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Suze: Can you tell me about your trips to Puerta Vallarta?

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Jul 24th, 2014, 10:36 AM
  #1
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Suze: Can you tell me about your trips to Puerta Vallarta?

What airline do you fly out of Seattle? When do you go? Where do you stay? (Do you own a condo or timeshare, and if not, do you stay at the same hotel/ condo all the time or frequently?)

I want to use my Alaska miles for at least part of the trip, but they don't go to Cancun until November 6. I can get a decent flight on October 28th or 29th on United or some other airline and then use miles to return on Alaska.

I want to be in Mexico for Day of the Dead, but I need to return home before Thanksgiving.

Just exploring options.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 10:56 AM
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Sure, I'd love to!

(also you can click on my screen name, I start a new thread on this forum after every trip, there are 4 fairly recent ones you can read thru, including other posters contributions on the topic).

Airlines: Most recently two trips am using Alaska Air because they run a once-a-day non-stop that is perfect. Leaves 9am gets in 3:30 local time. That's something new. Before that I used US Air thru Phoenix because it was the best price and schedule for many years.

believe me I don't own anything ;-)

My favorite budget hotel is Hotel Posada de Roger. I've stayed there at least a dozen times. Rooms are ~$50/night depending on time of year and how many people in a room. It's a couple blocks inland from the main public beach Playa Los Muertos.
http://hotelposadaderoger.com/

I have also stayed at Casa Andrea.
http://www.casa-andrea.com/
It's a quiet B&B. Haven't stayed there for awhile, but walk by often and it looks the same. The casitas have kitchens and face a courtyard garden, pool area. The owner Andrea lives on-site much of the time. Not sure current prices, maybe ~$100/night?

My most recent experience, the past three trips I rented fabulous apartments thru this agency someone on the Trip Advisor forum kindly introduced me to. Excellent!
www.vallarta-getaways.com
Click on Unique Old Town Rentals to see the kinds of things available. I stayed at el Escondido but they also have units are several other condo complexes (Posada Rio Cuale, Loma del Mar, Selva Romantica). One small warning is that some of the places are WAY up on top of a hill and involved quite a bit of walking, steep steps, etc. so perhaps not the best if there are any mobility issues. Posada Rio Cuale is down on the flat.

Peg, please feel free to ask any other specific questions you may have. I love to talk "PV".
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Jul 24th, 2014, 10:59 AM
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Oops, missed on part, WHEN do I go.

I always try to be there for 10-14 days in early November for my birthday. My other favorite month is May. These are both technically "off-season" as far as room pricing (rents can often double in "high season" Dec thru April) but good weather. Probably the only time I would not go it Aug/Sept because it's rainy season and very hot and humid. Early December is great because there's the Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe which is amazing to see and take part in (processions thru the street in the evenings, floats, live music, marching bands, food booths, etc.)
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Jul 25th, 2014, 06:47 AM
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Thanks, Suze. I've been checking other posts you've started and will continue to do so.
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Jul 25th, 2014, 08:52 AM
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I'm going down that same time this year (I think it's my 23rd or so trip to PV, since I first went in the early 90's).

I don't have information yet but am going to research about Day of the Dead there. I know it's not a huge deal in Puerto Vallarta, like some other towns/cities, but that it is celebrated/honored there is some way.

I think the biggest thing in considering PV for a vacation is to know it is a regular Mexican city, not only a beach resort destination. Pop is around 250,000 so a sizeable place. My trips there are more about the town and the (extremely friendly) local people, music, food, dance, art galleries, local events, not so much laying around on a deserted beach. It's a vibrant, hussle & bussle, busy kind of place.
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Jul 25th, 2014, 03:59 PM
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I saw some other posts that mentioned the Day of the Dead, but I'll have to go back to them to refresh my memory.

I may just have to wait for a later time to experience the Day of the Dead.I had hoped to use Alaska Airlines frequent flyer miles for the flight, but they don't fly until Nov.6. I may fly one way with another airline on Oct. 28 or 29 and then back with Alaska miles.

I am not interested in beaches. For me it's the culture, the people, music, dance, architecture, history, Mayan ruins, as you say, the local events, etc.. Also, it's a time to practice speaking Spanish.

Mérida sounds interesting to me for all those reasons. San Cristobal de las Casas also, but especially for architecture.
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Jul 26th, 2014, 08:53 AM
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Those are both interesting destinations, but to my mind would take a little more research and somewhat more complicated logistics to put a trip together.

