Sunny Puerto Vallarta

Beautiful sunsets are frequent in Puerto Vallarta. Throw in a palm tree and you have a post card type photo. This shot is looking south across the Bay of Bandaras toward the small village of Yalapa.

OK, I’ve been bad. Six weeks of travel before Christmas brought my blogging to a halt. I resolve to be better during 2012. In fact, other than the often-promised, rarely-achieved resolution of beating my body into shape, it is my only New Year’s resolution.

Puerto Vallarta is up first for 2012. With dire warnings of drug wars from friends and family, we spent two of our six weeks of pre-Christmas travel there. All we saw related to the wars were young soldiers armed with automatic weapons wandering through the hotel property. It was enough.

Our three-year-old grandson Cody loaded his imaginary machine gun and fired off rounds at them. It dismayed his mother and amused us.

Peggy loves Puerto Vallarta. I like it much better since the ubiquitous and obnoxious time-share salesmen have, at least temporarily, disappeared from the streets. If you want a perspective, imagine ten used car salesmen per block, each dedicated to selling you an over priced used car you are expected to share with 50 other families.

The town has been a major attraction for Americans ever since Richard Burton and Elizabeth Tailor filmed Night of the Iguana there in 1963. Taylor’s extramarital affaire with Burton guaranteed massive media coverage and the beginning of the tourist trek southward.

Puerto Vallarta makes its living off tourists. This becomes particularly obvious on days when the massive cruise ships are in town. Still, the city has its charm.

I am particularly fond of the Isla Rio Cuale and the Malecon, a downtown walkway that fronts on the ocean and is filled with sculptures. Sunsets on the Bay of Bandaras are also worthy of mention.

Shopping can be fun; a number of fine crafted items are for sale plus there are the usual Mexican crafts. The latter are found in abundance at the port and the downtown Market. Bargaining is expected. Prices are increased to account for the practice. Tourists feel they have driven a hard bargain and shop owners walk away with a profit.

Taking a river taxi to small village of Yalapa south of Puerto Vallarta provides both diversion and a small adventure. We saw blue whales and dolphins on our way there this year.

Peggy and I visit Puerto Vallarta every other year for one to two weeks. The following photos hopefully capture what we like about the city and its environs.

Puerto Vallarta has done an excellent job of placing sculptures along the Malecon, an attractive car-free walk-way that fronts the Bay of Bandaras downtown.

Another attractive downtown Puerto Vallarta site is Our Lady of Guadalupe Church of and its unique tower.

I shot this photo of pigeons in flight at a small town square.

The young Cody who fired his imaginary machine gun at the Mexican soldiers prepares to fire a very real water gun at me as I am catching a nap. Both his mother and grandmother were encouraging this reprehensible behavior.

Quaint streets and walkways make a walking tour of Gringo Gulch a must. This is where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton lived when they were filming the Night Of the Iguana and had their notorious affaire.

Peggy and I were at a restaurant called Tapas in Gringo Gulch with our friends Tom and Beth Lovering when we found this great parody of the Marilyn Monroe photo. I was particularly taken with it because it resembled one of the holiday cards I design and draw for friends and family each year. It's featured below. I am sure you will spot the resemblance.

What can I say? Happy New Year?

There are lots of great beaches in Puerto Vallarta but be prepared to be visited by a steady stream of vendors. They come with the territory.

The Public Market next to the Rio Cuale is filled (brimming over) with small shops featuring Mexican Crafts and inexpensive local restaurants. We also found this attractive lady skeleton that Peggy is matching smiles with.

Restaurants, a museum, crafts and arts are featured on the island located in the middle of the Rio Cuale. We also found this intriguing sculpture.

Restaurants, a museum, crafts and arts are featured on the island located in the middle of the Rio Cuale. We also found this intriguing sculpture/fountain.

My friend Tom Lovering can't imagine why anyone would go to Sr. Frogs with so many good local restaurants in Puerto Vallarta but I managed to get him to pose with the frog.

Peggy took this photo of a rather attractive wood canoe on the beach. Note how it has been carved from one log.

I took this photo of Mexican crafts at the small village of Yalapa which is south of Puerto Vallarta and can only be reached by water. I love the bright colors and can't resist the small boggle-head creatures, in this case, turtles.

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