Friday, June 13, 2008

Puerto Vallarta & City and Tequila Tour

Hello again, Jeff here to tell you about our day in Puerto Vallarta, hereafter known as PV for short. Like our day in Mazatlan on Wednesday, Thursday was overcast but still comfortably warm and we had no rain – which was good. I’d start off with a little history of PV; however, I didn’t pick up one of the little cheat sheets as we were leaving the ship so I have nothing from which to copy. For those reading the blog that are future cruisers on Disney’s Mexican Riviera cruise this summer note that you lose an hour of sleep (i.e., you set your clocks forward 1 hour) on both Tuesday night and Wednesday night so the Magic keeps ship time equal to local time.

I’d arranged a 4 hour tour of the city and tequila tasting (through Mazatlan Frank) with his friend Fernando Alfredo as our guide. The cost of the tour was $35/person. We were to meet Alfredo at 10 am at the Hospitality Tent just as we departed the ship. As it turned out, Alfredo was doing a tour with passengers on the Vision of the Sea and had asked Bernardo to handle our tour. Bernardo asked if we’d mind waiting a few minutes while he tried to get another couple to join us. We didn’t mind – in fact Frank had mentioned this to us yesterday during his tour of Mazatlan so we were expecting it.

After only a few minutes Bernardo came walking up with Gene and Carmen, an older couple and fellow cruisers on the Magic. Soon we were off in Bernardo’s sparkling clean, comfortable 12 passenger van heading south on the main road through Puerto Vallarta. Bernardo shared with us quite a few facts including that PV depends almost entirely on the tourism industry for its economy. Despite being located on a bay, it has a very small fishing industry – most of what is done is geared to the sport/tourist fisherman. PV’s official population is on the order of 250,000; however, it is one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico so its actual population is larger. The growth is apparent in all the building that we saw along our tour. Numerous hotel and condominium complexes were being built in addition to the many already there. Also, PV was more modern looking to me…from the Sam’s Club and Super Walmart you see just across from the pier to the Home Depot just down the road.

Things changed though the farther south we went. Soon we transitioned from smooth roads to cobblestone roads that were rough. The streets became much narrower and the buildings much older and modest. After passing the Boardwalk area we entered the older part of the city. Here Bernardo took us into the areas where the locals go to shop, get their hair cut, buy clothes and shoes. It was really interesting. We finally ended up at the southern end of the city in an area where there is an off shore underwater sanctuary that is a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. Just a bit further down was the area where they shot the movie “Night of the Iguana” in the 1960s.

Next, we made our way to Mama Lucia's Tequila Distillery. Actually, Mama Lucia was the great, great grandmother of the current operator. Once there, one of the family members explained to us each step of the tequila harvesting, preparation and distillation process and answered our questions. Then came the good stuff - yes, that's right the tequila tasting. Mama Lucia's offered the traditional white, reposado (golden color - aged in oak barrels for a few months) and anejo (aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year) as well as flavored tequilas (orange, almond and chocolate). We sampled the white, reposado and all three flavored tequilas. All were very good.

It was now about lunchtime, so Bernardo backtracked a bit and we went off-road to a restaurant called El Nogalito. Nogalito apparently is a type of walnut tree. The restaurant turned out to be fantastic. The area was very lush with all types of flowers and vegetation. The dining area was covered but still out in the open air. Their were macaws around as well as birds and even an iguana. Dinner was excellent and we enjoyed getting to know Gene and Carmen better as we dined. On the way back to the ship, we stopped at the PV church, which was well adorned. Our four hour tour turned into more like 5 hours but it seemed much shorter since we had such a good time. Bernardo was an excellent tour guide. His knowledge of PV, his personable nature and his love for his home town made him one of the very best guides we’ve ever had. I would not hesitate to use him again or to recommend him to anyone.

Once back on the ship, I took the opportunity to catch up on the blog while Susan and Katy did what? Want to guess? No, they didn’t nap but you’re close. They both went and got a massage. After taking our showers, Susan and I went and relaxed in the Sessions piano bar with some drinks and a cheese plate. Katy doesn’t like Sessions – she says they only play “old people” music so she stayed in the stateroom and watched TV. We met up at 8:15 and made our way to dinner in Parrot Cay – which tonight was Pirate themed as tonight was “Pirate Night”. Waiting for us on the table were pirate bandanas to put on our heads. Actually, I was the only one to put it on my head, the girls didn’t want to mess up their hair. I captured this photo of our two servers (Pema and Jonathan) and the head server (Ciao Romano – no I’m not kidding) with Susan and Katy. We finished off the evening by attending the “Pirates in the Caribbean” deck party and fireworks show. Tomorrow and Saturday are Sea Days.


Myra Lee Horn said...

Enjoyed the tour of PV. Sounds like fun. Pictures are great!
Have finished the heavy work around here, and have another brush pile to burn when the weather is right. Looks much better. Keep having fun and reporting!!
Love you all,

Anonymous said...

Hi You All, Just read your PV report, pictures were great:) Still having trouble sending comments, so here goes another try. Henry is being good and misses Kady.:) Danny

Puerto Vallarta Condo said...

Cool blog, I spend a lot of time in Puerto Vallarta and live there part time. I always do a Google search for all the blogs about Puerto Vallarta so I can keep up with what is going on when I am not there. Have a great day.

Amanda said...

Hello my in laws go there all the time and for xmas my husband and i wanted the mama lucia tequila for a there anyway you know if i can purchase this from mexico do you have their business card?

Jlspence said...

Hi Amanda,

You can only get Mama Lucia's tequila in PV. They are not carried by any US distributors.

Shannon said...

Hi just wanted to know how to get hold of bernado was he on the cruise or at the town?


Jlspence said...


Bernardo was at the pier waiting on us. We'd made arrangements for the tour through Mazatlan Frank, who was a highly recommended tour guide in Mazatlan. You can reach him at

Jorge Antonio said...

Hola amigos I've read your comments about your trip, it's very nice to find out all of you really enjoyed the moments downhere in PV as much as we did! We Also are glad our products were accepted as well.
The good News are good fellows, that now we do ship Tequila Mamalucia Products to USA, currently we are taking orders online to California and some other States Such Nevada and Arizona, visit our website, fillout the service order and we Will email you asap to give you more details.

Gracias ySalud