For most tourists visiting Puerto Vallarta, it’s all about the beach. From the southern beaches in the Romantica Zona, it’s possible to walk continuously north along the beach for miles. When one tires of walking on sand, the Malecon (a boardwalk) just along the beach offers respite.
After checking into my hotel at 3 pm., I sauntered the beach and the streets close to the beach until 6 or 7 pm. Drinks and food are much more expensive along the beach. Just a few blocks away, I was able to find carne asada (marinated steak) tacos for less than a buck and bottles of beer for a dollar or two. Vendors were glad to take American dollars or pesos, but better prices were available with pesos after exchanging currency at a bank near my hotel (19 pesos/dollar).
After the sun went down, entertainment started up in the bars close to my hotel. Options varied from American-style rock bands playing Sweet Home Alabama to traditional mariachi to drag shows. I hung out for awhile listening to the southern rock while sipping Pacifica beers. Later, I had to eat a couple of more delicious tacos from a street vendor. Suffering a bit from lack of sleep and a slight buzz, I turned in early. My hotel bed was very firm. I woke up after midnight and could hear the music and nightlife hitting its stride.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
After a good night’s sleep, I jumped out of bed at 6 a.m., took a shower, and headed out into the streets in search of a good cup of coffee. Not much was open so I hiked up the beach to the fishing pier. (most of the images on this page are clickable for larger images with more detail)
Several locals were fishing with rigs consisting of a spool of line, hook and bait (no pole). I didn’t see anyone catch anything except for this gentlemen with a net, and he may have been netting baitfish.
A Page in the Sun is a really nice coffeeshop just a block or two up from the beach . The coffee was roasted a tad darker than my preference, but it was well prepared and flavorful. (Address: Lázaro Cárdenas #179 Col. Emiliano Zapata). I only tried the brewed coffee but all typical specialty coffee drinks were available.
Cup of goodness in hand, I headed north on my planned day-long hike. My goal was to hike to the Marina, located in north Puerto Vallarta and is where the cruise ships dock. At first, I strolled along the Malecon (a beach boardwalk) where there was abundant public art and people watching opportunities.
During these early morning hours, I watched hotel and restaurant staff getting ready for the day. Young women were squeezing oranges for orange juice. Young men climbed trees for fresh coconut. If you look closely among the branches of the tree on the left, you will see the latter. That falling branch nearly clipped me.
After living on tacos and beer the previous day, I was getting hungry, so I stopped for breakfast.
This is machaca, shredded beef and eggs, served with potatoes, tortillas, salsa, and jalapeño peppers. The food was excellent, except the potatoes which had an odd off-flavor. The coffee was horrible, which was not unexpected. This was a local place (Spanish spoken only), and the best coffee beans are either exported or used at specialty coffeeshops like a Page in the Sun referenced above.
After breakfast, I continued walking another five miles to the Marina, where the Grand Princess was parked. Along the way, I passed mostly luxury hotels, but there were interesting, diverse scenes along the way.
After reaching the cruise ship, I stopped for lunch and a beer. The sun was growing hot, so I took my time on the return hike. Upon reaching the hotel, I was ready for a quick nap and shower before heading back to the beach for my second and last night.
As I walked along the shore, I marveled at the blending of sea, sky, and land at dusk.
Next, I heard a performer singing an Eagle’s song nearby (“Lying Eyes). I walked into the nearby hotel bar to hear the song, sat down, and order a mojito. The singer was just ending his musical set as my drink arrived. As soon as he stepped down from the stage, probably a dozen people stopped him to take photographs and get hugs. As I stared at the scene, one of his fans stopped by my table and asked if I knew who the singer was. “No idea,” I replied. “That’s one of the original guys from the 70’s band Steely Dan,” he replied. Growing up listening to Steely Dan songs, “Deacon Blues,” “Josie”, and “Black Cow”, I was impressed.
Unfortunately, he didn’t sing any Steel Dan tunes, but the covers he did sing were pretty good. An hour later, with my expensive mojito gone, I wandered five or six blocks inland where I could again buy inexpensive steak tacos and beer. My legs were tired from the earlier long hike and climbing up to my fifth floor hotel room several times during the day. I slept like a baby on Saturday night.
Sunday, March 5, 2017
I needed to be in a taxi to the airport by 8:30 a.m. for the flight home. Before I left Puerto Vallarta, I had time for one more cup of coffee at a Page in the Sun. I then stopped at a local diner for a breakfast of chilaquiles verdes: hot green peppers, eggs and fried tortillas, washed down with orange juice squeezed in front of me right after I ordered.