Mexican Riviera‏

by Willie Vergara

I would normally get excited before going on a long trip. It was not the same on this one. Surfing through the internet to view pictures of our intended destination, I found the views to be quite uninteresting. Most of the photos are about miles and miles of seashore, for which I’ve seen much of such sceneries in the Philippines, a country that has the best beaches in the world – Boracay Island, Philippines in particular. (Read in this Travelogue section, Boracay, You’re Still the One).




Yet this was one excursion I could not refuse. It was an all-expenses paid Christmas gift – a 5-day vacation to Nueva Vallarta, province of Nayarit, Mexico a few miles away from the more well known Puerto Vallarta, province of Jalisco. Both of these places are frequent destinations among many of my engineer officemates, and I don’t remember anyone being so bullish about the place. A former colleague though was all praises about his frequent cruises to Puerto Vallarta, but all he talked about were about the non-stop eating, the ship’s various facilities, and the royal reception of the crew, waiters, busboys, cooks and the ship’s captain himself.




“Happiness is not a matter of chance, but of choice”, so goes the old adage. Photography being my latest passion, I could always find something exciting to shoot even in ordinary subjects. Besides, it was a chance for me to be with my favorite daughter Ria, her husband Gentian, and Tess at a place outside the hustle and bustle of city life, daily commute and office work.


This being a travel advisory, a warning is very much in order when vacationing in any of these beach resorts in Mexico. No, it is not about the much-publicized violence brought about by the drug cartels, or about the poverty in this country. As a matter of fact, I learned that such warnings do not apply in the tourist areas. These Mexican resorts are very safe places, thanks to the Mexican government for protecting their tourism industry very well. While there, I even felt safer than in certain places in Los Angeles or Sacramento.











Rather, one has to be wary about stopping or pausing to talk to a person right upon your arrival at the airport/seaport who will offer you free side trips or free excursions. You should not even trust the person who offers you taxi to your hotel UNLESS he is a taxi-driver himself! “Why so?” Here’s a quick answer: These people are salesmen working in the time-share business. True, they will bring you to certain places for free, but they will consume too much of your time listening to what they have to say about their merchandise. In our experience, even the hotel executive who gave us a very warm welcome at the entrance turned out to be a salesman of his company’s time-share offerings.





Excepting this matter of having to ward off these salesmen, this trip was better than going on a cruise, for the following reasons: (a) The rooms are decidedly bigger and more comfortable compared to the cabins; (b) There are resort facilities and programs available that are likewise offered in cruises, like nightly shows, bingo socials, karaoke, athletic events, et cetera; (c) Excursions are available anytime and one is not bound to follow the schedule of the arrival/departure of the cruise ship; (d) Free drinks of your choice are readily available at most times of the day. There is a special arrangement that will allow you to order the more expensive drinks e.g. Cognac, Carlos I, Blue Label, and many fine wines and spirits; (e) Real sports are available here, but not in cruises: for the golfers, an 18-hole golf course is very accessible from any hotel; kids and adults may have fun with the waves on a banana boat at reasonable prices; or getting an adrenalin ‘high’ with honest-to-goodness surfing, fishing, jet-skiing, or parasailing (like I did).








While in Puerto Vallarta and vicinity (Nuevo Vallarta in our case), one should not miss a popular district called MALECON. All you need is a taxi ride that will not cost a fortune. There are just too many interesting things to see in this place for one to miss, and I must thank Webmaster Norman Bituin for encouraging me to take a chance to visit Malecon, which is a mile-long walkway along the main beach of Puerto Vallarta.







“Years of work and millions of dollars have revamped the Malecon into an eye-popping, 12-block-long art show peppered by dozens of sculptures, mosaics and paintings -- like the original ones, mostly with whimsical themes -- along with all kinds of indoor and outdoor galleries. As you stroll over the walkway's intricately tiled pavement -- itself a work of art -- you'll spot everything from giant seahorses, mermaids, jumbo-sized seashells and unicorns to a statue of dancing dolphins. Among must-see bronzes is another Colunga show-stopper, "Rotunda of the Sea." And don't miss "The Fish Sellers' Mosaic" by world-famous artist Manuel Lepe, a Puerto Vallarta homie…. Lining the town side are wall-to-wall galleries, souvenir shops, boutique jewelry and leather stores, restaurants, outdoor cafes, bars and what could be the loudest discos on the West Coast. The shops' and stores' frontage area, widened during a six-year project, used to be packed with visitors. Today it's nearly twice as wide -- and it's still packed…. As you browse the shops, chances are a special kind of colorfully beaded artwork will catch your eye. Such treasures come from the local Huichol Indians, and you'll find them on everything from blouses to expensive ceramics.” (From Bob Schulman, Huffington Post)












Hasta la vista, Nueva Vallarta!!



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