There is a lookout that sits off the road just before you get to the hotel La Jolla De Mismaloya. Stop and look over the wall. The view is magical with the Bay of Banderas and the hotel grounds and beach in full view. Straight across in the hills is where the movie "Night of the Iguana" was filmed.
We had come across some postings on Cruisecritic.com forums touting Millenium Massage at the Krystal Resort. We read only good things about them and so decided to give it a try the afternoon we would be in port at Puerto Vallarta on a cruise. We booked by email and were told the price would be $85 USD. This confused us as the published price on thier web page was 460 pesos for a single massage or about $38 USD at a 12 - 1 exchange rate. Further, the web stated a further 15% discount for advanced email bookings. When I emailed back enquiring about this discrepancy, we were told that $85 was the price. So we left it at that.
When we arrived that morning we decided to go to the Krystal early and check out the swimming pools and beach area as we were told we would have full use of them for the day if we booked a massage. Once there, we went to the Millenium tent and were told there was an opening available that morning . We were quoted a price of $75 USD total for a 75 minute therapeutic couples massage. So, we took the $75 rate. Our advice to you is to book in advance as we did but to check prices upon arrival as the web page prices seem to be the usual 'bait and switch' Mexico game.
The actual massages were fantastic. We have had many massages throughout Asia, including the classic Thai types in Bangkok. The Millenium massage experience is at the top of our list.
Additionally, the free use of all the facilities at the Krystal was a fabulous experience in itself; multiple infinity edge pools and jacuzzis with free water aerobics classes and water volleyball.
Truly the highlight of this Mexican Riviera Cruise.
This is a sweet beach that is a lot of fun. It is at the Westin hotel, and it is a ton of fun! They have beds all over the beach that you can use for a price, but there is also an area that is free. When I was there they had a dj with a lot of fun games and contest. Also, they have a nice pool where you can play volleyball and basketball. One thing to be carful about is the cost of drinks on the beach. I think because they don’t charge to get in, they make up for it in the cost of drinks. We had 8 beers and 4 mixed drinks for $100!
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
If you're planning a visit to Puerto Vallarta, and are an active type, look up Reinhard Dressler for a day tour. He puts together full day small-boat snorkeling tours for groups of 6-10 people and brings his own private flair as an oceanographer to the mix. We have taken two tours with Reinhard, the most recent last week. The first tour was with a group of two other couples. We snorkled at Los Arcos and many other smaller areas and found several secluded beaches. Equipment and lunch was included after a short bus ride to Mismaloya beach. We saw whales, blue-footed boobies and tons of fantastic fish but the joy of the trip was Reinhard himself- the only "gringo" selling anything on Playa de los Muertos- who shared his extensive knowledge of the region but also gave us time on our own to soak up the area.
Reinhard doesn't do the "Booze Cruise" thing. (We tried one of those, and believe me, it SUCKED in comparison.)
He doesn't yet have a web site, but his email address is RaiVallarta@hotmail.com and his cell is 044-322-429-4316.
If you see a tall, silver-haired German fellow on the beach and he offers you a chance to tour, by all means take him up on it! It was the highlight of both of our trips to PV.
There are abundant fishing opportunities in PV, with deep sea trips available as well as trips within Banderas Bay. Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, Billfish, Jack, Snapper, and Wahoo can all be had. We took two boats out on our trip, and we didn't catch any of those. We did get some needlefish, which the chef in our villa used to make one of the best meals I have ever had in my life.
We used PUERTO VALLARTA FISHING, but there are a multitude of outfitters available.
For years I had yet to be suckered into one of these things by the wandering vendors on Mexican beaches, but my boyfriend was another story. So I went along unwillingly on the last night of our vacation in PV... and had a BLAST! The entertainment is great, the food's not bad, and the drinks are free-flowing. A great way to warm up before hitting the town!
I was there in Sept. and I had the gumption to try an adventure tour and naturally I did some research and found that the number one tour operator in PV is Vallarta Adventures and so I set up to do a few tours with them and they were all fantastic. The hardest part is deciding which tours to do because they offer so many amazing things...from swimming with dolphins to jungle hiking to flight seeing to anything you could imagine...they do it...and professionally...I was blown away.....check out their website if you´re planning on coming here. THANK ME LATER!
What an exciting experience!! This is a must for anyone travelling in the area! I am horrified of heights and after crossing the highest zip line over a gorge ( I can't remember how high it was) I was shaking from the adrenaline! The staff was great and made you feel very comfortable and safe! But what a rush!! I would certainly do it again!
Mexican animal welfare standards are very lax...please consider the 'big picture' before you financially benefit tours and restaurants that exploit animals.
