BLUE-EYED BOY IN MEXICO
Banderas Bay, the Bay of Flags, as the Spanish called it, is a sparkling crescent of powdery white sands and gentle waters along the southern Pacific. 62 miles long, it stretches from Cabo Corrientes in the south to Punta Mita in the north with the amazing tourist mecca of Puerto Vallarta right in the middle.
Formed by a volcano eons ago, today it is filled with happy tourists, world-class hotels, culinary hot spots, visiting cruise ships, jaw-dropping yachts and the best Tacos you will ever eat in your life. I sometimes imagine what the Spanish must have thought when they came out of the hills and first saw it in 1525. Misty mountains running down to the waters, teeming with Humpback Whales, Giant Manta Rays, Dolphin, Marlin and Sailfish leaping through the waves. On the same latitude as Hawaii, the waters are warm and inviting and make this a paradise for fisherman, sun worshippers, and fun seekers all year long.
The weather is always great here in Puerto Vallarta, but especially right now when the nights are sweater cool, your AC unit is on siesta and the days are still sunny, wonderful and warm. If you want to do everything there is to do in this magical place, you’ll need more than 2 weeks or a month or even a lifetime. So if you’ve had your coffee and have your energy up, come and spend the day with me.
We’ll start by driving, taxi or bus, south of PV to the funky and fun little village of Boca de Tomatlan. A collection of small shops, casa and apartments at the mouth of a fast running mountain stream that flows right into the bay. It always makes me feel like Robinson Crusoe when I ford the little stream and cross to the beach. You can spend a great day sunning, swimming or enjoying the authentic dishes the restaurants along the beach are serving along with their generous tropical drinks and ice cold cervezas.
Walk to the pier and take a water taxi to Yelapa Beach, accessible only by boat, and you’ll feel like you’re on Fantasy Island when you get there. Chose a cozy place, pull up a chaise and order some snacks. If you’re feeling brave like I did one day, call the Iguana man over and hug one, the size of a small dog. Once I did it, my new BF, spent the day on the chaise next to me. It made me laugh that it took me so long to stop being a chicken and do it.
Got a pair of hiking shoes with you? Hike to the waterfall, watch the birds fly through the air with the greatest of ease and join them in flying through the canopy on the Zip Line tour. After that, you may want to try the Tequila Tour. It seems, in addition to turning grasses into corn, these ingenious peoples figured out how to turn agave into tequila. Both of which, I believe, deserve the Nobel Prize
If you’re a water being, you’ll be in heaven. You can dive and snorkel in the warm waters, be in the company of playful dolphins, look out and see the whales breach, the seabirds soar, the pelicans dive. You can paddle a board, ride the waves, splash around, take a little sail or just plop down in a handmade hammock and watch the world go by.
When you’re ready to come in closer to town, save up your energy. You can take a sunset cruise of the bay, shiver your timbers and board the pirate ship, then plunder some Tacos on the Tacos After Dark Tour, walk or bike the Malecon, walk through the romantic zone with all its luxury hotels and galleries, shops, and eateries, from bargain to banquet. Practice your Spanish and the art of bargaining.
There are markets most days that range from where the locals go for fruits and veggies, blender parts or shoelaces like Mercado Emiliano Zapata or to my favorite in La Cruz on Sunday mornings for a gourmet selection of foods and goods. Bring your pesos, because bargains and beauty are in every stall and on every table. On Saturday, at Olas Alas, right outside the lovely Church of Our Lady Guadalupe, you can treat yourself to delicacies of every type, sip a free-range organic coffee with some churro on the side while the tower bells call to the faithful. Visit the Museo del Cuale and view their collection of pre-hispanic ceramics dating from 2,000-5,000 B.C.E. or visit the Naval Museum to learn how ships were built and what it would have been like to board one and sail to the new world.
Nature lovers will love the Estero El Salado, an urban estuary home to native fish, reptiles, animals, birds, green iguanas, and river crocs. And visit the boat in only places, like Las Caletas and Quimixto that will bring you back to nature the way it was before all of us. If all that beach makes you long for the mountains, 15 minutes from town will bring you to Rancho El Chacro where you can horseback ride the Sierra Madres. Or just say, “maybe manana,” it will all be there when you’re ready.
I’ve been here over 2 years now, the happiest 2 years in my life, and I haven’t scratched the surface of everything there is to do. I do, however, scratch myself every so often. to be sure I’m really here and it’s all not just a wonderful dream. Best of all, it’s one you can have and one I would love to share with you.
If you’re thinking of rewarding yourself for all your hard work, raising your kids and living your life well, spend some time with the happiness merchants at Coldwell-Banker at the Marina PV. They have the listings you are looking for, the expertise you are hoping for and the ease of making a life in PV, full or part-time, a reality.
I have roamed the world from Asia to Europe, South America and beyond and never found a place that makes life so rich and rewarding and down right fun as Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The weather, the food, the physical beauty and the beauty of the people are what makes this place so special. Choices are what makes life so exciting when you choose to keep on living and growing and enjoying. My advice, do it. But of course, the choice is yours.
Come share my dream.