I took an eight day vacation with my friend Tammy from Lake

Chapala to Puerto Vallarta and San Blas. We were told that the
best way to drive was through the mountain towns (which is
the “Libres Roads” instead of the “toll roads”). We left at
sunrise and didn’t make it to Puerto Vallarta until eight hours
later. I would not recommend going that way. It was over the
mountains on a very bad road.

Potholes were everywhere. Our truck heated up and even got
out of alignment. One new tire became bald on the sides. We
weren’t sure we were going to make it.But the views were
spectacular. We had plenty of opportunities to take photos as
we sat along the roadside waiting for the truck to cool down.

Sunrise over Lake Chapala

Below is a photo of one of our stops. The Mexican owners of
the little store were very friendly. The man put water on our
tires and in our radiator. They mostly just sold beer and snacks.
I enjoyed relaxing with them for an hour and sipping on a beer.
Tammy had a coke. The little girl entertained us with her hat

Mountain view

Rest Stop

During the five days that we were in Puerto Vallarta, we saw
two cruise ships come into the harbor. From November through
February there are eight and nine cruise ships a month but in
the summer months there are none. The town is very quiet in
the hot season. It was in the mid eighties when we were there
but the humidity was forty three percent. That is what makes it
hard for people, like me, who are used to the beautiful weather
in Ajijic. Since we are over five thousand feet high, we don’t
have that humidity. In the summer time it gets into the eighties
in both San Blas and Puerto Vallarta but the humidity can be
eighty percent. Not many people visit either of those towns in
the summer.

We checked into our hotel, the Westin. It is in Neuvo Vallarta. I
was impressed. I had never stayed in a nice hotel in all my
visits to Puerto Vallarta. I always stayed in the inexpensive
hotels in the old part of town. We visited one of those hotels
and the price for a night had gone up from fifteen dollars to
forty dollars. But it was eight years since I had stayed there. All
of Puerto Vallarta is much more expensive. Life goes on but it
is sometimes hard to give up old memories of a place, the way
it was in the past.

Cruise Ship in Puerto Vallarta

We had a room on the eleventh floor. Below is a photo of our
view from our private balcony. You can see all the beautiful
swimming pools. Since I love to swim, I had a great time. Most
of the pools are very shallow. You have to be careful not to
knock into the sides where the palm trees are contained. It is
best just to use the pools for floating.

Westin Hotel

We walked around Puerto Vallarta the next morning. It wasn’t
hot yet and many people were out enjoying the beautiful
weather. I imagine that some of them were from the cruise
ship. There isn’t much beach anymore. It is mostly covered
over by the large malecon.

Some of the Mexicans were still in the business of making
sand castles on what beach was available. They were very
creative. They had tip cups out but not many people stopped to
contribute. Maybe they didn’t want to walk out onto the sand.

Tour on the Malecon

There are also many sculptures on the malecon. I love the one
in the photo below. The man and woman appear to be watching
the walker. Notice how bright their legs are from being rubbed
so much.

The sculpture below was the closest we got to seeing the
folkloric dancers. We weren’t there long enough to see a show
but I loved this sculpture. It looked so lifelike.

Sand Sculpture

People in the photo below were looking at the Indians who
were swinging on a pole. The pole was about 200 feet high.
After they climbed to the top of it, they attached themselves by
ropes and then were slowly lowered to the ground while
swinging in a circle. Quite impressive. Another Indian walked in
the crowd and asked for tips. Seemed like a hard way to make
a living. I think I would have preferred making sand sculptures,
even if the tips were less.

The photo below was taken when they are almost on the
ground. This would not be a job if you liked to drink at night.
Can you imagine doing that with a hangover?


People on Malecon

Below is a photo of one of the streets in the Zona Romantica.
There are many local buses and taxis that travel these streets.
If you drive, it is hard to find a parking place. Going into one of
the parking lots is a lot easier than driving all over town looking
for a place to park. But those lots aren’t cheap. Better to take a
bus or taxi.

Puerto Villarta Street

Show on the Beach

There are hundreds of craft stores all over Puerto Vallarta. The
barkers stand in front of their shops and try to get you to go
inside to look around. Crafts made all over Mexico come into
the shops. I love seeing all the beautiful things. Many places
are are willing to bargain but they start high.

Below is a photo of the Cuale River that runs into the ocean and
separates the Romantic Zone. Puerto Vallarta and San Blas are
both on the Bay of Banderas with the Sierra Madre Mountains
behind them.

Silver Store in Puerto Vallarta

Wooden Bridge

We had to walk over this wooden bridge to get to the other side

of the river. It was fun but a little scary. Best not to walk side by
side but in a line and not close to anyone else.

There are many gift shops located along the edge of the river. It
is also very cool there which is a welcome relief. Even in the
winter, it can be hot near the beach.

River in Puerto Vallarta

Shops along the River

The young mthe photo below were dressed for dancing
but we didn’t follow them. Too much to do. Too little time.
Music is everywhere. On the street, in the restaurants and
stores. This was a good group but we had to move on. We were
meeting up with a friend who now lives there. At one time she
lived in Ajijic. We had a nice lunch with her. She seemed happy
to be living in Puerto Vallarta. But of course she doesn’t stay
there during the summer months. She goes up to the States
during that time. She lives in an apartment just off the malecon
and it is very comfortable. Her rent is reasonable for that area,
five hundred American dollars a month. Before we left Puerto
Vallarta, she fixed us a delicious dinner there.


The musicians that I heard were all of high quality. There is a
lot of competition for work in Puerto Vallarta. Mexicans stream
in from all over Mexico, looking for jobs. It is almost a necessity
for them to speak fluent English.

The young woman standing in front of the above store was a
barker. She had help from the frog signs. We didn’t have time to
go inside so I am not sure what the store was selling.


Gift Shop

There are many boats in the yacht harbor and they are in the
process of building even more slips. When I last visited the
harbor eight years ago, there was nothing around it. Now there
are shops and restaurants everywhere. It is an interesting place
to explore and if you get tired, stop in for a massage. I had one.
It was relaxing. There are massage places almost every few
doors. The sculpture of Neptune in the photo above has been
there for many years. It guards the entrance to the yacht

Sculpture near the Harbor

The Harbor

There are wonderful restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, from the
inexpensive street food to the world class. We ate at the Porto
Bello restaurant which is located in the yacht harbor area. It has
Italian dishes. The food was excellent, the view was
spectacular and the service was good. Of course, all the
waiters spoke perfect English. If you want to know more about
it, go to their website. www.portobellovallarta.com

They have both inside and outside seating. The lasagna below
is only half an order. My friends split it. But that half order was
almost enough for two meals.

Restaurant at the Harbor

The cooks get very creative with their desserts. Besides being
beautiful, this one was also delicious.
I had a lot of fun during our brief stay in Puerto Vallarta. I had a
bit of a problem with the humidity but for such a short period of
time, I could handle it. I certainly wouldn’t want to visit during
the summer months. Tammy said she was there last year for
two days in September and she never left her hotel. The
swimming pools were even to hot to use.

Italian Food


We almost got roped into sitting through a time share
presentation but we came to our senses and canceled. There
are no more time share hawkers, always trying to get people to
sign up. Maybe they made it against the law for them to stand
on the street corners and accost people. Sometimes change is
for the better. If you haven’t been to Puerto Vallarta, it is well
worth the visit.

Written by Evelyn


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