Showing posts with label Riviera Nayarit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Riviera Nayarit. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TPThursday: When Life’s a Beach. . .

As our summer days come to an end and autumn promises cloudy, cool – and damp – days in the Pacific Northwest, we start daydreaming about sun and sand.  Beaches beacon. Memories of some of our favorite beaches are the topic of today’s post.


Malaga, Spain’s  Costa del Sol: A Sunday morning stroll last November on the beach included a stop to inspect this new-to-us way of fishing. Tall poles were inserted in the sand and the line (barely glimmering in the sunlight) stretched out into the sea – so high you could walk under them.


Ko Olina, O’ahu, Hawaii:  We’ve spent the month of January ‘living’ at Ko Olina the last couple of years thanks to taking a plunge into the ‘timeshare’ world.  This is one of our favorite spots at this development on O’ahu’s western shores, some 30 minutes from Honolulu.

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Copalis Beach, Washington State:  Now you might think this photo, taken last March, is of a cloudy beach, but in this part of the world we have ourselves believing this is ‘filtered sun’.

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Cabo San Lucas, Mexico:  A Carnival Cruise stop introduced us to the beauty of the beaches in this part of Mexico last April.

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Riviera Nayarit, Mexico:  As much as we enjoyed our quick visit to Cabo, it was the week spent at Rancho Banderas, just north of Puerto Vallarta where our place overlooked this beautiful – and little used – beach.

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Victoria, British Columbia, Canada:  While images of beaches may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this city on the tip of Vancouver Island, all you need do is walk a view blocks from the Inner Harbor and you’ll find them.  Well-maintained trails lead from the roadway overlooking them to the cove beaches below.

How about you?  Has life been a beach this year?

This is post links to Budget Traveler's Sandbox weekly feature, Travel Photo Thursday.  Head over there for more photos.  Hope you’ll stop by again as we tell you of our continuing adventures in Italy this month.  You can subscribe at TravelnWrite or follow along on our Facebook page

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bucerias, Mexico: Back to our Future

There was a time when Bucerias, Mexico, a small fishing village north of Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s west coast was our future. Now, it's a sizeable segment of our past. Earlier this month we revisited that past.

RivieraNayarit2012 177Seven years ago we sold our last property there, The Dolce Vitas, and filed Mexico away in our history book.

(Unlike our Casa de la Playa below, the DV’s still stand – next to them these days is a restaurant offering live music and dancing.) 

Back to our Future

Casa de la Playa 001In 1991 the laid-back fishing village we selected as the site of our second home --our heads filled with all the giddy future plans that go with such investments – there were maybe six restaurants.  Accommodations included a couple of Mexican-owned and operated low-end  hotels, a condo building or two, and a few privately-owned homes, such as ours, that served as vacation rentals.

The town’s landmark were the stalls of oyster vendors that lined the two-lane Highway 200 that bisected it.

From our U.S. home we brought supplies – sheets, towels, kitchen supplies –to the south-of-the-border house (in oversized suitcases; thankfully, before baggage fees came to be).

Today:  Tourism and Touts; Big Boxes and Banks

 Bucerias  is now a part of the tourist-zoned, Riviera Nayarit.  And tourism has come to town! (Along with the multitudes of over-zealous trinket touts and timeshare sales people that seem to come with Mexican tourism.) 

RivieraNayarit2012 058The gauntlet of trinket touts lines every street leading into town from the old footbridge over the dry, dusty arroyo. The constant calls:  “Hey Lady, come look!” “Hey, how long you here?” “Good prices, almost free!”  made us want to shout: “Enough already!”

RivieraNayarit2012 320Oyster vendors? We saw one  lone table  stacked with oysters to the side of  a ‘lateral’.

The laterals, those local access roads to the side of the highway, have been enlarged to two lanes each direction as has the highway itself,RivieraNayarit2012 069 making the road through town an eight-lane super structure with a palm-tree lined median strip.

