We’re currently anchored off the town of La Cruz in Banderas Bay, about 10 miles from Puerto Vallarta. For about the past month we’ve been in the area during the holidays. (Holiday from what? You say) This area is just about perfect at this time of year. 82 degree high, 62 low each day. The water was 83 when we got here, it’s now dropped to 78. Banderas is the second largest natural bay on the pacific coast. Lots of great day sailing and snorkeling in partially protected waters. Puerto Vallarta is big enough to provide all the services you would expect of a big city. Yep, more dental work for me, an implant this time. Lots of gringos—especially Canadians– come here for “medical vacations”–often at a quarter the cost as home. Many sectors of the local economy benefit.
Puerto Vallarta has grown outward around the head of the bay the past 10 years with luxury resorts dominating the ocean front. Not quite our style so whenever possible we’ve been staying a little out of the city. The bus system is quite good and a ride into town only costs about a dollar. We did stay at Paradise Village, a fancy resort, in Nuevo Vallarta for about 10 days because it seemed like a good place to meet our friends Dale, Tina, and Makai for Christmas. And, it was. We embraced the resort experience and had great fun with them. They had a very nice condo at the marina which was a great base. Incidentally, this is the only marina in Mexico we’ve heard of that has potable water everywhere including the docks. We pickled our water-maker and filled every conceivable container with fresh, free water, should hold us for a while.
Our favorite place to stay on the bay has been La Cruz, a small fishing village that grew in a good way when a marina was put it 8 years ago. Here we can anchor or stay in the marina. The town square is only a block up from the marina. The streets are mostly cobble stone with not much traffic. It’s a pretty quiet little town full of ex-pats but locals as well— always a lot going on. The down town is only a few blocks wide and deep but usually 2 or 3 places have live music going. The town square has music on Saturday nights and there is a great Farmers & Craft Market on Sunday mornings. You can walk everywhere easily or catch a cab or bus to PV. Right now there are no big resorts here. So, we figure, enjoy it now. In another 8 years it may be very different. My sister Linda rented a very cool house overlooking the marina with my mom & dad and Donna’s mom (Ev). We had a great week with them. Sailing on the bay and dancing with the locals in the plaza topped the list. They may have feared for their life when we all strolled by the Beluga Blanca bar listening to their live music (open air). It was jam packed for their anniversary celebration but the owner offered to set a table out side for us—where? She said. I said “how about here”. So they set a table for 6 in the street just shy of the center line. Cars could still j-u-s-t make it around us. We all survived and the margaritas helped take our minds off potential dismemberment and enjoy the music.
On our way into the bay before Christmas, we stopped at the Tres Marietas, a set of islands used for navy target practice turned National Park and wildlife refuge. The thousands of holes and pockmarks from bombing makes for interesting habitat. It’s a bird watchers dream these days and we had some spectacular diving as well. We’ll try to visit again on our way north in the spring.
Tomorrow we’re planning to head south down the coast toward Zihuatanejo. First leg about 100 miles to Bahia Chamela, then Tenacatita, Barra de Navida, Manzanillo, and “Z-town”. Many of our buddies have already headed south, it’s cooling down into the 80s there and the water should be as well.