Tuesday saw a group of us get up at the crack of dawn and head out on a bus tour of Puerto Vallarta and surrounding areas. The level of construction was phenomenal. The amount of manual labour employed was phenomenal. The condition of the roads was scary bad. Huge series of really deep potholes right outside 5 star resorts. Leaving our own resort in the daylight let us see how bad our own road was. The highways were not too bad but the on/off ramps were another story.

Cervandro was our guide for the day and we quickly toured through Neuvo Vallarta and onto a great whale statue.  A little farther along was a great big statue of Triton? or Neptune? God of the Sea type guy.

Kim was amazed at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company (from the movie Forrest Gump). Quite real and all over.  Never did get a chance to stop in and sample though.

We made our way to downtown and were immediately struck by tourist attractions, including these natives flying around a pole while playing music. It was something else to experience.  These 4 guys climbed up the pole, wound up the rope and platforms to the top, climbed in and started spinning around unwinding the rope as they went.    It was a little surreal.

Downtown was full of things to see.. we could have spent the entire day there but only had an hour or so. This hotel was seen in the movie “Night of the Iguana”, which started the entire tourism boom back in 1964. We just watched that movie with Richard Burton and Ava Gardner. Wow. Great Movie!

The church just off the Square and City Hall was magnificent. Here are a couple of images, inside and outside.

After touring the church we started walking into some of the older sections of town, up and down up and down.. good exercise! Then off for a quick bite of lunch and through a market near the river. Too bad most of the items were very similar to each other.. I was looking for some specific items and they were not to be found.

Back on the bus and we headed out of town along the south shore to Mismaloya, the main area of shooting for Night of the Iguana. Beautiful place!
Much more developed now as you can see then it was back in 1964.  Back on the bus and we turned inland following highway 200 up into the hills. We turned off  up yet another sideroad, washed out and narrow .. up and up and up… to a Tequila factory!  One of the highlights of the trip to be sure.

We sampled all six kinds that they made, before during and after touring the factory… basically a tin roof with no walls and a lot of stainless steel tanks and equipment. One thing we could not get over was all of the outdoors to the weather buildings. The tour guide had to sample each shot first, to demonstrate either a shot technique or to give a different toast. Then he would splash around the group filling cups and do it again with us. Then he did one again so we could watch the technique. Later on in the afternoon he admitted this was his 3rd bus tour of the day and that he “really LOVED his JOB!” We fell for the almond tequila, which was so similar to amaretto that we had a hard time telling them apart. Just as we were about to leave, the sky made a big booming thunder noise and the skies opened up in an afternoon downpour. The washed out roads quickly got worse and we headed down the mountain. Phew!

A long 1+ drive home in the rain and we had little energy left that day.
But it was fun!