San Sebastián del Oeste – Dolly Travels

Author: , April 17th, 2019

San Sebastián del Oeste

!Hola!

I think I am finally getting the hang of this Spanish language. I know how to ask for someone to fix the sink. I can order food and drink, get a taxi…hmm. That is about it. An older man, a helper at Walmart, asked me today why I didn’t speak Spanish. I told him I was working on it, but he shook his head and declared I should have done that years ago. I don’t know why he felt that way, but I told him I would keep trying, but he shook his head again, as if to declare me hopeless. Oh, well. My new phrase today, direct from my language translator, is: ¿Alquiera en busca una cerveza? Is anyone up for a beer?

Today is a lovely day: a bit breezy, but the sun is shining, and all is well in Puerto Vallarta.

This morning I walked to Walmart. I can see that complex from where I sit, but to get there, one has to go around the marinas, past the Naval Base, then take your life in your hands to cross the busy boulevard. I didn’t trust the policeman who kept telling me to go, when trucks and buses were coming around the corner aiming for me. I waited until some locals crossed, then I went with them. Whew! Adventure looms everywhere.

Today is going to be a relaxing day for me. I have an appointment at a spa later this afternoon for manicure, pedicure, 50 minute massage and a facial for a cost of approximately $55. We will see how that turns out.

Yesterday, I took a tour up to an old town far up in the Sierra Madre, reported to be the oldest town in this area. San Sebastián del Oeste was established in 1605, and flourished due to silver mining. After that, gold was discovered up there, so mining for those minerals, plus lead, made San Sebastián a busy place, with the population in 1900 being around 20,000 persons. Now, there are fewer than 1,000 residents. The town is kept clean and pretty, as it is considered one of the “Pueblos Majicos”, due to its history. The town receives a subsidy from the Mexican government to keep it historically correct, including the thick adobe walls of the buildings, and red tile roofs and the architecture. The streets are made of rock: big rocks, little rocks, all cemented together in an uneven hodge podge, it seemed to me. There are sidewalks for about half of the town. I had to laugh, as we saw cars proceeding down the street, slowly bumping up and down. Not that it was needed, for the cars could not go very fast, but the speed bump on one of the side streets was constructed of a heavy rope thrown across the street. It had obviously been there a long time, for it was pretty well enmeshed into the rocks of the street.

Before we got to San Sebastián, which, by the way, is a two-hour drive from Puerto Vallarta, we made three stops. Our guide told us that the first paved roads to that town were constructed in the 1960’s. Up till then, the only roads were dirt. Can you imagine, in the silver and gold mining days, goods and people had to be transported from Puerto Vallarta, where they arrived by ship. The primary means of transport, then, was by pack mule. The journey took two days.

Our first stop, about and hour from PV, was at a store called El Puente de Krystal, which I assume refers to the bridge over a huge ravine beside the store. I was happy that we stopped there, for Frank and I had visited that place on a tour a few years ago.

We watched a woman making home made tortillas from the masa de maiz. She had a big bowl of that lovely dough under the cloth beside her. When someone wanted a taco, she pulled off a ball of dough, pressed it into a tortilla, threw it onto the wood-fired stove top, let it cook until it puffed up, then she picked it up, turned it over. When it was done to her satisfaction, she pulled the tortilla off the grill, put it onto a small plate, then handed it to the customer. There were bowls of retried beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, shredded cheese and salsa prepared. The customer made his taco to his or her preference. I had two of the delicious tacos, for a cost of $1 each.

Our next stop was at a tequila factory, of course. Jalisco, the Mexican state we are in, is the birthplace of tequila, so on any tour, one ends up at a tasting of that beverage.

This place was very simple, with techniques for making tequila going back generations of this same family. They use pure blue agave, the leaves and the root, to begin the process.

I took tiny tastes of tequila, but I am not a connoisseur; others said it was very good.

Next, we visited a coffee farm. There, I did taste the product, and it was delicious. The coffee farm had been established over 100 years ago. There was a woman called Maria, who had been the mother of 21 children, who started the farm with her husband. She outlived him, so she continued the farm and coffee production. Her next-to-youngest son now runs the business, and he is getting up in years, also. Maria, by the way, lived to be 85 years old. I cannot even fathom having a baby almost every year, as she did, beginning with the first child when she was 15 years old, and her youngest, when she was 46. Holy moley! And then she ran the farm, which is about 20 acres, I believe.

