TRIP REPORT: AUGUST 2013 – PART 2
Tuesday we popped into Puerto Vallarta to drop off the stereo for repair at Panasonic on Candelaria. On the drive back to Nuevo Vallarta we wanted a quick snack, and we remembered an awesome, cheap-eats fish taco place in Marina Vallarta: Marisma’s. Tacos were $18 pesos each and so delicious! Another of our Marina Vallarta favorites is Victor’s Place, but a visit there will need to wait for another day. We took a relaxing walk around the boardwalk of the marina followed by a deeper exploration of the neighborhood. We wanted to find and view the progress of the new Mosayko Vallarta mosaic tile-and-glass wall mural being developed by Natasha Moraga. She and her team created that gorgeous wall mural in the Romantic Zone. In May my artistic husband created a fun design for a sponsorship tile we wished to purchase, but we ended up deciding to wait for her next PV project downtown as we will be able to visit a wall in that area more frequently than one tucked away in a residential section of Marina Vallarta.
We returned to Nuevo Vallarta, and gave our friends a tour of the neighborhood. The area boasts expansive, stunningly-gorgeous homes, each with incredibly unique architecture and surrounded by lush, green gardens. Driving through the maze of streets, it’s a jaw-dropping WOW!!! Many of these impressive homes back up to the river with expansive grounds and luxurious infinity pools. As you cross small bridges within the neighborhood you see sailboats and yachts behind the homes, while many other homes border the beautiful golf courses. Melding exquisitely with nature, the homes and complexes are surrounded by neatly manicured dense jungle foliage, and palm-tree lined streets. As you explore the area further, the words “sterile environment” never once come to mind. The words that DO come to mind are “amazing” and “incredible.” It’s an unabashed display of true tropical modern luxury merging beautifully with ocean and jungle. In addition to the large number of grand homes, resorts and condo complexes, year after year the number of local amenities and abundance of excellent restaurants just keeps increasing. For PV vacationers with extended stays in the area (those having more time), an exploration of Nuevo Vallarta should definitely make the short list of things to see and do. The area should in no way be defined by it’s strip of luxury beachfront resorts along Paseo de Cocoteros!
We popped into Paradise Plaza Mall in NV to pick up fresh tourism brochures at the Tourism Office on the second floor, then went into Sunset Market grocery store on the first floor. When we arrived back at the condo, we phoned in a pizza order to Porto Bello’s (separate) take-out pizza kitchen located in the same building complex as their main Porto Bello restaurant, and across from steakhouse Prime 159. On Tuesdays they offer 2X1 pizzas, and their quick, free delivery up to the door of our condo is always very convenient. Their gourmet pizzas are terrific, and it was a great late lunch. Later for dinner we dined at picturesque Fajita Republic in Nuevo Vallarta. La Dolce Vita in NV will need to wait for another day.
Wednesday (yesterday) I awoke at the crack of dawn and slid open the glass doors of our master bedroom and stepped out onto the balcony. It was another gorgeous day. My eyes fell downward to the ocean. The waves rolled in toward the beach, with white froth happily greeting the sand before pulling away from the shore again. Quietly, I stood there for about 10 minutes, just gazing out at the ocean as it ebbed and flowed. Barefoot, my husband and I took the elevator downstairs and headed off for our morning walk. We didn’t get far before a group of about 35+ newly-hatched baby turtles inched across the sand by Acqua heading for the ocean. We stopped and gave them right of away, gently voicing encouragement to them as they struggled through the sand to reach the surf. About 20 minutes later, two government volunteers arrived with white buckets and scooped the remaining turtles off the sand. They were taken down the beach to a turtle sanctuary to be released that evening at 8 p.m., a time when fewer predators would be in the air ready to pluck up the small baby turtles for an easy meal. We resumed our morning walk, collecting a handful of lovely shells along the way.
In the afternoon we went to Bancomer Bank in Bucerias to open an account. The process was very quick. Now not only will we be able to pay our electric CFE bill online, but back home in the USA we will be able to quickly transfer funds from USD to MXN from our Wells Fargo account to our Mexican bank account when the exchange rates are excellent or when more funds are needed to pay for CFE bills. And on future trips to Banderas Bay, we’ll just use the funds in our new Bancomer account.
About 4 p.m. we four friends got the great idea of kayaking down to Bucerias for dinner. The ocean waves started gaining momentum and were looking pretty strong, but still we all agreed we were up for the adventure and we’d take our chances. We took CASH with us, but no credit cards. We girls paddled our double-seater ocean kayak heading north, while the boys hopped into the two single enclosed kayaks and quickly caught up. Not far in we started getting really tossed around by the waves. Still, we were determined to paddle onward and try to make it to Bucerias. Well, a gigantic wave lifted the double kayak way up, and then flipped it over. We girls tumbled into the ocean, and strong waves started tossing us about. And, of course, there was a beachfront audience on hand to view our awkward performance. I was so very pleased we could provide them with some cheap entertainment. NOT!!! Our husbands instructed us to hand them our paddles, leave the kayak there, and swim to shore. We had on life jackets, so with several assists from the ocean waves we arrived fairly quickly to firm ground. We found ourselves in front of the Villas del Palmar condos. Our husbands paddled their single-person kayaks into shore, then swam back out to retrieve the bigger kayak. Dripping wet and with sand in our hair, we made our way up the steps of Villa del Palmar. We rinsed off our feet and limbs in beach shower area. Looking totally disheveled and a little beat up from being tossed around in the water, we took seats at their oceanfront restaurant/bar. We immediately ordered a round of drinks and two appetizers, and took a collective sigh of relief. And it was then that I decided to ask if they took cash as payment. And, to add insult to injury, they ONLY took credit cards! The waiter said that in 15 minutes he would need to close off this casual area and turn it into their evening Italian Restaurant where shirts and shoes must be worn. Leaving us girls sitting there barefoot sipping pina coladas, our men rushed out to the beach, hopped into the double kayak and stroke those paddles back and forth like bats out of hell heading for the condo to retrieve credit cards. They returned in our rental car and met us back at the table. When they arrived we all had more than one good laugh! Afterwards the boys paddled back to our condo complex in the two single kayaks, while we girls drove back in the car and went up to the condo to wait for the boys. We were up in the condo chatting for almost an hour before we started worrying about where our boys were. We headed downstairs only to find them “surfing” huge waves in the kayaks, with exhilarated yelps of triumph as they successfully manuvered the rough surf. And, of course, happy to have a female audience, every now and then one of them would come rushing over to make sure we girls, who were intensely involved in our own conversations about noseeums and bug spray, were paying attention – watching them and admiring the sporty feats they were performing. The fun abruptly ended when my husband broke his paddle.
Right now two workers are here in the condo for a well-visit cleaning of the A/C units. We then plan to head over to Boca de Tomatlan to take a water taxi over to Ocean Grill, another restaurant we greatly favor. In a stunningly spectacular location, perched above the ocean, getting there is just half the fun! You make a beach landing, climb up a rocky hill on a narrow path, and over a makeshift wooden platform bridge to reach this restaurant gem. If you’re lucky, Wilson the Great Dane will be waiting to greet you. And the bathroom is one-of-a-kind. It’s affectionately known as The Loo with a View!
Well guys, we’re heading off again! More adventures to come…