Another Vacation Ends With A Whimper

On our final full day in Puerto Vallarta, we’d planned to relax at the resort. Maybe even laze around the pool. Hubby did do some poolside snoozing, but it wasn’t the way we’d envisioned.

The previous evening, he’d had more than his usual drink or two, and I commented that he might regret it. Not surprising, during the night he became ill. He continued feeling very sick the entire day, and spent it horizontal, leaving me to entertain myself between regular checks on him.

This big guy put on a show in the iguana tree that morning.

The estuary was covered in a mysterious ugly film.

This juvenile striated heron didn’t seem impressed with the nasty yuck either.

I killed time snapping pictures. Front entrance:

Palapa lobby:

Aires del Mar buffet:

Refreshment station by the buffet:

Fusion a la carte:

Snack bar by day, Guacamajazz a la carte by night:

Activity pool – our first room, on the fourth floor, is in the upper left-of-center behind the palm frond:

Adult pool:

The grounds are limited, though clean and attractive.

Our second room balcony, on the third floor, one down from the top.

Walkway along beach wall:

Hurakenna Bar:

To the beach:

Hallway to the lobby and outside:

We always used the stairs. With my vision issues, the spiral ones were tricky.

The set closest to our room were easier.

Cruise ship arriving:

The estuary water cleared up midafternoon.

Snowy egret’s cute yellow feet:

Cormorant striking a pose:

Canadian flag on the beach:

Attessa IV, the 328-foot yacht we’d previously seen on the way to the marina:

Mouth of estuary from the beach:

Cormorant still standing guard:

Second time spotting this yellow-crowned night-heron:

A juvenile night-heron was nearby:

Beach entertainment:

Hubby felt well enough to join me for dinner, although he only had soup.

Night lights of PV, poorly captured:

Palapa lobby lights:

The evening entertainment, Showtime, highlighted movies.

These guys got big cheers:

Three iguanas in the tree on our last morning:

With Hubby mostly recovered, I wanted to explore the beach on the other side of these rocks. I made it a couple of feet before freezing. Because of my distorted vision, I couldn’t judge whether to step up or down, take a big step or small. We reluctantly determined it wasn’t safe to proceed. I was super disappointed.

The plane ride home had severe turbulence, and to my complete mortification, I threw up for five hours straight. Hubby and the flight attendant were incredibly helpful and sympathetic. Obviously, Hubby’s illness the day before had been food poisoning or a stomach bug, and that same fate had struck me. That made it the fourth time happening to him on a trip and third time for me. Unfortunately, these were the only souvenirs I brought home:

Click here for my first post on our trip.

Looking For One Thing And Finding Something Better…

With no iguanas in the trees near our balcony at Las Palmas the next morning, I focused my camera on this snowy egret in the estuary below.

Of course I zoomed in…

Later that morning, we watched the Papantla Flyers perform on the Malecón.

My instructions to find Matamoros Lighthouse, our destination, were to go up Galeana Street, then turn right on Matamoros Street.

With no lighthouse in sight, Hubby wondered if we were going the wrong way on Matamoros, so we turned back. (The directions were actually correct, but we never did find the lighthouse.) We climbed the steep streets in a northeastern direction, and quite by chance happened upon this staircase.

It leads to Mirador de La Cruz (Lookout of the Cross), which was also on our to-do list. It’s a residential neighbourhood, with the stairs running alongside people’s homes.


Lots of concrete steps.

And then more, these ones twisting and turning precipitously.

We rested a couple of times, for water and to take in the view. Safely navigating the stairs were more difficult for me than climbing them. Going down actually proved harder than going up.

A trolley track ran beside the stairs, but was no longer in use.

Over 250 steps later, we reached La Cruz.

View from behind.

The mirador is one of the highest points in Puerto Vallarta. First, more stairs to climb.

It offers an incredible view of the city and the Bay of Banderas with the Sierra Madre Mountains in the background. My panorama shots didn’t do it justice.

From south to north

Lone sailboat

Close-ups of the city

Sad how graffiti marred every pillar on the mirador, and so much else.

Back at street level, we watched these young men push a heavy load up the steep grade, and didn’t envy them the task.

