The first part of our visit to Puerto Vallarta was actually to Nuevo Vallarta and Paradise Village Resort and Marina. Miranda joined us for three weeks, and Larry’s mom and sister came for the week before Christmas and stayed in the resort, so this was easy all the way around.
The Puerto Vallarta area is a pretty huge metropolis, with developments
stretching a long way up Banderas Bay. Nuevo Vallarta itself is a fully self
contained tourist resort cocoon, which is fairly far removed from the city of
Puerto Vallarta to the south. It is actually in a different state –
Nayarit – than Puerto Vallarta, which is in Jalisco. It is a two-bus ride or
expensive cab ride to the Central district and/or the Zona Romantica in Puerto
There is a shopping center just outside the resort with a pretty large
grocery store, pharmacy, bank, retail stores and restaurants. There are
also plenty of other restaurants in Nuevo Vallarta. The tradeoff is
that everything in NV is more expensive… but it is expensive or time-consuming to get in and out of NV. We did figure out taking the local buses into Puerto Vallarta and had some fun despite the long haul.
Paradise Village Marina is huge and very well-run. The entrance is well- marked, wide, and easy. No problems with depths and a dredge operates regularly in the channel on the Paradise Village side. There are a bunch of large (100 ft plus) yachts here. The slips line the Estuary to the North of the channel entrance. We were first placed in Slip E-20, which was well up almost to the bridge. The water got pretty shallow as we worked our way to the slip but was never a problem. One thing we learned that confirmed what we read in a guidebook was that these slips further away from the entrance were much less affected by surge than the ones closer to the entrance. The tradeoff is that you are farther away from the resort and in an area where most of the boats are unoccupied, faithfully waiting for the return of their owners, so it could feel a bit eerie at night.
The marina had regularly scheduled dockside pumpout (and they would also come and pump out on call); good, potable water with good pressure, and would come to the slip to care of any oils, fluids or other waste products. Moorage in the marina also got us access to the resort’s faculties, namely the beach, fabulous pools, fitness club and “VIP lounge”. The only negative for the marina was that Wifi was more or less non-existent. The marina doesn’t even claim to offer it. Vallarta Yacht Club, which has a clubhouse restaurant and pool right next to the marina, claims to offer Wifi on the docks, but we never got it to work. Later, when we moved to a slip closer to the resort, we were able to get on the resort Wifi, but speed was highly variable, from slow to nothing.
Paradise Village, like many places in Mexico, was a good place to get boat cleaning done. The sun and heavy salt is much tougher on the boat here than in the Pacific NW, so we needed it. We had the boat washed, had all of the stainless steel cleaned and polished, and had some wax touch up done. There are no crocodiles in this marina area, so it’s not hard to get someone to dive the boat so we had the bottom cleaned, including the keel cooler, and replaced a zinc on the wing engine shaft. All of this service was of high quality, at a fraction of PNW prices.
There were an enormous number of pelicans who roosted in the trees of the estuary across from us. We had a sad experience our first night with Miranda – as we were heading down the dock to dinner in the setting sun we came upon a pelican acting strangely, not flying away and flapping awkwardly right next to the dock. We soon realized he was entrapped in fishing line that someone had left actually attached to the dock.
While trying to stay away from his beak we managed to cut away a lot of the line, and thought we were successful in freeing him, but as he got away we saw there was still line around one wing preventing him from flying. Miranda reached someone at the resort and they said they would “send someone” but the bird swam over to the mangroves and disappeared in them in the dark. It was a terrible feeling that despite our best efforts he likely would not survive.
After a few days on E dock, the marina wanted to move us to C dock. We got ready to move the boat at high tide one morning, and as Larry wrote in another post, found that one of our ABT TRAC stabilizer actuator cylinders had failed, emptying the hydraulic reservoir into the bilge. We moved the boat the next day, found an excellent service company to repair the stabilizers, but began a month long ongoing exchange with TRAC to try and get them to honor their warranty…. but that is a different story. (And no, we didn’t need the stabilizers to move within the marina, but having them have no fluid is a problem even if not used).
We did enjoy liberal use of the pools and happy hour 2 for 1 drinks with Helen and Heather, and now have great tans. We also ran into some fellow Cubar participants and other folks on the much more active C dock. But, after two weeks at the resort of our originally planned month, we made a decision to move to La Cruz for the week of Christmas. More to come on that great place!