Saturday, April 4, 2015

Hidden Mexico

Our first wonderful experience with Vallarta Adventures to Rhythm of The Night was by water in a hug pontoon boat. You can read our previous post about that magical night by clicking here.

Our next excursion we traveled to San Sebastian was in a luxury air conditioned bus. If you click here you can read all about that one.

The next tour we were transported in a Mercedes Benz Unimog which is a great experience just in itself. We really felt like we were on a jungle safari.


It was awesome! Viewing was incredible with a 360 degree range and being ‘right’ with nature.

Only about 15 minutes out of the city, our first stop on this day was at the very popular Vallarta Botanical Gardens.

I have never seen such an elaborate water garden. Breathtaking!

By now, you should all know that I play around with photography and that I especially love flower shots. Well in these natural  surroundings I suffered severely from sensory overload!

Another highlight is the recently added Orchid Terrarium that held me captive for the duration of our ‘too short’ visit. A return trip on our own is definitely in our future.

Loaded back up again to our next stop in a rural farming area.


Mexican Stairmaster?


Our guide explaining some of the meanings of these petroglyphs.


Then a real treat - an open air bakery serving mouth watering pies and pastries.


Baked in these outdoor wood fired ovens.


This tour company always make sure these events are always top-notch. From the start of the day with their small continental breakfast buffet before we head out to the perfectly planned stops along the way. That snack was exactly what we needed. Plus they always have coolers with cold drinks for everyone and today was no different – complete with nice cold beer.


Our guide jokingly: after all - drinking beer in the back of a truck is just the Mexican way. Hah!

Now, again for any of you that know The Cowboy & I and our roots . . . you just know that this is one tradition we can relate to.

Next stop was a quaint little village . . .

Right from the cow to the table – the whole process was explained to us. This family has 14 cows that are used specifically for the making of this very mild cheese. The baskets are used for draining the liquid before it’s finally packaged for sale. A very small operation that, much like all of the other operations down here, could take you back centuries - right out of the 50’s.

Wherever we go and whatever we do down here always involves a lot of walking and today was no different. We trekked on through this little village until we came to this charming little antique and collectible shop. We picked up a couple of hand crafted souvenirs created by the very friendly artist/owner. She was also handing out little shots of tequila – how can you not love that job? Might also explain why she was so friendly?

Then . . . for another first (for us) we were taken to this amazing piece of paradise . . .


By this time it’s around 3 o’clock so it’s a good thing we had snacks at our other stops. Here they grow a lot of their own fruits, vegetables and spices and we were served up a beautiful buffet of Mexican specialties.







While the food was delicious the setting and seating was over the top and more than unique.

These picnic tables were actually sitting in this peaceful shallow river. It was very clean and certainly an experience that we will always remember.

The day wasn’t over yet . . . one more stop . . .

One tequila, Two tequila


Well, that was another full day with lots of pictures. Remember to view a larger size of the pic – just click on it or to view the whole album Click here.



We had a great time and we’re

happy you could join us.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Our Palapa in Yelapa


One of our most memorable times this winter will be our overnight get-a-way to Yelapa, a quaint little fishing village that is best described by that old adage – the place that time forgot. The area does not have an airport or even paved roads to get there even though it’s only about 25 miles from PV. There is a very long and winding jungle path to get there in a 4 X 4 or an ATV so our choices were limited. We chose a panga from the pier in PV for a 45 minute ride. Very fast ride. In a speed boat.

With the usual sunshine and amazing blue skies Banderas Bay was perfectly calm as we started out slowly and quickly picked up speed. We slowed near the well known Los Arcos (the Arches) and our guide passed on some interesting facts and history. We had only caught glimpses of these by driving by so we had no idea there were actually tunnels through the rocks.

We soon picked up the pace again as we headed for our destination, this tranquil little village where life not only comes to a screaming halt but also takes us back quite a few years.

We chose the water taxi ride not expecting any more than that but we were in for a surprise. Our guide toured us through this little village pointing out little tiendas  - small family owned - businesses, stores or eating areas.

“Her only retail outlet is that box on her head. Her storefront is the beach. Her backdrop is the Pacific Ocean. Her overhead is the sky. Her cash register is a fanny pack.”

Click here to learn more about Yelapa’s famous pie and Chelly, The Pie Lady.

We continued on our trek, all uphill, where our guide explained a lot of the vegetation and spent a lot of time with us pointing out the many varieties of fruit trees – all organically grown of course.


Enchiladas, Fajitas, Tortilla Soup, Guacamole, Pescado, Eggs Benedict, Fresh Coconut Juice . . . all delicious!

Enjoyed all this and so much more along with these incredible views . . .

