Updated: Mar 22
Proving once again that travel is possible with the proper precautions, we just returned from two weeks in lovely Puerto Vallarta. We revisited places we've enjoyed before and discovered a few new adventures by bike and hike; all properly socially distanced of course!
COVID Update: We flew double-masked on Southwest to PV and on United Airlines for the return. Our plane was relatively full both coming and going, but we felt both airlines used proper precautions throughout. Once in PV, we made immediate reservations for our COVID test. We were advised that a doctor came to the hotel every three days (excluding Sundays). As our flight departed on a Wednesday, the only day we could get within the three day time frame, was Tuesday, the day before. Our appointment was at 10:30 am, but they called our room at 9:00 am and asked if we wanted to come earlier, which we did. Our negative results were emailed to us by noon, HOWEVER, they had spelled both our names wrong on the paperwork. We advised the concierge of the problem and we had corrected information by 6:00 pm. It's important to read what you need to present at the airport. We had all our paperwork ready to go so we had no delays getting through to the ticket counter.
We employed Alejandro of Luna Tours to give us a private tour of two of his favorite 'easy' hikes. Our first excursion was to a secluded beach in Sayulita, about 20 miles north of Nuevo Vallarta. Worth a visit, the town of Sayulita is a haven for fishermen, surfers and local artists. Eateries and craft shops abound. Parking can be an issue, so recommend an early start. With a guide who knows where he's going, you can leave the tourists behind to find some of the best, untouched beaches in the area. At my slow pace, it took us about 45 scenic minutes to reach this spectacular destination.
We would never have found this trail on our own. Beautiful nature hike with a secluded, stunning beach at the end.
On the way home, Alejandro suggested a stop for lunch at Las Higueras, an outdoor restaurant on a large pond, near the town of Valle de Banderas. At 1:30 pm we had the place all to ourselves. I had the Camarones a la Mantequilla (shrimp in wine sauce) - quite good! While not the easiest place to get to it's worth the trek, especially if you love a little natural wildlife with your meal!
Our second hike, also hosted privately by Alejandro of Luna Tours, started with a short boat trip to Los Colomitos, out of Boca de Tomatlan. You can hike to this pretty, secluded beach as we did the last time, but taking the boat (about $10 pp) cut an hour off the trip and allowed us to hike farther along the beautiful coastline. Our destination was Playa de Las Animas, a popular beach destination that can only be reached by hiking or boat. Those that boat over, miss the truly spectacular views afforded us from the trail of the coastline on one side and the jungle on the other. Be sure to take water, bug repellant, a camera and Alejandro!
Photos from the top left: Leaving out of Boca de Tomatlan, well-masked boat captains, views from the trail, our always-masked tour guide, Alejandro, two secluded beaches along the way (Madagascar and Maraikas), turtle nesting area, Hotelito Mio - tree house boutique hotel on Maraikas Beach and the beach at Las Animas.
The trek took roughly an hour and a half. Alejandro stayed in contact with our boat captain and let him know when he should come pick us up for the return trip to Boca de Tomatlan.
A trip to Puerto Vallarta is not complete without a stop at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens; a perfect refuge for those who love tropical plants, birds and a quiet, tranquil surrounding. On our last visit, heavy rain prevented us from wandering all the trails, but this time we enjoyed a gorgeous, relatively cool February day of meandering.
The 64 acre sanctuary has walking trails, landscaped gardens, a restaurant and gift shop, plus visitors can swim in the Rio Horcones that borders the sanctuary.
Landscaped arboretums house orchids and a wide variety of tropical plants and flowers.
A restaurant with outdoor dining and organic delicacies overlooks the preserve and is a great place for relaxing and bird watching.
2021 Admission is only $10 per person. They do private parties and weddings here as well!
I can take you there. Email me!