Written by doctorsj on 14 Sep, 2005
1. Getting there: We drove our minivan from Mexico City in a little over 10 hours. It is a beautiful drive through rolling hills and the road is good until you reach the coast. Tolls are steep at about $85 each way.…Read More
1. Getting there: We drove our minivan from Mexico City in a little over 10 hours. It is a beautiful drive through rolling hills and the road is good until you reach the coast. Tolls are steep at about $85 each way. The airport is obviously more convenient, but having a car was nice.
2. Parking: Valet service is 250 pesos weekly, plus tips. Public parking is a good 10-minute walk from the hotel.
3. Check-in was very friendly, and the staff spoke good English. We said no to a timeshare presentation right then and were not asked again. Ask for a room you want. The red and yellow towers are much closer to the beach and the pool than the blue tower. However, the view from those towers is obstructed by palm trees. We walked about 10 minutes from our room to poolside.
4. Pool towels: You must turn them in EACH night before 8:30pm or face a 300-peso-per-towel fine per day. It’s not the friendliest policy.
5. Grand Mayan vs. Palace: Grand is more luxurious and exclusive. Palace and Sea Garden are less so and available for Grand guests. Contrary to some reviews I read, Palace guests are NOT allowed to use the Grand pools or other facilities. If you are an owner (not RCI), you may have more privileges.
Written by AirFed on 04 Sep, 2004
Santa Maria Boat Trip: Free for us since we attended a TS sale pitch. Get to the Port at the Marina early (we were 17 & 18 out of 128+). They do a good job of lining…Read More
Santa Maria Boat Trip: Free for us since we attended a TS sale pitch. Get to the Port at the Marina early (we were 17 & 18 out of 128+). They do a good job of lining up everybody in ticket sequence. This is where your advantage is; you load the boat by ticket number. We should have gotten on the Starboard (right) side to avoid the blazing sun out and back. Instead, we sat on the Port side on the main deck. It was recommended by someone else the day prior (that was cloudy). The left side offers a view of Puerto Vallarta on the out trip southbound to Los Arcos. My wife did not snorkel. So she got to see the raging fish when the crew threw some bread overboard. When you get to Las Animas beach, you get a choice of getting off and eating right away and spend 3-4 hours on the beach enjoying banana boat rides, parasailing, or free kayaking. If you stay on, you get to ride horses ($125 pesos per person) or hike 30-45 minutes up hill to the waterfall. If you choose the water fall excursion, you aren’t fed until you get back to Las Animas beach, which for us, was 4 p.m.
Shopping Downtown: If you go downtown for shopping, avoid the days when cruise ships come in. While waiting for the bus to take up on a Tuesday, someone mentioned that the Cruise ships were there. We hadn’t even considered this. The ships sailed into port at 0800 on Wednesday, the day we took the Santa Maria Boat tour.
Getting Around: We had never been to the Puerto Vallarta area of Mexico. We accepted the Resort’s offer to provide transportation from the Airport to the Mayan Palace. In a way it was good in that we were deviated away from any TimeSharks. But it cost us more than twice ($27) a normal taxi cost ($10) for a one way trip for the two of us and our bags. After establishing ourselves, the receptionists helped us in learning our way around. The first night, we took the Palace bus (free) to the Sea Market where we hoped onto a local bus ($1 ea.) to get to the Wal-Mart for foodstuffs. Later for a shopping day, we took the same bus hops and got off the Local bus at Las Glorias Beach to get onto a city bus ($0.40 ea.) to downtown.
At the Mayan Palace Resort
Pool: The pool is super large as they state. If you’re thirsty early, bring your own drink. The Balche snack bar doesn’t open until 1100. The activities staff does a good job of getting guests involved. They start off slow with Tai Chi, and then speed it up later with beach volleyball among other contests for children. We got to the pool about noon on Thursday. This must have been the busiest day. We walked around for about ten minutes before we found lounges to use. Though there were lounge chairs down on the beach available to sit in.
Train: There is a little train that circles the grounds once every 30 minutes. It is short now but will be a nice trip once the Grand Mayan gets finished.
Kayaks: There are kayaks to use free for owners, $5 for exchangers. We passed because it was too hot and muggy.
