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Old Town Puerto Vallarta May 2017

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May 22nd, 2017, 02:03 PM
  #1
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Old Town Puerto Vallarta May 2017

Just returned from a glorious two week trip staying in Zona Romantica. Opening this thread for any questions anyone may have about Puerto Vallarta, trip planning that I can help with, or information I might be able to update for you.
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May 22nd, 2017, 04:35 PM
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Two weeks in paradise goes faster than a New York Minute! That's why I spend months in Mexico.
Glad you had your normal great time.
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May 23rd, 2017, 07:05 AM
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Well Stewbear certainly I also would love so "spend months" in Mexico. Unfortunately my job would not be real happy about that!
;-)
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May 23rd, 2017, 12:56 PM
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Favorite "Restaurant Week" menu: Archie's Wok

Most consistent good food: Cafe de Olla

Best breakfast in town: Fredy's el Tucan

New to me: Merida Grill
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May 24th, 2017, 07:18 AM
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How many other places did you try for breakfast ?
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May 24th, 2017, 08:54 AM
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cabron~

Within the past two weeks besides two meals at Fredy's I went to:
Cafe de Olla
Salud
el Mole de Jovita
CoExist Cafe
Memo's Pancake House

Previous trip breakfast places I have tried include:
Vitea
Coco's Kitchen
Dianita
Daiquiri Dick's
The River Cafe
Cafesto
Johnny's Diner
La Palapa
Vayan Cafe

I'm sure I am forgetting some but those are other good places.
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May 24th, 2017, 09:52 AM
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Hopefully time will eventually allow you that opportunity Suze. Took 47 years of work before I got the privilege.
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Jun 2nd, 2017, 11:03 AM
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Hopefully, Stewbear. But at this time I am still gainfully employed full-time, so consider myself lucky to be able to be in Puerto Vallarta for 4-5 weeks total each year (two trips, spring and fall).
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Jun 5th, 2017, 04:33 PM
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<>


OK here goes...


It's hard to describe why I return year after year. It's like trying to define why you fall in love with one person but not another. It comes from the heart and Vallarta hit me hard from my very first visit in the early 90's when a friend took me.

I love Puerto Vallarta, the local people are warm, generous, welcoming, and I feel like I am "home" the minute I arrive in town. It smells different there, a dusty combination of bus fumes, ocean salt air, taco stands, tropical flowers. I am a more attractive, funnier, happier person when I am there.

The weather is clear, sunny, warm, breezy. The sunsets are amazing and everyone shows up to watch and clap as the sun hits the ocean horizon line. Mexican people are very affectionate and there are always teenagers making out in the plaza, on the nearest available bench, sitting on the street curb, crying, hugging, kissing. Lots of laughing, lots of crying in Mexico.

Iguanas walk under your lounger you when you are at the pool area of the apartment complex. Geckos run around inside the apartment sometimes.

What I do each day: get up, make coffee, shower and dress in workout clothes to be at the plaza by 8am for Zumba class with Fabi as the sun is coming up. Have an ice coffee at the book store and head to the studio for a second Zumba class at 10am with Fer.

Walk around town and do some errands & maybe food shopping to keep myself going for the day. Back up the hill to the apartment. Drink beer or make a cocktail and lay by the pool reading a book. Later on maybe take a siesta. Use ear plugs and turn up the radio on the local station to drown out the construction project across the street.

Shower and go back out again. Stop by the internet cafe to send my sister and friends my daily trip report email. Head to the Pier to watch the fishermen come in, and locals and tourists ending their day, wait for sunset. Go out to dinner somewhere or get food to go to take back to the apartment with a bottle of wine. Pick up a cup of ice cream at Lix.

If it's Tues or Thur stay sober instead & to go to Zumba at 7:30pm for the evening class with more advanced dancers and an extremely handsome male instructor. Dance my heart out. Pack dry clothes and change in the locker room after class to go out for a late meal somewhere nice on the way home.

Watch Mexican novellas (soap operas) on TV or read a book.

