Puerto Vallarta

     We did a Marriott exchange for this April school vacation trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. This well-known beach resort is located on the west coast of Mexico, in what is called the "Mexican Riviera". Our resort was positively fantastic, right on the beach and with many amenities. This was a "Lee" vacation — relaxation was the focus, with a minimum of running around. We actually spent most of our time at the pool, reading and people-watching. The resort even had a gym which we frequented nearly every morning. It is located in Marina Vallarta, a section of the city a few miles north of the Old Town.
    We did spend several days in the tourist area, taking a cab to get there and back (I have heard numerous stories about the dangers of driving in Mexico, although I think they may be exaggerated). The Old Town is very pleasant to walk, with many shops and restaurants, and several interesting things to see. We enjoyed walking the Malecon, the wooden boardwalk along the water, which is punctuated with quite a few interesting and attractive sculptures. The most photographed one is the Seahorse Sculpture — it has become a symbol of the city.
    Other notable sights in the city include Gringo Gulch, a hilly neighborhood to the east of town, named for the many US expatriates who settled here in the 1950’s and 1960’s. This is also the location of the famous "love bridge" which was built to connect Elizabeth Taylor’s house, Casa Kimberley, with the home of Richard Burton, with whom she had an affair during the filming of the movie, The Night of the Iguana.
    Rising above the Old Town is the distinctive bell tower of the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, the main church in town. The roof of the tower  was made to look like a crown and can be seen from anywhere in the Old Town.
      Lessons learned:
            Things are very different when you do not have your own transportation. You must rely on taxis or public transport which requires some planning, etc. There are some places where it makes sense not to drive!


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