Celebrating Day of The Dead

Dia Los Muertos Altar
Dia Los Muertos Altar in Puerto Vallarta

Some foreigners may think that the traditional celebration of Dia Los Muertos is a scary and morbid practice, but over the many years I have spent here in Mexico I have come to love and appreciate this holiday.

From and outsiders point of view seeing the local businesses around Puerto Vallarta prepare for this holiday by showcasing skeletons and skulls, tombstones and altars may seem like a strange way to celebrate the dead. Continue reading “Celebrating Day of The Dead”

Puerto Vallarta Iguanas at Rio Cuale

Iguanas are native to Puerto Vallarta and can be seen in many places sunbathing throughout the city. Green and black Iguanas come in all shapes and sizes and do an incredible job of blending in with their surroundings. You will have to keep your eyes open to spot an iguana as their ability to camouflage into the scenery is amazing. The Iguanas of Puerto Vallarta can be seen on rooftops, in trees and hanging onto hot rocks close to the Ocean.

Puerto Vallarta Iguanas
Puerto Vallarta Sunbathing Iguanas

If you want to go looking for iguanas in their natural environment to take pictures, or show to your children there is one place in Puerto Vallarta where you can always find them.  The green Iguanas have favorited a big tree alongside of the bridge that crosses the famous Rio Cuale.

To get there head South past the Church of Guadalupe walking on the left hand side of the road (you should be following the vehicle traffic.) After walking about two blocks you will come to the famous Rio Cuale (river).  Continue reading “Puerto Vallarta Iguanas at Rio Cuale”

Getting to Yelapa in a Water Taxi

The first time I took a water taxi to Yelapa I had imagined that it would be similar to taking a Ferry. I was mistaken! A water taxi actually resembles more of a fishing boat with extra seating than anything.  It is much smaller than a Ferry! The water taxis are manned by two pros Who have mastered the art of  getting you safely from the beaches of Puerto Vallarta to Yelapa beach with ease.

Water Taxi Ride Through Los Arcos
Water Taxi Ride Through Los Arcos

After all of the passengers are on board the water taxi takes off and as you get further away.  From the shore you get a breathtaking view of Puerto Vallarta  from the water.

If your lucky your Captain might take you on a bit of a tour along the way stopping at Los Arcos for all to get a close up and personal view.

If  you come upon dolphins, whales or sea turtles on your trip to Yelapa, nine times out of ten the Captain will slow or stop the boat for all the passengers to marvel and take pictures of the sea life in their natural habitat. So sit back and enjoy the ride!

Water Taxi's at Yelapa Beach
Water Taxi's at Yelapa Beach


Water Taxi Tips

– Pack your electronics in an airtight zip lock bag. Better to be safe than sorry!

– The further you sit towards the back of boat the less bumpy the ride

– Bring something to cover up with, zipping through the ocean can get chilly.

– The ocean is always calmer in the morning, so taking an earlier water taxi can be more enjoyable for those who might be nervous.


Architect-Designed Casa Well-Worth $3.6 Million in Puerto Vallarta

I see a lot of multi-million-dollar real estate here in Puerto Vallarta, and sometimes these places look like a unit in an uninspired apartment complex in Milwaukee or Peoria — although plopped down on a gorgeous stretch of beach.

But this beachfront casa on the south shore, designed by architect Elias Rizo, is worth every penny of its asking price of $3,595,000 (although, in this buyer’s market, you might not have to pay even that much).

This modern masterpiece has 5 bedrooms and 6 baths in Continue reading “Architect-Designed Casa Well-Worth $3.6 Million in Puerto Vallarta”

NEW: Huge Portamar Penthouse in Fluvial Vallarta for $199,900!

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I think Fluvial Vallarta — with its modern streets and utilities, great shopping, parks, library, jogging trails, etc., and only a few blocks from the beach — is one of the very best (and best value) neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta.

And you know also that I think Fluvial Vallarta’s gated community Portamar (Door to the Sea) is the best deal in town.

Now, with the offer they’re making this week, I really really wish I needed a penthouse or two.

Portamar is offering your choice of two brand-new, big, very nice PENTHOUSE condominiums — 156 square meters (1681 square feet, not including three terraces) — for the equivalent of US $199,900. Wow. It’s a 3-bedroom with 2 baths — or it’s a 2-bedroom with 2 baths plus huge great-room or office or whatever kind of room you want to turn it into. Continue reading “NEW: Huge Portamar Penthouse in Fluvial Vallarta for $199,900!”

Talavera Tile in Puerto Vallarta

One of the things I like about Mexico is its copious use of beautiful tile, often handmade.

The Talavera tiles from the city of Puebla, which are distinguished by their milky-white glaze, are justifiably famous around the world —  and like champagne from France, tile can only be called Talavera if it’s from Puebla.

But several years ago a Puerto Vallarta tile merchant had a problem with his Puebla suppliers being unable to get enough tile to fill his orders — so he spent much time and work recreating “Talavera” pottery closer to home.

Now, in his Vallarta store, you can find a great selection of the most gorgeous, high-quality tiles and other ceramics — including Talavera-style — in the quantities you need. Continue reading “Talavera Tile in Puerto Vallarta”

What Are Those Prehistoric-Looking Birds?

