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Our vacation in

Puerto Vallarta 
México


 

January 15th - 22nd 1999


We left from our home in London, Ontario and the worst snow fall in 10 years at 2:45 am, picked up by Robert Q Travel's Air Bus Service to Toronto. We arrived at Pearson International Airport Terminal 1 in Toronto at about 5:30 am and boarded our 8am flight to Puerto Vallarta on schedule.
We were delayed about an hour and 30 minutes while the plane was de-iced twice.
Better safe than sorry.


We landed at Puerto Vallarta Airport about 2pm PV time which is 1 hour ahead of our time. A shuttle bus took us the 1/4 mile from the plane to the terminal. When going through customs you are asked to push a button that activated a light that either read "Pass" or "Stop". I got "Pass" but Donna got the "Stop" light. She was asked to open her suit case and they did a quick visual inspection that lasted about 1 minute. A bus took us the 20 minute ride to The Decameron Tropical Resort where we were greeted with welcome drinks. This is the entrance and the open lobby, 3 storeys high with a partial thatch roof. The decor is done very much in the Mexican style. The resort is located between Nuevo Vallarta and Bucerias.
 


This wrist band ensures that you are entitled to everything this all-inclusive hotel has to offer including unlimited food and drinks! The Decameron Costa Flamingos is a sister hotel next door. Guests at either hotel can enjoy the facilities of both. Our wrist bands were green while the Costa Flamingo's were blue. We found more than enough to do at the Tropical and didn't take advantage of the facilities at the Costa Flamingos.

The Decameron is actually three separate complexes in one. We were at the Tropical, (in our view the best one) the Costa Flamingos is next door. Both are directly on the beach. At the Tropical, all rooms are ocean/pool view. The Royal, built about a year after we were there, is across the street. No matter what hotel you stay at, you have access to the other two.  There are no other hotels nearby. One way along the beach you can see hotels at Nuevo Vallarta and the other way is private homes etc.,  and about 20 minutes walk down the beach or road is the town of Bucerias.  The Decameron complex is built about 1/2 a mile in from the main road. You can walk to the main road and catch a bus. They are always looking at the complex entrances for passengers, just put out your arm and they will stop. It was about 7 pesos to go into Puerto Vallarta. Its a wild, ratteling 20 - 30 minute ride so hang on. Most drive like they are 20 minutes late for something.  We took a taxi back for about 100 pesos.
 


All rooms at the Tropical are pool/ocean view large and comfortable.
Our room overlooked the grounds from the lobby entrance.


Looking north and south along the beach, this was about as crowded as it got. The ocean was warm and you could walk out 50 yards or so on the clean smooth sandy bottom and surf the waves. The sand had a gold fleck that glittered in the sun and swirled in the water. Few Mexicans even recall noticing it, and none I asked knew what it was. I found the Puerto Vallarta area beaches much wider than Cancun. If you venture too far out in the water and feel yourself being dragged out to sea, swim parallel to the beach until you reach an area where the current is weak and you can get in.



The resort grounds were very well cared for and have walkways that lead to the dinning room, snack bar, beach bar, and the pool area. The weather was great the whole week. Averaging about 32 Celsius or high 80's Fahrenheit. It was mostly sunny with a few clouds, and no rain. The mornings until 9am and evenings after 9pm are a little cool. A jacket or sweat shirt and long pants are advised.


In the open air dinning room, dinner alternated nightly from buffet to a la cart. At breakfast you can choose from eggs, bacon, ham, toast, french toast, pancakes, cereal, etc., and of course plenty of fresh fruits and juices. You can have your eggs cooked just the way you like them too. We favored the omelet with bacon, ham, and cheese bits added. At the snack bar next door you can order hot dogs, hamburgers and tacos anytime of the day.
We enjoyed playing a game of Yahtzee or Backgammon in the lobby after dinner while waiting for the nightly entertainment to begin at 10pm put on by the very talented hotel entertainment staff at the large private facilities located across the street. There is an outside stage as well as one inside, with a disco floor, music and drinks until 3am. Each night at about 11pm a bus leaves the resort for the night life in Puerto Vallarta and returns around 3am. There is a small fee for the round trip.
At night, it's advisable that you go in, stay with, and return with the group.


At the Beach Bar, located just a few yards from the ocean, Fernando and other bar tenders keep your glasses full with your favorite drink. Looks like this picture was taken after that shot of Tequila.

