To dhowe.com
Click on pictures to see a large version.
Mexico 2007 - pg. 1

Our plane left for Puerto Vallarta (PV) at 6:00 am.  No problems at Sacramento Airport and the long walk between gates at Phoenix was viewed as a good opportunity to stretch our legs.  No time to dally, though.  The plane began boarding almost as soon as we arrived.  Hope the luggage makes it.  Arrived at PV and (yay!) all the luggage came with us.  Breezed through customs and almost got snagged by a time-share vampire offering a $20 taxi ride to our resort in San Francisco (San Pancho) a 45 minute ride north of PV.  Hiked over the highway to the cheaper taxis outside the airport and negotiated a $50 ride with no strings attached. 

Costa Azul was an oasis of calm after our hectic morning and after a quick change into shorts and flip-flops, we ate lunch and strolled along the beach.

The room we were assigned was on the ground floor and we weren't comfortable leaving the sliding glass door open at night to hear the waves and get the breeze.  The front office was very accommodating and said that we could move to the second floor after lunch tomorrow.


Costa Azul is an all-inclusive adventure resort so our room, meals and all adventures were pre-paid to use or not as we chose.  We quickly signed up for activities for the coming week.

We walked up "main" street to visit some of our favorite places and happened to visit the staging site for the evening sunset ride on the beach.  The wrangler, Santos, had no English and our Spanish is very limited so we couldn't convince him that we hadn't signed up for this ride and besides, were inappropriately dressed in shorts and flip-flops.  He mounted us up anyway when the group that was supposed to go had two no-shows.  What a great way to start a vacation, with an hour on a horse on the beach.  Heaven.

"Main Street"

"Our horses"
 
An unexpected sunset ride on the beach

In front of the estuary.

The resort tries to entertain guests with a different activity each evening.  This evening it was a Jazz group covering old disco and rock n' roll tunes.  The lead singer had a very good voice and an interesting delivery.  English was NOT her main language but the songs she performed were all in "English" and mostly understandable.


A beautiful evening to start our vacation.


December 10, 2007:  The two hour Jungle Ride on horseback was scheduled for 8:00 am so we had to hustle to get up and get going in order to have breakfast before departure.  A buffet is laid out for the early-leaving adventurers and we enjoyed a quick coffee and scrambled eggs with a side of fresh fruit.

On our way to the horse staging area, Dave spotted some long tailed, crested birds in the palms above the swimming pool.  We asked Santos what they were and he said something like "orancho."  I looked up this bird in my guide and am still clueless.

It was on this ride that we met Cindy of Cindy and Tom fame.  They were visiting the resort the same week as us. Tom was eager to take surfing lessons so was not on the jungle ride.  Cindy was not a horse enthusiast like us but she was such a good sport and very interested in the translations of the descriptions of the flora and fauna given by Santos.  Dave and I had taken this ride several times and remembered a lot of the information given by a previous guide who spoke English.  

Cindy inspects a termite nest.
The view from the top.         Finishing on main street.
Dave and Cindy thought they spotted a tucan in a tree. (After looking at the pictures later we discovered it was a Spotted Pale Billed Woodpecker).
Dave and I walked to town, about 10-15 minutes by foot and explored the back streets to see what had changed since our last visit.  The town of San Pancho is very tiny, really just about the size of Arbuckle but with an ocean bordering it on one end.  There are developments of gated communities surrounding the old village but the cobblestone streets and colorful houses and storefronts are still going strong.  The polo field was not being used when we walked by but we were assured that they did play there regularly.  San Pancho map.

      On the way to town.             Polo field.

      Interesting moth.                 He wants a hug.

The sun was hot so we hoofed it back to the resort and sat under the palapa roof of the restaurant and enjoyed our lunch of ceviche.  Siesta time came after our move to the second floor room and a dip in the pool. We met Tom during the Sunset ride and began to get to know our new, globe-trotting friends. 

Dave didn't get  a picture of our 24th anniversary dinner of Huichanango, a whole fish grilled to perfection.



                            On to page 2.