What Happens When Tourists Cruise To Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico has become one of the most popular tourist resort destinations in the world. Because Vallarta is located along the Mexican Riviera on the Pacific Ocean, a substantial portion of these tourists arrive by boat; the majority in large cruise ships, however many come in their private yachts.

Ten years ago, a cruise ship would arrive in Vallarta every other day. At certain times during the “high season” of November through May when the average temperature is 73°F with virtually no chance of rain, cruise ships would arrive two days in a row.

Five years ago, the popularity of cruising and specifically cruising to the Mexican Riviera, reached a point where you could find a cruise liner at the Puerto Vallarta Marine Terminal almost every day, and sometimes, a second cruise liner anchored in Banderas Bay. Passengers from the anchored ship were then shuttled to shore by small tenders.

Two years ago, you could count on at least one cruise ship every day in Vallarta and often find another one or two ships anchored in the bay. The traffic was so heavy at the Marine Terminal that the authorities in Vallarta started construction on the new Maritime Terminal.

Construction of the new Maritime Terminal in Puerto Vallarta was completed in early 2007, thus tripling the cruise passenger capacity. Today, you’ll usually see at least two cruise ships docked at the Maritime Terminal and frequently three. Cruising to Vallarta has become so popular that there are times during the “high season” when a fourth ship has to anchor in the bay! With an average of close to 2,000 passengers per ship, this results in anywhere from 4,000 to 8,000 tourists arriving daily by cruise ship.

(As a side note of interest, the Puerto Vallarta International Airport was recently quadrupled in size in order to accommodate the flights that are arriving and departing all day, everyday.)

Now that we have a feel for the volume of cruising tourists arriving daily in Vallarta by commercial cruise liners, let’s consider those arriving by private yachts.

Ten years ago, Puerto Vallarta was the home to a beautiful 400 slip Marina for private yachts ranging in size from 30ft to well over 100ft. There was also a marina in Nuevo Vallarta with 380 slips for smaller boats up to 30ft long.

Due to the recent demand for additional slips, larger slips, and yachting related services, a number of significant new marina construction projects have been undertaken; some of which have been completed, some currently under construction, and some still in the planning stages.

For example, the beautiful Nuevo Vallarta Marina now has nearly 250 slips for yachts ranging from 30ft to 120ft long. The modern $50 million Marina Riviera Nayarit, located in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, is approximately 40% complete with nearly 400 berths for yachts ranging from 30ft to 400ft. Fonatur, Mexico’s National Tourism Development Trust, has planned a 150 slip marina in their Phase 1 development program just north of Punta de Mita. These marinas will increase the moorage capacity from 400 to well over 1,200 private yachts, thereby tripling the total volume of tourists privately cruising to Vallarta.

Okay, now that we have a feel for the growth of the Vallarta area and the volume of tourists cruising to Vallarta, let’s explore just what happens to these tourists as they arrive in Paradise.

As the tourists disembark from the commercial cruise liners or their private yachts, they are first greeted by the friendly faces of English speaking Mexicans. Because the local economy is based solely on tourism, almost everyone is now speaking some degree of English and therefore communication is never an obstacle in Vallarta. Friendly faces as revealed in the Conde Nast survey of its readers, where Vallarta was voted the friendliest resort destination in the world.

Of all things, those arriving by cruise ships first see a Sam’s Club, a Mega Wal-Mart, and a huge new modern shopping center; probably not what they would expect to see in a sleepy little Mexican fishing village! They soon discover that Vallarta is no longer sleepy or little, in that its population has exploded to 350,000 inhabitants and is projected to reach 600,000 by the year 2015.

Unfortunately, those arriving by cruise ships are generally allowed only about eight hours in town before the ship cruises out on its journey to the next Mexican Riviera port. While in town, they are given many options in the way of city activities and tours. Some opt to play golf on any of the seven magnificent courses; others might want to take a four hour deep sea fishing trip or play tennis on any of the hundreds of tennis courts. Some take jungle safaris, ATV trips through the Sierra Madre Mountains, or go whale watching, snorkeling, or swimming with the dolphins Those less ambitious tourists take sight seeing bus tours through the city and then into the fine neighborhoods where the multi-million dollar haciendas and villas are nestled among the hillsides overlooking Banderas Bay.

