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Trip Report PV/Nuevo/Banderas Bay

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Trip Report PV/Nuevo/Banderas Bay

We arrived Saturday afternoon to PVR with friends, surfboards for the husbands, a replacement toaster oven and a kitchen timer muled down for member of a south-side forum. The timeshare chaos in the airport was milder; the reps were in two lines, left and right of the main breezeway before the glass doors. No rep physically crossed into the beezeway, only their cacophony of voices. As always, our Gecko car rental was left parked and waiting for us in the parking lot, as was Bob Donald from Bob's Vallarta Tours and his van to help transport the surfboards (Bob is a wonderful, friendly American ex-pat who provides airport transport and personalized tours). As my husband and I approached our rental car, the engine was on, and a lady in her mid-60's was sitting comfortably in the front seat! They mistook our rental car for theirs. LOL We drove to Nuevo Vallarta and unpacked. Our first dinner was at the American & Canadian all-time favorite: Tacos on the Street restaurant in La Cruz.

Yesterday began with a walk on the gorgeous 8.5-mile-long wide Flamingos beach. My husband had his morning run. There was controlled chaos in front of The Riu Jalisco. About 200 people lined up with buckets and backpacks filled with tools formed various lines. They were all all hoping to get hired for the grand remodeling. Cars, trucks, and bikes everywhere. We stopped by Sams Club in Nuevo to check out electronics, then drove into PV to have breakfast at Coco's Kitchen, which has lovely ambiance. Still, our standard PV favorite for breakfast remains The Pancake house on Basilio Badillo.

To clear up the misconception about how long it actually takes to get from Nuevo to PV, we looked at our digital clock in the car. From Sams Club in Nuevo, which is just north of the middle entrance to Nuevo (smack in the middle of Nuevo), we hopped on the highway going with the flow of traffic. It took exactly 9 minutes to arrive at the stop light in front of Neptune's Plaza in Marina Vallarta, and another 9 minutes to the beginning of downtown, where we love walking the Malecon starting at the north end and continuing south. So in LOW SEASON it's 18 minutes flat. Maybe it's because we're Californians that this short travel time seems like a hop, a skip, and a jump. This same trip takes us about 25 minutes on average in the HIGH SEASON. So we are literally in and out of PV, Mismaloya, Boca de Tomatlan several times a week, while at the same time to the north we frequent Bucerias, La Cruz, Punta Mita, Sayulita and San Pancho. Rincon de Guayabitos is considered a "drive" for us!

After breakfast at Coco's Kitchen, we walked the beach south of the new pier. Then as tour guides for our friends, we hopped in the car to show them around, including Gringo Gulch, the Iguana Bridge, and several wooden hanging bridges. When driving by Aquiles Sedan, we saw the sign for Que Pasa and decided to pop in there to see what this place was all about AND satisfy our craving for blended Margaritas and pina coladas. Only two patrons were seated at the bar, and the one waitress was super friendly; we found out they do not serve blended drinks, so we politely let her know we would be back later in the week for a meal plus on the rocks Margaritas. So we continued on to Paso Ancho toward El Rio BBQ (which we were already aware was closed for the season). My husband just wanted us to get an idea of the bike route he took in April with a group of cyclists he hooked up with through Velo, the Specialized Bike shop in Galerias Vallarta. They meet up with their mountain bikes by McDonalds at the north end of the Malecon, and continue up to Paso Ancho, with Paso Ancho marking the "beginning" of their intense ride, aa total steep uphill climb beyond Almacenas, where biking is on a dirt road up through the awesome jungle. On the return trip back to town, my husband followed the pack of young cyclists as they literally flew down the cement steps of the Rio Cuale Flea Market Area on their bikes going top speed. For him, as a tourist of 50 years old, joining the local young guys on their Saturday morning ride (Rodada Sabatina) and keeping up with them neck to neck was an incredible experience! But I'm digressing...

For us girls, we found our delicious blended drinks (beers for the guys) at the AWESOME Cuale Paradise Restaurant and Bar located under a bridge, and right beside the beautiful Rio Cuale. If you've never been there before, you're really missing out on something truly special. Their address: Manantial No. 372, Buenas Aires, PV. Their Pina Coladas were the best we've ever had. Even our husbands who we offered a sip said WOW!!! So PV tourists, add this place to your Must Do restaurant list.