Going to PV is really easy and has all you ask for (except no Mayan ruins on that side of the country). The airport is right in the city and there's good public transportation.

Locals are very kind about speaking Spanish with you, they really appreciate the effort (sorry I'm not sure how fluent you are, I barely bumble around with some basics and still am warmly received for trying).

Possibly would your miles work if you came thru Seattle? The Horizon Spokane/Seattle flight then connecting to Alaska Air for Seattle/PVR? I know those are operating before Nov 6th because I'm on one end of Oct whoohoo!
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Jul 26th, 2014, 11:03 AM
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Hmmm...I didn't ask about an Alaska flight to PV--just about one to Cancun. Maybe I should think about going to PV at the end of this October and then flying to Cancun from PV after a few days or just waiting till next year for Cancun and spending the whole time in PV.

Whatever I decide to do, I will fly out of Seattle.

My Spanish isn't by any means fluent, but I went to a Spanish-speaking group last night that meets at a restaurant and did just fine. I need to review my preterite and imperfect verb forms, but I enjoyed it. One of the regulars, a gentleman from Madrid, told me I communicated, so I shouldn't worry.

Funny thing, but twice in the past couple of years when I was at N gate at SeaTac I was able to help people from Mexico who spoke no English. I was thrilled. In both cases it was accidental.

The first time, I was in that train that takes you to N gate, and a Japanese woman who apparently spoke no English was showing me her gate pass and asking if the gate coming up was the right gate. I was telling her that it was, when this Mexican woman saw me helping and asked about her flight, which had been postponed for several hours, so that she would miss her connecting flight.

Then a Mexican man came and asked the same thing. I talked to the agent, who was busy and brushed me off. I told the Mexican people that I was going to have breakfast, but that I'd come back and help in half an hour.

When I got back, someone else had helped. Anyway, it was cool being able to allay their fears, even though I wasn't the one to solve their problem.

I haven't clicked on your hotel/accommodation links yet, but I will do so now and then get back to you to ask questions.
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Jul 26th, 2014, 11:49 AM
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I spent 5 weeks in PV last winter which I enjoyed very much- did a home exchange with a friend who lives there.
We toured the Posada de Roger and agree it is very cute, well located hotel- would stay there in a heartbeat but hope to do another home exchange over Thanksgiving.

I speak no Spanish either but managed OK as most everyone in the tourist industry speaks some English- although once we were in a cab and the driver did not really understand where we wanted to go- but he stopped another cab driver and between us, we figured it out.

I have friends who have moved there and are loving their experience.
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Jul 26th, 2014, 02:04 PM
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I have never had a problem communicating in Puerto Vallarta because everyone's so very friendly. Even dealing with street vendors, say if there was a problem figuring something out they'd just call people over until someone speaks enough English to help.

One favorite example of PV-style "customer service" is one evening in a restaurant I ordered a 7up/Sprite. It was taking a little while to come to the table. I realized they didn't have any and had run out to a corner store to buy a can!
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Jul 26th, 2014, 04:07 PM
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Suze: That's really sweet. Sunburn: Also very nice.
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Jul 27th, 2014, 08:48 AM
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Suze: I don't suppose you have used a guidebook since you've been to PV so many times. I have one for the Yucatán, but when I tried to find one for Mexico in general, all I saw was a big fat Lonely Planet.

I don't want to carry a two-pound book, so I didn't buy it.

How do you find what's going on in PV? Or do you just depend on stumbling on something when you're out and about?

Do you stay in PV all the time, or do you make excursions to other places?
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Jul 27th, 2014, 09:04 AM
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hi Peg, I always stay just right in town myself, but there certainly are lots of excursions available if you were interested (south to Boca, north to Bucerias, inland to San Sebastian, up to San Blas, etc.) to other towns north, south, and inland. Either thru organized providers like Superior Tours or Vallarta Adventures or that you could plan on your own by bus. Even Gudalajara is only a 4-5 hour bus ride and available as an overnight excursion with Superior Tours.

www.vallarta-info.com has great maps and is a solid website to use. The Trip Advisor PV forum is very active and helpful too.

There's a weekly tourist newpaper "Mirror" or "Tribune" in English that has calendar listings of events. They pass them out at the airport and you'll find them in stacks at various restaurants. That's where I've found things to do like going to an art gallery opening, book signing, street party, anniversary party of a shop that was open to the public, free walking tour of the Malecon statues, Spanish lessons, things like that.