Do NOT swim with the captive dolphins-- it's a cruel and inhumane tourist trap. More than 50% of the dolphins die within 60 to 90 days of being captured, (in which case the owners just go out and trap more) and the life for these animals in captivity is truly wretched. A similar 'Dolphin Encounter" was started in La Paz, Baja and in less than a year all the dolphins and their replacements had died and it was finally shut down. Now it seems that all the major tourist towns are sprouting up these "Dolphin Swims" and it's just atrocious. Choose a tour that lets you swim with wild dolpins instead. Here is the Humane Society of the U.S.' stance on captive marine mammals:
Do NOT go to the cock fights.... come on, you know that isn't right.
Do NOT go to the bullfights...no living thing should die for 'entertainment'
Be VERY LEERY of horseback riding businesses and inspect the animals before you go.
And AVOID any restaurants that serve illegal or immoral meats, like mountain lion, shark or sea turtle. Every species of sea turtle on earth is endangered and it is a federal crime to posses any part of a turtle. As for mountain lion...tell me what would be the point of eating that other than for bragging rights? Swordfish and sharks are vital to the health of the oceans. These are rare & wild animals who struggle just to survive.
Please weigh the universal consequences of your actions. There are PLENTY of fun things to to in Puerto Vallarta that are 'cruelty-free'.
If you can take this tour you will not be sorry. It is expensive 75 USD. But worth it if u like nature and like to get away and see the real Mexico....It starts off with a jungle tour and a ride on a Mercedes All terrain vehicle... fun but dusty... then you go into a small village with a gorgeous church. Then you visit a nice family and eat homemade tortilla: awesome!!! I loved this....then you end off with a huge barbeque and great food.. Excellent.. on the way home u sample tequilla have some cervesa fun fun fun....
The family of two men, six women, one girl, and one boy stood beneath the ceiling fan that whipped hot air in circles around them.
Puerto Vallarta was humid and often times, stifling during this time of year, but they insisted a trip to the tequila factory would provide a healthy, adventurous, distraction.
One of the women first noticed the butterfly near the entrance of the garden. It did not move, effortlessly paused upon the leaf.
She zoomed in for an intimate photograph and before interrupting its' peace and quiet, she framed and clicked.
The tequila, she thought, was equally wonderful.
Rent a Mud Rat buggy and go for a wild ride through part of the city and then into some dried up river beds off road. Have some clothes you don't care getting filthy, they don't call them mud rats for nothing!!
Vallarta's beaches are quite flat if all you want in the water is to surf... the best spots are north of Vallarta, in the state of Nayarit... the beaches are closer to the ocean (or even in the ocean), and not so into the Banderas Bay as in Vallarta.
In both sides of Punta de Mita (the northern tip of the bay) you'll find great spots... if you go south of Mita, Punta del Burro is great... it has some rocks, but nothing too sharp or dangerous. And if you go north, Sayulita is beautiful.
The entrances to the beaches might be a little hidden... sometimes you need to walk next to hotels and stuff like that. But if you can't find it, just ask in the resort's entrance and somebody's gonna tell you how to get there... or they may even let you in and go through the resort.
If you're not driving, there are public transportation going there... I think you have to go first to Nuevo Vallarta (Nayarit)... a $10 (USD 1) ticket, and then catch something going to Mita. But I think there are some buses going all the way up to Mita... try to ask once you are in Pto. Vallarta.
After checking all you wanted to check in Puerto Vallarta... take an afternoon off and go to Mismaloya, it's about 40 minutes south. It's a gorgeous place to hike in the mountain, in the beach or if you're into extreme sports, to go and do the canopy tour.
Check my Mismaloya's pages for some tips...
Make time to get to Las Caletas, an isolated cove on the southern shore of Banderas Bay. Now operated exclusively by Vallarta Adventures, Las Caletas is the former private home of film director John Huston. It is only accessible by sea, and is about a one hour boat ride from the Vallarta Maritime Terminal. During the ride, you will be entertained by a professional crew and also be treated to an open bar with light refreshments.
Once in Las Caletas, you can kick-back on the beach, relax in a hammock, or get a massage at the spa. Snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking tours are also available. Other activities include: paella cooking lessons; guided nature walks through the jungle, orchid gardens and interactive parrot center, and of course the spectacular "Rhythms of the Night."
Set in a huge outdoor ampitheater, "Rhythms" features a contemporary dance troupe re-enacting an ancient Aztec wedding ceremony. The music and performances are quite spellbinding and the show alone is worth the price for the excursion.
After the show dinner is served in the seaside open air restaurant. Dinner is buffet-style, though servers do take drink orders and get additional items for you. The food is good if not spectacular, and the service by the crew and the waitstaff is excellent.
When booking a trip for "Rhythms," try your best to get on boat three. The head guide on boat three is Cesar. He is very fun and speaks very good English. Tip a little extra, and Cesar will make sure you get great seats for dinner.
Trips to Las Caletas and "Rhythms" must be made through Vallarta Adventures (see link below). A trip to Caletas and "Rhythms" is $78 for adults.
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