This is Ivan Cevallos and this the story for a the trip I took with Andres Pruna and Michelle Winters to the western coast of Mexico to visit a destination just a few hours from Los Angeles. This is our story on our 5 days at Puerto Vallarta
The flight from LAX to the Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (there’s a mouthful) was about 3 hours. When we arrived a lovely Senorita at the tourism desk gave us welcome gifts including a Bird of Paradise flower for our on air talent. This was a welcoming gift from the Mexican state of Jalisco. We were then transported by van to the new Hilton Hotel. The hotel was very beautiful, very luxurious; here are some photos of the spectacular view from the balcony, it overlooked the blue waters of Banderas Bay at sunset.
The first excursion of the day was a boat ride through the El Salado Estuary (the salty). An estuary is a saline coastal area connected to fresh water. The mangrove trees were beautiful, the tide was high, the weather was hot and humid, but not unbearable. We saw a baby raccoon, a baby crocodile, many different types of crabs, and various species of birds.
The next stop was Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon, a boardwalk that serves both as a protective seawall to the city and a bustling strip of shops, restaurants and street-vendors. I particularly enjoyed one drink; coconut milk, pineapple juice, apple junks, and slices of walnuts. Delicious on a hot day!
We went back to the Hilton for a dip in the ocean. Never in my life have I experienced such warm ocean water, it was fantastic! I’m used to LA where the water is barely 65 degrees… Anyway, people were swimming, jet-skiing, boating, kayaking, canoeing; water activities are a must in Puerto Vallarta!
The last excursion of the day was to a turtle release party on the beach at sunset. Unfortunately, turtle eggs are sold on the black market (the eggs are believed to be an aphrodisiac) and so the turtle population is extremely threatened in Mexico. At the release party we all held day old turtle babies in our hands! This was definitely the “cutest” moment of the trip. We put the turtle babies on the sand 3 feet away from the water and watched them run at impeccable speed into the ocean. Fun fact: turtles remember the beach where they hatched, as adults they return to the same beach to lay their eggs. Cute, right?
We went back to the Malecon in the morning to film various interviews with shop owners. A fun shop was a candy store that sold chewy tequila candies! Totally nuts, right? I got a few treats for myself and some friends after we finished our interviews. We also went to a glass shop and every piece they sold was beautiful. I may or may not have gotten my Christmas shopping out of the way a bit early this year…
Back at the hotel, Michele and I took a go at jet-skiing. Let me just say, it was a lot of fun! I would go 100mph if possible. Michelle is more of a 34mph kind of girl.
That night we boarded a Pirate ship and enjoyed a fantastic dinner theatre experience while cruising around the Banderas Bay! There was drinking, merriment, music, I think we danced to My Heart Will Go On at one point. Our on air talent was captured by pirates, thrown into a speedboat, and taken as a hostage out on the treacherous night sea! Luckily, this was all for the sake of drama. She was returned to the pirate ship and ate dinner with everyone else aboard. Oh, and she then got to play Pocahontas during the show. She had to scream a lot, they actually took the microphone away from her. I doubt they knew they were dealing with a seasoned actress of the stage…
Our final excursion was a day at sea. We went to the marina and boarded The Isabella. This was probably my favorite day because I love being on the water. The sites were breathtaking, Guns & Roses was blasting over the radio, and the water was perfect for snorkeling. There were so many schools of colorful fish that swam by, it was unreal. We actually got stung by several baby jellyfish but fortunately, the stings only felt like a few pin pricks and the jellyfish weren’t poisonous so we didn’t die.
The rest of the day was spent lounging by the pool at the hotel and drinking margaritas… many many margaritas.
Our final day in Puerto Vallarta had perfect weather and hardly any wind at all. The water on the Bay was so still. The ocean was so stagnant in places that I could have mistaken the water for mirrors. Of course Andres and Michelle had to shake things up a bit by giving the jet-skis a run for their money.
When it was time to leave we were sad to go but excited to return home and get back to life in LA. Overall I had a wonderful trip! I learned so much about the city of Puerto Vallarta. I saw beautiful sites, went snorkeling, stayed in a fantastic hotel, and ate at delicious restaurants. I’d highly recommend visiting if one is ever in Mexico!