Beachfront house with private pool
Experience a little bit of paradise
PLACES TO EXPLORE...a few
LA CRUZ DE HUANACAXTLE:
The quaint fishing village of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle is just a short walk from La Puntilla along the beach and cobblestone streets.
La Cruz is a sleepy little fishing village and has long been treasured in the international sailing community as a cozy cove to drop anchor. It offers complete services in a hospitable Mexican setting, unspoiled by the influence of huge tourist complexes.
La Cruz's protected harbor is also the seasonal anchorage for yachts from all over the world. Known for its natural beauty and tranquility, the bay is home to many forms of marine life. These conditions make it ideal for the Gray Whales who use the bay as their birthing grounds in January, February and March. Pelicans, gulls and other sea birds plunge into the waves getting their catch as the dolphins play in the warm ocean waters.
Local fishermen set their nets each morning and evening just a few hundred meters out from the Casa and retrieve their catch for sale at area markets.
A morning stroll to the harbor will enable you to purchase fresh fish as the fishermen unload their boats, or you can simply watch as the purveyors for the local restaurants buy the evening's "catch of the day".
The village of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle has a number of small shops (tiendas), and a Wednesday morning market. There is a local carniceria (beef store), panaderia (bakery), cerveceria (beer depot), and a good variety of eating establishments, including The Octopus's Garden Cafe and Shop, where the owners host Huichol Indian workshops, run a t-shirt factory and serve light meals. This is a great place to stop for a rest in the bougainvillea shaded patio for refreshments--coffees, milkshakes, cold beers and a selection of sandwiches and cakes--don't forget to try a glass of their freshly squeezed orange juice! You can view the Huicholes at their crafts making colorful artwork, woodwork, sandals and weavings. These items are available at bargain prices and this is the best place to buy Hikuri T-shirts, Huichol bead and yarn art and Sandals.
What really makes Mexico a wonderful place to visit and La Cruz so special is the Mexican people. The warmth and hospitality of the villagers is genuine--a smile and a greeting are returned and much appreciated. The streets are safe and there is very little crime in this part of the world.
There are many good restaurants and cafes in the village serving a variety of dishes ranging from freshly caught seafood to pizza and pasta.
Other favorite area destinations may necessitate catching a bus or renting a car. The nearby community of Bucerias offers many additional services and restaurants and has a beautiful long beach. (Be adventurous and walk from La Puntilla to Bucerias along the water. It's a great way to explore the area).
Neighboring Bucerias, a town of about 6,000 people is a quaint Mexican town brimming with good restaurants. It exudes an ambiance like that of a simpler Puerto Vallarta thirty years ago. It is lined with cobblestone streets, white-washed houses, and a beautiful long, broad, white sandy beach.
The Bucerias beach located mid-town is one of the longest and widest on the bay. The shores are shaded by large palm trees if you just want to relax and enjoy the fresh ocean air. Horses are also available here for rent by the hour.
Bucerias has many great restaurants, fish markets, fresh fruit
stands, and many nice shops for all your shopping needs--and you are only about
20 minutes from downtown Puerto Vallarta.
Just past Playa Las Destiladeras is the beach club, Villa Vera, formerly Los Veneros Beach Club located on one of the Bahia's most beautiful beaches. Watch artists at work and visit stores with art and crafts from all over Mexico. The club has two pools and a children's water park. LOS VENEROS BEACH is gorgeous and great for surfing and swimming.
PUNTA DE MITA, a small village of some renown on the point of the peninsula, is the final stop on the north side of the bay and is an old surfer mecca. A spectacular and very exclusive Four Seasons Hotel is now open at Punta de Mita. It's Jack Nicklaus-designed championship golf course boasts the world's only true "island green" - an awesome 196-yard par 3 to a spectacular island out in the ocean! The resort is attracting an assortment of condominium developments and this tiny little enclave is changing fast.
