TRIP REPORT: AUGUST 2013 – PART 4
SATURDAY: The day began with a morning walk on the beach. After my husband’s beachfront run he went to a local dentist for a routine teeth cleaning ($40 USD). For a friend he inquired about the costs of other procedures: $200 USD for removal of an impacted wisdom tooth (at our dentist in the US this costs about $600), and $66 USD to take care of a cavity and apply a porcelain filling. My husband then returned to the condo to pick us up for breakfast.
We popped into Puerto Vallarta and had breakfast at our favorite morning place in PV: The Pancake House on Basilio Badillo. I highly recommend this place! After our meal, two of us crossed the street and walked east a bit to pick up my Sunset Over Banderas Bay soap order from artisan Pat Light at Banderas Soap Blends, while the other two walked a block up to Mundo de Cristal (Insurgents #333) to search for a ceramic bottled water container with stand. I love shopping there. It’s a large store with shelves and shelves of glass items, glass pitchers, colorful glasses of all designs, various kitchen ceramics, and unique tiles. I usually pick up a few glass stir sticks with blue whales, yellow pineapples, red hearts, colorful humming birds, etc. on the top. They’re about $1 USD and make great little souvenirs and gifts. While at Banderas Soap Blends, I also purchased a container of Pat’s handmade lotion called “Fight the Bite,” which is a wonderful mosquito repellent and smells terrific.
We then dropped off our friends around the colorful and fun Rio Cuale Flea Market to look around at all the beautiful artisan wares and enjoy a Margarita while we picked up our stereo from the repair shop ($30 USD) and then drove over to Calle de Peru to look for a place to have our Sony camera repaired. I think some sand got into the camera’s lense and it no longer extends in and out. Back at home, repair of these electronics would have been way too costly. We would have put them in the trash and just purchased new ones, because unfortunately that would have been more cost effective than having them repaired. We found a different camera repair shop downtown across from the Pemex gas station. Fingers crossed they can repair it. We then went back to pick up our friends at the appointed spot where three streets intersect (Libertad, Agustin Ramirez, and Insurgentes) between the Iguana wall painting and the bronze statue El Pescador (The Fisherman) by artist Ramiz Barquet.
We then stopped into the gorgeous Galeria Vallarta Mall. Our friends checked out the very nice but expensive items at Liverpool (it’s like Macy’s or Nordstrom), while I accompanied my husband into the Velo Specialized Bike store to talk with their employees about joining them on their upcoming Saturday bike ride. The routes are different each time and are always a grand adventure! We then walked over to Cinemex movie theater to take a look at the movies offered and their show times in English. Later in the week we’ll be back to enjoy a movie one evening (either a 7:30 pm showing or a 10pm showing). This lovely modern theater has super thick comfortable seating with extra leg room. The recently-released Hollywood movies are only about $3.50 to $4 USD, and you can apply for a free discount card at the counter.
We then went back to the condo to relax. We pulled out our floating water hammocks and headed back downstairs to float in the infinity pools. For dinner we went down the street, Paseo de Los Cocoteros for a fabulous outdoor dinner at beautiful El Dinomita. The spectacular riverfront location and glowing lanterns hanging from the trees is such a special delight. Drinks and food are all extremely delicious and well presented to the table. Service is excellent.
SUNDAY: We packed up the beach bags, put on sunscreen and headed out the door. Leaving Nuevo and entering PV, our first stop was Fredy’s Toucan by Posada Roger. We now had an additional traveler added onto the group, and we all ordered breakfast. It was decent and low cost, but for the same price we wished we had revisited The Pancake House where if you order eggs over medium hard they arrive perfect every time, not undercooked, and if one person at the table requests crispy bacon, their bacon is specially cooked that way. Oh well. The day was beautiful and everyone was happy to be on vacation!
We hit the highway heading south, returning again to Boca de Tomatlan. As it was Sunday, the beaches were filked with locals enjoying family time. The parking was thick at Boca, but as soon as arrive down the steep pathway at the bottom, there is always someone on hand (actually multiple locals) to guide you to a parking spot and ask how they can be of assistance. We were there to hire a private panga (boat and captain) for the day to take us to all the southern beaches accessible only by water. We arrived knowing what the price of such an excursion is, so the $1400 peso price was quickly reduced to $1000 pesos (plus we leave a $200 peso tip). We had a really fantastic day. We decided to start at the farthest point – Yelapa, and then gradually work our way back again to Boca. On our Yelapa stop we revisited the waterfall. We love winding up through the little town on the short hike to the waterfall. The town and it’s surroundings are so picturesque. It evokes thoughts of a Mexican Robinson Crusoe village. Sweet, unique and delightful! After stopping at other quiet beaches along the way, Quimixto, etc., our favorite was Las Animas. The scene at Las Animas was livrly and upbeat. It was a happeningbplace with several beachfront restaurants with loungers and umbrellas out front, music playing in the background, no beach vendors ( this might have been because it was a Sunday), part boats anchored in the water, parasailing, banana boats and jet skis skipping through the waves, and a wide golden beach for sunning. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, another secluded southern beach would be a better choice. But we loved it here!
About 5 p.m. gray shadows hung overhead, and we decided it was time to pack up our things and head back to Boca. A few thunder stikes warned of impending rain. Still, we decided to make a stop at the Linda del Mar complex (next to El Set) and go down the elevator from the 7th floor (ground-level lobby area) to the first floor (beachfront restaurant) to eat atLa Playita. The atmosphere is sweet, rustic and colorful. The food was realky delicious. The pricing was great ($140 pesos for chicken fajitas). The service, beyond taking the basic order taking and food delivery, was virtually non-existant. The clouds opened and it POURED. Sitting at the raiking overlooking the beach, outcropping of rocks and tidepools, we started to get drenched. We got up and moved our table and things farther inward. Our waiter must have bern unconcerned about our positioning in the storm, as he never even checked on us. Another table of elderly patrons moved themselves up to another platform level within the restaurant. Still, with the hopes of having a another waiter, we will return again because of the unique location along the water’s edge and the good food.
Hoping our drive back to Nuevo would be unaffected by the flooding streets, we hurried back to car and got a bit soaked in the process. Luckily, although a few streets were really flooded, traffic was rerouted to other streets, and we were back to Nuevo in no time. Our group decided this was the perfect evening to check out the new Grand Odyssey Casino located near Paradise Plaza Mall and across from the Hard Rock Hotel. This casino opened at the end of May, and was very well designed. It looked like a little slice of Las Vegas! The slot machines were glistening and pristine, and there were about five live tables. The layout was really nice. Back at the condo we relaxed for a bit and then hit the sack.
Today is Monday morning and the sun has just risen. The adventures for the day are still unplanned. But after a nice shower and a chat with our friends, an exiting plan will soon emerge. The weather looks great, so there are a lot of great options.
It’s just another sweet day in Paradise…