RivieraNayarit2012 318Accommodations abound. This hotel sits across from the fish restaurants that still line the beach in the town’s el centro.
High rise condo buildings with unit price tags starting at $300,000US, are sprouting like beach grass all over town. The rental site, Vacation Rental By Owner, lists 129 accommodations – unlike the half dozen listed when we owned there.

RivieraNayarit2012 184Household supplies are readily available from Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, in Puerto Vallarta, and the Mexican chain, Mega in Bucerias.  Each store is stocked with ATM’s.  Bucerias  has banks now as well.

Bucerias isn’t the town it once was, but we aren’t the same either. As we all know sometimes change isn’t always bad.  Have you revisited your future lately?  If so, what changes have you found?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

TPThursday: Mexico Magic ~ Un Fiesta Grande

Travel Photo Thursday finds us continuing our travels in Mexico ~ land of song and dance ~ living la vida buena  (the good life).  And nothing says good life  better than a fiesta. . .so let the party begin!

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We’d been talked into buying tickets, about $40US each, to this fiesta by one of our waiters at the place we are staying this week, Villa del Palmar Flamingos.  Would it be too touristy, we wondered, after our purchase.  Would it be worth what we had paid?

Toes begin tapping in the audience – made up of both Mexican and foreign visitors - with the first notes of the rousing songs performed by Mariachis, those iconic singing, strumming minstrels of Mexico. . .

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And then they added some most-talented dancers in colorful dress. . .

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And while we watched  these talented folks we danced our way between tables laden with ensaladas (salads), sopas (soups) and tortillas con salsa and tamales, and chicken en mole salsa, and frijoles (beans) and thankfully didn’t have room for the postres (deserts). . .but then what’s a  fiesta without food and drink!?

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Riviera Nayarit 2012 063 One of my favorite dances is the Dance of the Viejos (the old ones) which brings dance steps and slapstick comedy to the show.

Masked young men, tapping those canes, do a riveting job of jumping, falling and bringing on rounds of laughter during this routine.

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Somehow the early evening twilight had become nighttime darkness.  Those thoughts of ‘touristy’ were long gone; they were lost to the Mexico Magic of their songs and dances. 

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That’s a view of Mexico for this week’s contribution to Travel Photo Thursday.  To see what else is happening in the world, dance on over to Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Casa de la Playa: Asi es la Vida

‘Asi es la vida’, in Spanish means, “such is life.” 

We didn’t rush to the small beach road. It wasn’t until our third trip to Bucerias, a small beach town north of Puerto Vallarta, last week that Joel suggested we  go visit our ‘old place.’  Walking down the beach road as we had done so many hundreds of times before brought back a flood of memories – both good and bad.

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Our Casa de la Playa, House of the Beach,  once reigned at the end of this road.  Now the road is blocked by a tall fence that encloses a condominium building called The Albatros. Our old Grand Dame was bulldozed within months of our sale to new owners from Mexico City. 

Somehow their assurances at the time of the sale that they loved the casa and would use it for years to come made saying ‘adios’ a bit easier.  They obviously hadn’t loved it as much as they claimed.

Ah, but, asi es la vida.

Riviera Nayarit 2012 038 There’s a prison-like feel to the large solid metal fence enclosing the place these days.
Riviera Nayarit 2012 039The garden area once at the side of the casa is now a very snug parking lot. The Albatros is one of a half dozen such multi-storied condo buildings that line the Bucerias beachfront these days – each vying for buyers.

We smiled as we noted the many “For Sale’ signs plastered to the front of this five unit building. And continued smiling as we walked down the beach.

Yes, Asi, es la vida.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

‘Basting Away’ in Margaritaville, Mexico

We are basting ourselves with suntan lotion on this Travel Photo Thursday as we play on the sand and in the sea  20  miles north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

We are in the midst of our first of two weeks on Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit; this week on Playa Destiladeras. So slide into that empty chair below, there’s a margarita just waiting for you as we celebrate another great day in paradise.