Filiberto, on the right, is the one to see to book all your off site activities from your trip to the city of Puerto Vallarta, horseback riding, jeep safari, purchasing or renting homes, etc., etc. He has been in the business for 14 years and knows what the best trips are. His office is located next to the reception area in the main lobby.

 CLICK HERE for a complete list of Filiberto's "must do" excursions when in the Puerto Vallarta area

Or contact Filiberto by Email at Filiberto Urrutia


Sunday morning we planned to take the 30 minute walk along the beach to Bucerias.
Located on the beach at the north end of the Decameron complex we met Ulises Benitez and his 7 horses. He offered to guide us horse back into Bucerias and show us around. His rates are $10.00 USD each for the one hour tour into Bucerias and $20.00 for the two hour extended tour through the country side. We took to two hour tour for what lasted more like three hours, but still cost only 20.00 . Ulises is a very friendly and knowledgeable person who speaks English well and has spent a few years working in the USA. Look for him on the beach or call 392-70999.
 
 


The highlight of our trip was the Jeep Safari. We booked this excursion through Filiberto. At 9am three jeeps pulled up in front of the resort entrance. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that we would get our own jeep and I would be driving. Four others were in the second jeep and another guest rode with our guide Crystal, in the lead jeep. We started out by driving through small villages, one where they made hats by using 100 year old sewing machines and presses. I was glad I brought along my polaroid camera as I was able to take and leave pictures with the people, as they do not even have pictures of their own children. To say the least, they were very thrilled with the pictures. We always buy up extra candy at Halloween to take along with us on our trips too. We pack an extra suitcase full of clothing we no longer need, for families we meet. The extra suitcase comes in handy to carry all the items back home that we buy. We stopped in a small village restaurant located on the beach wh ere we ate lunch and rested for a while. Next we traveled up a mountain trail that over looked farmers fields and through areas of dence jungle much like the area where the movie Predator was filmed. Below we saw multi-million dollar ocean front private homes.
We returned to the resort just after 5 pm and at least 200 km.

Don't forget to tip your tour guides and servers. We usually tip 1 or two dollars at breakfast and dinner
and a few dollars at the end of each excursion. They really go out of their way to see that you
are enjoying yourself, show them that you appreciate it.

We ventured into Puerto Vallarta twice by ourselves, each time taking the bus. It was only 7 Pesos each but can be a bumpy and wild ride. We took a taxi back the second time for 100 Pesos. If you want to send or check your email there you can at Radio Shack or there are are a few Internet cafes in PV. We went to a place called The Net. The hourly rate was 45 Pesos.
We were on for 10 minutes at 10 Pesos.
Set up a Hotmail account before you leave home, it's free.


A few examples of the currency, the last coin is the reverse of the other coins except for the 10 peso. The 2 Peso coin is the same size as a Canadian or American Quarter. At the time the U.S. dollar was worth 10 pesos and the Canadian 6.5 . You could buy T-shirts at most places in a town at 4 for 100 pesos. Blankets are a big item, selling anywhere from 50 to 350 pesos depending on the weight, but mostly on your bartering skills. We were told at our orientation meeting to basically start the bartering at half of the asking price and if you can, purchase items at the end of the day. We purchased a very nice ceramic bowl in PV with six pieces of ceramic fruit that had lizards etc. on them for 175 pesos, the asking price was 450. If we could find this item at home it would easily run upwards to $100.00. On the beach we got 3 blankets for 350 pesos when his rock botton best deal was 450. At another shop in PV we purchased a set of three pottery vases with iguanas on them for only 150 pesos and three hanging pottery jugs on rope for 60 pesos. More items that could not be found at home. Beware of the so called "silver" being sold other than in jewellery stores though,
as the only silver you get could be the colour.

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Photo taken from the Beach Bar


Click for Puerto Vallarta Forecast

*****  LINKS  *****

Safe Travel Information for Mexico

Mexico - Consular Information Sheet

TIPS FOR TRAVELERS TO MEXICO

A SAFE TRIP ABROAD
 

Follow this link for complete details on the Decameron complex.
Toll free number, fax number, email address, rooms, resturants, bars, activities, etc., etc.
 Royal Decameron complex details
 

 A Good Puerto Vallarta Question and Answer Forum

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Updated on January 24, 2001

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