The luscious entrance is indicative of what is inside
Lap pool at Paradise Village - one of four pools
Big enough to swim in! Doug nurses a sore shoulder.
Chiller Pool at the Yacht Club
I’ve been cooking aboard most nights and, after dinner, we wander around watching the week-long vacationers enjoying themselves.
Based on the chain, I think these vacationers may be spending more than a week!
Ka'sala at Paradise Village - the days are warmer - note the sunshade
On another day, we decided to leave Ka’sala in the marina and spend a night in Puerto Vallarta. We left in the morning and caught a 13 peso, air conditioned bus to Marina Vallarta (near the cruise ship docks) to check it out and meet some friends that Meredith had stayed with over Christmas. We were entertained by a fellow who boarded the bus with his guitar and proceeded to belt out a few popular Mexican tunes in a very melodious voice, then pass a hat around for tips. Very entrepreneurial! (On another bus ride, a fellow boarded and went through the bus trying to sell rosaries - he spoke in Spanish so I couldn't exactly figure out what he was saying, but based on his serious demeanor, I had the terrible feeling he was implying that if we didn't buy one of these charmed objects we might not survive the bus trip!).
A giant statue of Neptune overlooks the Marina Vallarta area
Okay, there were more than gringos along the boardwalk!
And a few warnings too!
We continued into town on one of the 6 peso, bone crushing city buses (they have no shock absorbers and most of the streets are cobblestone!), and got off by Cuale Island.
Sign outlining the Romantica district in Viejo Vallarta
Street scene in Viejo Vallarta
Our guidebook (Rough Guide to Mexico) had suggested we ask for balcony rooms and, at the Tradicional Villa Del Mar, we found our room – bright and sunny, overlooking the cobbled and tree lined street with the jungle bound hills as a backdrop.
Our room was on the first floor, second from the left
Very simple, but clean and comfortable
View from the balcony
In an example of how small the world is, the next morning, while enjoying the sunshine on the balcony, I got to talking to the couple in the room beside us. It turned out they are fishermen who live in Ford Cove on Hornby Island. Do you know how many people live in Ford Cove?? What are the chances we would meet them in a little hotel in Viejo Vallarta?
We wandered about looking for a place we might have dinner and found ourselves down by the beach again. Our guide had told us that the Romantica district was noted for its gay community and there was evidence that it was true. We stopped at the World Beer Store for a couple tasty Mexican micro beers. They were made by Minerva - Doug had his first IPA in a long time and I quenched my thirst on an ice cold amber ale. Memories of home....
World Beer Store - set up like a tasting room
Our Italian hostess serves them up
Doug is happy!
Close up for my sister - can you see the sweat on the glass?
We really did not want to pay a high price for a tourist dinner, yet were looking for something different. We were having a hard time finding a place until I remembered noticing a little café across from our hotel.
Mediterranean Cafe de Reposteria
After dinner we headed down to the malecon to walk the strip. There were hundreds of people out and the beach side walkway was crammed with entertainers, such as clowns and acrobats, people selling everything you could imagine from food to wares to artwork.
Native acrobats - an incredible show
Food vendors along the malecon
(Michael J. Mayo photo)
Puerto Vallarta malecon strip at night
A daytime view of one of the more outrageous bar/discos on the malecon
(Michael J. Mayo photo)
Along with the crashing of the surf was an overlay of music from the street and the many bars and discos open to the night air. The whole place is vibrant and alive. People of all ages were enjoying themselves – lots of smiles and laughter – it is a happening place. We were satisfied to stroll along and observe – we felt no need to become part of the spectacle. It sure beat the Comox Valley on a Saturday night!
Next morning we retraced our footsteps, this time to stop at the Walmart grocery (amazing), Sam’s Club and a grunt walk to check out the Costco (not so amazing, but has several products we regularly use that we haven’t seen since America). I really didn’t need to buy anything, but I wanted to scout out the wares when it comes time to provision for our off shore passage to Hawaii. (such as tinned roast beef and chicken breast, coffee, flour, yeast and nuts)
Our week was up and it was time to leave. We left Paradise Village in the late morning and had a fantastic sail across the bay back to the La Cruz anchorage. Our plan is to head directly to Barra de Navidad which is approximately 140 miles to the south. The trick is to get around Cabo Correntes (the Cape of Currents, otherwise known as the Cape Horn of Mexico!) when the wind isn’t howling and the waves aren’t too high. In unkind conditions, this Cape has been described as a “washing machine”! No thanks! Local wisdom advises to round the Cape in the middle of the night, when the diurnal winds are at their least, and when there are no weather systems. Once through this area the sailing is once again good as the land falls off to the east. By leaving the anchorage La Cruz in the late evening we figure we can avoid the discomfort of the Cape and arrive in Barra de Navidad after two nights and a day of sailing.
There are several places we could stop along what is called the “Gold Coast” before reaching Barra, but our thinking is to get to our furthest point south, then slowly make our way back north again as the weather permits. The prevailing winds are still from a northerly direction, so we will need to watch our weather carefully so we are not caught bashing into the wind and waves on our way back.
Our most southerly destination – Barra de Navidad! It’s hard to believe we have come so far in such a short period of time only to return home again. Since our last post we have heard of one other couple who will be returning home via Hawaii, but they are leaving a month before us. Maybe we will meet others farther south. You never know!
An interesting juxtiposition - this elderly fisherman used a simple hand net in the estuary behind our boat most evenings. The pelican behaved like the man's dog and the two of them enjoyed a symbiotic relationship that focused them on the task at hand. I can't imagine the price wanted for the luxury villa for sale behind him or what he must have thought about those who watched him from the deck chairs. This is an example of a contrast I'm not entirely comfortable with in Mexico.