a view from my hotel of the ocean beyond
amazing how i could take a bus for .20-.40 cents, and take a taxi to the same locations for $4-$12. the buses are death on wheels, methinks. perhaps that is why they are so cheap. i took a bus back to the airport, with my suitcases. the bus driver doesn't care if you have even found a seat, he takes off with a jerking start, thereby causing me to go tumbling over my suitcase. these guys drive like mad. but, not as bad as the taxi drivers. they are above the law. they ride on other's bumpers, no signals, no speedlimit, most of the time - no seatbelts in the cars. what is great about the yellow cabs there? even the price of the fare can be negotiated. when i went to the water park for my dolphin experience, it cost me $12 for the taxi ride. on the way back, waiting for the bus, a number of taxis stopped and tried to persuade me that i needed to ride with them.
i got one of them down to 40 pesos, which is about $4. almost everyone speaks english here, but i tried so hard to speak spanish. in fact, my accent was so good everyone thought i was a latina. embarassing when i just said, 'pulpo con camaron, por favor' and the guy began rattling off a bunch of spanish that was merely like the buzzing of flies in my ears. smile and nod, 'si.' that's what i learned. never hesitate to ask for directions or for help here. everyone i encountered was very pleasant and helpful. i was told by many of the locals here that the crime rate is so low because vallarta thrives on its tourism. sure enough, i hiked from downtown vallarta back to my hotel, about 2 miles away, at night. i walked from the marina, i walked halfway to the aiport with my suitcase.
this is the heavy rainstorm i was met with upon my arrival
the only people that somewhat bothered me were the mexican men that whistled at me, or wanted to start a conversation. i felt like i was in italy again. though, i must say, italian men are much more charming and suave. this trip was strictly for eco adventures, not drunken revelry. every day began about 0800 hours, and ended early by about 2100 hours. sunday, upon my arrival at the resort, i set out to explore the area, the beach. a huge thundershower arose out of nowhere, and shortly i was drenched. i was like a kid in a candy store. i splashed through the puddles, stood under the downpour as though i had never experienced rain before. well, i live in arizona after all. back in my room i showered and laid down. i ended up sleeping until 5am the next morning.
pool view from my hotel room
monday and tuesday i was cruising the bay of banderas and snorkeling, hiking and horseback riding to waterfalls, swimming in secluded beaches, and having a gay time being entertained by the crew on the ships. oh yeah, the cruises were incredibly inexpensive. for an 8 hour cruise, including breakfast and lunch, snorkeling equipment, and all the alcohol one can drink, i paid $35-$40 for each trip. wednesday i took a tour of one of the time share resorts - for which i had a lovely spanish breakfast, and received a bottle of tequila and an adventure at 'splash' with two dolphins. if you ever travel to vallarta, you will find reps from these vacation ownership hotels everywhere...might be annoying, but they are also wonderful resources for advice on day trips and activities.
downtown puero vallarta
the one i met, carmelo, arranged one of my cruises, even took me by bus to the terminal to see me off. he asked me if i wanted to go dirt biking through the jungle, or go parasailing, and i would have surely done all of that, had i more time. the manager of the resort which i toured, invited me to go out with him and friends wednesday night, and i took this opportunity as i had not experienced the night life in vallarta. after having swam with the dolphins, i went back to resort, changed, and headed into downtown vallarta by bus. cobblestone streets, tiny souvenir shops and stores all catering to the tourist, wedged in among the roads, clerks and workers all perched outside on the sidewalk trying to entice the vacationer to enter and buy. some places were merely a bar with rows of liquor and a blender, at which the passerby could get a 42 ounce pina colada for 60 pesos.
that was great! the boardwalk, or 'malecon' had recently been redone, and now displayed some very abstract sculptures, overlooking the beautiful bay. my main destination was the church of the virgin of guadalupe, where a wedding was being held. i purchased some wood carved rosaries, and perused all of the religious paraphernelia to be bought there at the steps of the church, and headed back to the hotel to get ready for my night out. the people that joel introduced me to that night were so wonderful, and happy, and friendly. wed night is ladie's night, and the place we went to was 'de santos.' ladies get to drink free there on wednesday! we boogied on the dance floor for hours, and lounged on the beds situated on the roof of the small club.
the newly designed boardwalk
we headed to the 'zoo bar' afterwards, where i danced like a monkey in a cage, and then 'carlos o brien's.' we finished the night by stopping at a taco wagon, drinking horchata and feeding the homeless dogs that were gathered around us. i went to bed by 4 in the morning, and had to get up at 10 the next morning. my check out was 11, and i spent a couple hours at the pool with my suitcase and a book, and then began walking towards the aiport. when i was drenched in sweat, i decided to hit the bus. my flights were on time, went very smoothly, my stay was perfect. only down side was that it rained the first three days i was there. june is not the time to go down there. but, i liked the fact that there were less people vacationing. i really enjoyed my solitude down there.