Puerto Vallarta & Islas Marietas

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We arrived in Puerto Vallarta, thinking we would only stop for a night before continuing on.  We figured it would be too touristy and expensive.  It was indeed pretty touristy, and one look at the beach, we saw why.

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There are many Canadians and Americans snowbirds who call Puerto Vallarta home in the winter.

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We parked Houdini very close to the beach and asked a bartender if it would be ok to park outside overnight.  He assured us the area was safe and it would be fine, we were even able to use their wi-fi while in Houdini.

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We immediately hit the beach to watch the sunset.  There were  some families who seemed to bring their kids to the beach after school, some kids playing soccer, and some couples trying to experience the most romantic sunset.

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We had stumbled across a picture of a beautiful beach off the coast of Puerto Vallarta called Islas Marietas. 

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Islas Marietas were formed by volcanic activity, and one of them, Playa Escondida or “hidden beach” was created by the accidental explosion of a bomb during military trials.    

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We decided that we would do this tour and talked the guy down from 900 Pesos (about $52). 

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We normally do not pay for tours but this island is now a bird sanctuary and you can only come with a tour. 

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We decided to splurge and it was absolutely worth it.

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The boat ride is about two hours long and they provide food, an open bar, and you have the choice of stand up paddling, kayaking, or snorkeling.   On our way there, we saw wild dolphins and sea turtles.

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Once you arrive to the island, you have to swim about 100 meters to the opening of a cave, which you have to swim through in order to get inside the island. 

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The swim was quite difficult as waves kept pushing you forward, but then the current pulled you away.  T

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he waves would also lift you up, in which case you have to lift your arm in the air to keep from banging against the top of the cave. 

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Once inside, the island is completely worth it.  It is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.  White sand, blue water, but you’re inside of a hole in the middle of the OCEAN. 

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We took our  go pro with us and captured the swim in , as well as took several pictures inside…  However, after we uploaded them onto iphoto, they disappeared.  We were pretty devastated and were only able to recover just a few of them.

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While we were snorkeling, Maria got stung by Jellyfish all over her arms and legs, she said it was not too painful. The staff quickly gave her some vinegar to dab on her skin and some pina coladas.

TheIMG_1027.JPG trip was wonderful and it’s highly recommended.

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We then found a cheap condo a half  block away from the beach.  After we agreed to stay, the hotel manager heard our story and thought it was so inspiring, that he gave us a 25% discount.  AFTER we had agreed on the price.  

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We also met a really interesting guy from Maine, U.S.   He and his wife are gypsies, as they call themselves.  They are retired, sold their home and now just spend their time traveling around and living in different places.  

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We ended up staying in Puerto Vallarta for 3 nights instead of our intended one night.  That’s the thing about overlanding, it’s difficult to predict where you’ll be in two days’ time.  We spent some time catching up on blogs, watching the sunset, and enjoying the beach before we head inland towards Mexico City.

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