It's been an incredible trip of touring around, checking out coastal towns, visiting my husband's friends from back in the day and eating amazing food.
Yesterday we traveled away from the coast, following a river, through tiny villages and up into the mountains to a place called Canopy River. It's a collection of palapa roofed buildings up in the jungly mountains and is headquarters for horseback riding, zipling, ATV tours and much much more. We had brunch in a huge palapa restaurant and the food was fantastic! Two women made tortillas at the omelet station, the fruit was fresh and tasty and there was a variety of meats and salads enough to satisfy everyone. I ordered a frozen mango margarita and it was like having dessert! Butterflies are in season. Yellow, small butterflies everywhere, dotting the landscape.
After stuffing ourselves, the three of us walked up the road past a spot where they milk cows in an amphitheater and serve warm milk with alcohol to the audience. We didn't partake but did get out of the way when they moved the longhorn bull out of the theater to the road, following the lactating cow. There's a long suspension bridge across the river to a casita where you can have a drink and lie in a hammock to rest for the walk back across. Gorgeous view! It took at least 12 minutes to cross the bridge.
Canopy River is a business made up of a collection of all the farmers in the valley who formed a co-operative to use what they have to market to tourists. The workers at Canopy River are all local residents who grew up in the area, riding a donkey to the school miles down the road to town.
Then we drove south past Puerto Vallarta to Mismaloya Beach where I camped 35 years ago in my Volkswagen van with my boyfriend for a month. The area is no longer remote and wild jungle but skyscraping hotels and shops and condos. Our tour took us back to PV to walk the Malecon which is now closed off to traffic so the tourists can walk the ocean front line of shops and restaurants. Fun!
Similar to walking the Las Vegas strip but with more to see. I shopped a bit, and we ended up near the bridge at Playa des Muertes at a pedicure place letting little fish eat the dead skin from my feet. It's a new idea and I'm not sold on whether it made my feet more beautiful or feel softer, but it felt weirdly nice while the fish with no teeth were nibbling at my feet. And we got pictures! Then, I sat on a black velvet throne while the woman massaged my calves and feet with lotion, which felt REALLY good after walking all over the Malecon.
We drove around PV, the two men in the car reminiscing about their single days and the clubs and friends and jokes they played and we soon found ourselves back on the 21st floor of Tres Mares for dinner and drinks watching the sun set out one side of the floor to ceiling windows and the lights of Puerto Vallarta come on out the open patio doors overlooking the Vallarta coastline.
There are many facets to life in PV. There's the fairy tale world of being a pampered tourist with days enjoying the sun and beach and there's real life when you live here. Both lives exist in this glorious weather though.
KIM HORNSBY is the bestselling Amazon Author of The Dream Jumper's Promise, Book 1 in a Supernatural Suspense series. She lives in the Seattle area and writes stories for women about overcoming tragedy, adversity and coming out the other end.
Find her on Amazon Books.