Of course there were the street vendors . . . always trying to make some pesos selling their trinkets. I don’t know how they live with so much rejection. One guy was certainly used to it – as he walked away from us he started singing a little ditty “ No, Gracias, No, Gracias’ Funny but yes, we did buy a few souvenirs from some of the good natured ones. Have to admit we encountered an interesting offer from a jovial sort – he had horses to hire which you could ride to the waterfall. When we didn’t show any enthusiasm he jokingly offered to throw in a free joint. We’ve never been offered weed as an incentive before. Only in Mexico? Probably not.

However, we both came away from this whole adventure with a lot more appreciation for Jimmy Buffet.

This little venture was such a wonderful experience for us and one that will definitely remain in our sweet memory banks for a very long time. Already added it to our ‘do over’ list for next year.

You can learn more about Yalapa  by clicking here.

These are only a few of our pictures - By clicking on each of the photos you can view a larger image or if you wish to

                         Click here to view our Yelapa album


We continue to count our blessings and give Thanks to God for the beauty of this amazing world and the wonderful life we share.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

San Sebastian

During our first few days after our arrival here we found this company, Vallarta Adventures where we booked 3 (for the price of 2) activities. The first one on our list was Rhythm of the Night which you can read in a previous post by clicking here. Our second excursion was a bus tour to a quaint little village about 50 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. 

“San Sebastian del Oeste - Buried deep in the heart of the Sierra Madre Mountains, The very quaint, remote setting has made it one of Mexico's last remaining secrets. While this tiny mountain enclave (elevation 4500 ft) isn't far from Puerto Vallarta, it's still a world away from the usual tourist haunts.”

These trips are a full day’s adventure and we depart around 8 am from the Marina Vallarta. The downside for us is that it takes us about 3 different bus rides to get us there so we usually opt for a taxi – 80 pesos or $6.00 USD.

The upside is that we get to view the sunrise at the marina while they serve up a delicious continental-style breakfast – coffee, tea, juices, fresh fruit, muffins and loaves. They even include a toaster for their breads along with peanut butter, jams and different marmalades.

07-DSCN1333Our destination is about 90 minutes from PV but the time passes quickly as we sit in the comfort of air conditioning winding our way through impressive mountain scenery and everyday scenes of rural life and some of the most breathtaking views.


Our first stop at a rest area offered up some majestic views near a recently constructed expansive bridge. Our tour guide told us that the trip down the valley and back up the other side would have taken at least a half day before this bridge was erected. It was impossible to see the bottom of this gorge.


Our second stop, which ended up being about 11 am, was at a roadside tequila factory. Yup, another one!


The buildings and grounds were lovely – look at the size of these bougainvillea plants! These beautiful flowers are a common sight down here and are one of our favorites . . . the petals are so delicate and there are so many wonderful colors.


We found our next stop extremely interesting – Hacienda Jalisco.


“Hacienda Jalisco’s silver mining history came to an abrupt end with the Revolution of 1910 but another type of silver, the silver screen, awaited its future. Discovered and restored by the American expatriate Bud Acord in the 1960s, the hacienda was to become a favorite hangout of John Huston, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton during and after the filming of the Night of the Iguana.”

Hacienda Jalisco

“Today it happily continues to serve as a B&B. Brochures describe it as romantic. There is no electricity and rooms are lit by lantern at night. You might sleep in the same room where Burton and Taylor pursued their scandalous, extramarital affair.”

Steeped in history this property was the headquarters for the area mining industry. Sitting in the lush gardens I almost felt like Liz Taylor . . . well, if you think about it, we married the same man twice. Well, not the same man of course, she married Richard Burton twice and . . .why am I explaining this? Next stop was a coffee plantation where we learned the whole process from the bean to the pot.  This was where the Cowboy was asked to go back to the bus to sit and wait for the rest of us. He had our tour guide just shaking his head in disbelief when he asked where they grew the decaffeinated coffee beans.



We not only sampled some amazing fresh coffee but also a wonderful fruit that was a cross between an orange and a lemon called a Rangpur (I think). Incredible flavor!



The Cowboy managed to talk his way out of his ‘’time out” and was later caught here with his partner in crime picking some of the not-so-low hanging fruit.


By this time we had worked up an appetite and we hiked in to the very heart of this quiet little village for lunch at this charming bistro.

Full of antiques and artifacts with amazing food that tasted even better in the lush outside dining area. Everything tastes better when you eat outdoors!

After lunch we sauntered over to an old school which has become a museum. The tour guide there was actually a great granddaughter of one of the three founders of the town. She made the tour very personal so, out of respect, I didn’t take any photos.

“Originally settled in 1605, this secluded 17th century mining town reached its peak of prosperity in the 1700s, when over 30,000 people inhabited the area. Over the years, the town's population fluctuated wildly as gold and silver were mined intermittently between the 1600's and the 1930's.”

This post has become quite lengthy but we have one more stop at this wonderful ancient church:

This was a very busy and wonderful day’s experience being in touch with culture as well as a way of life in a most picturesque remote part of Mexico.

Thanks for coming along with us. Hope you enjoyed it too.