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.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Our Date Nights

We first discovered these dancers back in December after an awesome day out exploring with our friends Cliff & Helen. 01-DSCN2719

We only caught the last part of the show but it was enough to impress us so we went back the following Friday evening to take a better look.


Well, since then Friday night has become our date night and we have only missed maybe 2 shows in 3 months.


The Xiutla Ballet group was the inspiration for Jim Demetro’s bronze statue that I posted about previously.  

This Mexican cultural folkloric dance troupe is made up of about 200 local children and youth. They have won many awards competing not only nationally but internationally as well.


The group was founded about 30 years ago in order to offer the youth from the local community the opportunity to learn more about the traditions and customs of this beautiful country.


The program changes each week as they represent several states in Mexico. The variety of costumes and dance is so unique but all just so beautiful. This is also another free activity although they do pass the hat near the end of the performance to help with the cost of the costumes.


The costumes themselves are simply breathtaking. There must be bolts and bolts of fabric used and they must employ quite a few expert seamstresses to create this magnificent colorful display.


I apologize for the quality of the photos but I’m sure you can appreciate with all the activity on the stage that it’s difficult to capture the perfect shot.


Note to self: Bring your Nikon next year!


Their performance is mesmerizing! It’s hard to imagine from a few pictures but the amount of energy on that stage at any given moment is incredible! If you think about that for a minute – it’s pretty warm down here at the best of times but they all seem to keep their cool. Very professional.



These 2 guys – above and below – are our favorites. They are a couple of the older and more experienced dancers and they just do a fantastic job. They obviously love what they do. They do a lot of hooting and hollering up there and they just have a great time with everyone on stage and in the audience.


While we don’t know any of them personally nor do we even know their names, we still feel an emotional bond with them after watching them perform so many times.


There are so many more elements to this performance that I will follow up in another post but in the meantime . . . .


How was that for a Date Night?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Malecon Art Walk Tour–Part 2

We left off with this magnificent work of art  . . .


“To create the “Puerto Vallarta Dancers”, the artist Jim Demetro found his inspiration in the youthful energy, in the subtle movements and the colorful regional costumes that the Xiutla Municipal Folkloric Ballet wears during its shows.”

We continued our walk up through the city square venturing on into the town’s center.


While Gary carried on with his storytelling.


We eventually ended up at Gary’s art studio where we were treated to a glass of wine or a nice cold beer.

Then for a very special treat of the day we got to meet the famous artist and very gentle man Jim Demetro.

He explained to us the process of creating the famous dancers by using wax


Then by making this bronze miniature


which is priced at $1,700 USD. No, sorry, we won’t be bringing too many of these souvenirs home.


This cast bronze miniature donkey is priced at $2,800 USD. The life size statue is another extremely popular photo op for tourists - in the market square at the end of the Malecon.


The City has commissioned Mr. Demetro to create yet another life size replica of this miniature of two lovers to be displayed at Casa Kimberly in the Old Town district of Vallarta. Casa Kimberly is the house that Richard Burton built for – and don’t quote me on this, but I think – his ex-wife Susan Hutton.



Real thing:


Well, we sure got our money’s worth out of that tour – oh did I mention that it was FREE? We thoroughly enjoyed the whole day, we got to meet and chat with a lot of people and felt totally exhausted! There’s always a lot of walking in most of the activities that we participate in. I know . . . that doesn’t sound so bad but most of the streets down here are all cobblestone so it takes its toll. However, we headed to our favourite Burrito Guy, found a place at the beach, relaxed and enjoyed our late lunch in the glorious sunshine listening to the sound of the water lapping on the shore.

We also discovered another walking event that we enjoyed the following evening. This one was self guided, armed with a map of about a dozen art studios, we managed to find most of them. They open their doors and welcome you with refreshments as you browse their stores. Nice to enjoy a glass of wine in the relaxed atmosphere while learning more history of their crafts. Quite a variety of arts – jewelry, pottery, paintings and beading, to name a few. For obvious reasons no photos were allowed.

To view our album you can Click here.

We Love to share so Thanks for joining us. We hope you enjoyed too.