Along the one kilometer stretch at Punta de Mita, also known as "the point of many pleasures", you will find numerous restaurants and bars serving the freshest seafood around.
Going north on Highway 200 towards Tepic, Sayulita, or San Francisco Beach (known locally as San Pancho) is an enjoyable day trip.
Outside the Bahia de Banderas, about 20 minutes north of La Cruz via Highway 200 in a small cove protected from the powerful Pacific Ocean is the traditional fishing village of SAYULITA, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains.
Lush tropical jungle is inhabited by exotic birds and wildlife, beaches are soft, white and sandy, the Pacific waters are rich in marine life and the waves are appreciated by surfers from around the world. Sayulita is perfect for fishing, kayaking, hiking, surfing, horseback riding and shopping.
Sayulita is a famous surf break in this part of Mexico and attracts surfers from around the world. This little fishing village has dusty streets and a beach of black sand, peppered with gold flecks. While in Sayulita, experience Don Pedro's restaurant--European and local cuisine on the beach. Watch the surfers right out front at one of the best surfing spots on the west coast of Mexico, or try some freshly caught shrimp at the little local "palapa" restaurant next door.
SAN FRANCISCO is a small town with a shaded park in the center of town, shops along the main cobblestone street, and two large restaurants with inside seating, as well as palapas on the beach.
A little further up the road from Sayulita is the Mexican vacation town of RINCON DE GUAYABITOS--about a 45 minute drive from La Puntilla. "Rincon" is a well-kept, charming beach resort for vacationing Mexicans and it is well worth the drive for a stroll along the sandy beach. On weekends you will find vendors pushing colorful canopied carts, roaming the beach serving pineapple and coconut drinks. Families, shaded by tarps, cook fish on outdoor grills, and their children peddle crispy "fish on a stick" and artistically sliced mangos on sticks as well as pineapple shells filled with chunks of topical fruits.
North of Rincon de Guayabitos, about 10 kilometers west off Highway 200, you will find beautiful CHACALA BEACH. The surf is gentle and the clean, clear waters are great for swimming and snorkeling. Enjoy fresh, local fish, seafood and other specialties at palapa restaurants along the beach.
Majestically perched on the shores of Bahia de Banderas, Puerto Vallarta is a picture-book city of red-tiled roofs, white stucco buildings and cobblestone streets that offers a treasure trove of spectacular sights and activities. Just a 30 minute drive from La Puntilla brings you to the downtown district of Puerto Vallarta with its charming cobblestone streets and its blend of old and new Mexico.
As late as the 1960's , Puerto Vallarta was still a small fishing village of under 10,000 residents. However, when John Huston decided to choose Mismaloya Beach (just south of Puerto Vallarta) as the site for the filming of the movie, "The Night of the Iguana", it didn't take long for things to change. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton had houses built in town . Reporters wrote articles about the quaint little Mexican fishing village. Soon after, hotels and restaurants began to spring up everywhere. And now, some 30 years later, Puerto Vallarta has grown to its current population of about 250,000 people.
One of the reasons that Puerto Vallarta is fast becoming one of the world's most popular travel destinations is because it offers a unique blend of traditional, "Old Mexico" charm mixed with the modern amenities of a cosmopolitan setting. Cobblestone streets and old Spanish-colonial style white stucco houses with red clay tile roofs climb the mountain sides with red and pink bougainvillea spilling from balconies and roof-tops. The sound of church bells, roosters crowing, and the clatter of donkeys' hooves on the cobblestones continues to be an everyday occurrence, just as it was 150 years ago. Yet, only 10 minutes away, you'll find world-class hotels, a first-rate marina harbor, and luxurious amenities of every kind.