Written by getawayguy on 11 Jun, 2005
Having only seen bullfights on television, I hadn't realized that what I had seen were the highlights of the "contest" between man and beast. Judging from the experience we had watching in person in Puerto Vallarta, the reality of the "sport" is that there is…Read More
Having only seen bullfights on television, I hadn't realized that what I had seen were the highlights of the "contest" between man and beast. Judging from the experience we had watching in person in Puerto Vallarta, the reality of the "sport" is that there is very little sportsmanship involved. The bull was teased and aggravated by a number of men who hid behind walls and briefly exposed themselves to taunt the bull until he raced toward them. At that time, they quickly turned and hightailed it behind the wall again. After tiring the bull in this manner, one "brave" matador came forward and addressed the bull from a safe distance. He waved his cape at the bull and stepped aside in plenty of time to avoid being struck by the bull, each time looking to the crowd for applause and admiration. After a little while, riders on horses with extensive padding entered the bullring and proceeded to wound the bull with sharp instruments designed to stick in the bull's upper back and slowly bleed and thus weaken the animal. When the matador believes the bull is sufficiently weakened, he returns to the ring to challenge the bull to a fight to the death. We were there on a day when four such matches were scheduled. At this point of the first match, the matador had underestimated the strength of the bull. The matador approached to taunt the bull with his cape as before, but this time the bull hooked the matador's legs and threw him into the air over the bull's head. Immediately, several other matadors came to the fallen gladiator's rescue, drawing the bull's attention away without getting very close themselves. Eventually the original matador regained his composure and tentatively resumed his place in the arena. Unfortunately, so much time had elapsed and so much of the bull's blood had been lost that the "contest" was all but over. The matador attempted to slay the bull with a long sword and missed the mark twice before finally sinking it into the bull's body up to the hilt. The bull staggered briefly, refusing to fall before finally collapsing in a heap. The proud matador bowed to the crowd, expecting much applause, but had to settle for a very small amount of praise. What we witnessed that day was very disappointing for us, although we realize that it may have been the exception to the rule. We left before the second "contest" began. Close
Having never been to Puerto Vallarta before, we weren't sure what to expect. We had heard that a hurricane had "destroyed" the malecon the year before and many of the businesses and resorts along the beach were not repaired yet. We had come to see…Read More
Having never been to Puerto Vallarta before, we weren't sure what to expect. We had heard that a hurricane had "destroyed" the malecon the year before and many of the businesses and resorts along the beach were not repaired yet. We had come to see the whales, and having done that, we wanted to see the downtown area. We were pleased to discover that downtown Puerto Vallarta is quite different from other towns we have visited in Mexico. With its cobblestone streets, it is like Mexico of olden days, yet it also has many signs of modern day, too. They have a Hooters, a Hard Rock Cafe, McDonalds, and Baskin Robbins, to name a few, mixed in with many wonderful Mexican restaurants, some with spectacular views. There are many unique stores selling silver jewelry, beachwear, pottery, T-shirts of all descriptions, and many arts and crafts, typically Mexican in nature. There are three movie theatres showing current releases, some in Spanish and some in English with Spanish subtitles. There is a daily flea market along a small river that flows through town and into the bay. All this is very pleasant for sightseeing in the daytime, but the town comes alive in the evenings, when tourists join the locals along the Malecon to watch and become part of the entertainment. There are many statues and sculptures to be admired and photographed, as well as different forms of live entertainment, depending on the season. Being there at Christmastime, we saw many religious displays, too. We enjoyed mingling with the Mexican people, with their friendly, bright-eyed children, and their family pets. Puerto Vallarta is a fun place to visit for people of all ages and has not become overrun with college-age kids yet. This is a destination to return to often.Close
Written by fossr on 29 Apr, 2004
We have been to Mexico many times. This was our first visit to the Puerto Vallarta area. We will return and Mayan Palace is the place we will stay at. Some people commented about the resort being out of the way.…Read More
We have been to Mexico many times. This was our first visit to the Puerto Vallarta area. We will return and Mayan Palace is the place we will stay at. Some people commented about the resort being out of the way. It was, but with the ease of bus transportation that was not an issue. It was also a very clean, safe, and attractive area. If you want to go into town it was a total of 1.40 to get there. I totally agree with others. To take a car into town and try and find a place to park would have been a nightmare. I would rent a car again but only for a few days and for destinations not involving downtown Puerto Vallarta.