Around the corner, we stopped to greet a cat family.

Mirador de La Cruz from the Malecón (little bump left of the antenna)

Zoomed in

For a moment, I thought these kites were real people. (I’m visually impaired, but still…haha)

Large albatross resting on top of the Millennia sculpture at the north-end of the Malecón.

Beach birds

Many of Puerto Vallarta’s buses have been modernized and are air-conditioned.

We usually ended up on the rattly old hot ones.

Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascencio is wide and busy, making it an adventure to cross. Helpful motorcyclists would toot their horns and wave to us when it was safe to proceed from one lane to the next.

We stopped to listen to a band playing Long Cool Woman and Born To Be Wild outside a restaurant along the way.

A cruise ship leaving dock that evening.

We enjoyed the Latin Night dancing.

Click here for my showcasing the sculptures of the Malecon. Catch up on our trip from the beginning here.

Exploring Puerto Vallarta’s Old Town

Another morning, another iguana viewing from our balcony at Las Palmas by the Sea.

We caught the Centro bus to Old Town midmorning, giving ourselves plenty of time to arrive before the noon-hour start to the free walking tour with Turismo Puerto Vallarta. We used the early arrival to explore the surrounding area.

Plaza de Armas.

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the background.

Ignacio L. Vallarta, namesake of the city, in the Plaza de Armas.

Los Arcos Amphitheater, on the Malecón.

Sights along the Malecón.

Hubby loves photographing pelicans in flight.

Juarez Street

Hubby’s postie hat on a Mexican mailbox.

Municipal Tourism Office, Juarez Street.

Entrance to Palacio Municipal – Old City Hall.

Palacio Municipal

Manuel Lepe, Mexico’s national artist, has several public murals displayed in his native Puerto Vallarta. This one hangs in the stairwell of the Palacio Municipal.

Puerto Vallarta’s coat of arms.

Manuel Lepe mural, at the Plaza de Armas.

Our tour guide, Julian, was a font of local information. At age 68, he does five 2-hour walking tours a week, receiving tips instead of a wage.

Another Manuel Lepe mural, this one on the Malecón.

We wandered through the flea market on La Isla Rio Cuale.

Trump’s not real popular in Mexico.

Swinging bridge connecting La Isla Rio Cuale to Downtown.

Streets of Downtown.

Casa Kimberly, Elizabeth Taylor’s house, on the hill above town.

Stairs leading up to Gringo Gulch and Old Town.

Iguana snoozing in a tree beside the stairs.

Plaque outside Casa Kimberly.

Richard Burton and Liz Taylor.

A lovely white bridge connects Casa Kimberly to the house across the street from it, which was also owned by Liz Taylor.

The streets of Old Town are narrow and paved with crumbling cobblestones. There’s lots of stairs to traverse too, some in poor condition.

The tour ends at the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We didn’t peek inside, but I took several exterior shots, to see what my new camera is capable of.

Back in our room at the resort…

Clouds gathered in the evening, creating a dramatic sunset.

The evening’s entertainment, Show de Circo, was cute and funny rather than a showcase of talent.

Although, I imagine working all those hoola hoops took some talent.

My photos didn’t turn out, but still looked cool.

The pup in the elephant suit was precious.

Click here for my next post on what happened when we looked for one thing and found something much better. Start from the trip’s beginning here.

