Trip Report-Puerto Vallarta

Mar 23rd, 2004, 03:58 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 100
Trip Report-Puerto Vallarta

My husband and I just returned from a 7 night stay in Puerto Vallarta.

We started our visit with 5 nights at the Quinta Maria Cortez...the place was wonderful. We stayed in Maria which was beautifully decorated, with two balconies and a lovely view of the ocean. The room had very interesting furniture and pictures and was flooded with votive candles. We loved the place so much that the first night we arrived we didn't even venture into town. There is a convenience store up the road...we bought some snacks and drinks there and made use of our kitchen, hanging out on the balcony of our lovely room. We talked to some fellow guests and were able to check out their rooms during our stay....all were great and unique in their own way. Each morning we woke to the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks and the smell of breakfast. A wonderful breakfast was included n the room rate....I had great Huevos Rancheros and French Toast coated in cinnamon...the breakfast menu would include pretty much any breakfast food you wanted (pancakes, eggs, etc.). The staff was very friendly, we really could not have asked for a better stay. Do bring bug spray though as rooms are completely open and I did get bitten quite a bit the first night. The beach there is very secluded which was nice...we took a walk into town and the beach there was quite crowded with vendors...was glad we were able to escape this....the area around Quinta Maria is quiet and mostly residential. There are a number of large rocks in the water by the hotel...a short walk away swimming is a bit easier. The hotel has a tiny pool we enjoyed to cool off on several days and as a bonus we had the pool all to ourselves as guests rarely made use of it. If anyone has questions about the place I would be more than happy to answer them. They have a web site...I believe it is I think the rooms look even prettier in person than on the web site. Go and enjoy.

We went into town once during the day to do some shopping, and three nights for dinner. It was about a $3 cab ride into could also walk on the beach into town during the day if you are able to climb over the rocks. Our worst dinner experience was at Kaiser Maximallian. Food was nothing special, and we opted to sit outside which was a bad call on our part...we were approached all throughout dinner by kids trying to sell us flowers, gifts, etc. The management of the restaurant did nothing to discourage this. Our experiences were better at El Arrayan and Le Bistro. At El Arrayan we enjoyed some interesting appetizers and a nice chocolcate flan...entrees were just ok. We really enjoyed the atmosphere at Le was right on the river, dimly lit with lots of ceiling fans...thought it was very romantic. They played jazz during dinner...after dinner we stayed to enjoy the great band that had begun to play. Hits and misses with the food....not great, but the atmosphere more than made up for this...was glad we had gone. Not cheap though...$10 drinks (but big drinks!) and my entree was $28 for 4 shrimp.

Next stop was Majahuitas for two nights. A boat picked us up just south of Puerto Vallarta in Boca de Tomatlan to take us to this secluded "resort". I had heard the place described as "rustic elegance" (place is solar electricity) but we felt it was more rustic than elegant. Again, like the other hotel we stayed in, our room was completely open. Because of this we saw many ants in our bathroom, and a few bugs on and around our bed, which was a bit too rustic for us. At over $300/night (including meals, not drinks) the room reminded me more of a camping experience on the beach than a resort stay. That being said, I do have to admit that there were certainly many aspects of the stay which won me over. For starters, the food was excellent. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were included in the room rate and were all really, really wonderful...made dealing with the little critters in our room much more tolerable. Evenings at the resort were quite lovely...the dining area was flooded with candles, as were all the walkways leading to the individual houses. The meals were definitely memorable. The amount of stars we saw at night were amazing and something I will never forget. We also really enjoyed kayaking in the ocean around the resort. I also enjoyed the best sleep of my vacation there. They do offer day trips for those who want to leave the resort during the stay. Again I would gladly answer any further questions anyone has about this resort.
travel3773 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 07:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Ok, your trip was $ wise opposite to mine.

We spent roughly $1000 in total for the week, for the two of us, including copious drinking, a boat cruise and a plane trip to San Sebastian. We stayed at Casa Andrea, $450US a week for a beautiful lush Mexican-style hotel apartment with pool. This included free internet, exercise machines, coffee and pastries in the morning, the most beautiful and peaceful ambiance, and caring staff, happy hour, pets, I could go on and on... !

Since we were smack in the middle of Olas Altas, cheap food abounded. How about a couple of tacos (each) from a street vendor, and 2 cold Dos Equis from Six, sitting on a curb, for a lunch costing roughly $6 for two? How about last night's leftover pizza for lunch the next day because we had a fridge? How about yogurt and juice from GR complementing the coffee from Andrea for a cheap breakfast? How about our most expensive meal being $11 for 8 shrimp, incl. side dishes, and salad bar? How about rather than getting tolerable food at a posh hotel restaurant, walking to Red Cabbage, dirt cheap, but waaay better, and yet being tempted to stop at a taco stand instead? How about ordering what you can eat instead of eating too much?
Carolred is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 08:33 PM
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I just e-read my response and it sounds snotty. I intended it to sound like an alternative to travel3773's obviously wonderful luxury vacation, just for others to get ideas. My apologies.
Carolred is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 05:32 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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My wife and I spent a week in Puerto Vallarta in August. While the weather was iffy, we liked the town's character and bought some nice Indian art at a decent price.

