Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

What a difference 30 years can make! My last visit here was in 1982, and I recall a very small, colonial-era charm along the waterfront with a few retail shops scattered throughout. Located 620 miles northwest of Mexico City, the lovely city of Puerto Vallarta boasts tropical mountains right beside the sea, caves and beaches, white buildings with red-tile roofs, and streets of brick & cobblestone. The construction of luxury hotels and shopping centers has developed what was once a very small town into a city of 250,000 people and amazingly, without destroying its charm. With miles of high-rise hotels flanking the picturesque village center, Puerto Vallarta does a better job than any other coastal city of balancing Mexico’s sophisticated resort environment with captivating charisma & appeal. The first thing I noticed was the cleanliness of the port – it was absolutely spotless with beautiful, meticulously maintained landscape – hats off to these folks!

 

Cheryl and I hadn’t booked a formal shore excursion for two reasons. First & foremost, we were done with busses & tour guides after 4 long months. Second, we needed exercise. We left the ship at 9:00 and just started walking the beach – miles of beautiful seashore – and since it was Monday, very few sun worshipers to contend with. By 11:00 it was quite warm, and we were very thirsty having lumbered through thick sand & over large boulders lining the coast. We came upon a beautiful resort with tables & umbrellas next to the ocean, and ordered our first Coronas. Those went down quickly, and we followed up with our second & third. What better place to order Nachos than Mexico? Another ice cold Corona mixed with some fiery ‘south of the border’ cuisine…it was the perfect combination!

 

I don’t know if it’s our age, the multiple Coronas, or both – but the walk back to the ship was a challenge. The sand was deeper, the boulders were higher, and the sun was hotter! We finally made it back to the port around 2:00, boarded the ship, showered, and went up to the Lido pool for our sailaway party at 4:00. Great day, very relaxing, but now beginning to look forward to home.