We are here in Puerto Vallarta, México for five days.  Three of them are being spent attending a conference, then we have two days to explore!

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on the Bahía de Banderas.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on the Bahía de Banderas.

Pro tip: practice pronouncing “Puerto Vallarta” like the natives.  The “ue” in Puerto is sounded as in “pueblo”; stick your lips out.  Vallarta is pronounced vay-yarta, with the “v” soft, almost a “b”.  Or, if you read the International Phonetic Alphabet: pweɾto βaˈʎaɾta.

The Westin Puerto Vallarta Hotel

Our view from the Westin Puerto Vallarta, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Our view from the Westin Puerto Vallarta, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

We are staying at the Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta, a resort hotel situated directly on the Bahía de Banderas, looking out over the Pacific Ocean. The view from our room is amazing.  Note the extensive pools below.

Enjoying the pool at the resort.

Enjoying the pool at the resort.

Which is where we are spending our afternoon, enjoying the warm water and the swim-up bars.

After a while, we towel off and stroll down to the beach.

A beach wedding, Puerto Vallarta style.

A beach wedding, Puerto Vallarta style.

There’s a small crowd, and a bride and groom as getting married.  Awwwwwww.  Oh, wait.  There’s yet another wedding happening on the next spit!  I wonder how many folks are getting married here in Puerto Vallarta tonight?  Well, I’m sure each couple feels that “today” is special, and I think they are right.

A pirate crew enjoys the sunset.

A pirate crew enjoys the sunset.

The sun sets, and a pirate ship sails past, headed for some pillaging, I’m sure.  (Actually, the boat is running under power, but if I wrote, “…a pirate ship motors past…” it wouldn’t have the same buccaneer spirit.)

Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascencio

The next day, following the conference, we set out on foot to explore the city, walking south from the hotel along Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascencio.

A thatched roof in the city.

A thatched roof in the city.

Hidden in the apartments and houses in Puerto Vallarta is a building with a thatched roof. We don’t know if it’s actually thatched or just a covering for style.

Locals relaxing in their home above the river.

Locals relaxing in their home above the river.

Even though we love living in California, there is something to be said for a life-style where you can just open your door and enjoy a river running through a tropical forest.

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, one of Puerto Vallarta’s icons.

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, one of Puerto Vallarta’s icons.

The late afternoon sun highlights Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, one of the town’s icons.  However, it’s too late in the day for us to visit.

The Friendship Fountain, aka the Dancing Dolphins Fountain.

The Friendship Fountain, aka the Dancing Dolphins Fountain.

The Friendship Fountain sits along our journey.  A lovely respite on our long walk.

El Niño Sobre el Caballo de Mar on the south end of Los Muertos beach.

El Niño Sobre el Caballo de Mar on the south end of Los Muertos beach.

El Niño Sobre el Caballo de Mar on the south end of Los Meurtos beach marks the end of our trek.  

Mural at the Magna-Magna Restaurant.

Mural at the Magna-Magna Restaurant.

We look for an out-of-the-way restaurant, and stumble upon Magna-Magna.  Yummy.

Road Trip!

The conference is over, and it’s time to explore!  We go to the hotel lobby and find the car rental kiosk.

“We’d like to rent a car.”

“I’m sorry, señor, we don’t have any cars.”

<pause>

<with a smile> “Maybe you should take the day off…”

“Oh!  We have Hummers!”

“Okay.  We’d like to rent a Hummer.”

“One moment, señor.” <speaks on phone in Spanish> “We do not have any Hummers. But they have some at the hotel next to us.”

We walk over to the hotel and go to their car rental kiosk. 

“We’d like to rent a car.”

“I’m sorry, señor, we don’t have any cars.”

<light bulb above my head>

“We’d like to rent a Hummer.”

And so, we rent a vehicle in Puerto Vallarta, México that can barely be contained within the lanes of the some of the streets.

Our Hummer.