Los Muertos Pier in the Sparkling Sunshine

After we got moved to a room by the estuary at Los Palmas by the Sea, we began to routinely check the trees near our balcony to see what might be lurking in their boughs. This big guy greeted us on our first morning there.
Midmorning, we took a taxi to the Zona Romantica. It cost 110 pesos for the cab compared to 20 pesos for two bus tickets, and in retrospect, we probably should’ve caught a bus. But after getting off at the wrong bus stop on our way to the marina, we didn’t want to waste any time or energy searching for Los Muertos Pier.
No matter which angle we took our photos from, it’s a great looking structure.
Busy Los Muertos (Dead Man’s) Beach is situated south of the Malecón along Banderas Bay. There’s restaurants with beach chairs, fishing boats, banana boats and paragliding amongst the many tourist attractions.
We dawdled on the pier for a while, relaxing in the shade and watching the pelicans’ antics.
Los Muertos Beach, looking south from the pier.
And looking north.
Lázaro Cárdenas Park is about a block east of the beach. I liked the cute tile art décor.
Best looking baño in Puerto Vallarta.
We explored parts of the mile-long Malecón on three separate days, and I’ll feature its numerous sculptures in another post. These are some of the other sights we saw that day.
The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The beach, along the Malecón, varies from sandy
To rocky
To nonexistent
Rock art, on the beach
Looking south from the Malecón’s north-end.
A rooftop pelican convention.
The sign on Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascencio we used as reference to get off the bus.
Las Palmas by the Sea Resort on Calle Pablo Picasso.
Two parrots live in the entrance lobby at Las Palmas.
This one, the male I believe, is fairly nice.
This one, the female(?), is rather cranky. Muy malo (very bad), according to Antonio, the bellboy who minds them. One day Hubby walked near her while she was on the floor, and she quickly scuttled over to nip at his feet. Haha, the little brat.
Towel art in our room.
We had an excellent dinner at the Fusion a la carte that evening. (The two a la carte restaurants were far superior to the buffet.)
This delicious lemon chicken with fried plantains was my favourite meal of the trip.
I quite enjoyed the tiramisu dessert, too.
No sunset photos that evening. And no blurry entertainment photos either, for the second evening in a row. The previous night they’d held a surprisingly good karaoke session, and that night we listened to a fairly talented band. I even almost got Hubby up to dance. Almost.
Click here for my next post on our walking tour of old town. Start from the trip’s beginning here.

Estuary Sights and Beautiful Beach Stones

As I explained in my first Puerto Vallarta post (link), Hubby and I had to switch rooms two days into our vacation at Las Palmas. Our lovely Transat rep told us to go to the office after 12:00 to arrange the switch. I wasn’t thrilled because we had plans to be away from the resort most of that day.
But plans change, so we spent the morning exploring the small estuary next to the resort. The sidewalk entrance is also the public access to the beach.
This sign greeted us a few steps in.
Hubby chatted up a local who said there used to be a fair-sized female crocodile with two babies, but now there was only one juvenile. We hoped to catch a glimpse of it during our stay.
A sidewalk runs the length of the estuary, and trees thickly line the water.
The sidewalk ends at the beach.
We slowly strolled, searching the water and the treetops, looking for iguanas and that elusive croc.
We saw a multitude of birds.
Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Great Kiskadee GrackleSandpiper Grackle Yellow-crowned Night HeronGrackle There were several mud bird’s nests in the trees.
At first, all we saw were distant glimpses of iguanas. (All really zoomed in.)
And this little one hiding in the shade.
Then, in a tree near the beach, Hubby spotted these two iguanas in plain sight. No sign of the crocodile, but at least we saw many other interesting estuary residents.
Back at the office, we were told to vacate our room right away, but we wouldn’t have access to our new room for a few hours. There went any chance of exploring offsite that day. After packing up, we wandered around the resort.
Sierra Madre Mountains.
Sneak peek of the adult pool from above.
The beach from the fourth floor.
That far balcony, second from the top, would soon become ours.
This little guy (fluffed out Grackle?) was perched in the bar’s rafters. Either it could stand for a long time on a single leg, or it only had one leg.
I had the most delicious pasta at the lunch buffet.
After lunch we walked the beach on the south side of the rocks by the Guacamajazz restaurant.
Beach sights.
The brightly coloured stones were amazing.
After unpacking in our new room by the estuary, we relaxed on the balcony with a drink and took in the view.

I especially liked the great view of our new neighbours.
We joined some people we’d met that day for dinner at the Guacamajazz a la carte. Lovely people and an excellent meal, capped off with a beautiful sunset.
After two days of minor frustrations, we needed some fun. Click here for my next post about our visit to Playa de los Muertos & the Malecón.

Sailboats, Yachts, and Crocodiles…

Hubby and I recently returned from a week at Puerto Vallarta’s Las Palmas by the Sea Resort. (Click here for introductory post) The resort itself didn’t overly impress me, but the people we met, the incredible resort staff, and surrounding activities more than compensated.

