Monday, June 8, 2009

Puerto Vallarta April 2009

We love to travel: don't you? My personal biggest wish to embark on a world cruise. Wouldn’t that be nice? It only takes money. So I guess I’ll have to chip away at my own Bucket List a little at a time…at least until I win the Lotto! Until that happens I'll blog about our little travels. Even though we've been many places so far I’ll start with Puerto Vallarta since I just made that trip in April 2009 amidst all the media hype about Swine Flu. To be fair it was at the beginning of the scare and several restaurants had workers wearing masks, as well as some people (locals) wore masks around town. The flu was the talk among tourists with several reporting family members canceled their plans to join other family members already in PV.

Actually, my husband and I have been going to PV since 1988. We have a time share there that we love. But we don’t always go there: we’ve “traded” our time share to many places including Australia - but that's another post! We’ve found that either you love or hate Puerto Vallarta. We happen to love it because it started as a place to get away from the hub-bub of everyday life in California and yet was not too far away. PV is only a three hour plane ride from LAX so getting there is very easy. Our time share is on the south end of “Old Vallarta” and is up on a hillside with an absolutely magnificent view of the ocean. On the negative side (honesty in reporting) there are many places that are very poor and may not be to your liking. There is simply a different standard that what you may be use to.

While you’re there go to Los Burros bar/on the beach “restaurant”. In 1992 Los Burros set up business on the beach where you could find a very ugly Iguana holding court on the bar and the mascot burro had it’s own little pen on the beach. Seventeen years later and the place has more than doubled in size, the bar has moved “inside” under lots of palapas, but the Iguana is not there anymore. Not even the cute little burro exists but they still serve great margaritas and serve very palatable food. It’s a great people watching place and an excellent place to relax. If you go there you will be approached by the beach vendors. It can be fun to bargain with the vendors who are selling anything from little wood toys to clothing and rugs. Or, simply say No. They will not harass you if you say no – they’ll simply move on.

Shopping: if you love to shop and bargain – this is the place! There are all kinds of shopping possibilities: from “flea market” type shopping where you CAN bargain to downtown shopping where the prices are what you see. There is Pueblo Viejo, an indoor shopping area. There’s another indoor shopping “market” diagonal across the street from Pueblo Viejo. Senior Gomez clothing store is on the main street and a satellite store on a side street. Oh yes: and I can’t forget there is a Walmart and a Sam’s Club on the north end as well. See? It has all your needs for shopping! And of course there is a downtown grocery story called Rizo’s. We do all our shopping there and then get a cab back to the condo which is currently about $3.50.

Good places to eat:

Fuente del Puente at Insurgentes and the Rio Cuale is a great place to eat and shopping is right across the street!Hard Rock cafĂ© on the main street. There are all sorts of restaurants here on the main street so your choices are almost boundless. And for those who need fast food: KFC, McDonalds and Burger King all exist. And inside the airport is Carl’s Jr !

Cruise ships usually run a Mexican Riviera trip which is lots of fun. While we were there this last time no cruise ships came in due to the scare about the flu. I have done the
Mexican Riviera cruise which hit not only PV but Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas as well. Cruises are great ways to sample different locations and perhaps help you decide where to go back to.

Coming home: at the PV airport they took our temperatures to make sure we were not ill: and presumabely not taking the flu home with us! And all Mexicana flights into the U.S. were canceled but they made sure we had seats on a Delta flight. Minor inconveniences only, and very little delays.

When we landed at LAX, customs did not operate at the Delta terminal so Delta had to bus us over to the Bradley Terminal to go through customs. OK, but have you ever walked on the tarmac at LAX? Me neither but I did this time! A first! And we walked under the very plane that brought us in. Have you ever seen the underside of your plane on the tarmac? Not me – so it was two firsts in one! By the way: at this writing (early May) we have been home seven days now with no symptoms of the flu so at least that was one trinket we didn’t bring home from Mexico!

Do you have questions about someplace? I haven’t been everywhere – yet (LOL) but I’ve been to a few and might be able to answer some questions. I’m sure there’s plenty of places YOU have been to that I haven’t and I’d love to hear about those places as well. Who knows – maybe I’ll put it on my TOGO List! Happy Trails....