Puerto Vallarta Paradise

So our fourth day on the cruise was our first day ashore. Our first port stop on this adventure was Puerto Vallarta and it is an incredible destination completely opposite of Cabo San Lucas. When you port in Puerto Vallarta, you go immediately on land instead of having to use tender boats like in Cabo San Lucas. With that however, you are met with views of a shopping mall, a Wal-Mart and other high-rise apartment buildings. It doesn't quite feel like a tropical destination, but the weather was really warm and humid and the palm trees really set the ambiance of the city.

Last year my DH and I did the port excursion of visiting Las Caletas with the tour company the ship uses, Vallarta Adventures. (We actually saved about $15 by booking directly with the company ahead of time instead of on board). The excursion to Las Caletas was about $85 per person and while we loved it last year, we decided not to spend any money on excursions this year.

Instead, we decided to leisurely walk the 4-mile stretch of beautiful, warm beach from our ship to the downtown shopping area of the Malecon. The Malecon is their "main street" center of commerce with stores, restaurants, and plenty of beachfront views. I regret to not have any photos from this day because I left my camera on the ship (didn't actually realize our quick trip to the beach would end up being 4 miles!), so I will do my best to describe the scenery to you.

It was a very hot and humid day and we were thirsty after our walk which took us about an hour and a half one way. We were really excited to stumble upon a beautiful oceanfront restaurant called Punto V (which is apparently a night club at night but by day they have beautiful seats and tables that sit and overlook the ocean). We stopped because they had us at "two drinks for $2." Okay.

We munched on fresh salsa and guacamole, relaxed with some ice cold drinks and relished the fact that we were truly vacationing in Mexico.

Thankfully T.Love let us hail a cab back to the ship, and after successfully avoiding the sales hounds at Diamonds International (don't get me started), we paid $6 for a 15 minute ride in a comfortable taxi. T speaks Spanish and always engages our drivers in conversations when we're traveling in any Latin country, and you'd be surprised by the kinds of information we learn from them! (Plus I think they appreciate that someone is actually going out of their way to have a conversation with them in their native language). Our taxi driver told us that he had a throat tumor but he apparently staved off the growth by drinking a liter of something called "guanabana juice" every day for the past five years since he can't afford health insurance. He seemed to swear by it and had a huge bottle full of the juice that he said he got at his local health food store. He seemed healthy enough to me! I had never heard of it before, but he was happy to inform us of it and its affect on his life. He also told us that he has been a taxi driver in PV for over 25 years and wouldn't want to be doing anything else.

After our little jaunt downtown we went back for yet another nap and refresher before we had our own dinner reservation at Palo that night. As much as I loved our long walk on the beach, our lunch downtown and our afternoon nap, I was really excited to go to Cabo San Lucas the next day because it was home to my absolute favorite hotel-- the Sirena Del Mar, which we would be visiting all day. More on that later!

Our Palo dinner that night was really nice but I have to be honest-- I actually preferred brunch more than dinner and wished that we had two brunches instead of a brunch and a dinner. However, I know that if someone had told me that, I probably wouldn't have believed them and would have wanted to experience dinner myself to make that decision. In the future, I know I will definitely just make brunch reservations because the other unfortunate thing is that we missed a big dinner performance at Animator's Palate and time with our table mates because of our night at Palo. I would prefer not to miss any dinners on our cruise on the next one because there is always something going on. Also-- breakfasts on the ship leave little to be desired unfortunately and I would gladly miss breakfasts on board for a brunch instead.

Anyway, after Palo we saw the stage production of Toy Story and while it was really cute, it wasn't anything to write home about. It was definitely geared more towards kids, and it was probably my least favorite show on board.

We went back to our room around 10pm and fell asleep yet again to the sounds of Disney movies, ceiling creaks and our hangers swaying side to side with the rocking of the ship... sigh. 


Next up: Infinity Pool Bliss in Cabo

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