Puerto Vallarta is one of the few places on Earth that can boast an "ideal" climate. It is temperate, but with sub-tropical vegetation. A dense, green palm jungle covers the mountains behind the town, nestled in a bowl at the base of the Sierra Madres. The Bay offers shelter from harsh Pacific winds and hard weather. Vallarta enjoys 345 days of sunshine each year, with average daytime temperatures reaching into the high 80's, but at night, the onshore breeze from the Bay descends bringing cool air and cool night temperatures that make for pleasant sleeping conditions--without air conditioners.
Puerto Vallarta is divided by the Río Cuale, with the older hotels, the commercial district and the new resorts to the north and the residential area to the south. The seaside promenade, or malecón, is the center of activity in downtown Puerto Vallarta; it is lined with shops, restaurants, bars and even several sculptures.
At its southern end is the Plaza de Armas, the town’s main square. And just west of the square is the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, the local cathedral. Topped with a crown supported by angels, the church’s bell tower is the town’s most recognizable landmark.
Puerto Vallarta's main flea market is located by the Rio Cuale's northbound ridge. Dozens of stalls on two levels carry a myriad of souvenirs including T-shirts, straw bags, silver jewelry, leather sandals, colorful blankets, hammocks, ponchos and rugs. Typical Mexican lunches are served upstairs. Haggling is par for the course in flea markets and with beach vendors. The first asking price generally leaves a wide margin for bargaining. The only rule of the game is that both sides maintain mutual respect while vacillating between desire and indifference. In most cases, about 30% under the asking price is a reasonable first counter offer, with the result tending to be somewhere between that figure and the original asking price. Mexicans are experts at this, so test your mettle! But don't expect to negotiate prices in exclusive shops, chain outlets or department stores. There are several large arts and crafts markets in the traditional stall-style downtown, in the hotel zone, and at the Marina where the large cruise ships dock.
If you want to take in the local color while soaking up some rays, one of the most popular beaches is "Playa Los Muertos" on the South Side of town. Since the very beginning, this beach has been the favorite of local Mexican families. Now, during the winter, this beach is covered with beach-goers of all types, both young and old, locals and gringos either sitting on the wall eating their box lunch, lounging under "palapa" (palm-covered) beach umbrellas sipping margaritas, or just watching the crowds.
Sparkling beaches combined with a warm year-round climate--plus the choice of around-the-clock activity or peaceful seclusion make Puerto Vallarta ideal for visitors.
Mismaloya is the small bayside village set on the outskirts of a jungle and river and perched on the sands of secluded Mismaloya Bay where in 1963 Hollywood director John Huston chose to make the movie "Night of the Iguana" which changed the face of Puerto Vallarta forever. The publicity created by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's love affair and interest in the Mexican town where it occurred put Puerto Vallarta on the world's map. Since then, this tropical paradise, where the verdant jungle vegetation of the Sierra Madre mountains meets the crystal clear waters of Banderas Bay, has been passionately linked to Puerto Vallarta's history.
Romantic memories will linger forever around La Jolla de Mismaloya, located just 15 minutes south of downtown Puerto Vallarta. Generations of lovers are inspired to visit Puerto Vallarta in pursuit of unforgettable romance. Some believe Mismaloya Bay possesses a special magic that naturally takes your breath away.
Movie buffs thrill to meals at the Night of the Iguana Set Restaurant, contained by the original hotel run by Ava Gardner in the film. Huston’s Seafood Restaurant & Sunset Bar occupies the house used by director John Huston more than 30 years ago. Three more restaurants serve diners on the beach, starting with breakfast and stretching into after-hour drinks
The drive from La Puntilla to Mismaloya is approximately one hour, depending on traffic. The journey is quite do-able by bus and will require a couple of transfers, but will make for a great day's outing. You might decide to "do" Mismaloya in the morning, then visit Puerto Vallarta in the afternoon then perhaps eat at one of the many good restaurants downtown. If you plan travel by bus be sure to check the schedule as buses do not run too late in the evening--the last bus to La Cruz leaves downtown Puerto Vallarta about 9:00 PM.
Casa Terra, 9A La
Puntilla, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit, Mexico