Puerto Vallarta, Ola y Adios

TUESDAY (Martes), May 24

Puerto Vallarta is a favorite resort for winter visitors.  They leave before the hot weather starts.  We, on the other hand, chose to visit during sauna season.  How hot and humid is it?  At the beach front hotel we stopped at for a cold drink, chilled towels are handed out at no charge.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After Mazatlan we visited tiny Boca de Camichin, an off-the-beaten-track fishing town on the Rio San Pedro. The town is famous within Mexico for its ostiones (oysters) which are aquacultured in the river.

Our friend Oscar from Mazatlan recommended that we get in touch with Roberto Mata, a good friend of his and the owner of Ecomata, an ecotourism company, for a birdwatching tour of the extensive mangroves. The extended Mata family also own a restaurant at the river’s edge.  While waiting for Roberto who was returning from a nearby town, we had lunch in the restaurant.  The fish I ordered, Pargo, prepared in the sarandeado style, was out-of-this-world delicious. How good was it?  So good that I ordered it again the next day.

When Roberto arrived we made plans for a tour the next day.  But Roberto wanted to take us out in the evening, at no charge, to see if we liked the way he did things. (That’s the best explanation I can come up with.)

Roberto drove us to a place in the mangroves where we met the boat.  On the way we birded from his truck.  When the boat arrived, piloted by Roberto’s uncle Julio, we toured the mangroves for at least an hour. They also showed us jaguar tracks in a seasonally dry area of the wetlands.

It was during the tour that I made a serious mistake.  Because of the oppressive heat and humidity I wore a T-shirt instead of a long sleeve shirt but did not use an insect repellant.  The no-see-ums feasted on me.  The next morning I discovered that I was allergic to their bites.  It was all I could do to stop myself from tearing the skin off my arms.

The next morning we met Roberto at 6am.  The tide was out so we birded the shore, moving to a new location every time the bugs discovered a new local source of protein.  Julio showed up with the small boat (they called it a canoe) that we used the previous evening.  Later during the tour we transferred to a larger boat.  We saw a lot of birds in the mangroves, but almost all were all familiar to us.

Later in the afternoon I (Chris was a little under the weather) went with Roberto and Julio for a drive.  We had a hilarious encounter with a herd of Brahma cattle that surrounded the truck.  They apparently thought we were there to feed them, and were annoyed to find out that was not the case. Later on I had the opportunity to see a Roseate Spoonbill, a beautiful bird that I had not seen since our trip to Costa Rica in the 90’s.

We left Boca de Camichin in the morning for the drive to Puerto Vallarta.  The route goes through Santiago Ixcuintla.  The road in and out of town is torn up.  Someone forgot to put up directional signs for the detour.  We finally gave up and paid a taxi M$60/$4 to lead us out of town.

In Puerto Vallarta we checked into Puerto Vallarta Trailer Park, a walled compound in a residential neighborhood.  It was probably a nice place in 70’s.  The current generation that runs it could care less about upkeep and cleanliness.

We ventured out for dinner.  The Yelp-reviewed place in the neighborhood was closed; we had a forgettable meal at a hotel. (The Caesar Salad came with the dressing in a bottle.)

This morning we took a taxi to the main plaza – aka tourist central.  Ate breakfast at “The Omelet’s House” then wandered around the old town and the Malecón while sweating profusely.  Taxi back to the RV park.  I took a shower using our camper’s outdoor faucet –  first time I’ve done that.

The plan is to leave tomorrow, stopping at the Botanical Gardens on the way out of town.  Destination is Guadalajara – birthplace of mariachi.