 Then on to Barra De Navidad and Puerto Villarta.  More lovely little and not so little towns with beautiful beaches and tons of fun on our way up the coast.  Our final destination was Solulita where we had rented a gorgeous condo and met up with 24 of our friends and family to spent our last week in Mexico.  What a perfect ending to an absolutely perfect trip!

Our beautiful condo in Solulita

My niece, grandson and brother-in-law.

My handsome son Ben and beautiful daughter Heather

The whole gang!

August 4, 2010 at 10:27 pm Leave a comment