This past weekend our friends Amanda and Rody invited us to join them for some beach time in Puerto Vallarta. Never one to pass up some sun, sea and sand we boarded a plane in Leon for the short flight to the coast and a welcome respite from the SMA winter. Three nights gave us enough time to recharge our batteries, get some Vitamin D and have lots of fun with a great group of folks.
Amanda and Rody have been visiting PV in the winter for years – escaping the cooler climate of Portland, Oregon. They know PV like the back of their hands and were amazing hosts – knowing exactly what was worth exploring and what wasn’t. We were perfectly happy sitting on the beach, getting to know new friends and enjoying long lingering dinners at some incredible restaurants. Puerto Vallarta really has so much to offer. It’s easy to see why so many return here year after year.
On our first night we had dinner at Hacienda San Angel – once owned by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. In fact, they owned separate haciendas that were joined by a bridge. Well known for having a fiery relationship, one of them would knock down the bridge every time they had a massive argument..and then they’d reconcile and build the bridge once again. The hacienda was so beautifully furnished and is now a superb restaurant. That night we were entertained by frankly the most sublime mariachi band we’ve heard to date…and we’ve listened to quite a few since moving to Mexico. This group was a cut above the rest! Dinner included a lot of great fish courses…something we are somewhat starved of here up in the mountains so we made the most of being on the coast. I think Red Snapper is my new favourite fish!
We also discovered a new favourite breakfast haunt….La Palapa. Situated right on the beach, we loved their eggs benedict and french toast…nearly as good as our local Lavanda here in SMA.
The following evening we visited Cafe des Artistes and enjoyed another incredible dinner under a forested canopy. Each dish was an adventure for the senses and was cooked perfectly. Afterwards we walked back down the hill and along the boardwalk to Twisted Palms for a night cap before trying to find some of our SMA friends favourite club….Dreams…need I say more?! Boys…they wouldn’t let me in!
Perhaps one of the most magical adventures of our trip was the afternoon at Ocean’s Grill – a restaurant built into the side of a cliff in a private cove. Getting to the restaurant is an adventure in itself….a local bus ride to the end of the route followed by a water taxi out to the restaurant and a somewhat precarious climb in waves from the water taxi up to the timber building. Loved every minute. Once we got up to the restaurant we were able to sit back, relax and admire the view. At times it felt like we were in a Bond movie…enjoying a unique, luxurious experience! We both ordered the fresh grilled octopus which was so tender and delicious. After an afternoon spend chatting and snoozing on a huge couch overlooking the bay, we made the return journey to PV.
The second week in December marks one of the biggest religious celebrations in the Latin American calendar – Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Feast Day. Thousands of people participate in nightly parades honouring the patron saint of the Americas. In PV the parades go on for hours and end at the main church in town which is dedicated to Guadalupe. The streets surrounding the church turn into a massive party with hundreds of food stalls for a 4-5 block radius offering everything from tacos to churros and everything in between. This is how to do feasting in style!
Our final evening in PV saw us heading to the heart of the feast celebrations for tacos, baked potatoes and churros – delish. Amanda and Rody have their favourite food stalls which were all fabulous…even if we were still somewhat full from our Ocean Grill exploits earlier in the day! What I loved about our meander through the streets was the opportunity to once again witness Mexican family values – such reverence for all generations coming together to remember, feast and honour! It was a great way to finish off our weekend on the coast. Given half a chance we’ll be back again soon!
A huge thanks to Amanda, Rody, Al, Julie and Tony for showing us around PV and to Rosie, Megan and Vanessa for fun times together!