The majority of these cruisers merely catch one of the thousands of taxis and head into town for a day of strolling along the Malecon by the beach, shopping the many boutique stores, or dining in any of the hundreds of fine restaurants.

Regardless of what the cruisers do during their short stay in Vallarta, they are all treated with dignity, respect, and friendliness and therefore are eager to return for a longer visit the next time. The taste of Vallarta is so addictive, that in all probability, their next visit will be by air and will last for a week or longer.

Those that come in their private yachts generally stay for longer periods of time. In fact, the quality of life is so great in Vallarta, that many of those fortunate individuals, who could afford to live anywhere in the world, have just docked their yachts in Vallarta and made this their winter residence. After all, Mexico was recently ranked the top retirement destination in the world by International Living Magazine and Puerto Vallarta is considered by many to be the most desirable city in Mexico for retirement.

To sum it up; what happens when tourists cruise to Vallarta is that they often become so infatuated by the climate, the scenery of mountains and ocean, the people, the cleanliness, the safety, the available activities, and the overall quality of life, that they either return as soon as possible or they just stay, joining the other 50,000 North Americans that have made Puerto Vallarta their retirement home in Paradise.

Jim Scherrer is a retired entrepreneur from Houston, has owned property in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for 24 years, and has made Vallarta his permanent residence for the past ten years. He founded Puerto Vallarta Real Estate Buyers´ Agents (PVREBA), whose mission is to reveal all the recent changes that have occurred in Vallarta while dispelling the misconceptions about living in Mexico. PVREBA acts exclusively as buyers´ agents by introducing North Americans to Vallarta, showing them properties that meet their needs and budgets, and assisting them through the foreign buying process, with all payments made by the listing agents.


Read More

Puerto De La Cruz Spain

The country of Spain has many wonderful places for you to visit. Of these many places you will find Puerto de la Cruz. This city can be found on the north Coast of Tenerife Island which is a part of the Canary Islands. The city is situated in the Orotava Valley. This family resort which is by far older than the others that you will find in Tenerife is located about 4 kilometers west of La Orotava and there is a 37 kilometer distance gap between Puerto de la Cruz and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

When you visit Puerto de la Cruz you will find there are a number of places that you can visit. Before you start exploring any of these sites however you may wish to become better acquainted with the city and the surrounding areas as this will help you to plan your sightseeing along with any excursions. One such excursion that your family may enjoy is that of Loro Parque.

In this location you will find an interesting Puerto de la Cruz zoo. The zoo was named after the parrots that began the park. As the zoo is quite large you will be able to see a number of different animal residents. These animals will include firm favorites like whales, parrots, lions, penguins, sea lions and many others. As you wander around this zoo remember to see the gift shop where you will be able to purchase some mementos of your trip to this interesting Puerto de la Cruz zoo.

Another place that you may wish to visit while you are in Puerto de la Cruz is that of Playa Garden. This beautiful looking beach is made from black sand. It has been modeled after a number of old beaches by the artist Cesar Manrique. You will find this beach is truly unique in that you can find large areas filled with garden plants, bars and restaurants to relax while you quench your thirst or satisfy your hunger. There is a pier and leisure areas for you to explore while you are in Playa Garden.

This beach is made from three beaches which are known as Punta Brava, Charcón Beach and the Playa del Castillo Beach. Once you have enjoyed yourself in this fabulous beach of Puerto de la Cruz you are ready to see some more of the city’s sights. These will include visiting places like the Archaeological Museum of Puerto de la Cruz. In this museum you will be able to look at a number of different exhibits and displays which shows the important area of the island’s pre-history. Among the many artifacts you will have the chance of looking at the guanche idol of The Guatimac. This is the main symbol of the museum.

As you see there are many interesting places and activities that you can do while you are in Puerto de la Cruz. While many visitors to this city will tell you that relaxing on the warm sands and allowing the surf to refresh you is the best way to spend a holiday, a little time spent exploring will provide you with the ability of seeing the best that Puerto de la Cruz in Spain has to offer you.


