Puerto Vallarta Journals

Puerto Vallarta - Diving, Flying and Dining

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A January 2000 trip to Puerto Vallarta by lisamcgu

Chicos Paradise Restaurant, Bar and Grill Photo, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico More Photos
Quote: I was determined not to just sit around the pool. So, off we went, scuba diving, going for an airplane tour, plus the usual horseback riding, boat tours, cultural tours, etc. We were tourists waiting to happen.

Puerto Vallarta - Diving, Flying and Dining

Overview

Quote:
There was so many things to do in Puerto Vallarta, I overdosed and cured myself of ever wanting to be the classic overpaying, do-everything tourist ever again.Quick Tips: Use an American Express travel agency to book the tours and activities if you have a card. When I was there, they were giving the best deals for the tours. This is noteworthy because the same tour will change in price depending on who books it for you. And some cannot be booked directly, without such a "distributor." By paying the highest referral fees, one can pay up to four times more than the basic rate for some tours.Best Way To Get Around: Taxis are still reasonably priced here, although for a daytrip you m...Read More

Howard Johnson Hotel Puerto Vallarta

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Hotel | "Costa Vida"

Quote:
I stayed at the Costa Vida (not sure why the title was switched to the Howard Johnson, except I noticed the title in a few of my other reviews ended up with the wrong titles as well), a hotel that also served as a timeshare, and that is how I was staying there, as a timeshare guest. So, I paid less than $50, but I think the room normally goes for a bit more.Anyway, the rooms all look out onto the water with a little balcony to boot. There is cable television in every room, a mini kitchenette with stove, refrigerator, microwave and coffeemaker. The shower stalls were very large and the water was wonderfully hot all day long. The room itself was spacious, with a king-sized bed and roo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 7, 2001

Howard Johnson Hotel Puerto Vallarta
Carr. Puerto Vallarta a Barra de Navidad Km. 4.5
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
+52 (322) 226-8050

Quote:
How could we pass up an evening dinner tour that would take us on a boat ride to an isolated beach for dinner, with tables set up right there on the sand. Then, after dinner, a stroll through the jungle, up a trail to a show? We couldn't, so off we went. We had to go through a tour guide who "distributed" this event. It was a cattle barge ride over with so many people jammed on the boat, and we weren't alone in this. There was another boat, equally crowded, going over as well. Our boat went the other direction from the event, up the coast to pick up even more people, a detour that cost us over an hour each way - afterwards they passed our port and dropped them off before us! Thank...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on January 7, 2001

Secluded Beach Dinner and Jungle Show Tour
Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

El Edén

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Restaurant | "El Eden"

Quote:
As part of the Lunch in the Jungle tour, this was but one of two similar restaurants, both having large natural swimming pools with waterfalls and such, surrounded by huge boulders. This was the smaller restaurant and the water ran right next to it on the same level. I liked it more than the other one, Chico's Paradise. Here, almost every seat had a view of the waterfall that splashed right down into a pool next to one of the patios. Every now and then we would hear a scream and someone would come flying down the little waterfall slide into the water - Splash! What a place to eat! Being at the end of a tour, by the time we got to eat, our group was starving! We had already placed our order...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 27, 2001

El Edén
Rivera Rio Mismaloya Km 11.5 Carretera Puerto Vallarta-Manzanillo
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
+52 3222 1084

Flying Tours

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Attraction | "Flying Overland 18th Century Village Tour"

Quote:
This was the most expensive tour we went on, costing over a hundred bucks per person. Although, this was another one that was being sold by more than one tour agent, so maybe a better price could have been found. We all met at the tour office located at the airport there. After we'd assembled, we signed a waiver saying we wouldn't sue if the plane crashed and off we went. The pilot was excellent, I remembered to call shotgun, so I was up in front on the way over and quizzed him on his experience. We flew for over a half hour, taking in all the sites below, with the pilot telling us what we were looking at - things looked different from above, I barely found our hotel before we passed it. We ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 7, 2001