We were given a lesson on coffee growing, harvesting, roasting. I also learned that this is an organic farm. An interesting side note is the farm uses natural pesticide: a mixture of oil, garlic and serrano pepper. Hmm. Sounds a lot like the recipe for shrimp ajillo I told you about in an earlier post, except the pepper or chile is different. I might try that on my plants at home and see if it will keep the squirrels away.

Our guide took us to a very nice restaurant in San Sebastián. It was tastefully decorated, and the food was scrumptious. We were served chicken mole, cheese quesadillas, shredded beef for tacos, rice and beans. I could see the cook making tortillas in the kitchen, and cooking them as needed.

We ended our tour in the town square, after visiting the church of San Sebastián.

All in all, it was a pleasurable day. After all that walking on the rocky streets, and listening to Mario tell us all the cultural information, we were a tired group that headed back to Puerto Vallarta. I was grateful to Mario, our guide, for in his real life, he is a history teacher. He gave us so much very good information, both on the history of Mexico and this area in particular, but he expanded more on the anthropological and sociological aspects of Mexico. I felt it was a very worthwhile trip, for me.

By the time I got back to the resort, though, my feet and my brain were tired. I settled into my room for a nap before I ventured out for dinner.

I stayed at the resort for dinner and was treated to a lovely sunset.

So, adios from Puerto Vallarta, until next time. This is, indeed, a restful place.

–Dolly

Original Post: Dolly Travels

Another Day in Puerto Vallarta – Dolly Travels

Author: , April 4th, 2019

Puerto Vallarta - Dolly Travels

!Hola, mi amigos,

Good morning, everyone,

It seems that time just is flying by, as every day I find something new to do; although, most of the time, I am simply relaxing and being lazy.

My youngest son, Rob, and his wife, Amy, joined me here a few days ago, so we have been exploring the town and the marina, primarily looking for the best food and drinks.

I have been here for 11 days already and I have eaten shrimp everyday. I am still not tired of it. Sometimes I have the fresh catch of the day, which so far has been either mahi mahi or red snapper, both of which have been delicious. If I have shrimp for lunch, then I might have the fish for dinner. Or vise versa.

One of my favorite dishes (above): Camarones in ajillo sauce. I had to look up the recipe. It is very simple, actually. The chef sautés garlic and chopped dried guajillo chiles in oil, then sautés the shrimp in that. The spicy oil is poured over the camarones when it is served. Here at the Tenampa pool bar, the shrimps are served with steamed veggies, a portion of rice, and for some reason, toasted bread. It is so good. I tell myself it is a healthy meal.

In the right, you can see the shrimp salad, which is another good choice. Those shrimp have also been sautéed in the chile oil.

Another favorite dish has been the fajitas del camarones. Just so much good food here, sometimes it is difficult to make a decision.

Okay, other than the food, walking has been on my agenda, nearly every day. I start my mornings with a three mile walk, up and around the marina, stopping for a Starbucks cappuccino, then continue on back to the condo. I have breakfast, then I write, every day, for at least an hour. Afternoons are devoted to relaxing by the pool or going into town.

Or, if I am not by the pool, relaxing by the beach, under a palapa, is also a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

On Thursday afternoon, there was a big market at the marina. Tents were set up all around the perimeter of the marina, selling all different types of merchandise: food stalls, taco wagons, dessert tents, where slices of some of the most delicious-looking cakes were sold. One stall had huge pans of paella and more pans of gumbo. Fortunately, I had already eaten, or I might have made a pig of myself.

There were also Indian dancers performing.

Yesterday, there was high clouds over the city, making the day a bit cooler, but no rain.
As we walked along the Malecon, we could see the waves crashing onto the shore. We watched pelicans diving into this waves to catch fish. Those big birds dive so fast, and so straight down, I had to wonder if they every suffer broken necks. They were amazing to watch.

Today, on my walk through the marina, I once more spotted a big crocodile. I think he was waiting for me, for today, his head was out of the water, up on the rocks, and he was smiling at me.

I was too mesmerized this morning to think to take a picture, for all I could think of, was the Disney song, “Never Smile at a Crocodile”, from the movie, “Peter Pan”. Now, of course, I can’t get the song out of my head.

So, life is fun, and I am getting work done on my book. Most of all, though, I am relaxing. This vacation was much-needed and I appreciate all of you who helped me get to this lovely, restful place.