We continued with our explorations of the area, then headed back to Nuevo Vallarta where we changed into swimsuits and floated in the gigantic infinity pools on water hammocks. We planned to have dinner either at Fajita Republic in Nuevo, or pop into our favorite Punta Mita restaurant, Peppers to take in the sunset while dining on a beautiful bluff overlooking the ocean. But our first stop was to check out the great live music at the Drunken Duck in Bucerias, which was great fun. While there, we just opted to cross the street to eat pizza at another favorite, Canadian-owned YoYoMos.

Yesterday was filled with mire explorations, as well as trips to Home Depot, PV, Sams Club PV, Wamart, and finally El Tio Sams where we bit the bullet and purchased a beautuful wine/bevetage cooler with glass door and glass shelving. They delivered it the same day!

This morning we may pull out the kayaks and go in search of a dolphin sighting, or load up the surfboards, beach chairs, umbrella and ice chest and head to Sayulita. After all, no vacation to the Banderas Bay area would be complete without several visits to the fun Bohemian surf town with the awesome vibes. This is a very special place! Tomorrow we'll pop back into PV to take our stereo for repair at the Panasonic shop on Candelaria, then check out a different PV restaurant that we've not yet been to! If you've enjoyed this trip report, I'll keep them coming. We're here until September 8.

So Cal
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1. Re: Trip Report PV/Nuevo/Banderas Bay

Wow, my kind of trip. Staying l in one area of town my whole trip just doesn't float my boat, pun intended. :) Having your own transportation makes for a whole different trip.

Cuale Paradise is wonderful, glad to hear you found it. Keep your reports coming.

Edited: 27 August 2013, 20:09
Redlands, California
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2. Re: Trip Report PV/Nuevo/Banderas Bay

Thanks for sharing your report, interesting stuff! I have been to El Rio and Moro, but not Cuale Paraiso. I'll give it a try next trip.

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3. Re: Trip Report PV/Nuevo/Banderas Bay

Great report and please post again. Enjoy!

Columbus, Ohio
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4. Re: Trip Report PV/Nuevo/Banderas Bay

Enjoyed your report...keep sending them!

Destination Expert
for Nuevo Vallarta
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5. Re: Trip Report PV/Nuevo/Banderas Bay

An excellent post, though a little cruel - how am I supposed to stay focused on the mundane stuff that I'm supposed to be doing now, when I'm not in Vallarta?

Your post illustrates the upside to having a set of wheels at your disposal, particularly if you're staying outside of the city, have a group, and want to cover a lot of ground. There are certainly pros and cons that need to be taken into account before deciding to rent a vehicle, and although it's not for everyone, there are some definite advantages.

|Wisconsin Rapids...
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6. Re: Trip Report PV/Nuevo/Banderas Bay

Great report! Please keep them coming!! We also discovered Cuale's Paradise last year. It is beautiful!

Surrey, Canada
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7. Re: Trip Report PV/Nuevo/Banderas Bay

Great report!!! Gotta get on the water!!! Thanks

Naperville, Illinois
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for Bucerias, Riviera Nayarit
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8. Re: Trip Report PV/Nuevo/Banderas Bay

Thanks SO much for a terrific report! You're really a great "tour guide" and I'm looking forward to reading the next installment.

San Diego
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9. Re: Trip Report PV/Nuevo/Banderas Bay

Thanks for sharing your vacation so far with us. Sounds like you are having a great time.

Shawnee, Kansas
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10. Re: Trip Report PV/Nuevo/Banderas Bay

Sounds like a very nice trip so far. I do love Cuale Paradise too, try their Banana Daquiri next time, also excellent!

We've driven the Nuevo route many times in our excursions north and east, and I think the trip to town from Nuevo is faster by car at certain times of the day, and during low season. In high season there is a lot more traffic, and if people don't have a car, a cab is expensive for doing that very often. At rush hour it's really bad...just before happy hour which is when some tourists like to come into town. So, I don't think we can say it's just 18 minutes for everyone, but for sure I understand your attempt to solve the debate. :-O)

Keep up the reporting!