Read More

Enjoy A Laid Back Style Holiday At La Orotava

La Orotava is just 6 kilometers from the resort city of Puerto de la Cruz, making it a popular day trip destination. The name La Orotava means Lush Valley which represents the wealth of this place coming from the surrounding luscious valley plains where cash crops have continued to be planted since 16th century.

La Orotava Town

This town has a very well preserved ancient center, which is filled with a labyrinth of cobbled streets that are steep. La Orotava is renowned for its not one, but twelve imposing mansions that are really Canary styled, with the Doce Casas leading the pack as it was the previous residence of some outstanding families on the islands.

Some of these are open as souvenir stores that do not require much in-depth exploration; even with the rest of the area that houses a huge and heavily decorated garden, the Jardin Victoria as well as the Museo de Artesania lberoamericana which is a handicraft museum. These sights may take just half a day to see.

But you can still enjoy more of the town during the Corpus Christi celebrations when decorated streets are plentiful with flower petals, volcanic sand and baked leaves which has formed a tradition since 1847. The street displays are mainly biblical motifs reflecting the religious beliefs of the culture.

Town’s Conveniences
There is always the dependable town bus station which is just 10 minutes away from the west of town by walking along with a tourist office which opens daily except Sundays.

This town offers two places of stay: the Pension Silene Calle de Tomas Zerolo 9 which offers rooms with fitted showers plus charming little balconies that provide a good overview of the town, and the more up-market hotel Hotel Victoria Calle de Hennano Apolinar 8, which is an ancient Canary mansion that is 400 years old and has been tastefully refurbished with 13 double rooms fixed with satellite television, modems, and fax machines.

One of the better eateries here would be the Hotel Victoria’s restaurant, although it closes on Mondays and Sundays. But there are not too many choices of eateries in this small town. However, the local dishes of seafood, like the delectable sole in prawn sauce and comes with asparagus, can be served at the hotel’s courtyard.

Other restaurants offer roasted cheeses and mojo or even some delightful ropa vieja. Casa Egon is one of the more decent priced restaurants which has a bistro layout specializing in tapas and omelettes.


Read More

The Beautiful Island of Tenerife

Tenerife is famous for its beautiful beaches and warm clear water. However Tenerife Holidays will provide many different experiences for visitors. Mount Teide, Tenerife’s extinct volcano, towers over the island at 12,198ft and can claim to be the highest peak in Spain. The volcano is a must visit and the surrounding area too which features outstanding scenery. Over 40% of the land in Tenerife is protected because of its amazing landscape; this number will give you an idea how special the island of Tenerife is.

The south of Tenerife attracts tourists who are after a livelier holiday with bars and nightclubs and warm and dry climate. The most popular resorts are Los Cristianos and Playa De Las Americas. Young people will enjoy the lively venues and the warm climate of Tenerife and the modern and restrained restaurants will suit those who want to enjoy the sun and a good meal.

In the North of the island you can find one of the oldest holiday resorts of the Canary Islands, called Puerto de la Cruz. The streets are filled with colourful flowers and trees making it great for a pleasant walk through the town.

For those a bit more adventurous there are plenty of water sports available from water skiing, diving and jet skiing. If you would like to have a very relaxed holiday you can simply lie back on one of the famous Tenerife beaches and enjoy the warm sun.

Some of the top destinations that are worth a visit are the Ecological Park in Los Cristianos which features huge tropical gardens and many natural attractions including exotic animals, penguins, elephants and many different birds that are all home in Tenerife.

Tenerife holidays really do offer a great experience, much more than year round sun and beautiful beaches. Tenerife will cater for many different holidaymakers tastes, its worth checking out for your next holiday. It is sure to be a holiday you will enjoy and remember for years to come. There are many holiday deals to find on the internet so it is worth searching around to ensure you get the best deals. If you can travel after the school holidays then it will be even cheaper for you.


