Local Places, Puerto Vallarta
be sure to go to BOTH sides of the river (the "rio cuale") and UNDER the two overpasses that cross the river on opposite sides of downtown. a sidewalk between the overpasses has stalls and some things that you may not be able to find elsewhere.
There are several Mexican beaches with this same, almost frightening, name (Beach of the Dead, but don’t let that deter you). This Puerto Vallarta beach is a amazing people-watching spot. Mariachis stroll about looking for business, kids catch a free ride on the river as it enters the sea, and drummer circles coalesce in the sweaty heat of the afternoon. This is one happening stretch of sand. Settle down with a coca fría and scan the horizon for whales, or other interesting wildlife.
Since I travel with children (However, in this case I just brought my youngest daughter Sierra), I have a habit of doing laundry first before heading back home. I don't really like to carry dirty clothes and bring then back when I end up washing them anyways.
There's this laundrymat at the front of Villa Del Palmar Resort and Spa and there's an attendant there. You can do your laundry and request the attendant to watch your laundry for you.
You can buy laundry soap next door and laundry coins.
The attendant has been working there for nine years! She even helped me dried the clothes and fold them for free!
Being budget travellers, we stopped by Sam's Cafe to check what they had to offer and voila! They were selling pizzas, french fries, etc.
We bought pizza for lunch on our second day here. It was very inexpensive. I noticed also that some of the tourists who are on cruiseships come here to eat because it is way cheaper than going to restaurants. Being this a touristy place, the price of food is expensive.
So, if you are a budget traveller like me, why not go to Sams Club or to Walmart?
They have fresh food like fruits and vegetables, too.
Wal-Mart is everywhere! Since we are budget travellers, we headed to WalMart to buy some of our food. The Walmart here is of course catering to the Mexican people so the goods are somewhat different.
The WalMart here has a bakery department where you can pick and choose the fresh bread that you like. You pick up a tray and fill it up with different pastries, food, etc and then go to the cashier and pay for it. I was training my daughter to do it herself and as shown in this picture, she was paying at the cashier!
We bought our food here including guavas! We also got our water and drinks here to bring it to the hotel.
This is also a place to buy your bathing suit if you had forgotten it back home because it is cheaper.
We bought most of our refrigerator magnet gifts here. They are half-price compared to those you will see in Centro or at the gift shops at Hoteles.
They have gift items like shot glasses, t-shirts, refrigerator magnets, postcards, etc.
To get here, just catch the blue bus and the fare is 6.50 pesos.
Yelapa is truly unique. A small village of about 1,500 native residents, now with electricity that arrives by wire and not by solar cell.
There used to be only five phones - one is in the hotel but more are arriving; no roads - no vehicles; 300 resident/semi-resident Gringos; no police force - say no more! Well. that's changed, there's now a very small local police force.
To get there you must take the Boca/Mismaloya bus, to Boca de Tomatlan. When you get off the bus walk down to the beach, there you will find people waiting for a water taxi and a gentleman selling tickets, better to pay on the boat, to Yelapa 60 pesos.. From Boca de Tomatlan, the water taxi leaves about every 2 hours from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Or you can use The Los Muertos water taxi from downtown PV. It leaves from the pier at 11:00 AM and 4:00pm, 7 days a week. During high season, there is an additional departure at 10:30 AM. 100 pesos one way.
Be aware that the last water taxi back to Puerto Vallarta leaves around 4:30 PM (to Boca at 5pm) - miss it and you stay the night!
Tip: If you want to spend all day and avoid the crowds of tourist who arrive on the large boat aroun noon, leave boca early, 9 AM, and around 11:30 AM - or wait till you see the boat - hike up the river where there's a nice waterfall and swimming pool, all the tourists will go to the little one behind the village. Time your return to 2:30 PM and the boat will have left.
A quiet, tiny beach inaccessible except by boat where sunbathers can relax in colorful beach chairs and choose from several rustic restaurants for Mexican fare. Snorkeling is popular in the gentle surf of this cozy beach. Rumor has it that Las Animas, The Souls, was named for a pirate who was killed returning to his ship after he had buried his treasure somewhere along the beach. It was never found and legend has it his ghost protects the lost loot.
I have dedicated two travelogues to Las Animas. You can follow them below.
1. More Scenes from Las Animas
2. More of Las Animas
The name means "Place of the Divers." Its 5-mile stretch of white sand beaches is the longest along the Bay of Banderas. This beautiful beach comes alive on Sundays when locals bring their families for a day at the shore. Its long shallow shoreline is perfect for body surfing, boogie boarding, surfing and shell collecting. Located 12 miles north of the airport, Bucerias is popular with Canadian and North American visitors. This old-fashioned Mexican town has plenty of local color with its many shops and town square market. Literally dozens of open air restaurants line the beach on one of the four main streets that run parallel to the water for miles.
On the way to San Sebastian we stopped by Hacienda San Sebastian, a place where tequila is produced by using the old fashioned method. You can see the agave plants from which tequila is produced and you can also sample (and buy) a variety of tequilas that they produce here.
The place makes for a nice quick stop even if you do not want to sample or buy anything!
This is the place people talk about going to, when in Puerto Vallarta. The area is jungle, way off the beaten path with a rock filled, pitted, steep road that goes on, it seems like forever, till you come to a restaurant area called El Eden. This is where the movie starring Arnold Schwarzeneggar, "Predator" was filmed. The jungle area is dense with trees and foliage that make for a perfect action movie location. There is remnents of the old set, with a burned out shell of a helicopter sitting on one of the giant granite boulders that are plentiful here, as well as a fast flowing river. There is also a canopy ride adventure that takes you over the jungle by cable. This is home to the famous Canopy El Eden.
Ok. maybe corny but beautiful. This spot is in the jungle about 35 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. Why corny? Well, this is the area where the movie "Predator" starring the now standing governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was filmed. The movie is a cult classic, now with the "GOVENATOR" in office. Why beautiful? Wow, the tropical lushness and the river make you realize that this is not your ordinary outing. The turnoff is at Mismaloya Bay and a very rocky dirt road takes you into the jungle.
Boca-De-Tomatlan is a nice quiet place to get away from all of the tourist. It's not to far from town, and you can ride the bus. You can get a bite to eat-have a drink, or just chill out and people watch.
This church is so beautiful. It was sad though to look upon this place. It was so beautiful & open for everyone to see. It was sad, because if this was a church in the United States, it would be robbed blind. There is an increadible unspoken respect for God and His house in Mexico. This is how all churches should be allowed to be in america; open to help everyone without the worry of being attacked.
Keep in mind this is a place of worship when entering. Try to be a fly on the wall, there will be people praying.
off of Hidalgo and Zaragoza streets.
Just past the Malecon as your crossing the bridge into Old Puerto Vallarta your in the Romance Zone. Stop on the bridge and look down. See all those winding paths? The picturesque foilage on either side? Take those steps down and go exploring. Especially at night, for at night this area comes alive. This area is made for lovers strolling along dimly lighted paths. Now, don't pooh pah at this area. For in this Romance Zone if you walk far enough you'll find some very excellant restaurants that are equally romantic all alight with candles on the tables, waiters in black tie willing to serve you the best wine or champagne & while you & your lover are speaking softly to each other you can hear the birds call out to one another. Pure romance! (Unfortunately my camera was unable to pick this area up in the dark, thus you only get pictures of it in the day).
Travel south of town and get off the bus at playa Mismolaya. Cross the street and travel up the middle road back into the jungle. I would suggest hitching a ride since it is a healthy walk. I forget the name of this swimming hole/restuarant but it is in all the travel books. It is very peaceful and beautiful.