Our first evening’s show was “Vegas Night”. What it lacked in professional polish, it accomplished in entertainment value. My nighttime photos never turn out, but I always try, anyways.

Las Palmas has one open-air palapa-style buffet, Aires del Mar (Air of the Sea).

I quickly settled on a breakfast combo to my liking, and had it most mornings. Fruit, with two or three pancakes covered in a delicious sauce similar to what my mom used to make, which we called Sucre a la crème.

At lunch, I spotted some sailboats on the horizon, and snapped these shots to see what my new camera could do.

Not zoomed:

With some zoom:

Closely zoomed:

Sidebar: If you’re looking for a single-lens camera with incredible zoom, this Canon Powershot Sx60 HS is the one. It has a 65x Optical Zoom and a decent wide-angle (21–1365mm), all in one lens. I’m so impressed with it.

After lunch, we caught the bus to the Marina Vallarta. We had no idea where to get off, and the bus driver (who spoke some English) was less than helpful. When I glimpsed a sign saying marina, I asked if this was the marina stop. He agreed and let us off. We walked, and we walked, then we walked some more (about one and a half kilometres in the heat). I admit, I was angry. Partly because my feet started hurting, but mostly because we were wasting our day trudging along a busy road.

We happened across this massive yacht along the way. I’ve since learned it belongs to Dennis Washington, owner of Seaspan. The yacht, Attessa IV, is 328 feet long, and is worth $150 million US. Unimaginable.

When I wanted to give up and turn back, Hubby convinced me to go one more block. And, we found the marina! I spotted this sign right away. (Danger Crocodile. No swimming)

And then I saw this big guy cruising around the marina.

And if the croc wasn’t enough to scare a person away from the water, the marina was teeming with little shark-like fish.

We slowly strolled the length of the picturesque marina, filled with drool-worthy yachts.

Apparently, the El Faro Restaurant offers some nice views for the price of a drink. We didn’t go up.

After an uneventful bus ride back to the resort, we just had time to freshen up before catching the cloudy sunset.

It was Mexican Fiesta night at the buffet.

The evening show was also Mexican Fiesta themed. My photos are terrible, as usual.

Click here for my post about hunting crocodiles and iguanas in the estuary.

Las Palmas by the Sea

We arrived home a week ago from our winter vacation in Puerto Vallarta. As far as trips go, it wasn’t our best one (we’ve had some incredible times), but it certainly had many fun moments.

Whenever I fly, I keep my camera handy, and I’ve been fortunate on occasion to get some stunning aerials shots. This time, I didn’t capture anything spectacular, but I did snap several of what I believe might be the Grand Canyon area.

Las Palmas by the Sea, an older, smaller resort, is rated four stars on some sites, but realistically it’s barely a three star. We knew this upfront, and I chose it for its location between the Vallarta Marina and old town. The price point is reasonable, too.

The room, although bright and clean, was a little shabby, and needed some TLC. The hairdryer was missing, so was the TV remote.

Some repairs had been clumsily attempted.

And some, such as the worn-out linens, were long overdue.

But, hey, the sun was shining, and the ocean was right outside. I wasn’t complaining.

And there was a promise of many lovely sunsets to come.

Even the view from the hallway wasn’t bad.

But a little to the right of that view lurked a problem. This building housed a massive condenser unit for the resort’s a/c’s. It droned and hummed nonstop day and night, and was clearly audible from inside our room.

I’m usually capable of shutting everything out when I sleep; Hubby, not so much. After a second sleepless night, he insisted we ask for another room. We’ve never done this before and I wasn’t super comfortable about it, but after consulting our Transat Rep, she handled the request for us. Eventually, we were moved to the opposite side of the resort. Our room was a bit more modern, but smaller, and also in need of repairs.

We had to give up the ocean view, and instead got one showing the mouth of the estuary and some of the beach.

More importantly, we heard bird song instead of mechanical droning.

And these were our new neighbours, visible from our balcony.

As soon as I get the rest of my 1500 photos sorted, I’ll be back with less complaining and more vacationing. Jump to my next post here.