Just back from Puerto Vallarta - Nov 2013 edition

Old Nov 17th, 2013, 09:03 AM
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Just back from Puerto Vallarta - Nov 2013 edition

hola mi amigos- Just returned from 10 glorious days in my beloved Puerto Vallarta, so here is my new thread for this most recent trip.

The weather was HOT, from 82-87 degree range but hit 95 at couple days (people were checking on their phones and said so). HOT and sweaty! It was overcast without ever burning off just two days. Overcast but cleared up maybe three others. The rest sunny all day. A few rain showers here and there. And even an earthquake (a 4.1 which I slept thru!).

I am going to separate my topics into subsequent posts to this thread... let's see I need: riding the local busses, restaurants, Zumba classes, grocery shopping, the apartment, souveniers and gifts, airport, taxis, things other people did and liked, and so on.

Please feel free to jump in if anyone is traveling soon, or has any specific questions I might be able to help with. siempre, suze
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Old Nov 17th, 2013, 03:27 PM
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PVR (the airport)

Arriving the airport was smooth and easy. Things are looking so modern and fresh there recently. Immigration desk, restroom, baggage claim, customs (red light/green light), the quick walk thru the timeshare sales area, all a breeze.

The taxi booths are even now computerized (besides having set zone rates). I had peso in hand so 260p and off to my apartment on the southside I went.

There's a new OXXO in the airport parking lot (which I didn't use) but could come in handy for people, to grab a few supplies, a drink, or as a meeting spot as there were quite a few outdoor tables.

It was overcast and hot that afternoon, but as always I could not have been more thrilled to have arrived back in Vallarta.
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Old Nov 17th, 2013, 04:05 PM
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Restaurants

2 new restaurants people love that I'm going to recommend even though I did not have a chance to try them myself:

*Serrano* for steak, seafood, breakfast, at the beach corner overlooking Parque Lazaro Cardenzas.
*Old Town Bistro* in the old Nacho Daddy's space at B. Badillo 180.
Both are white table cloth places that look very inviting both in atmosphere and menu. OTB is having a Thanksgiving buffet for 295p and the menu looked fantastic.

2 more I want to include that I love and missed this trip but can pretty much guarantee will be excellent for you are:
*Coco's Kitchen* on Pulpito
*Joe Jack's Fish Shack* on B. Badillo

OK now for places I actually went to this trip ;-)

*Fredy's El Tucan* at Posada Roger hotel corner of I. Vallarta and B. Badillo. It has an excellent breakfast (lunch too). I managed to get there 4 times because I love it so much. I always sit on the outdoor patio, sometimes I had to wait just a few minutes for a table. I try to go to Fredy's when it's not really busy (sometimes there is a too long wait out on the sidewalk on weekends or prime times in high season). Lots of menu variety, with both American and Mexican choices. Why I love this place so much... it's consistency, organization, cleanliness, friendly servers, and high food quality. There's no place else in town like it. It is equally popular with locals which is always a good sign.

*Salud* Super Food in the old Mama Delores spot at Olas Altas 534A. I had a fabulous fruit smoothly for breakfast one morning. Everything looked so nice and fresh. Great welcome feeling. Breakfasts, sandwiches, salads.

*Cafe Bohemio* is where ended up there my first night. Had a nice garlic mahi mahi entree and a margarita. Wasn't too busy. Staff is always nice, food was decent (nothing amazing but fine for the price) and I am a sucker for any outdoor courtyard setting. There's is sweet and good people watching too.

*Cafe de Olla* an long time personal favorite of mine (they have "made it" for 20 years, according to the tshirts staff was wearing). This is another popular place so I go at off-hours, say between 2-4pm. The margaritas are the best I had anywhere. Sometimes I stop in just for a drink to cool off in their near frigid AC in the back room. If I eat, I order the sopes which are hand-made and delish. I'm always solo and their waiters are always so kind to me.

*Memo's Casa de Hotcakes* stopped in for one breakfast (pancakes) mostly because I wanted to buy coffee from their beans/roaster. It's a fun place but always seems a bit unorganized (my order usually gets mixed up somehow, or the waiters are confused who is waiting on who, like that). No biggie, and I still recommend it if pancakes are what you're after.

*Casa Fantasia* Pino Suarez 203 is where I ended up my last night. This is a B&B that opened a appealing looking restaurant on their courtyard patio around the fountain (why I chose to try it). Limited menu, nice enough food preparation, a charming waiter, but overall this place needs work to be competitive. Just did not run smoothly or seem like they knew what they were doing there (yet).

