Monday 16 to Friday 20 March
After a horror exit from Cuba we arrived in Mexico City and collapsed. Dinner and breakfast at the hotel and taxis to and from the airport was all we managed.
But we arrived in Puerto Vallarta on time. It was great to see Ev & Steph at the airport. Such welcoming faces. They had been here for the wedding of one of Steph’s Mexican friends.
This time together was intended to be an early celebration of Evan’s upcoming 30th birthday. We also needed to plan the EVent with Steph – a plan where we were asking friends and families to send postcards of them eating in keeping with one of Evan’s favourite pastimes.
We hired a car to give us a bit of independence to explore the area.
Puerto Vallerta is not Ev & Steph’s preference. It is a tourist town with big hotels on a large bay. Instead they had booked an AirBnB house in Sayulita, about 40 minutes north and on the Pacific Ocean rather than on the bay. It was a quaint property comprising two houses. We took the upper house, where it turns out, the water doesn’t work. There is an open kitchen.
It was already late in the afternoon so we walked into town to familiarise ourselves. We found the beach, busy with young Americans on their Uni Spring Break. It was lovely to connect with the Pacific again and enjoy a Beer and michelada (beer with a Bloody Mary taste) on the beach.
This was Ev and Steph’s opportunity to introduce us to Mexico. Steph took charge, ordering dinners, ensuring we tried as many different Mexican flavours as possible.
Evan & Steph went to the local shop and bought fresh tacos, cheese and avocados and introduced us to quaesadillos for breakfast.
Lay the taco out in a warmed frypan. Add the cheese, it must be Mexican cheese that melts. Add it to the taco and cook gently on both sides. Serve it up allowing the diners to add fresh avocado, squeezed lime juice and chilli sauce to taste!
We also tried freshly chopped fruit sprinkled with chilies.
We ventured out of Sayulita and drive further north. First stop was San Francisco, with its own Golden Gate Bridge. Mexican Pelicans, smaller than our Pelicans and brown in colour, were diving for fish. They’d rise into the air, circle and then dive vertically, performing a little twist as they hit the water. Often they’d be a bunch of them diving at the same time. Fish must have been plentiful because there were scores of pelicans and other birds. Seagulls swarmed around the pelicans, waiting for the spoils.
Bruce & Evan were entranced and took a heap of photos. As Ev said later:
I didn’t take many photos in the end. Well, lots of photos of half birds and lots of sky and half whales and lots of sea!
We wandered around the small village of San Francisco. There were colourful houses and a few coffee shops.
We then went on to the village of Lo de Narcos. Once again birds entertained us diving into the water. The village was smaller. The main attraction was a toy car in the village square, made of tiles.
We drove north along the coast the next day. We found an empty beach where we combined sunbaking, swimming and more bird watching. We then explored the holiday town of Punta de Mita where we enjoyed a late lunch of tacos and the fabulous Mexican lemonade – fresh lime juice, and a sugar and water syrup.
We booked ourselves on a boat trip to the Marietta Isles, which is a Marine park for birds. You can’t go ashore there, except for a tiny patch of sand reached by swimming through a cave. There is some reasonably good snorkelling around the island although the water was choppy and therefore murky.
We also chased some hump back whales. They come into this area over the northern winter to bear their young. The whale watching season was coming to an end, but we did manage to see a couple of tails and a few spouts of water.
Our last breakfast together was slow and relaxed before heading to airport to go our separate ways.