Flying Tours
Over an 18th Century Village
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Quote:
We signed up to go on a horseback riding tour thing, through an agent (downtown), that included being picked up at our hotel, then lunch, a waterfall swim, etc., because we couldn't resist how good it sounded. The bus that showed up was big, air conditioned and beautiful, but what we found out made us cancel the whole thing - and we never got our money back. It seems we were their first pick up. After us, they would be picking up people for almost two hours! The horse place, meanwhile, was only 15 minutes away from our hotel. This is something we, obviously, were not made aware of. Further, their plan was to take the whole busload on the ride at once. Yuk!Along with th...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on January 7, 2001

Scuba Diving Tour

Attraction | "Scuba Diving"

Quote:
I was freeeezing! We brought our own gear, which included 7mm wetsuits, and thank goodness, because those that didn't bring their own suits, used what the boat operator could give them, summer gear. There was a lot of shorty, vest, etc. layering going on making for some interesting-looking divers. The diving wasn't good enough to justify the water temperature, with just small to medium fish swimming around in cloudy water. Although, I must admit, I was sooo cold, I could have seen a shark and not have been impressed. The next day, the person I was traveling with went out again and went to some big underground rock in the middle of the ocean. The water there was so rough, t...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 7, 2001

Scuba Diving Tour
Los Tules Resort
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
+52 (322) 224-5425

Lucy's CuCu Cabana & Zoo

Attraction | "Lucy's CuCu Cabana & Zoo"

Quote:
Lucy Muniz de Gevins opened this shop as a fundraiser for the local animal protection society - a portion of the sales go straight into fixing the animals that wander the street, so they can't keep reproducing like rats. Most of the crafts and folk art are unique, unlike most of the same stuff you see over and over, in every other shop in Mexico, and most carry a little kitty theme. We bought the most unique ceramic square candle holders, with the candle wax in them, with a different hand-drawn picture of a kitty on each side. There were little kitty charms, only about an inch long, that you perch on the side of a bowl or planter so it looks like the little kitty is trying to crawl in...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 7, 2001

Lucy's CuCu Cabana & Zoo
Basilio Badillo 295
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
+52 322 222-1220

Chico's Paradise Restaurant, Bar and Grill

Restaurant | "Lunch in the Jungle Tour (Chico's Paradise)"

Chico's Paradise Restaurant, Bar and Grill Photo, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Quote:
Lunch takes on a whole new meaning when dining at Chico's Paradise or El Eden, both backed up into the jungle surrounded by nature's swimming pools. As I say in my free form entry, you can't walk down the street without tripping over a tour agent. And, sure enough, we found this Lunch Jungle Tour promoted both in town and by our hotel tour agent, so its easy to book. It was the least expensive because, actually, lunch was not provided - you bought it yourself when you got to the restaurant. I had become accustomed to very new and very clean mini-vans or buses picking me up for tours in Puerto Vallarta. It seems they know what tourists expect if paying for a tour. The mini-van that ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 27, 2001

Chico's Paradise Restaurant, Bar and Grill
Carretera Vallarta Manzanillo, Km. 20
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
+52 3222 0474

Shell Shopping & Drug Dealers

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Attraction | "Shell Shopping & Drug Dealers"

Quote:
Yes, there are great shells here and easily found and hardly anyone else is picking them up! A shell shopper's dream? Well, if you have the right back up. If one heads South from the main beach areas, to the left if one is staring at the ocean, there is a cliff trail that connects these small coves that are small, usually empty, and have all the good shells! Actually, I found alot of beach glass as well, worn smooth by the ocean. (From a beachcomber's point of view, the beaches seemed to contain alot of garbage with the canal/river area, supposedly so beautiful, looking especially polluted.) Anyway, off we went with my boyfriend waiting patiently up the beach or on the cliff trail ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 27, 2001

Shell Shopping & Drug Dealers
Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

It Ain't Cheap!

Story/Tip

Quote:
. Puerto Vallarta is not cheap. You'll pay more than in the United States in many ways. Here are just a couple: Way One: Restaurants. Ouchi mama, most are very expensive, more than a comparable restaurant in the United States, even if you go to the chains like Hooters and such (and they've got them all). The ultimate test, a McDonald's Happy Meal, will cost more there than in the United States - enough said. Way Two: Attractions. In Puerto Vallarta, they try to turn everything into a guided tour in order to justify using an "agent" to book it. They figured out that tourists could be more effectively soaked if they had to pay a middleman or two (or three). ...Read More