Note to visitors: Por favor, do not attempt to read this post if your WiFi connection is slow. This could prove a very frustrating experience. On the other hand, you could fix yourself a margarita and go with the flow... Enjoy.
|Street art, El Malecón, Puerto Vallarta|
It is not an easy job vacationing in a place like Puerto Vallarta, one of Mexico's safest and prettiest coastal towns. But someone had to do it, and our family flew over last week. You're welcome.
|The City by the Bay: Puerto Vallarta|
|Life is a beach in P.V.|
Since tourism took off in the 1960s, Puerto Vallarta has become a coveted destination for Mexicans and gringos alike, especially during peak season, December through April, when thousands of tourists descend upon the once sleepy town. Sun worshippers spend lazy days soaking up the rays and surfing on the beautiful beaches along Bahía de Banderas (Mexico's largest bay.)
|The famous Mismaloya beach|
|Junior and friend|
Others play and splash around in the expansive pools and lagoons of elegant resorts along the coast.
|Junior and Dad...|
|Look, Mom! I'm flying!|
Foodies and amateurs of nightlife have a myriad of options to choose from, among beach and street-side stands, casual cantinas, world-class restaurants, lively bars and clubs.
|The Vista Grill: A gourmet experience above the Old Town|
Thrill seekers are not forgotten, and venture out in the jungle and the mountains surrounding Puerto Vallarta. Last time we were in town - too brief of a visit while we were cruising down the Mexican coast - Les Boys loved taking a canopy tour with a local company, Los Veranos. Junior was 6 years old then. So they went back and brought our Seattle friends along. When we arrived after a bumpy and dusty ride along narrow mountain roads, French Girl and her Seattle Mom friend found a good observation point, down by gurgling Horcones river, and sipped margaritas to forget their 12-year olds were flying from treetop to treetop, securely fastened [they hoped] to a zip line, hundreds of feet above the ground. After a couple of drinks, French Girl and Seattle Mom did a great job at relaxing in the sun while ignoring the iguanas, snakes, and chatty jungle monkeys surrounding them.
|Oldest zip line company in Puerto Vallarta-- |
Highly recommended by these French/American gringos!
|Why can't there be a place like this while we wait daily |
in our school's pick up line?
|Ready for action!|
|When the crazy camera guy offers to take you on a "private tour" |
so he can film the whole adventure, you should be worried...
|The highest and longest of the 15 zip lines|
|OMG! That's my child, flying over the Rio los Horcones canyon!|
|Crazy camera guy insisted everyone tried it upside down!|
Later on that afternoon, we all walked around Puerto Vallarta's old town and went shopping for Mexican painted tile and glassware. My favorite find was a handmade ceramic Chihuahua that will greet guests in my Seattle kitchen. His name is El Diablo, and I know my friends will not mind seeing him there, a few feet away from Minerva, the French kitchen witch I brought back last summer. Mes amis are very understanding of my quirky [French] ways, you see.
|Tourists in Los Arcos|
|The kind of kitchen|
that would brighten up the average Seattle day!
If, like this French Girl, you enjoy nothing more than walking around a city; people-watching; taking in colors, smells and sounds; if you know and love the Mediterranean culture, then Puerto Vallarta is a dream come true. The town reminded me of Spain at times, and provided daily opportunities to practice my [rusty] Spanish with friendly locals. I could not get enough, as I left the busy Malecón (waterfront) neighborhood and ventured deeper along the narrow, steep streets of the old town.
|Inside the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe|
|The recently renovated "Malecón', Puerto Vallarta's Champs-Elysées|
|The best art is not always for sale:|
|I prefer sand iguanas to the "real thing..."|
|This young guy was a few feet away from my table|
while I had lunch at the River Café...
|Los Voladores de Papantla: a traditional performance,|
at the top of a 98-foot pole
There is so much more to show you, but I fear this post may already be too long.
You see, this trip was not just about sightseeing and playing at the beach. I still have to tell you the story of the famous movie, filmed in Puerto Vallarta, that changed the town for ever; I have to tell you about that school where Junior and his friend spent a morning with Mexican children; I have to tell you about les chiens, the dogs...
So here is the thing. Why don't we agree to meet here next week; same day; same place; same time? I hope you can make our rendez-vous.
All photographs by American Frog Photography.
A heartfelt merci to the artist otherwise known as Le Husband.
Do not reproduce without permission, please.