On Sunday evenings go to the main plaza to hear the municipal band play and watch the elder couples dance together as they have been doing for years. Then walk the Malecon and give some money to all the various street performers and artists and acrobats working the crowd.

Keep track of appointments: Meet an online friend from Fodor's or Trip Advisor for drinks or to share a meal that we've planned in advanced or texted/emailed to arrange while in PV.

Different trips depending on time of year different things come up. Keep track of special events around town:

A book signing/book reading and wine party at Page in the Sun by a local friend's visiting Canadian author friend. Attend the Anniversary Party at Lucy's Cucucabana shop where she and her (very funny) author husband Gil welcome everyone with a vat of margaritas and a banda live band playing on the sidewalk. See the Day of the Dead altars at the plaza. Walk in the Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe processions. Attend a Day of the Dead street party with local bands playing on a stage they've set up outside the brewery. Go see a two-woman play my Zumba friend has the lead in this season (Rosa de dos Aromas). Years ago I found a newspaper listing for a gallery opening to see work by and meet a woman painter who also sailed the Pacific solo and wrote a book about it but now lived in Vallarta.

I go to various Zumba events and fund raisers. One we were trying to get 500 people dancing under a full moon raising money for the orphanage out in a public park (we only got 365 people). Once a well-known guest instructor was in from Mexico City with his dozen backup dancers. That event did have 500 people between the participants and all the people hanging off their balconies watching us on a Friday night in a suburban town square. This trip there was a Mother's Day free class with 4 instructors and about 70 participants that I came across in the amphitheater one morning and joined.

Let's see... what I eat. This one gets me in "trouble" on this forum because for some reason people think you should eat only traditional, regional, Mexican food in Mexico.

I often go out for a sit down hot breakfast because I'm friendly with a couple cafe owners and it works well with my Zumba schedule. So American style breakfasts of eggs, toast, bacon, juice, coffee or Mexican style with sides of tortillas, beans, white cheese, fried plantains.

I eat a lot of fresh fish locally caught, it's simply prepared with garlic and butter, side of white rice and steamed vegetables is standard. I also eat prepared food from the Ley grocery store hot bar (Mexican styled meat or poultry stews, vegetables, rice) which is ridiculously inexpensive much to the dismay of one fancy restaurant owner friend. I eat yogurt, granola, sourdough bread from the Farmer's Market and lots of tropical fruits (you get those cut up from a street stall vendor, watermelon, mango, pineapple, cucumbers, etc. w/ lime juice and hot peppers optional).

Also I often eat (this is only for you annhig because I take grief over this every time I write about it) - hamburgers, fish burgers, chef salad, greek salad, nicoise salad with fresh seared tuna, pizza, lasagna, a club sandwich, Asian-fusion at Archie's - all depending where I am, who I'm with, and what I'm in the mood for.

I ride the local bus around often which is an adventure in and of itself. Maybe look for the post office to buy post card stamps.

I am often down in November for my birthday and if anyone gets wind of that you've never seen so much hugging, singing, and carrying on (whether at Zumba class, in a restaurant, whatever). I am honored in PV in a way that would never in one million years happen in Seattle WA.

I love that you make eye contact & speak to *everyone* you pass on the street each morning and everyone speaks to you. I've never seen so much "buenas dias"ing and "hola"ing in my life. It's wonderful. Doesn't matter is you're a punk teenager with earbuds or an old lady with a cooler of tamales to sell. You say hello to your fellow people as you pass.

That's my Puerto Vallarta...

siempre, Susana
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Jun 6th, 2017, 09:45 AM
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Also I often eat (this is only for you annhig because I take grief over this every time I write about it) - hamburgers, fish burgers, chef salad, greek salad, nicoise salad with fresh seared tuna, pizza, lasagna, a club sandwich, Asian-fusion at Archie's - all depending where I am, who I'm with, and what I'm in the mood for.>>

your holiday, your food, suze. I "confess" that when we were in Sri Lanka, along with the delicious curries, we also ate several club sandwiches, and drank plenty of tea, and in HK, we had egg and bacon for breakfast as well as a wonderful thai meal. Why not?

