Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tequila rewind

Living an hour from the town of Tequila, you didn't think we would deprive ourselves of visiting the namesake of one of the most popular drinks around, did ya?
Well so far we've been twice- and when YOU come, we'll take you too, ok?

Anyway, the first time D went on a school trip there- it was fun but kind of a dud- taking a tour at 10 am on a weekday doesn't really spread the party atmosphere.
THE cuervo

not so great at 10 a.m.

The Tequila Museum

Tequila town center

The second time 'round we both went with some of M's classmates on our first day of spring break. Needless to say, everyone had a good time. We did the Cuervo tour (because they are the only distillery open in the afternoon) and had margaritas for lunch. Then we headed to find an illusive waterfall in these dry hills (but we found a little pool which was not bad). Alas, we will have to return to find the larger waterfalls. Boo for us.

with the piñas

with Jose

the "waterfall"

Pictures Puerto Vallarta and area

More pictures from the trip:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Puerto Vallarta and area- Part II

The following morning- we were out of this town. PV had fulfilled the best and worst of our expectations accurately and we were ready to move on. We took the infamous Highway 200 heading south. We made one stop outside of town at the Botanical Gardens. They weren't huge but were pretty and a way to enjoy the green hills we were mostly just driving through. D had researched the lookable (rocky), surfable (rough) and swimmable (bathtub) beaches on the coast, and so we headed to the northern most swim-able beach accessible by road (the rest only by boat). We arrived in Punta Perula midway through the day to join the Mexican commoners on their beach vacations. One neglected point of research, however, was that 90% of the accommodations on the beach are RV parks, and that the vast majority of vacationers came with tents, chairs, and coolers. We stayed at the one hotel on the beach in an "all-inclusive" package that included 3 cafeteria meals (they ran out of fish on the beach, so ground beef for lunch??? seriously?). Determined to make the best of it- we bought an umbrella for some shade and did get to enjoy some swimming and a very long walk past some abandoned hotels. (For some reason the theme of Costalegre- the stretch between PV and Manzanillo- is abandoned resorts).
at the Botanical Gardens

Punta Perula

By the next morning we were ready to go. Even though the beach was very pretty, the lack of even rustic tourist infrastructure was too much for us. The next swim-able beach down the coast was our favorite from the last trip- so we decided to make a day trip to Tenacatita. We did make a stop on the way at a couple look-able beaches, but were happy to reach the friendly shores of Tenacatita. Something about the cove is so very inviting- the restaurant workers friendly and low key, but not so rough around the edges. While the beach was great, the water fun and the food fantastic- by mid afternoon the beach was PACKED with Mexican families and we decided it was a sign to us that it was time to go home.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Puerto Vallarta and area- Part I

Having been forewarned that Semana Santa (the week leading up to Easter) is super busy in all of the Mexican beach towns, we decided to risk our chances and take the drive down (or up?) to Puerto Vallarta. The beach town is mostly known for big resorts and a party atmosphere and neither of us would dispute those claims. As we winded down the highway into town it was LP to the rescue! We found a cute little hotel that was affordable, clean and friendly (if only about a block and a half too far from the beach). So we started in the heart of PV at Los Muertos beach and let's just say it wasn't our style- busy, busy, busy with restaurants, hawkers, and un-swimmable water. It did get us in a beachy mood though and we spent the evening strolling down the Malecon- boardwalk- full of street performers, partiers, families and style, and enjoying perhaps our best pizza to date in Mexico.


Playa de los Muertos

The next morning we decided to head to Sayulita (north of PV) known as a surfer beach. There were indeed surfers, but we would more accurately describe this as the Palolem of Mexico- full of hippie gringos and barely a Mexican in sight. It was a quiet and relaxing morning but with no swimming we decided to head slightly southward to Nuevo Vallarta for the afternoon. And that was an eye-opener. Nuevo Vallarta is like a huge resort- there's no town per se, only one resort after the other. But as Mexican beaches are all public we just walked through one of the lobbies to access the beach. Boy was it nice- quiet, clean and barely a soul on the actual beach. Needless to say that if we had the cash- this is the place to stay- artificially fake or not- it was nice.

Nuevo Vallarta

Our third day we decided to check out the "attractions" in town- the Cathedral, the Market, the main Plaza- if you've been to one...Then we walked along the farse called a "river walk" that is on the island in the middle of the Rio Cuale which runs through the city. What was supposed to be a green patch was full of one stall after another selling beachware, knick-knacks and the like, dotted with a teeny-tiny historical museum at the end. Having checked out the north, we headed for the southern beaches. The southern part is mostly rocky with little patches of sand here and there. The road winds through green cliffs in what is most certainly the prettier part of the coast. On our way we came upon a cute restaurant situated on one of the cliffs with pretty amazing views and ended up settling for the day in the southernmost beach reachable by land- Boca de Tomatlan.

Malecon, boardwalk, from above