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 picked me up for this tour was no exception and we made no other stops as the hotel tour agent had put together a large enough group to fill it - this was a plus.
The tour included some little mini stops around town, to beef it up a bit. Then on we went to Chico's Paradise, where we would be entranced by the waterfalls and huge swimming pools, all seemingly natural, that surrounded the restaurant - actually a huge, open-air bamboo terrace. It was very nice and, at the time, unpopulated. It was before lunchtime and the restaurant had not yet opened, but I could imagine, from postcards I had seen, the place when it was full of diners and swimmers. A place where you could eat in your bathing suit after jumping off large boulders into the water to swim and play. Kind of like eating in the clubhouse when you were little, and it was okay to only be half-dressed.
The next stop, up the road, was El Eden, which was similar to Chico's with the bamboo terrace dining and water, except it was better, and this is where we ate. (see El Eden dining entry).
Before lunch though, we were joined by another guide and his group and given a little jungle hike. They showed us how to eat in the jungle, using rocks to open various nuts and things and they showed us how to make a hut, a hat, a skirt, etc. with tree fronds. We were told that it was tradition that natives wore the skirt and hat outfit for special occasions, but then laughed when they insisted some of us try on the get up ... hmmmm (see picture).