Stores and markets abound
Friday, March 10, 2017
PUERTO VALLARTA’S VACATION AT LAS PALMAS BY THE SEA
Unpack your bags and live the Las Palmas experience
I’m not big on all-inclusives, but Air-Transat’s complete package at the 4-star Las Palmas by the Sea Hotel was a delightful surprise. This immaculately clean, personable hotel is just the right size, has just the right number of swimming pools, eateries, bars, sea-view rooms and cute nighttime stage shows to satisfy any discerning stress-filled traveler. The staff is adoptable!
Thirty-eight years old, Las Palmas has 225 rooms on four floors. There’s enough space between each room to give you comfy privacy. The two pools – one for the kids and for us older folk – are warm and both offer expansive sea views of sunny Banderas Bay sparkling in front of you.
I loved the enormous palapa-covered Aire del Mar Restaurant. It boasts an enormous buffet with its endless constantly fresh international cuisine. A delectable array of choices, including Mexican dishes are presented in dashing style. By the way, get David at the Coco Lobby Bar to make your drinks; he’s an expert. All drinks, like the food, is free.
Guakamajazz, à la carte restaurant is equally lovely, and like its buffet partner, it straddles with a view the sea. Fish, meats, lasagna and more are graciously served. Order a Spanish coffee at the end of your meal and watch the waiter prepare it using his fire torch. It’s the real thing!
Las Palmas is like a spacious home-away-from-home haven where friendliness, fun and a variety of excursions put the best of Vallarta only a bus-ride away.
Warning: avoid booking during spring break for college students!
The website is: www.laspalmasresort.com
Puerto Vallarta’s Excellent Excursions
Staying at Las Palmas by the Sea Hotel in Puerto Vallarta, I was able to directly book some great excursions. Let the adventures begin! I took the Trio City and Tropical Tour (really low in price but high in variety sightseeing). The guide was a walking historian, only we were on a bus! We stopped in the neighborhood of Pitillal to enjoy its highly acclaimed Saint Michael Archangel Church.
It looked old but its construction started in 1967 and ended in 1983. The town definitely had that real Mexican flavour – distinctly different from Vallarta’s famous Malecon downtown area where over 2-kilometres of boardwalk boast wonderful statues with great names: Nostalgia, Millenia In Search of Reason, Teachers and more.
Stores and markets abound
We then headed near Mismaloya where Night of the Iguana was filmed; the more ominous site we ended up in was in the jungle spot of Kawitu where a scene from the movie Predator was shot.
A lesson on organic tequila was given to us before we sat to lunch at a series of rocky waterfalls.
From Vallarta’s romantic zone, I hopped on a water taxi heading for the tropical island of Yelapa. On the way, we spotted several humpback whales. Captain Gama took me to a lovely waterfall in Yelapa, and then we descended little winding lanes – cobblestone gems that harken back to a time gone by. At Rogelio’s, a makeshift beach restaurant, I enjoyed a fantastic seafood soup and guacamole. Then, Gama took me to Lagunita where about 25 palapa huts become your accommodations. The beach is so lovely. Free and natural, Lagunita is a primitive paradise where simplicity flows. Owned by Luke Donahue, this unique place is a yoga and tai chi retreat, but one can simply stay here and watch the calm ocean waters whisper to you outside your cozy room.
The website is www.hotel-lagunita.com
Beach Boy Boat Day is the Best
This is a wonderful day of snorkeling at Los Arcos – two enormous rocks jutting out of the ocean (oodles of fish to discover), and then being taken to silky sands of quiet Animas Beach – certainly the most beautiful in the entire area. You can stay on the boat and travel by donkey up to the waterfall, or after enjoying your free lunch at Animas, take a sneak peek at the stunning Hotelito Mio. For a minimum of 500$ US/night, you stay in your own luxury palapa- covered glass house. The views are beyond description. The boat guys are hilariously entertaining. Before hopping on the boat, the port serves you coffee and cookies. I loved this excursion.