We ate at several places downtown and thought the food was fine. We even ate crepes from a local vendor without any side effects. The food at the resort was very authentic Mexican. I like Mexican food, but I think my tastes have drifted towards the Americanized version of Mexican food. We found a great pizza place within walking distance and actually ate our first and last meal there. There serve Italian food of all types. This will sound sick to some of you but on our way home after returning to the US we stopped at one of our Mexican restaurants for supper.
My doctor recommended taking Pepto Bismol four times a day. We started this 2 days before leaving. Neither my wife nor I had any intestinal problems. He frowned upon us taking antibiotics just for the general practice. He did give us the antibiotics to take, but with strict instructions not to take them unless we had a problem.
Definitely use Vallarta Adventures. They might be a little more pricey, but the quality of service was great. If you book before you leave home you can save 10%. We did their canopy tour and the Rhythms of the Night excursion. Both were fun.
This is a very safe destination and the Mexican people are great. My only problem was my lack of understanding the Spanish language. I definitely need to improve my Spanish skills.
Written by Neil M on 26 Jul, 2003
We discovered that an exciting and "off the beaten path" way to visit Puerto Vallarta and environs was to use the service of a private tour guide. While on a scuba diving excursion with Vallarta Adventures, we met Damian Aguirre. He was one of the…Read More
We discovered that an exciting and "off the beaten path" way to visit Puerto Vallarta and environs was to use the service of a private tour guide. While on a scuba diving excursion with Vallarta Adventures, we met Damian Aguirre. He was one of the staff and while serving us very well during the excursion, he also invited us to use his local knowledge for a private area tour. We do not have his number but do have his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
He took us on a tour of some of the area villages and gave us a real picture of what life is like in the area. We toured a graveyard, which, along with Damian's explanations of the local customs, was very interesting. Then we went for a drive through miles and miles and mango plantations, small villages, and local markets. We ended the night with a dinner in a local non-tourist restaurant. This was located in Bahia de Banderas and was probably one of our favourite meals. For five of us for dinner, it came to just over US$20 including tips.
Damian also took us via road to San Sebastian, a former mining village in the mountains. The road was very bad and could be quite dangerous. Nonetheless, it was a unique and heart-pounding adventure. This village is untouched by most modern amenities and the people were very friendly. Travelling here with a local person was definitely the way to go. We even toured inside an old abandoned silver mine. If you are worried about the drive, you can fly there in about 15 minutes from PV. The drive is about two hours in a jeep or other 4 wheel drive vehicle.
This was a real treat of a day.
If you are interested in the services of Damian, please contact him at the following:
Lic. Damián Aguirre
Bolivia 1014 col. 5 de diciembre
Puerto Vallarta Jalisco, México C.P. 48350
Phone home: Long distance 322 22 23927
Local call 22 23927
Cell phone 044 322 22 88 903
Web site: http://www.geocities.com/damianadventure/
He would be happy to hear from you and ensure you have a wonderful time.
Written by E. B. on 11 Jan, 2004
My sister and I tried to book a spa appointment at the Mayan Palace, but Kaaná was totally booked. Note to those of you who stay at the Mayan Palace, book an appointment as soon as you arrive. If you wait too long, all the…Read More
My sister and I tried to book a spa appointment at the Mayan Palace, but Kaaná was totally booked. Note to those of you who stay at the Mayan Palace, book an appointment as soon as you arrive. If you wait too long, all the appointment times are GONE.
We were not hopeful when we stopped by the Paradise Village Grand Spa. It is rated among the top 25 spas in the world. This was the nearest spa to the Mayan Palace. We asked for a same-day appointment and got it for 7pm, even though we dropped by at noon. I asked for an Aromatherapy Massage, since they did not have deep tissue available. My sister decided to go with the Deluxe European Facial with Vitamins. Both treatments cost $72 USD for 50 minutes, excluding tip.