I'm not sure that it would be my ideal trip, but we all have different ideas about the perfect holiday; also you are more or less "at home" so there will be times when you just want to chill rather than to be "doing" all the time - a bit like us when we used to go to North Devon. And IME when you are in such a friendly place, the need to fill your time with activities is not present.

So thank you for sharing your Mexico with me suze, I appreciate it.
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Jun 6th, 2017, 09:52 AM
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Yes i am "home" in puerto vallarta that much is true. i hold no illusions that these trips (30+ and counting) are big adventure travel or some daring challenge.

i just move myself on down there and live my life in the sun for a couple weeks a couple times a year. Instead of my Seattle condo I rent a nice studio or 1 bedroom in Old Town. Instead of going to work every day, i walk around town, explore, relax, pool, beach, read. Do my Zumba classes same as at home just more of them & in a different setting with Mexican teachers and music. Actually have more of a social life there than at home because get out and meet up with people since i have more free time.
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Jun 6th, 2017, 02:27 PM
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It has been years since I experienced Puerto Vallarta, but I remember how warm and welcoming a place it was, with a great variety of food. Having read suze's enthusiastic description, I'd like to return.

Are you going to retire to PV, suze?
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Jun 6th, 2017, 02:28 PM
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yes i am, at least part-time
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Jun 6th, 2017, 04:53 PM
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That's a wonderful life to look forward to!
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Jun 6th, 2017, 05:02 PM
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thank you! it is!!
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Jun 6th, 2017, 05:29 PM
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Well told, suze. Obviously, you've found your spot.

Back in college I had a professor (he was also a popular writer) who told us how he spent January between semesters with a like-minded group of friends down in PV. I always wished I'd gone down to check it out myself.

Well, I'm going this February -- better late than never. A friend of mine who will be there at the same time (though staying longer) thought this might be a good hotel for my wife and I. http://www.casadonasusana.com/index.html Do you know it?
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Jun 6th, 2017, 05:41 PM
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Casa dona Susana is in the heart of construction and I would not stay there because of this. You can use the sister hotel on the beach called Playa Los Arcos, but it is kid heaven (think screaming kids all crammed in a pool all day/night long). Could never convince my husband to do a free day pass there it was that loud and crazy. Also, some people have received terrible rooms there, so I wouldn't stay there right now. The serene atmosphere at their adults only rooftop pool is gone now with the construction happening.
I love PV and will continue to go (have been going for over 20 years and 20 plus times), but won't stay in those areas right now. Just too hectic.
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Jun 6th, 2017, 06:04 PM
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Thanks, that's very useful information.
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Jun 6th, 2017, 08:25 PM
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'This one gets me in "trouble" on this forum because for some reason people think you should eat only traditional, regional, Mexican food in Mexico.'
Not from me, that's for sure. I've mentioned before that on my Spotify playlists I've got Los Panchos, Marco Antonio Solis, mixed with John Prine, Little Feat, & Tommy James. Food is the same. Variety is good. Mexican food is not just gorditas and carnitas. Mexican food is also what Mexicans eat. Mexicans love their burgers and hot dogs and pizza almost as much as tamales and tacos. Almost. In one of my favorite big cities, Leon, the centro historico has more pizza stalls than any place I've seen in Mexico. Plus McDonald's. Eat what the hell you want. You're on vacation.
PS, suze did you ask and answer your own question here?
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Jun 7th, 2017, 07:59 AM
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baldone~ Someone in the Lounge asked me to do a trip report so this thread I had already opened seemed like as good a place as any to write it.


Fra~ maried11 beat me to it. Yes I know it. Casa Dona Susana is a sweet traditional Mexican hotel but it is in between two huge loud high rise condos going up right now. So at the moment not a good choice. My trip was just a couple weeks ago and I stayed two blocks above CdS at Selva Romantica and walked past daily. I'm happy to write a list of hotel options for February if you want me to? I can still give a dozen good choices in that price range, taking into account the construction sites in the neighborhood. Any interest in a condo?
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