Read More

Top Five Sites in Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos

Santa Cruz Island is a 2-million-year-old volcanic island in the Galapagos that offers visitors an amazing array of wildlife, history, and beauty in its numerous tourist sites. You can expect to see Giant Tortoises, Land Iguanas, Great Blue Herons and a variety of other birds, even occasionally the Dark-billed Cuckoo. The plant life on the island is also varied and includes the prickly pear cactus, fern and sedge, and the flowering miconia tree or the giant daisy trees known as scalesia.

While on the island, be sure to visit the following sites:

Black Turtle Cove: This mangrove-lined cove is home to many species, including spotted eagle rays, cow-nosed or golden rays, white-tipped reef sharks, Pacific green sea turtles, pelicans, herons, and egrets. Visitors often take a dinghy or kayak deep into the cove to truly experience the unique habitat that has been declared a Turtle Sanctuary.

Charles Darwin Research Station: Located at Puerto Ayora, which also houses the Galapagos National Park, the Charles Darwin Research Station is a progressive center where scientists strive to conserve the Galapagos ecosystem through research, educational programs, and scientific projects. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Giant Tortoise Breeding and Rearing Program began in 1970 by rescuing the remaining 14 tortoises and restoring the population to the 1,000 creatures that live today on the island of Española. Ask to see Lonesome George, the last remaining tortoise of his race.

Dragon Hill (Cerro Dragon): A white sandy beach by a super saline-concentrated lagoon offers guests the opportunity to view wading birds and nesting land iguanas. A short boat trip to a nearby mangrove cluster, you can see a variety of turtles, a large number of sea birds, and even sharks.

Las Bachas: This white-coral sandy beach is a well-known site where sea turtles lay their eggs. Other species that live here include marine iguanas, flamingos, and other wading birds that enjoy the saline-heavy lagoons.

Santa Cruz Highlands: The Highlands are a much-anticipated destination for many guests to the Galapagos. The landscape at the coast is dry vegetation that transforms to wet fields and overgrown forests filled with moss. The Tortoise Reserve allows visitors to spot and track tortoises in their natural habitat. The nearby lava tubes are also worth visiting, where wooden staircases provide an entrance to the underground natural passageways with stunning rock formations.


Read More

A Guide to Holidays in Puerto De La Cruz Teneriefe

In the north of Tenerife lies Puerto De La Cruz, right at the foot of the dormant volcano Mount Teide. Once a major port, this small coastal town started off the tourist boom to the Canary Islands many years ago.

Puerto De La Cruz offers many attractions but the two which you cannot miss are Mount Teide and Las Cañadas National Park. Mount Teide is the Sphinx of Tenerife and also the highest mountain in Spain and will leave you breathless in amazement!

The town of La Orotava which is host to the natural beauty of Valle De La Orotava should merit at least a day of pleasant exploration. You can also spend time wandering around the fantastic historical architecture of Puerto De La Cruz, such as the Castle of San Felipe. If you don’t envision spending your time in old buildings of Puerto De La Cruz, then Loro Parque with its host of creatures great and small may be moreto your taste and will give you a great day our that you will always remember.

Whilst visiting Puerto De La Cruz, make sure you bring an extra suitcase as shopping as Puerto De La Cruz has that wonderful thing – ‘free port status’! Most of the hotels in Puerto De La Cruz have been around for a while so they don’t quite match up to some of the hotels in the more widely traveled parts of Tenerife and Spain, however the hotels do try to provide good service and most hotels are continuously improving. Puerto De La Cruz does provide hotels for any range of budget though, so if you look, you will find a hotel to suit your budget.

Resteraunts and café’s of Puerto De La Cruz have excellent reviews and the restaurateurs are exceptionally and understandably proud of their culinary delights, so do try to sample as many as you can!

The two most popular beaches in Puerto De La Cruz are both designed by the infamous César Manrique – Playa Martiánez and Playa Jardín and both are beautiful places to dream the time away. Another popular spot, Lago Martiánez, also by the same designer, features eight pools, cafés, tropical gardens, fountains and waterfalls to create a truly ideal paradise in which to spend your holiday.


Read More