We arrived an hour early so that we could use the spa services. We first tried the steam room, which proved to be too much for us. It was our first time in a steam room. It was hard to see. A woman was completely hidden in one corner from the heavy steam.
Water droplets dripped from the ceiling as the steam condensed. We ended up going to the sauna room instead. It felt a little cooler, although it was going from intense humidity to none at all. It felt like sitting in an oven. After a few minutes of that, we showered so that we would be ready for our treatments. There was a whirlpool spa available that we did not use. Neither of us brought a swimsuit, and I did not feel comfortable enough to sit naked there since the whirlpool room is surrounded by chaise longues that face towards the whirlpool spa. To sit in the spa means that everyone is looking at you. It did not feel comforting, so we skipped it.
We sipped mint-infused water and an attendant came to take us into another room where they have you sit with a neck pillow. It was very warm with the scent of cloves and tangerine. There are also mints or raisins and almonds for you to munch on while you wait. I was taken into my treatment room where a woman poured spearmint-scented oils on my back and asked me to inhale through the hole in the massage table as she held the oils under my nose. She used Swedish technique; although I did ask for deep tissue, I do not believe that it was communicated. Her English was good, but when I did ask for more pressure, it was still Swedish. For Swedish, it was a very good massage, but I am used to deep pressure massages, so it was OK. I prefer to be bruised and beat up from deep tissue massages due to a car accident injury.
My sister finished her facial about the same time as my massage. Her skin looked great. I highly recommend this spa, although I think it would be better if the chairs were not all facing the whirlpool spa. You can peruse their spa menu on their website and even book an appointment online.
Written by Cantin2 on 25 Apr, 2006
One day in port on a cruise ship - What to do and how to get around is a major topic of discussion.SHORE EXCURSION: If your stay is short and you want to be totally escorted - the cruise line excursions, although expensive are probably…Read More
One day in port on a cruise ship - What to do and how to get around is a major topic of discussion.SHORE EXCURSION: If your stay is short and you want to be totally escorted - the cruise line excursions, although expensive are probably for you.
CAR RENTAL: If you are more adventuresome, renting a car gives you lots of freedom - My recommendation is to pre-book prior to your cruise. We found a National car available at the airport, just a short cab ride away for less than $20 a day including tax, without insurance. We chose to pick it up at the Sheraton, a 30¢ bus ride away. The problem with the hotel pick-up is that you have to wait for them to deliver the car from the airport - even though we had stated a pick-up time. But the hotel is a beautiful place to while away a ½ hour or so - or PV Internet is just across the street to let you check your email (see other entry).
Check with your credit card company to see what insurance coverage they provide in Mexico. If you refuse this coverage, National requires a $5,000 hold on your credit card until you return the car undamaged. Make sure that your limit is high enough - and they do not accept debit cards for payment.
Most of the driving is on highways. If you have to get through town, I suggest that you take the loop to bypass the city - Traffic there is very slow and parking is a problem in the city. Roads are well marked and outside the city, parking is not a problem. The hotel car rental desk closes at 5pm. We returned the car to the airport and they provided a complimentary ride back to the pier.
BUS: Really adventuresome?? Busses run every minute or so. If you miss one, another is just around the curve. For about 30¢, you can get from the cruise pier to downtown. Exit the marine terminal and turn right. Wave down any blue bus that says "Centro." Pay when entering and pull a cord when you are ready to exit.
If you prefer to head to Marina Vallarta or to Nuevo Vallarta- cross the street to Wal-Mart and Sam's Club - on the street you will see a bus "dispatcher". Tell him where you are headed and he'll direct you to the proper vehicle. These fares are about $1.20 each way and will take about 20 minutes to the marina and 45 minutes to Nuevo Vallarta. Lots less expensive than a $20 cab ride.
Headed to the Mismaloya area - You'll have to take a blue bus headed to "Centro" and get off at the last stop - the terminal. You can ask there which buses go to Mismaloya or you may spot one that says "Mismaloya" - another 30¢. The busses are reliable in that they come around often, but the traffic is usually what makes the trip unpredictably longer. Plan to do less than more - time goes so quickly that you never seem to do all that you plan.