I will close with a sunset picture from a few days ago. Now, it is lunch time, and the camarones at Tenampa Bar are calling for me to come enjoy them.

So, I shall say,

Hasta la vista, until we meet again.

Dolly

Casa Alebrijes Hotel – Guadalajara Gay Owned Bed & Breakfast

Author: , March 16th, 2019

Casa Alebrijes Hotel

Welcome to Guadalajara, Mexico’s best hotel for gay men and women and their friends – Casa Alebrijes is only two blocks from the center of the gay nightlife area with 25 gay bars and discotheques, all within walking distance of our front door. Guadalajara is often called the San Francisco of Mexico.,

This Guadalajara hotel has two floors with two suites for 1-4 persons, and seven guest rooms for 1 or 2. The first floor includes a lovely garden patio with a fabulous fountain. The second floor has a wide balcony that overlooks the garden patio.

Our Guadalajara hotel is in a late 19th century home that has been carefully and beautifully restored in a traditional style, along with modern conveniences, while respecting the original architecture.

See the Casa Alebrijes Hotel Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Jalisco Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

 

Vacation Like a Kardashian – Out With Ryan

Author: , January 23rd, 2019

Punta Mita - Out With Ryan

I’m going to be honest… the first time I heard of “Punta Mita” was from the Kim Kardashian smartphone game. That’s right, the popular app where you pretended to be in Kim Kardashian’s world back in the Summer of 2014.

What I didn’t realize is that not only does Kim Kardashian actually vacation in this private peninsula situated in the Riviera Nayarit Mexico region, but Punta Mita can also be very affordable for couples, who aren’t millionaires.

You can pay a fortune to stay at the same resort The Kardashians often vacation, which is Casa Aramara, or you can relax more affordable and still share the same waters, sand and sunshine as Kim Kardashian!

I’m sorry but who doesn’t like the idea of relaxing in lush tropical paradise, similar to the ones Kim Kardashian has, but on a more affordable budget… I KNOW I DO!

By Ryan at Out With Ryan

Jalisco Gay Travel Resources

 

Cabo With Kids – 2TravelDads

Author: , January 16th, 2019

Cabo With Kids - 2TravelDads

We’ve been to Cabo with kids load of times, like, we’ve spent the equivalent of three months in Cabo as a family. You could say it’s our favorite family destination in Mexico. Since we’ve done it so much, we’ve decided it’s time we share our best tips for visiting Cabo with kids.

I’ll say this right away, Cabo with kids is mostly about relaxation and swimming vs digging into Mexican culture and nature. There are lots of opportunities for that, but Cabo San Lucas really has built itself into a luxury destination more than adventure. If you’re looking for adventure, check out our articles about Quintana Roo and touring the Yucatan Peninsula.

Locale and getting to Cabo San Lucas

For those traveling from the west coast, getting to Cabo San Lucas is pretty easy. There are direct flights from Seattle, San Francisco, Sacramento, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego. Denver and Dallas also offer direct flights, so know that even east coasters should be able to find a good flight. When flying into Cabo, the airport is SJD (San Jose del Cabo), Los Cabos International Airport. The airport is actually quite nice now (thanks Hurricane O’dele) and as long as you arrive early in the day or in the early evening, customs is pretty fast and smooth.

By Rob Taylor – Full Story at 2TravelDads

Cabo Gay Travel Resources

 

Villa Encantada – Puerto Vallarta Gay Friendly Villa

Author: , December 6th, 2018

Villa Encantada - Puerto Vallarta Gay Friendly Villa

Experience ultimate luxury in our large, 5,000 sf villa in the Conchas Chinas Hills. This new, five bedroom, five and a half bathroom villa is in the upscale Amapas area, where you’ll find some of the most beautiful vacation rental homes in Puerto Vallarta.

Villa Encantada is in the middle of a vibrant, tropical jungle, and has panoramic Banderas Bay views. It’s also a great place to watch the sun set from the wide pool deck. When the days are hot, you can cool down in our gorgeous turquoise blue pool, or relax with a drink at the outdoor bar under the shade of the palapa.

Villa Encantada is a great place for families or a group of friends, with 5 elegant bedroom suites, each with private bath, wide balconies, a large sitting room, and a complete staff that make this house a tropical paradise.

Villa Encantada is close to downtown Puerto Vallarta in the Amapas/Conchas Chinas hills. We offer an open air paradise where you can enjoy the warm ocean breeze and the tropical evenings.

