Puerto Vallarta   October 2016   We had flat seas and no wind from La Paz to Puerto Vallarta, which meant motor sailing all the way.  We arrived in Puerto Vallarta on October 27.  Our daughter, Isabelle, will visit us from Senegal on Dec. 13, so we will hang out here for a while.  Our son, Armand, who lives in Arcata, CA, may also visit us at that time.   We had the choice of staying at three marinas in PV; since Paradise Village was the only one to respond to our email request, we chose to stay with there.  We were looking forward to cleaning the boat, doing some laundry and being on land for a few days.  The marina is part of one of the largest resorts in PV. 

The first couple of docks had the ocean breeze, but we were assigned a dock further away, tucked behind the resort which meant no breeze.  It was very hot and uncomfortable.  The docks are in an estuary where there are crocodiles, which was a worry with our dog Sushi.  We saw a crocodile swim behind our boat.

Our friends on Nic & Dime, Derek and Lauren, were at La Cruz marina, and they said they enjoyed it.  We decided to move our boat to La Cruz even though the drive by car takes 20 minutes or more to get to downtown Puerto Vallarta.  We were glad we did; the marina is very nice, fairly new, with ample space for boats and open to the breeze.  It is located in the quaint, small town of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.  We rented a car to provision and get around for a few weeks. 

On November 5, we decided to visit the mountain village of San Sebastian del Oeste, about a 2 hour drive from PV.  It is one of Mexico's Pueblo Magicos, a government designated "magical", historic town.  The weather had not cooled down yet, and we were glad to escape the heat of PV.  We rented an old stone house along a stream, within walking distance to the small village.  It was a real treat for us.  The house was on 1/2 an acre, and it had lovely garden filled with plants, orchids and walking paths to a river on the property. 



The property manager for the house came by every day at 6 pm to light a bonfire for us in the front garden...a real treat!  Yes, it was chilly at night; the elevation is over 4,000 ft.  I was glad to have my cashmere sweater with me.

The village square is surrounded by small stores and restaurants.  The cobblestone streets are winding and charming.  There's a very pretty church in town.

During our stroll, we took photos of a pretty young woman on a horse visiting the village square. 


One night we heard mariachis serenading a neighboring home intermixed with religious chant; apparently this is a religious custom performed every night at each home in the village during October and November.  It was very melodic, and lasted at least one hour.   We had a memorable visit to this lovely village.

Our days back at the marina were busy with boat repair, shopping and exploring the area.  We were having a sun shade for the boat made at the town's canvas shop.  One day we motor sailed to nearby Punta Mita.  Unfortunately, landing the dinghy on the beach was difficult due to the surf, so we only stayed one day.  We headed over to Yelapa for the night; it had too much swell to stay longer.   We returned to La Cruz, and we decided to anchor for a while outside the marina.  During our week at anchor, we enjoyed being able to jump in the water and enjoy the breeze; it was a comfortable anchorage.

We decided to visit Lake Chapala and Ajijic, located near Guadalajara, about a 6 hour drive from Puerto Vallarta.  It will be our first visit to the lake.  Lake Chapala has the largest ex-pat community in Mexico.  It is located at about 4,000 ft.; the weather is spring like temperatures all year round.  We rented a house in the village of Ajijic.  The village is located on Lake Chapala, and it is charming with its cobblestone streets and homes and stores painted with colorful art.

We enjoyed seeing beautiful flowers, fruit and orchids grown in the area.  It was fun exploring the shops and eating at excellent restaurants.  What a treat!  From Mexican, cajun, Italian, French cuisines, and many more, there was something for everyone.    We enjoyed the Peacock Garden restaurant, with its beautiful garden, orchids and peacocks.

While we were visiting, we attended Chapala's annual art festival; some of the best artists in Mexico display their art at this event.  We enjoyed perusing the beautiful art; we bought two wool weavings from a women's cooperative near Guanajuato....and earrings, of course!


We thoroughly enjoyed our time here.  It's time to return to our boat in Puerto Vallarta.  We rented a beautiful beach condo in the nearby town of Bucerias.  Our children, Armand and Isabelle, visited us for a week  We had great views of the bay, and the condo had a gym and a lap pool. 





We visited the surfing town of Sayulita.  We had stayed in this town before, and we wanted to share it with the kids. 

Unfortunately, the surf was minimal, so Armand and Isabelle went paddle boarding.

The following day, Isabelle and Armand had a great dive in Punta Mita at a site called the Pinnacle.  They saw large schools of fish, large moray eels and much more.

We took our boat for a two hour sail across the bay to Yelapa.  Dolphins played in our bow along the way.




We will spend the night on a mooring in Yelapa.  Pat and I had visited Puerto Vallarta and Yelapa with the kids, perhaps 18 years ago.  We rode donkeys to the waterfall in Yelapa.  We vaguely remember the place, but much has changed in 18 years!   It is still quite stunning.  Our friends Derek and Laura, and their dog Brazos, on s/v Nic and Dime, also sailed to Yelapa and we met them on the beach. We had a late lunch and drinks at a palapa restaurant.  Isabelle and Armand went with them to listen to music in the evening.  The following day, Derek and Laura led us on the hike to the waterfall.  Armand jumped from above.  Isabelle did too, though we were nervous because she slipped on the rocks taking off..... though she made it safely twice.  We had a great time! 

On Armand's last day, we visited the La Cruz de Huanacaxtle farmers market.  It's a great food and craft market with live music, lots of fun.  We were sad when Armand left, but so happy he visited us here!  Isabelle and I spent her last day shopping in downtown Puerto Vallarta.


We met Pat at Le Kliff restaurant (named because it is built on a cliff).  We saw a whale and coatimundis (photo below) during our meal.  It was a treat! 


Isabelle left us the following day; another end to great times together with the kids!!  It's time for us to head south to the Costa Alegre. 




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