Today I’m wrapping up my Mexican tales. Our La Cruz group – Patty, Jamie, Shelley, John, Lucie, and me headed up one Sunday to La Cruz Sunday market located about forty minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. We did this last year too, only Lucie wasn’t there with us. Jamie rented a SUV for the day, we all pitched in and he drove. Last year we did this day trip and had lots of adventures, laughs, and mishaps. This time, never a dull moment either.
We all met in the lobby at 930am and piled in with our beach bags, water and snacks. Shelley and me were in the very back row – barely enough head room, but we fit. It was a super hot day. We drove up and this time we found the Marina/Market parking lot which we hadn’t seen last year, cutting a twenty minute walk to get to the kiosks, the booths lined up along the peninsula, surrounded by water.
La Cruz Market walk up Marina. This market must be a mile long as the lined up booths align the marina sidewalk.
Artist at work with many variations of Frida Kahlo, one of Mexico’s most iconic artists and empowering women.
The market is known for its handmade artifacts, art, clothing, shoes, gadgets, jewelry, and food. It’s only opened on Sundays and it’s always busy with people. But this time I saw a woman with her pet pig strolling along. Only later to be sighted at Punta Mita beach where we went to for lunch.
After a few hours we decided to go back to the smaller market before you reach the Marina market. We all got in the car to go back to the other part when I heard a grinding noise as we drove up the sandy parking lot. I shouted out to Jamie to stop the car, something weird was going on – and it was. Thank goodness Jamie kept driving until we all got out at a spot just before approaching the small market. There was a HUGE spike stuck in between the tire and the rim. Oye! Thank goodness we had two men with us who knew how to change a tire, Jamie the structural engineer and John, retired military. Us girls walked up to the small market and left the guys to put on a spare tire – that was thankfully, in the trunk. It took the guys about an hour to get everything sorted and in the meantime, Shelley and me did some walking around.
This booth caught my eye, I loved the name – Not Made in China. Beautiful cotton dresses and jumpsuits, surprisingly more expensive than in my favorite cotton store – Luisa’s, where I ultimately bought a turquoise jumpsuit like the pink one hanging here.
After the market we got back in the car and headed out for our lunch reservation to Punta Mita beach, ten minutes away. Before heading to there, we stopped at the tiny town shops and beach bars to look around town.
Jesus Rays pouring in sunlight
Quaint garden restaurant
Hotel spa outdoor lobby
Outside lanai of a hotel spa room rental
Our beach/lunch at El Barracuda restaurant. I found it a bit pricey, but the Margs were delish! As we were sitting down and getting comfy for our three-hour beach lunch and swim, the pig from the La Cruz market seemed to be enjoying the festivities as its owner wound up at the same restaurant. What are the odds? How did I know? Because it wound up off leash and snorting around our table. No thanks, I didn’t sign up for the zoo. I had the waiter return frilly dressed pig to where it belonged.
Our Beach table with two umbrellas kept the blazing sun off us and the ocean breeze was divine
Hungry traveler friends studying the menu
A fun time was had by all!
It appears like everywhere else in the world, everything is changing. Inflation is getting us globally, condo prices are quickly escalating now in Puerto Vallarta. Many locals are finding any way they can to make a buck. Tips, tips, tips, everyone wants a piece of us. Even some of the grocery stores will have a young boy pop out of nowhere to get you a cab for your groceries – even when the cab is right there in front of our eyes. The young boys will grab at your bags to put them in the trunk (that’s what the cab driver usually does), so he can get a coin off tourists. And speaking of cabs, just beware of prices. Before you enter a cab, always ask for the ride fare before getting comfortable. Even though I know the rates I always ask, there are some cabs out there who think you are a newbie and will try and charge more. I’ve surely got in and out of a few cabs myself while there because of crazy fares quoted. Also, if you ever come to Puerto Vallarta on a cruiseship and wish to go downtown where all the action is, do yourself a favor and walk out of the port to catch a cab. It should only cost MAX $10 (130-150 Pesos), and I know for a fact cabs are charging tourists $25 US for rides. Greed is still everywhere.
When travel day to home came around, I was ready. Many of my friends had left a day or two before me. Shelley and Patty were staying til April 6th. I was apprehensive about the travel home – as always. I was worried about leaving on a Saturday, usually PV airport’s worst crazy busy day, and end of March break. But the ‘travel gods’ were relatively kind to me. My flight was to leave at 1130am, so I was in a cab to the airport at 8am. I’d heard nightmares from others nearly missing their planes because of long checkin lines and then security lines.
I arrived at the airport within ten minutes and the checkin wasn’t open yet. A lovely teacher with a group of young teens were the only ones ahead of me traveling to Toronto for a school trip. Because checkin wasn’t yet opened I was confused as to where to tell the porter to drop my heavy bags. The teacher told me which gate would open for us, so I parked myself and luggage down to wait half hour. The line changed three times! I could not move lanes with my two big bags and equally heavy carryon, plus a huge carry bag. The teacher asked her boys to help me move the three times the checkin line changed. And because there were more than a dozen of them, they let me go ahead of them.
By 845am, the lineups were growing huge, but I was on my way up to the gates and security. I whizzed through with barely anyone in line. I had to toss my water bottle and as always, went to buy another once I crossed security. What? Twelve Canadian dollars for a bottle of water??? I went to four different kiosks and as though they all planned their ripoff price together, there was nothing cheaper. I settled for a $7 SMALL bottle of diet Pepsi. The flight was ON TIME! Another rare occurrence for me. The plane flew home making excellent time.
One hilarious moment on the plane. I had my nose deep in a book when a stewardess came on speaker with a note of caution warning people emphatically that “This is not 1976,” she elaborated her statement by sharing that someone had been caught SMOKING in the bathroom. Fines will be in enforcement. In all my years of flying since smoking was banned on planes, I couldn’t believe in 2023 somebody actually smoked in the bathroom thinking they wouldn’t be caught.
I dreaded the mile walk from the plane to Canada Customs, but was again, pleasantly surprised to find we were the only plane that had landed, and zipped right through customs to baggage, where my bags were out in a jiff. The only problem was, I realized my superpowers had limits. My first bag came around the carousel and for the life of me, I could not lift that bag off. I looked around at the waiting crowd, hoping a gentleman would offer me a hand. No such thing left anymore. My bag was coming around again, a lovely athletic looking woman beside me, maybe a few years younger than me, bent down to help me pull off my bag. As I was thanking her, my other bag was coming. I asked her if she’d help me again, she told me not to worry, she’s got it. And she did! I sailed out the exit doors, hopped in a limo and stunningly, I was home in my apartment a mere 45 minutes after landing! The travel gods were very kind to me.
For your viewing pleasure, if you’d like to see a mini tour of Puerto Vallarta highlights, I found this fanastic 20 minute video of beautiful Puerto Vallarta to give you a toured sense of the town.