But I was really put off by the pushy vendors. It didn't matter whether they're were trying to sell timeshares or trinkets on the beach. The selling was endless and a lot of them wouldn't take a simple "no" for an answer. It got to the point where we didn't want to look a local resident in the eye anymore because simple eye contact often brought a sales pitch. Stopping to look at an item often brought a harangue if we started to walk away.

I've never been subject to such an endless barrage on any other trip we've taken to Mexico. There was nothing friendly about it.

Again, we liked the town itself. The people, however, just seemed to see us as their personal cash registers.
upfortravel is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 09:03 AM
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Interesting how *very* different people's experience can be in the same town. I've been to PV 15 times and stay in the Old Town in a hotel for >$40USD per night. The friendly local people are one of the highlights of every trip. Along with the great food mentioned by 'Carolred' we both go to the same places I can tell from her post!

I agree the timeshare thing has gotten out of hand and there certainly are vendors galore. But when you have spent more time there, stay in the same neighborhood so people recognize you, speak a little Spanish, shop inland away from the tourist areas it mitigates the situations that 'upfor travel' experienced.
suze is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 09:36 AM
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thanks for a very interesting report!
I will definitely consider Quinta Maria Cortez on our next visit to PV, especially since the great Camino REal has been turned into an AI...

Sorry to hear about you dinner at Maximillian -- we had a wonderful meal there, we were treated royally, but we did opt to eat inside...

Is Quinta Maria just south of town? Thanks!
Little_Man is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 11:42 AM
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Yes, Quinta Maria Cortez is south of town right on the beach at Conchas Chinas. If you started walking south on Playa Los Muertos and kept going you'd come to it. It looks more like a house than a hotel from beach-level.
suze is offline  
Oct 21st, 2004, 07:37 PM
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As for the vendors: We've been to PV 6 times and are going back in January. They are just trying to "make a living" and a "no" usually suffices. However, if you have ever been to Turkey, the vendors in PV look mild in comparison.

A sense of humor will go a long way to keep you from getting frustrated. When we were in Turkey, it finally occurred to us that the work ethic was really something to be admired. Guess it is all in your perspective.
pumpkin is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2004, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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You are so right. Time after time i read about how anoying they are etc. They are --but-- it's Mexico. It should never ruin a vacation over it thats for sure. When we were there in April we ate at La Palapa. We chose to have our dinner on the beach. Of course initially we were bombarded. A woman sitting near us with her husband and child moaned and groaned about the vendors.I was approached by a group of men with guitars wanting to sing a song for us. I asked them to play "Oye come va" by Santana. They did such a fabulous job and they themselves loved it, they really got into it! Not your traditional Mariachi music. The annoyed wifes husband was singing and clapping etc. He was really getting into it himself. By the end of the song " miss Annoyed "literly snapped her fingers, requested to sit inside and complained like there was no tomorrow. Free entertaintament for us ( the woman for looking so stupid) but it just goes to show you peoples tolerance levels.
lvitaly is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2004, 09:25 AM
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Here's my crazy suggestion for dealing with beach vendors... buy something!

Watch who's selling what and pick someone you like. Then keep the purchase with you for your day at the beach. I learned in Spanish "Only one per day" & said this with a smile when others approached later on.

For Mexican blankets I worked out a price fixed the first time with one delightful older man, and on several occasions bought another one from him (that's what everyone in my family got for Christmas that year!). He would recognize me and sometimes ask if I didn't need another, but by that point it was a joke between us.

If you really don't want to get involved, a simple "No gracias" maybe with a slight wave of the hand works.

Another polite method is wear your hat, sunglasses, don't look up & just keep reading your paperback book.

suze is offline  
Oct 28th, 2004, 10:31 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1
Casa Andrea seems like the place! I'm planning a trip next Spring break with my granddaughter and I know we're going to love it. I've stayed at Los Arcos, the old Fontana del Mar, and a few others; always like the south-of-the river Old Town locations. Casa Andrea promises to take my PV experience to a new level. Thanks for the good words!
stardog70 is offline  
Oct 29th, 2004, 08:45 AM
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Casa Andrea is lovely (I've stayed there twice) but very small and quite popular (for good reason!). Get in touch asap for reservations.
suze is offline  
Sep 1st, 2005, 04:54 PM
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travel3773 - I have many questions about Majahuitas. I am thinking of having my wedding there in 2006 and would like to hear your thoughts on what it might be like. My email address is [email protected]. Thanks!
jginaz is offline  
Sep 5th, 2005, 06:18 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 108
So good to hear such nice report on Quinta Marie, we stayed for one week in Aug. 1999. We were the only guests, and were told pick any room or suite you would like after arriving. We had wonderful service, and breakfast. By early afternoon we were the only people there at all,as the manager and maids had gone for the day. It was a wonderful visit.
Lisasnv is offline  
Jan 7th, 2006, 08:45 AM
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topping for drof's honeymoon
suze is offline  
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