See the Villa Encantada Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Puerto Vallarta Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

 

Antigua Capilla B&B – Gay Friendly San Miguel de Allende Bed & Breakfast

Author: , November 18th, 2018

Antigua Capilla B&B

Antigua Capilla Bed and Breakfast in San Miguel de Allende offers you world class hospitality, comfort and elegance. Offering fantastic city center outdoor terrace views, our conveniently located B&B is a short downhill walk to the historic town square.

See the Antigua Capilla B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

San Miguel de Allende Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

 

Casa Majahua – Gay Owned Mexican Vacation Rental

Author: , November 16th, 2018

Casa Majahua

We love spending time with our friends and family at Casa Majahua.

This home is perfect for large groups with plenty of space to spread out beach front resort style; complete with infinity pool, swim up bar and fantastic natural scenery. We’ve spent many hours preparing our home to share with guests and enjoy sunny days on the sea.

Casa Majahua is a special home in an unspoiled area of Mexico built for four amigos who wished to share a slower pace life together away from fast-paced city life in a private setting where we can enjoy our own lifestyle.

See the Casa Majahua Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Guerrero Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

 

Exploring the Baja Peninsula – Free Wheel Drive

Author: , October 21st, 2018

Baja, Mexico - Free Wheel Drive

Leaving Tucson we had a few days of easy driving ahead of us to reach Baja California. With no strict timetable, we were free to take in a couple roadside attractions. A gas station had some nice bathrooms and, of course, giant dinosaur sculptures. And you can rent a flying saucer retrieval truck. Who knew?

We decided to cross the Mexican border in Tecate over Tijuana because we heard it’s not as busy and it’s a much nicer city. The internet didn’t lie! Also, it’s home to the Tecate brewery which is a cornerstone of the city’s economy the same way Miller is for Milwaukee. Nothing makes us happier than driving through a beer town.

So we just ended up in Mexico. We took the “nothing to declare” line and it was too easy! Nobody even checked our car or searched us. We had to walk around the block to find the Instituto Nacional de Migración or INM so we could get our FMM or tourist Visas. A lot of people forget this step which can cause you some issues if they ask for it at a Military checkpoint. You’re better off driving in the line for declaring things so you can fill it out in your car. Our Spanish was terrible so we didn’t get any photos in the INM because we were so nervous. The INM officer helping us with our paperwork who was just as bad at English as we were at Spanish offered to sell us some hot sauce which we politely declined. You actually have to walk out of the INM office partway through the process to the banqometer booth so that you can pay for your visa (500 pesos each or about $24) and then bring back the receipt to show the INM officer which gets stapled Now off to drive the Baja Penninsula!

By Camrin La Fond – Full Story at Free Wheel Drive

Baja Sur Lesbian Travel Resources

 

Las Pozas Garden in Xilitla, Mexico – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , September 8th, 2018

Las Pozas garden - Once Upon a Journey

Walking in the surrealist garden of Edward James, Las Pozas, makes you feel like you are in a totally different world. A world where fantasies and imaginaries come to life. We feel like true explorers, walking in a jungle, not knowing what we see next or where we end our exploration. It’s a place we recommend everybody going to, it’s a hidden gem located deep in the Mexican mountains. Definitely one for on the bucket list!

HISTORY OF LAS POZAS

Las Pozas garden was created by the British poet Edward James. He moved to Xilitla where he started growing exotic plants. But in 1962 frost and blizzards destroyed all of his orchids, he decided to make something permanent which the weather couldn’t destroy. He wanted to create his version of the ‘Garden of Eden’ with giant concrete sculptures. It took him 20 years from 1949 until his death in 1984, to design and build the concrete structures resembling floral elements, which costs over 5 million dollars. And yet, most sculptures are still unfinished.

Las Pozas, the Pools in Spanish, is named after the pools covering the place, coming from waters that flow naturally through it. There’s also a beautiful waterfall.

HOW TO GET THERE

The surrealist garden is located in the jungle near a small mountain village called Xilitla, in the province San Luis Potosí, Mexico. To get to Xilitla you can drive there yourself by rental car (like we did), or go by bus. It’s about an eight-hour drive from the capital. Be prepared for a long trip with winding roads. If you have time and money we really recommend renting a car. You will have the freedom to go where you want and to explore authentic Mexican places, like this place!

By Roxanne & Maartje – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

Mexico Gay Travel Resources