Written by Cantin2 on 10 Sep, 2004
We've been to Puerto Vallarta a number of times and always avoided Nuevo Vallarta - It's about 10 miles or so from downtown - You fly into Puerto Vallarta an old Mexican city on the Bay of Banderas. Recent development has grown to the north…Read More
We've been to Puerto Vallarta a number of times and always avoided Nuevo Vallarta - It's about 10 miles or so from downtown - You fly into Puerto Vallarta an old Mexican city on the Bay of Banderas. Recent development has grown to the north along the coast. First there's the marina area with a cruise port, hotels and condos - some timeshare and a few all inclusive resorts. A few miles further north is Nuevo Vallarta this area is mostly all inclusive large resorts. We're not fans of all inclusives or mega resorts - we love the old town and all it's restaurants, mariachis, fun bars or even must strolling the malecon and people watching.
This year we go two exchanges through RCI - one in the marina area and one in the hotel zone so it was a perfect opportunity to arrive a few days early and experience NV. We're happy to say that we did like it - we did stay at an all-inclusive - most of the resorts in this area are. I would certainly return to NV if I were coming for longer than a week - a week in NV and a week closer to town.
The beach is about two miles long - some hard sand makes it perfect for the early morning or evening sunset walk. The water is warm and relatively calm. All resorts are oceanfront with views from Punta de Mita to the far end of Banderas Bay beyond PV. since everything is fairly new all is well landscaped and very neat.
Paradise Village Shopping Center is beautiful - a large two-story building with branches of the downtown shops, restaurants, bars, real estate, laundromat and a large supermarket with pharmacy.
There is limited bus service to downtown - taxis are about $13 each way and car rental gets more expensive each year - about $60/day. Parking and driving in town is a nightmare. Not as bad if you are going toward Punta de Mita.
If you walk along the beach and have an urge for a cervesa or a snack - some of the resorts - even some that are all inclusive - are opened to the public. Make sure that you carry both cash and a credit card - some accept only cash and others only credit. It's easy to lose track of time and distance when wading in shallow water and taking in the sights - Isn't it always a much longer walk home? A refreshing drink or snack makes it more pleasant.
Many vacationers like the safety of an all-inclusive resort. If you are one of them - please let me share that the Mexican people are very pleasant and helpful - most speak English. There are many restaurants of all types - all less expensive than in the states.
venture out once - enjoy their culture, food and music - You'll be hooked forever.
Written by Patrisha on 02 Oct, 2002
When in Nuevo Vallarta, a must is the Booze Cruise Tour!
My friend and I took this tour - and wow, what an experience.
All you can drink, all you can eat buffets for breakfast, lunch & dinner. We sailed to a private island, where…Read More
When in Nuevo Vallarta, a must is the Booze Cruise Tour!
My friend and I took this tour - and wow, what an experience.
All you can drink, all you can eat buffets for breakfast, lunch & dinner. We sailed to a private island, where you had the option of horseback riding (extra $), parasailing, etc.
As soon as you get off the boat along the sandy white beach & crystal clear blue water, you'll find the Iguana man. He walks along the beach waiting for unsuspecting tourists, and puts an Iguana in your hands, or on your head - this thing is big, heavy & adorable - the Iguana that is. ;-) He takes a pic of the two of you - for a small fee of course- but it is definitely worth it. This is one pic you'll want to frame!
My friend and I opted to go horseback riding. Up a mountain, through small towns, on cobble stone roads - just like an old western. It really felt like we were in a movie. Especially after a few drinks on the boat ride there. So after lunch and a little rest - because let's face it, it really is a bumpy ride - time to head back to the boat.
Ok - so here we are, all tired from the day's activities, thinking this is where it ends- Wrong! It has just begun. Everyone starts drinking- really loosening up- music is blaring, games are being played, it turns into a PARTY BOAT. Met so many people- from old to young- and we all had a good time. No problems no worries. This is an all day affair, so go prepared. Shop around for the best prices - the deals are out there- you just have to find them. Wear Comfortable, cool clothes.
This definitely fits into Most Memorable Moments.