Cravings: Churros & Hot Chocolate
: There’s nothing like the smell of deep-fried churros with cinnamon in the evening air.
Keith May Advocates for Banderas Bay Whales
: Every year between from November to April, Banderas Bay becomes the winter home and birthing grounds for numerous humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).
Banderas Bay Offers Diverse Snorkeling Opportunities
: Using simply a mask, snorkel and fins, you can take an ordinary water experience and convert it into memories that last a lifetime!
: Growing up in Mexico without playing the game of Loteria is as inconceivable as growing up north of the border without dreaming of a trip to Disneyland.
Reinterpreting Manuel Lepe
: A much-deserved tribute to late Vallartan painter Manuel Lepe, created by Glass Gallery M owner Mariano Pérez Vivanco, has been installed at the entrance to Plaza Vallarta.
Marietas Eco-Discovery Tour
: A veteran guest on various day cruise “party boats” around North America, I was ready for a change from that type of excursion, which often includes rowdy crowds, rushed itineraries and, frequently, unexpected charges in these alleged “all-inclusive” tours.
Strolling Around Gringo Gulch
: Climb up any of the step-lined streets that lead to this charming hillside neighborhood and you will quickly understand why Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton chose to have homes built there back in the 1960s.
Homemade Ice Cream
: While most of us have been succumbing to this sublime favorite for eons, producing ice cream at home or in small quantities has been a labor-intensive task until recently. Smaller, electric ice cream makers that rely on small canisters that can be placed in the freezer ahead of time to facilitate production have taken the place of old-fashioned hand-cranked machines that required ice chunks and salt for cooling.
Neighborhood Profile: Emiliano Zapata
: Let’s face it: The phrase Emiliano Zapata just doesn’t have the same allure as Olas Altas, Romantic Zone, South Side or even Basilio Badillo. These are, in fact, names of well-known streets and areas in one of Puerto Vallarta’s most happening colonias, or neighborhoods: Emiliano Zapata.
Hot Spot: Malecón Extension
: The Malecon extension that connects the original Malecon to the South Side is home to an eclectic collection of shops, eateries and services. In the stretch between the Los Arcos Amphitheater and the Benito Juarez parking lot, you can find everything from coffee to vanilla liqueur, from funky clothing to t-shirts, from fine dining to a quick snack.
Staying Cool When It's Hot, Hot, Hot
: 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.
: Chayote, a staple of the traditional Mexican diet, is a member of the squash family. It has a thin, coarsely wrinkled skin fused to white flesh, with a texture that could be described as a cross between a cucumber and a potato. It can be eaten raw in salads or used in a variety of traditional recipes, including soups and stews.
Las Caletas: Sun, Surf and Sea Lions
: It’s not that I don’t love working in an office enveloped in artificial light, but as a free spirit and fun-loving, outdoorsy kind of girl, I’m always eager for an adventure that takes me out of the office and into the sunshine — all in the name of research, of course! Sea lions have fascinated me since my childhood, their cute dog-like faces and antics reminding me of a seafaring golden retriever.
Puerto Vallarta: Remember Who You Are
: Certainly you have noticed the artistic campaign “Remember Who You Are”, while strolling down Puerto Vallarta’s downtown streets. These murals invite you to rediscover your inner child and have enchanted many local citizens and tourists, but have also raised criticism from some of the more traditional residents.
The Puerto Vallarta Whale Watching Forum
: “The Puerto Vallarta Whale Watching Forum is a privately funded, ecological group that promotes education and responsible whale watching activities in and around Puerto Vallarta and the Banderas Bay.”
Destination Weddings in Puerto Vallarta
: Imagine getting married in the balmy breeze at sunset on the Mexican Pacific. The invited guests are hand chosen, numbers are limited and everyone looks bronzed and happy. In fact, you are the entire focus of the weeklong event. Can you picture a more romantic way to get married?
Cravings: Candied Fruits
: Candied fruit, or fruta cristalizada as it is known in Mexico, is manufactured using the techniques imported by the Spaniards in the 1500s. A laborious process of repeatedly submerging fruits in scalding water and sugar syrup gives entirely new personalities to commonplace pleasures such as pineapples, figs, orange and lemon peel, even squash.
Advocating for the Animals
: Vallarta's abandoned companion animals now have a light at the end of the tunnel, efforts being made on their behalf by the new government-registered SPCA of Puerto Vallarta.
Giving in Banderas Bay
: Give, Donate. All around Bahia de Banderas, from El Tuito in the south to San Pancho in the north, opportunities abound for residents, as well as vacationers, to help others. There are charitable and non-profit organizations designed to enrich the lives of children, the ill or incapacitated, seniors and abused women, while other groups focus on animals, among others.
Waiting for Liz
: The sunset displayed such colors, it seemed as though the celestial artist had three margaritas more than I did. He’d surely get an extra tab for the reds and yellows. The sea-scented air diffused my colleagues’ cigar smoke. The heat and humidity were taking a toll on me, despite my rolled-up sleeves. Some of them wore hats, good to sweep away the sweat.