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Staying Cool When It's Hot, Hot, Hot

Published Aug 5, 2008 - (Updated Dec 5, 2012)


Featured in Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine, Summer/Fall 2008 issue.

Refreshing ideas to survive the dog days of summer in paradise

There’s no getting around it. Summer in Vallarta is just plain hot! Even with the almost daily thundershowers, the rain here in the tropics only cools things down temporarily, and before you know it, the hot and humid air returns. But don’t let that keep you hiding indoors with your head in the refrigerator. We’ve come up with some ideas, strategies and places to visit that either will cool you down or are just plain cool!


  • Oriental-style folding fans have been keeping people cool since the days before electricity and air conditioning. These fans fit easily in a purse or backpack, or improvise and fan yourself with a folded tourist map or brochure.

Chilling Treats

  • Paletas, frozen Popsicle-like treats on a stick, can be found all over town. Look for paleta vendors with carts along popular areas such as the beach or Malecon, but also check out the local paleterias, or paleta shops, in and around Puerto Vallarta.
  • Some local chefs have created innovative summer recipes, including delicious chilled soups. Tempt your palate by enjoying these refreshing creations, with base ingredients ranging from poblano chilies and beets to local fruit.
  • Frappuccinos and other frozen or chilled coffee drinks are sold at coffee shops around town and even in convenience stores.

Cool Shades

  • Wearing a hat is a great way to create personal shade, and remember to protect your eyes by wearing UV-protection sunglasses.
  • Many local beach restaurants offer barefoot comfort in the shade of a large beach umbrella or a palapa made from woven palm fronds. And what’s even better, the beautiful Pacific Ocean is right there for a refreshing dip.
  • This one might sound obvious, but walk on the shady side of the street.

Use Your Fridge Wisely

  • There are various opinions about whether cool drinks actually refresh you better than those at a warmer temperature. If your preference is cold, keep a pitcher of water in the fridge to tempt you before reaching for a canned or bottled beverage.
  • Dampen face cloths or hand towels and store them in the fridge or freezer. Remove and apply directly to your face and neck for instant relief.
  • Freeze almost-full water bottles and grab one on your way out the door on a hot day.

Climate-control Comfort

  • The midday sun is punishing, but there are many public places with cool and comfortable air conditioning. The larger shopping malls, supermarkets and movie theaters are nicely air-conditioned and provide a refreshing blast of cool air when you step inside.
  • Local restaurants do their best to create a comfortable dining climate. Most offer either air conditioning or open air with fans or a combination of both. Call ahead to check on the amenities offered at your restaurant of choice.

H20 the Mexican Way

  • Starting with the obvious, keep yourself hydrated. Drink copious amounts of water, especially if you are enjoying alcoholic beverages throughout the day.
  • Traditional Mexican aguas, or flavored waters, are very refreshing, generally lower in sugar and more refreshing than soda. Horchata (a rice-based drink) and jamaica (pronounced ha-my-ka, an iced tea made from hibiscus flowers) are two local favorites.
  • Electrolyte and sports drinks, readily available in supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores, are another option to help replace the fluids and minerals your body loses while sweating.

Play for the Day

Local residents and visitors not staying at a big resort can enjoy all the fun these properties provide by purchasing a day pass. Choose between a facility pass for use of their amenities, such as the pools and beach/water activities, and an all-inclusive pass that allows use of the amenities plus meals and drinks for the day. With the wide range of prices and options, it’s best to call ahead by referring to the phone numbers listed in the handy Vallarta Lifestyles Hotel Guide on pages 220 of this magazine.

  • Facility passes range from about $100 to $200 pesos per person.
  • All-inclusive passes range from about $250 pesos  to over $1000 pesos per person.

Take an Afternoon Siesta

  • Traditionally, Mexican siestas, or naps, are taken from about 2:00 to 4:00 pm, the hottest part of the day.
  • Although siestas are not as common in larger centers such as Vallarta, more traditional towns, such as nearby Mascota, become virtual ghost towns during this period. Businesses close, and there is almost no one on the streets until later in the afternoon, when everything opens again and things return to normal.

And finally, if you can’t stand the heat...

  • Stay out of the kitchen! Vallarta is home to an extensive array of excellent restaurants and eateries to suit every budget. So, if it’s just too hot, let someone else do the shopping, cooking, serving and cleaning up.

La Michoacana - A Rainbow of Paletas

La Michoacana is the most widely recognized paleteria in Mexico, as well as being this country’s largest independent business chain. This is an amazing accomplishment, since it was originally founded as a small family business in Tocumbo, Michoacan, in the 1940s. This popular outlet produces and sells countless varieties of naturally flavored paletas made with water or a milk/cream base, as well as ice cream and sherbet by the scoop and traditional aguas. The paletas boast delicious flavors such as strawberry, guava, cantaloupe, pistachio and coconut. The water-based paletas are popsicles with chunks of fruit and other ingredients, whereas the milk- or cream-based varieties are more like ice cream on a stick.

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