And yes sometimes I just come upon things that are happening like music, dance, food events.

Guidebooks just can't keep up-to-date with local happenings although they are good for maps and general reading about the area. I like the Moon Handbook one best. But Fodor's has one too. Both specific to PV and a reasonable size to pack.

There is a tourist information bureau kitty-corner from the main church in the government building there (the church with the crown on the top that you often see in PV photos) where you can pick up a map or get more ideas.
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Jul 27th, 2014, 10:01 AM
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I like the Moon one, also. Otherwise, you don't have to carry the whole guidebook with you if you are only going to one place, just take out the pages of the place you are going, they are generally altogether in one section. And limit it to the pages that you will need for sightseeing, etc (eg, I don't take the hotel sections if I've already picked my hotel).
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Jul 28th, 2014, 07:31 PM
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Sorry to keep bugging you, but I'm curious about how you spend your day in PV. If you could give me a sample day, I'd really appreciate it.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 09:22 AM
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While you are waiting for Suze to respond ( which will include a lot of rumba)- I will give you some info on what I did. I don't know if we had a typical day- every day was different.

We lived on a rather steep hill and we did a lot of walking. I am not an early riser, so after breakfast and a few cups of coffee and looking out to sea, we would walk down the hill and head for the beach or the Malecon- we did a lot of walking. We hung out at the Sea Monkey quite a bit where they have $1 margaritas and as long as you order a little bit to eat, you can spend most of the day there under the umbrellas. People come and bring board games and it was easy to strike up conversations with other people.

We learned to ride the local bus and rode it out to the end of the line to the town of Boca where we spent the day at the beach.

We took a tour to the mining town of San Sebastian with Vallarta Adventures one day- very interesting.

We took the water taxi to Yelepa for a day- more beach time but there is a town and waterfall to explore as well.

We went out on a dive boat and went snorkeling.
We went to the zoo

We took a non city bus ( more like our Greyhound) to some of the northern villages and spent the day.

We did some shopping of course.

A few days I just stayed home and read.

There just seemed there was something fun and interesting to us to do every day. There is a lot of theatre, music, art- as well. We went to an amateur theatre and 2 of the actors were from our home town in Oregon.

I found it a very easy place to entertain myself
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Jul 29th, 2014, 09:40 AM
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You're not bugging me, Peg. I love to talk about Puerto Vallarta.

Here's a typical day:

8-9am go to Zumba in the L. Cardenas plaza with Faby and the gang. Workout, laugh, dance. Or to class at The Fit Club gym.

...after that change into dry clothes and have a nice hot breakfast at Fredy's el Tucan (at Posada Roger hotel).

Take a walk around town. Maybe head up to Ley's grocery store (and bus or taxi back) or pick up some food for the day at Los Mercados (fantastic deli).

I haven't done it yet but on Tuesdays there's a free walking tour about the Malecon statues at 9:30 would be interesting.

Or there always seem to be a few errands, going to the ATM, check out the fabric store or stationery shop, walk to Woolworth's, pick up some body lotion or aloe vera, like that.

If it's Saturday, go to the Farmers Market.

Ride a bus around somewhere.

Head back to my apartment, have some lunch, and sit out by the pool and read a book for a few hours. Maybe have a short siesta.

In the evening take a walk around again, head to the beach for sunset, then have a nice dinner somewhere.

I keep an eye out for events like gallery openings, street parties, book signings, so will have a few planned activities along those lines in the evenings.

Or take another Zumba class or participate in a public event (last time I went to a huge Zumba-fest over in Pitillal with hundreds of people dancing in the square on a Friday evenings).

M-F at 7pm if I'm home I like to watch the current TV novella (Mexican soap operas) in Spanish. They're hysterical!

Stroll the Malecon. Get an ice cream. Read a book.

Sleep... repeat
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Jul 29th, 2014, 10:09 AM
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sunbum~~ I love your activities and adventures. You really did a lot of interesting things! Great ideas for Peg.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 11:14 AM
  #19
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Thanks, both of you. I was wondering about activities, since I'm not a beach person. Sounds pretty low key, which is just what I want. But it also sounds like you find plenty to do.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 11:19 AM
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I wanted to do a PV food tour but ran out of time

http://www.vallartafoodtours.com
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