*Sea Monkey* on the beach. Favorite place for hanging out on Los Muertos for the day. They have cheap ($1) beer and margaritas (mine marg was good but someone else at a different time called theirs "seawater" -lol). Get there early in the day for a front row (to the ocean) set up of sling chair, foot stool, umbrella, table. I had tempura shrimp for lunch and it was very good. This is true beachfront, so excellent for shopping if you're in the mood, not so good if you mind the vendors approaching (if so, sit back further or on the other side of the sidewalk actually in the restaurant seating).
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Old Nov 18th, 2013, 11:36 AM
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Zumba schedule

Faby Lopez, 9am Mon-Fri
Parque Lazaro Cardenas at Olas Altas
15 peso

Hugo Cortes, 9am Mon/Wed/Fri, 8pm Tu/Th
The Fit Club
just south of the southbound bridge on I. Vallarta
120 peso

Efren Munoz
J&B Salsa Club ('hota bay')
Medina Ascencio 2043 in the hotel zone
7:10pm Mon/Tu/Wed/Th
50 peso

Maria
Paradise Community Center
on Pulpito across from Coco's Kitchen
9:45am Tu/Wed/Th/F
30 peso
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 06:07 PM
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Freddy's was/is always a fav of mine.
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Old Nov 21st, 2013, 07:02 AM
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hola Stewbear- You'd be truly amazed at all the changes in Vallarta, especially if you haven't been in awhile or even a couple years. The Malecon extension to the south-side, the (ugly) new pier at Los Muertos, etc. Fortunately the friendly local people and warm welcoming atmosphere are still the same.
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Old Nov 21st, 2013, 10:27 PM
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suze, you are obviously very familiar with PV. How did you find the experience of having an apartment versus a hotel room?
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Old Nov 22nd, 2013, 08:47 AM
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Not Suze but I seldom use hotels in Mexico. I have a townhouse in Zihuatanajo but usual travel a lot each year. Last year I spent a month at a wonderful house (4 bedrooms 3 baths, roof top patio) in Guanajuato for under $350 US. This year I have a small apartment rented in Oaxaca for $500 US the month of February.
Love being in the community, having a kitchen etc. In Morelia I always stay at a lovely apartment with all the extras (TV, WiFi etc) for under $400 a month.
Just my Dos Pesos.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2013, 09:39 AM
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WillTravel, I love the apartment building I have stayed at the past 3 times. But in the past I hadn't had such good experience with apartments a couple times (too far from the beach, just not very nice for the price, etc.) and moved back to my usual budget hotel.

So I think it depends the exact circumstance of the rentals, more than I could answer a definitive preference for one or the other.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2013, 09:11 AM
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The cost for my 10 day trip (1 person) complete total everything included was $2245. A nonstop flight Seattle/PVR on Alaska. A very nice one bedroom apartment in zona romantica. All transportation (taxis to/from airports 4 times plus frequent local taxis and bus in PV). At least one meal per day in a restaurant. Other food from grocery store, deli, roast chicken, bakeries, etc. Plenty of beer and margaritas, both out and at home. About $275 in shopping and souveniers.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2013, 10:33 AM
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Thanks Stewbear and suze. For stays of those lengths, an apartment definitely seems like the way to go.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2013, 07:16 PM
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For WillTravel, below is the rental agency I use. Take a peak and you can see for yourself the kinds of apartments available (mine were under Unique Old Town Rentals)
www.vallarta-getaways.com
You can especially find good deals from May-early Nov which is considered low-season for PV. High-season Dec thru April rates are higher. Vallarta is a LOT more expensive than the rates Stewbear quoted for some other locations.
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Old Nov 24th, 2013, 05:44 PM
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In Zihuatanejo you Can spend up to $2,000 a week (or more) for a beach front apartment.rental. In my Complex average rent for a 1 bedroom,2 bath, kitchen, Living/dining (usually a pull out couch with a patio will run about $1,000 a week for large units 2 & 3 bedrooms up to twice that.
There are great rentals off the beach with WiFi, Cable, AC, kitchenette, bedroom, living room for as little as $300 a month.
I find cost overall (food, rent etc) about 30 % less in Zihua than PV. Of course Acapulco is even cheaper& inland cities less than that.
PS I have a partner (my dearest friend) & we agreed Not to rent our unit when we purchased it. Keeping it for ourselves.
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