Our Hummer.

Santuario De La Iguana Verde

Our first stop is at the Green Iguana Sanctuary.  This is where “The Night of the Iguana” was filmed, for obvious reasons.

Santuario de la Iguana Verde.

Santuario de la Iguana Verde.

This sign doesn’t seem to make sense.  Literally, “The person who is surprised by adding them will be severely sanctioned.” However, if you change añandolas to bañandolas, it means “bathe” or “bathing them”.  Perhaps swimming? We don’t know.

What’s on the menu at the Iguana Oasis Restaurant.

What’s on the menu at the Iguana Oasis Restaurant.

We hope this guy is not on the menu….

It is a beautiful place to explore, with iguanas!  Lots and lots of iguanas!

Tepic, México

We continue our trip, fortuitously stopping in the town of Tepic. It’s quiet here today, and we park near the town square where the Catedral de la Purísima Concepción is located.

Catedral Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción in Tepic, Mexico.

Catedral Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción in Tepic, México.

The Catedral de la Purísima Concepción. is open for visitors today, and we proceed inside.

A worshipping station in a transept in the Catedral Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción.

A worshipping station in a transept in the Catedral Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción.

It’s a quiet as a church in here, with few other visitors.  We take photographs, careful to disturb no one.

The central nave of the Catedral Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción.

The central nave of the Catedral Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción.

The interior is beautiful, lit almost completely from natural light.

A wall painting in the Catedral Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción.

A wall painting in the Catedral Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción.

We are not sure who this fellow is, but he seems unconcerned with his predicament.

A lovely stained glass window.

A lovely stained glass window.

The stained glass window shows a representation of Sacratissimum Cor Iesu, one of the most widely practiced and well-known Roman Catholic devotions, taking Jesus Christ′s physical heart as the representation of his divine love for humanity.

A worshipping station in the Catedral Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción.

A worshipping station in the Catedral Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción.

Apparently, the icon is flammable…we suppose the local people know the symbolism, but there is no explanation available to us.

Parque la Loma in Tepic, Mexico.

Parque la Loma in Tepic, México.

We leave the cathedral and visit the lovely Parque la Loma, easily denoted by all the bright red fixtures.

Parque la Loma’s Frog Fountain.

Parque la Loma’s Frog Fountain.

Sometimes these frogs spout water from their mouths, but not today.  😥 

A fertility statue in the Parque la Loma in Tepic, Mexico.

A fertility statue in the Parque la Loma in Tepic, México.

We pose in front of a fertility statue at the park — but don’t read anything into it!!   😉 

El Edén de Vallarta

After a while, we get back in our car, um, hummer, and drive to el Edén de Vallarta, the last stop on our journey.

El Edén de Vallarta Predator.

El Edén de Vallarta Predator.

El Edén de Vallarta is a lush paradise with a restaurant, waterfall, and hiking trails, but is most famous for being the location where the movie “Predator” was filmed. Here we have a life-size replica of the fellow created, I suppose, sometime before Arnold caused his destruction.

El Edén de Vallarta Restaurant and Waterfall.

El Edén de Vallarta Restaurant and Waterfall.

This is certainly an idealize jungle setting, with restaurant table overlooking the waterfall and rope swing and, as usual for us, almost no one else is here.

El Edén de Vallarta Jungle.

El Edén de Vallarta Jungle.

We relax along the river’s edge, enjoying the cool air and listening to the bubbling river. The perfect ending to a perfect day and a wonderful adventure.

Dancers!

But wait! There’s more!

While we were at the Westin Puerto Vallarta, we were treated to a performance by local dancers.  Enjoy!

 

awa Travels Tip: Apparently, a “car” and a “Hummer” are different vehicles.  🙂 
Sometimes things are “lost in translation” – we find it best to be generous with our patience and to keep a light-hearted sense of humor, especially when we are guests in another land. These situations invariable become the stories we look back on with fondness.