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We drank the margarita pictured above at El Dorado, on Playa Anclote, near Punta de Mita, and a few miles north of where we are staying.  We’ve come to this restaurant for more than two decades to spend a few late afternoon hours and usher in sunset.
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We’d begun our sunset celebration in this Mexican Margaritaville at another long-time hangout on this same beach,  El Anclote, which has been around since the mid-1980’s.  Our entertainment there was watching the beach vendors peddle their wares: jewelry, wood carvings, hammocks, rugs, and clothing  One of the most popular was the candy/nut vendor:

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I wasn’t the only one pulled to his display like metal to a magnet:

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Sunset and margaritas seem to go hand-in-hand in Mexico but this time of year the sun doesn’t set until after 8 p.m. – long after we’d sipped our margaritas. We toasted this day in tropical paradise with a glass of vino as we watched the sunset from our deck at the condo where we are staying.

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Many of you know this trip is taking us down Memory Lane. It’s our first visit since we sold the last of our homes here seven years ago. It has been a blend of discovery and nostalgia. I’ll tell you more about our Memory Lane, the places we are staying and Bucerias in future posts.

For now it is Travel Photo Thursday so stop by Budget Travelers Sandbox for another great photo journey around the world.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Safely South of the Border, down Mexico Way

Two month ago, the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, issued a lengthy advisory about travel to Mexico
Carnival Cruise 2012 054It notes that while hundreds of U.S. tourists and students continue to successfully visit our neighbor to the south, there are some places that should be avoided and others where common sense when traveling should be used.

Carnival Cruise 2012 066We didn’t pay much attention to the early February warning because Mexico travel wasn’t on our radar screen then.

That’s changed. Not only did we take a short cruise to Cabo San Lucas  in March, we are soon heading to Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit for a two-week timeshare stay.

A few friends have responded to our south-of-the-border destinations with the skeptical raised eyebrow and almost whispered: “Are you sure you want to go there? It’s not safe right now is it?”

An answer to those questions:

Carnival Cruise 2012 057We had two days to wander through Cabo San Lucas; around the touristy marina area and then on cobbled streets with uneven sidewalks into the town’s el centro, the center. On our two morning excursions we were on our own, heading where ever our feet led us.

I wore jewelry and carried a purse and camera. We felt safe . . . aside from a fear of breaking an ankle on those crazy Mexican sidewalks, pictured to the left,  that raise and lower without notice.

The streets were pretty much empty other than for shopkeepers and a few other tourists.

The only time we were verbally accosted was when a timeshare salesman called out. We stopped. He showed us photos of the development he was pitching and then of his family.

Carnival Cruise 2012 118Ricardo Garcia Castro, director of Planning and Tourism Development in Baja California Sur, quoted in Los Cabos Magazine, may have said it best: 

“Mexico is a very large country and the lack of knowledge of geography by the American media make people [think] an incident in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua affects Los Cabos and the California Sur. It is like if an incident in New Jersey would affect Florida or Montana.”

Nayarit Advisory:
Out of curiosity, not concern, I’ve read the U.S. State Department advisory and this is what it says about our upcoming destination. (I’ve added the boldface highlight):

Map picture

“Nayarit: You should defer non-essential travel to all areas of the state of Nayarit north of the city of Tepic as well as to the cities of Tepic and Xalisco. The security situation north of Tepic and in these cities is unstable and travelers could encounter roadblocks or shootouts between rival criminals. There is no recommendation against travel either to Riviera Nayarit in the southern portion of the state or to principal highways in the southern portion of the state used to travel from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta.

Our planned safeguards: I will be leaving  jewelry in our safe deposit box at home, but by now you know I can’t travel without a camera. It will be with me, as will my purse.

We will travel using common sense when out exploring. But are we going to get out and explore our old haunts tucked away in the Sierra Madres between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta?

You can be sure of it! 

What about you?  Been to Mexico lately? If so, what was your experience?

Note: Click the link in the opening paragraph to read the entire U.S. Department of State travel advisory for Mexico issued Feb. 8, 2012. Click the map pins for details.


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