"Puerto Vallarta--Here is a bustling city that has much to offer the visitor"

By The Editor

This was our third visit to Puerto Vallarta with each of them rather widely spaced in time. Our first visit was only shortly after Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor put a small Mexican community on the world map. We stayed at the El Camino Real Hotel which was new at the time.

Our second visit a decade later found Puerto Vallarta had grown considerably but was still recognizable to us. When we got off the Holland American Ship MS Oosterdam just a few months ago we could not recognize the place as being the Puerto Vallarta of our memory. It is now a city with buildings expanding in every direction. Our group of writers selected several different ways to spend the day. One group went to Swim With Dolphins and another the Canopy Adventure. Both groups returned to the ship with enthusiastic stories of their adventures.

This Writer chose to take the City bus tour since I wanted to see for myself all the changes that had taken place in the City. First the bus took us south out of downtown to the area's gold coast of resort hotels which hug the shoreline for several miles. Once back in the City we left the bus for a walking tour of the Flea Market which is located on the Isla Rio Cuale.

This took us to the River Cafe where the culinary staff headed by Chef Vicente Montes hosted us to a demonstration of the true way to make Mexican Salsa. We learned something here. The true key to great salsa is to roast over an open fire the tomatoes, onions and garlic. Our next stop was a Tequila Tasting Room located in the heart of the City. This event required great caution but revealed the true qualities of 100 per cent pure Agave tequilas.

What we did recognize from past visits was the Plaza located in the heart of the City and the picturesque church, which at least, was just as we had last visited it decades before.

Then it was on to a wonderful lunch at the Villa Premiere Hotel. The four diamond hotel is located downtown but with its own beachfront and 83 ocean facing rooms. After all our walking and tastings we were a hungry crew that moved into the Villa Premiere dining room for a sumptuous lunch with a roasted Mahi Mahi as the main course.

Besides its beachside accommodations and convenient location Villa Premiere excels with its Spa. Puerto Vallarta is located on the Bay of Banderas with a mix of rocky headlands and long sweeps of sand beaches. Backdrop to the City is the Sierra Madre mountains. On an earlier visit we went a long way into the range and was amazed at the beauty as we climbed to higher elevations. Here there were pine forests and mountain meadows.

As a port of call Puerto Vallarta offers just about everything for the visitor. Last year 240 cruise ships docked there bringing over a half million passengers. On our visit two other cruise ships were also docked. Expansions in the city include more dock space, an enlarged and modern airport, and on the drawing board.a new convention center.

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Last Update:6/9/09

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