On the second day of the new year, we decided it was a good day to experience the sights and hustle and bustle of Puerto Vallarta. We set off in Genevieve, packed in like sardines (because she was stuffed to the gills with camping gear; the back seats were permanently in the down position to accommodate all the stuff, so no seat belts for passengers — true confessions, Jer), and made for the mile-long El Malecón (Seaside Promenade), which was designed to integrate art, sculptures, and clever tile work. And, of course, there were shops selling the typical touristy Mexican wares, Señor Frogs, and other gringo-oriented storefronts and bars – very entertaining.
For lunch, we returned to an amazing vegan restaurant, Planeta Vegetariano, that we discovered 10 years ago when we were moving FL from the Virgin Islands to San Diego. For us, it was wonderful – for Mathieu, well, he may have preferred some carne asada. But he powered through the textured vegetable protein and really enjoyed the homemade bread. Thanks for being a good sport, Mathieu!
Then we took to the streets and discovered many wonderful murals, wandered the massive Mercado Municipal along the Río Cuale, also known as the Mercado de Artesanias – an indoor market with a jillion vendors and additional food stuffs upstairs, and admired the gigantic church, Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, just off of the Zócalo (main square). We also went in search of the veggie market, but when we found it, it was already after 1700 and it had closed. So, we wandered some more through the back streets and climbed some stairs and saw some charming little homes – and lots of dogs and cats (the cats are usually bigger than the dogs).
About 5 miles later, we found ourselves with ice cream in our hands and ready to head back to La Cruz after loading up on some groceries at Casa Ley. We loved all of the murals and sculptures scattered around town and, of course, all of the vibrant colors that symbolize Mexico! What a great day!