Pretty much the first thing I noticed when I arrived in Puerto Vallarta were the huge, graceful, prehistoric-looking birds gliding above the Bay of Banderas. With their sharply forked tails and their seven-foot wingspans, I’d never seen anything like them.

I discovered they’re called Frigatebirds — frigate meaning a light, fast boat or warship. They’re also known as Man of War or Pirate birds. Since they’re well known for getting some of their food from robbing other seabirds, they come by the names honestly.

In fairness, their food options are limited, since their feathers have little oil and so they cannot swim and don’t land on the ocean. They have the largest body weight to wingspan ratio of any bird, and so they are built for flying, not landing or taking off. They also can’t walk worth a hoot. Continue reading “What Are Those Prehistoric-Looking Birds?”

Cheap Hotels In Paradise

There’s a huge range of super-appealing long- and short-term rental deals in Puerto Vallarta, but while you’re looking for that perfect place, you don’t have to pay expensive hotel rates — unless that’s what you want (in which case you’ll be blown away by the luxury and value available).

When I first came to Puerto Vallarta, I wasn’t looking for a vacation.

I didn’t know the city at all, and I wanted to get to know it, to see if I wanted to put down roots here. Continue reading “Cheap Hotels In Paradise”

Old Town, Puerto Vallarta, and México

Voted the friendliest place on earth, Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by incredible beaches and jungles loaded with wildlife. The area, like much of Mexico, is both quaint and vibrant with cobblestone streets, charm, and local fiestas. We try it all, from people- to whale-watching, from local authentic Mexican dishes to world renowned gourmet, from shopping to ziplines. Then we pass on our experiences to you.

Authentic Mexican Food Delicious at Vallarta’s Café de Olla

One way to find the best “Comida Mexicana” (authentic Mexican food) is to go where local families go.

It seems as if Café de Olla in Puerto Vallarta is always stuffed with Mexican families and tourists alike, all really enjoying their food and “delightfully stiff” drinks. And this has been going on for years, so you know it’s a solid, well-run place. I’ve always found the service gracious, and the food has always surpassed my high expectations. Continue reading “Authentic Mexican Food Delicious at Vallarta’s Café de Olla”

Adventure Tours in Vallarta, Even for the Laid Back

I always thought of Puerto Vallarta as a place to walk on the beach, get a massage, eat gourmet food — that’s my idea of a vacation.

So I was surprised to discover that Vallarta is a huge adventure-tour mecca, immensely attractive to people whose idea of fun is rappeling up waterfalls and zooming through jungle tree-tops on zip lines.

But there are also adventure tours that consist of sitting on the boat with a piña colada or three while the captain shows you ecological wonders — you don’t have to jump in the water with fins and snorkel unless it’s starting to look like fun by that point…. Continue reading “Adventure Tours in Vallarta, Even for the Laid Back”

Swim with the Dolphins in Puerto Vallarta

Did you read the recent news item that when dolphins are provided mirrors they make absolute hams out of themselves?

Some researchers say that dolphins may be the second most intelligent species on Earth. (I would add, maybe even first.)

They are known as great communicators, both through body language and through “spoken” language we don’t understand. Continue reading “Swim with the Dolphins in Puerto Vallarta”

Sophisticated Massage in Puerto Vallarta

If there’s anything finer than lying semi-clad or naked on a gorgeous beach on a gorgeous day, it’s doing it while getting a great massage.

You could even lose the beach, and I’d still want to be there.

But in Puerto Vallarta, it’s hard to lose the beach while getting a massage, since the fresh ocean breezes are everywhere and views of Banderas Bay are seen Continue reading “Sophisticated Massage in Puerto Vallarta”

Weddings and Honeymoons in Paradise

Does getting married on the beach at sunset appeal to you? Then you could not do better than Puerto Vallarta.

For both weddings and honeymoons, Vallarta is a prime location. Situated on huge, beautiful Banderas Bay, which faces due west and is lined with many miles of beautiful beaches, and with perfect weather from late November through February, Puerto Vallarta is a world-class but affordable place for your big day.

Bring your family and friends for a wedding everyone will be absolutely delighted to attend.

There are many resorts and boutique hotels in Vallarta that offer wedding (and honeymoon) packages. Continue reading “Weddings and Honeymoons in Paradise”

Traditional Candy Treats in Puerto Vallarta

A "Day of the Dead" Candy Skull Coated in Amaranth

Candy stores in Puerto Vallarta can be luscious upscale confections like the shop Xocodiva, at Calle Rodolfo Gómez 111, specializing in truffles (lime or coconut anyone?) and molded chocolates (including Santas and Day of the Dead skulls at appropriate times of year).

But the Vallarta candy stores that you’ll probably find most fun are the traditional, neighborhood ones, which will usually be located on commercial streets like Constitución, and selling things you’ll have no clue what they are. The cartoony characters on some of the packaging is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

Pick out a few sweets that look interesting and then see what you’ve gotten yourself into! Chili pepper and sweet-and-sour are popular flavors. Cactus, tamarind, and things that are not in my Spanish dictionary are frequent ingredients. I really enjoy the coconut rolls, like the freshly made inside of a Mounds bar. You can get these in every size from tiny to clan-size. Continue reading “Traditional Candy Treats in Puerto Vallarta”