Puerto Vallarta, which some say is the Riviera of Mexico, is located on Bandarras Bay, the third largest bay in the world and North America’s largest. I close my eyes and see graceful birds swooping in azure skies, smell the flower laden breeze, and feel the glow of the sun on my skin. Everything is bright, vivid and festive.
We stayed in the old part of Puerto Vallarta. Our hotel, the historical Hotel Rosita was built in 1948 by Mr. Salvador Gonzales for the merchants and their families traveling long distance had no place to stay while they were doing business. The Rosita,is located at the north end El Malecon, which is a mile or so of sidewalk along the beautiful white sand beaches. The Rosita is one of the oldest hotels in Puerto Vallarta, and it is quite charming, and according to one of the reviews a well kept secret. Our idea was to get a flavor of Mexico, rather than to stay in one of deluxe Americanized hotels to the north, with the golf courses and the fancy restaurants.
The hotel is a ten minute walk to the main church, municipal offices and Puerto Vallarta's market place and is considered the most traditional hotel in Puerto Vallarta because of its typical Mexican architecture. In 1962 John Houston, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Eva Gardner and their entire filming crew stayed at the Hotel Rosita while filming The Night of the Iguana. Hotel Rosita offers the ambience of how life was once enjoyed in Puerto Vallarta.
After we claimed our luggage and looked for a cab, an official looking gentleman in a suit and tie came up to us and told us he needed to talk to us. He ushered us to a counter in an area of the airport and proceeded to sell us tours, time share and whatever else he could. He had quite the sales pitch and was very convincing. The end result was that we agreed to get a free taxi ride to a fancy time share the next day to have a complimentary breakfast and listen to a speech about how great the time shares are and how much we would love it. How much can we pay? Oh, and we got coupons for a free boat ride and/or a massage. In the end, we decided not to take advantage of the coupons, and instead opted for free time of our own.
The sales personnel were very good at their jobs. After softening us up with a good breakfast and some friendly banter, we were introduced to another person who showed us brochures and tried to convince us to buy into their time share. We declined, of course, but he continued his pitch. When he realized we weren’t backing down he introduced us to yet another sales person. By this time we were getting annoyed. When we said no for the final time, the man said, “There’s the way out,” and pointed us in the direction of the parking lot. We did get a free cab ride back. The lesson learned, of course, was that we were targeted as obvious first time tourists. No harm was done but we were so annoyed that we didn’t take advantage of the free coupons and instead relaxed in our own way.
We spend our days walking on the Malecon and touring the shops; each afternoon we enjoyed a happy hour in the outside lobby of the hotel. The margaritas were excellent and so were the chips and guacamole. There were few evenings that was what we had for dinner because this was so satisfying. On afternoon on one of the last days before we left we were sitting on the lounge chairs and heard a loud flop. Much to our surprise a fish lay on the ground near us. Apparently one of the birds lost its grip. One of the staff dealt with the fish. We thought this amusing.
There was a festive atmosphere while we were there. One day there was a children’s parade. The kids were colorful in their costumes.
View from the terrace into the courtyard of the hotel:
from Liz Taylor's villa:
from the Malecon:
on the way home from the market:
from the hotel: