Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part Two – Renting, Shopping, Tipping and Water | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

 

Welcome to this month’s edition of my Travel Column. Last month in my column, I shared a bit of history on beautiful Puerto Vallarta as well as some tips on dining, beaches, and things to do. For this month’s edition I’m going to share some tips based on my personal experience on notable places to visit while there, what to pack, caveats of renting a condo, and protocol on some of the Mexican customs.

suitacase

 

What to pack?

Pack for summer temps. Keep in mind that nights can be breezy so you may want to throw in a few long-sleeved Tees and/or a light sweater.

As usual, I bring too many shoes and basically end up wearing the same two pairs when going out. During the day you will live in flip flops or sandals. When walking any distances, and when walking downtown you will want to have comfortable shoes on. Trust me! The downtown zone still has cobble stone roads. Heels aren’t going to be your friend there. I acquired a new affection for FitFlops after buying a pair to take with me before I left. I plan on getting a 2nd pair and that’s all I really need to wear out. They are ultra-comfortable and very stylish, they even have styles with bling – and that’s good enough for me, lol. Of course, you will want to have a pair of sneakers too.

I mostly live in my bathing suit and cover-up by day and a sundress or a pair of capris and a top by night. I don’t see many people wearing long pants even at night so don’t fill your suitcases with them as they will likely just be taking up space and never worn. The jeans I wear on the airplane are the only long pants I take.

Don’t forget to pack your favorite pillow. If you’re anything like me and are fussy about your pillows, you will be happy you brought yours. See if you can find a smaller travel version of your favorite pillow like I’ve found, which will take up less space in your bags. And don’t forget the essentials: sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.

 

rental keys

 

Thinking of renting a condo in PV?

If you’re interested in renting a place for your vacation in PV, I’m sharing my list of how to go about the process, what to look for, and things to beware of:

There are plenty of online sites where one can find places for rent in PV, and many property managers who look after several properties can also be found on various websites. But if you’re not familiar with where to begin, my recommendation is to look on VRBO and Air BnB.

One thing that is almost certain is that all rental prices are expected in US dollars. Depending on which service you book through, prices will vary so it’s important to do your homework and check similar offers for similar same sized properties around same locations.

Every place for rent seems to have their own different terms of contract. Some will ask for 50% down and the balance due 2 months prior to arrival, some will only require 20% deposit and balance payable on arrival (those are the only terms I rent a place with), while some offer rebates if you must cancel and some don’t.

It’s important to do an internet check when renting to make sure you’re renting from someone reputable. It’s not difficult to type a name of someone or the name of a condo complex in a Google search bar and take it from there. TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Yahoo are also great places to check reviews from previous fellow travelers who will share their experiences. Personally, I prefer renting directly from owner as opposed to a manager, but there are exceptions. I like to call that person to gather information rather than rely solely on what’s written on the description. This also allows me to get a good feel of the person I intend to rent from.

Make sure you ask about ‘added fees’ such as: security deposit required, clean-up fees, and oddly, some funky other mysterious fees I’ve seen around. If someone is paying for an ad, they should have photos and a good description of the property and surrounding areas.

In Mexico, it seems that electricity is often a separate charge on top of the rental fee. Rarely will you find it included in the price. Depending on the honesty of the person you’re renting from you’ll end up paying anywhere from $50 US per month to exorbitant money grab rates as high as $200 a month. Always ask!

Ask about these rules of the property:  . . . Continue reading

 

 

 

Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part Two – Renting, Shopping, Tipping and Water | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The #Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part One. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Besides my blogging about more personal nature of things on my recent trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, I also wrote a more comprehensive post about that wonderful city this month at Sally Cronin’s Travel Column at the Smorgasbord. I hope you enjoy it. Next month I’ll be sharing Part 2 where I share some of my personal findings, tips, and experiences.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The #Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part One.

 

Welcome to this month’s edition of my Travel Column. I thought it only fitting this month to zero in on one of my favorite winter spots for vacation – Puerto Vallarta, since I’ve just returned from there once again from a blissful two months away from my Canadian winter.

 

History

Puerto Vallarta is situated on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahia de Banderas, in the state of Jalisco – a Mexican resort city spanning just over 502 square miles. It was named after Ignacio Vallarta, a former governor of the state of Jalisco. (1872–1876). His full name was José Luis Miguel Ignacio Vallarta Ogazón.

Puerto Vallarta was once a thriving Mexican village back in 1859 before it became the popular resort town that it is today. During the 18th century the city grew from a small fishing village to a small beach landing port for easy access to the Sierra towns. By the 19th century, the town began accumulating regular vacationers from nearby inland Sierra towns. It became a municipality in 1918, and that is when it was named Puerto Vallarta from its former name – Las Penas. Until 1942 the city could only be accessed by sea, air and by mule trails to the Sierra towns.

The new road finally created have vehicular access to the newly becoming resort town it is today. And the first vacation advertising from Modern Mexico Magazine in New York gave Puerto Vallarta its start at becoming a destination resort. By the 1950s Puerto Vallarta began attracting American writers and artists and ex-pats wanting to escape the politics of the Eisenhower/McCarthy era.

 

In the 60s and 70s, Puerto Vallarta became a popular vacation destination, and 6 influential factors helped put PV on the map:

  • Government intervened with century-old property disputes by parceling out land as communal farms stifling development for much of the 20th century, eventually transitioning into private ownership by the early 70s to generate sales revenue to help develop infrastructure.
  • In 1964, American director, John Houston began filming the movie – The Night of the Iguana, in a small town south of Puerto Vallarta, featuring Richard Burton. At the time, the US media had Burton and Taylor in the spotlight for their extra-marital affair and the publicity that ensued gave Puerto Vallarta recognition.
  • The Mexican government heavily invested in making transportation more accessible, building better roads, and an airport, (Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International airport, named after the president in power 1964-1970), and the El Salado Wharf (the current cruise terminal), making Puerto Vallarta become the first harbor town in the state of Jalisco. All these improvements made PV become a booming resort town.
  • In 1968, Puerto Vallarta became a city from a municipality. The city began to grow with ex-patriates from Canada, US and Europe.
  • In 1970, President Ordaz met with US president, Richard Nixon for treaty negotiations. The media exposure given to this event with the scenic views in the background helped to attract more visitors.
  • The hotel development began a booming industry for Puerto Vallarta in the early 70s with the building of grand luxury hotels and resorts. The early 80s also brought on a downtown of the Mexican economy, devaluing the Peso (international currency), which of course helped to attract more tourists to get a good bang for their buck for an attractive ‘bargain’ destination. This boom of course, inspired other destination spots in Mexico to be built such as Cancun and Ixtapa, which became new tourist getaway spots in the early 90s.

 

Climate

The city offers a gorgeous climate, beautiful beaches, and a rich cultural history. With a typical tropical climate of wet and dry, the average daytime temperatures are 86 degrees, with lows at night as low as 65 – 70 degrees. The rainy season runs typically from June through October with August being the rainiest month of all. And PV is not traditionally a hurricane hotspot. Although, like much of the North American west coast, PV is vulnerable to earthquakes. Typically, there are 300 sunny days a year. And spectacular sunsets!

Please continue reading and viewing the photos at Sally’s blog.

gorgeous sunset

 

 

Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The #Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part One. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Traveling to #Mexico | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Travel Talk with D.G. Kaye

 

Today I’m sharing my latest edition of my travel column over at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Invitation. And today, we’re off to Mexico!

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Traveling to #Mexico

 

This edition of my travel column is all about Mexico and what you need to know about traveling there.

 

I love Mexico and have been there many times over the years, visiting several different parts of Mexico in the past. My favorite Mexico destination is Puerto Vallarta, located on the Pacific  west coast of Mexico. I recently spent one month there last winter and looking forward to two glorious months there next winter.

 

About Mexico

 

Mexico’s official name is The United States of Mexico – Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Mexico is comprised of 32 States. It is also the 11th most populated country in the world with a population of over 118 million people, and the 14th largest country by land. The climate in Mexico is hot and humid – less humid in the interior states. Mexico has the 9th largest economy in the world. Their main industries are: food, beverage, Tequila, Corona beer, tobacco, cotton, iron, steel, and last but certainly not least – tourism. Their rich natural resources are silver, petroleum and natural gas.

Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821. Mexico City is the capital, originally built on the ruins of the Aztec capital, which was destroyed when the Spanish conquered the Aztecs. Although the language predominantly spoken in Mexico is Spanish, there are in fact 68 languages spoken there by the natives and approximately 350 indigenous dialects!

In the year 2000, Mexico finally became a democratic country after 7 decades of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the ‘PRI’. Like many other countries in the world, there are parts of Mexico that are safer than others.

 

Popular Places to Visit in Mexico and Places to Avoid

 

Currently, there are 7 northern names states and 3 western named states that are on travel advisory lists, mostly due to cartel violence. If you click on the link supplied above with the named states, you will see that specific cities are named on the advisory in the named states. Sadly, some of my fond memories of yesteryear vacations were in the once beautiful Acapulco (in the state of Guerrero) where the cartel has finished off that resort town for travelers. And although the beautiful and serene city of Manzanillo located in the state of Colima, is said to not be part of the advisory of that state, there’s not a shot you’d catch me going back there either.

 

So where are the safest and most popular tourist locales?

 

Many people love to visit the rich culture in the heart of Mexico, Mexico City. Another popular place people like to visit, and incidentally, many ex-patriots make their home in is San Miguel Allende, which is a beautiful city located in the interior of Mexico, not far from Mexico City. But the most popular vacation destinations in Mexico are Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific west coast and Cancun/Playa Del Carmen on the eastern gulf coast.

Have a look at the map of Mexico HERE to get a broader scope of where the different cities are located geographically.

I always loved Puerto Vallarta and had spent quite a few vacations there through the years but hadn’t been back there for almost 10 years until last winter because my husband and I got hooked on cruising and exploring the Caribbean. We always said that we must go back to Puerto Vallarta and with the advent of the current administration in the U.S. and the devaluation of our Canadian dollar, we took the plunge last winter and we had the time of our lives.

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful coastal town, and my, has it grown. I love that it hasn’t lost its native charm, yet, has grown with the availability of many North American amenities. We rented a beautiful condo right on the beach.

We shopped our groceries at Walmart and Costco, a short walking distance, and ate out at some spectacular restaurants. One block away I could get my daily dose of a Starbuck’s Soy Vanilla, Sugar-free latte. A five-minute cab ride north is the beautiful Marina area where the cruise ships dock nearby and many restaurants, yachts, shopping and weekly markets can be enjoyed. A ten-minute cab ride takes me downtown to what’s known as the ‘Malecon’ which is Mexican for the boardwalk where hundreds of people stroll, eat, shop and watch artists at work and displaying their crafts for sale. The people are friendly and the value for our dollar was fabulous. The sunshine is also virtually guaranteed daily, save for their short rainy season from mid-June til October, boasting approximately 300 sunny days per year. Honestly, I don’t recall ever seeing rain in Puerto Vallarta.

The weather in PV is hot and humid by day – usual temps in winter (November thru April) can range anywhere from the high 70s to the mid-90s. We spent last March there, and I found the days became exceptionally hotter once mid-March hit. The nights often offer a cool ocean breeze where I have been known to actually have to throw on a sweater when walking through town.

Cancun, being on the gulf side, is known to have sporadic rainfall and has become quite Americanized through the years. I personally have never gone to that side because I prefer knowing I’m waking up to guaranteed sunshine, and besides the weather, I also prefer the unspoiled feeling of being in Mexico when I’m in Mexico, not feeling I’m in a more commercialized locale, and according to the many I know who have been there, a lot more expensive in Cancun. I don’t need American dollars in Puerto Vallarta, and my Canadian dollars get me great value with Pesos. U.S. dollars are used a lot in Cancun and food and beverage are also more expensive there.

 

So, let’s get into what you need to know when visiting Mexico.

 

Facts, Dos, and Don’ts, and Safety

 

First and foremost, you need a Mexican Tourist Card to both, enter Mexico and to leave. . . Continue reading

 

 

Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Traveling to #Mexico | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Flight Manifesto with D.G. Kaye…Debby Gies | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Reblog Share

Today I’m sharing Part 3 of my travel contribution to Sally Cronin’s Travel Column on her blog. Smorgasbord Invitation. This post was written during the return trip from Arizona. Enjoy!

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Flight Manifesto with D.G. Kaye…Debby Gies

Time for the third of Debby Gies, D.G. Kaye’s travel posts. I would love to be a fly on the wall when she is traveling. Apart from her usual finesse with the check-in and carry on bags, there is the matter of the toxic passengers and glares over protective masks.. You don’t mess with Debby that is for sure.. As to the bathroom facilities…..aghhhhhhhh.

D.G. Kaye Arizona

Some of you may have read my book, Have Bags, Will Travel (see details below), and could consider this post as a little side chapter to that book. And for those who haven’t, you will find a detailed accounting of my flight home from Phoenix, Arizona.

Arizona baggage with D.G. Kaye

My usual bag of tricks worked in preparation for airport packing strategy 101:

Hub had limited me to three bags between us instead of the allowable four. Although I’m not sure why he was so adamant because I became the lifter and schlepper of all bags. We were each allowed one carry on bag and one personal item. Said personal item for me is my purse, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t put whatever I needed in it, mainly another purse. I’d also brought with an extra folding bag for another carry on we may have needed for our return. Hey, it was regulation size and after all, hubby doesn’t carry a purse so surely he was allowed another ‘personal’ carry on item.

purse in a purse

Each suitcase is allowed up to 50 pounds weight. I had purchased my new trusted mini scale to weigh the bags before setting off to airport to avoid unpleasant surprises once the bags were ‘officially’ weighed. As it turns out, each of my three bags came in weighing 49.5 pounds. What a miracle. And thank goodness I brought that extra carry on, for a good 10-15 pounds weight of gifts I’d purchased.

I also had with me a huge plastic shopping bag with handles. This baby I use to put the extra carry bag inside along with coats, cowgirl hat, water bottles and any incidentals that wouldn’t fit my purse, just until I got to the boarding gate to avoid having to carry all that extra stuff. I know that big plastic bag would be a huge flag to boarding attendants, so for boarding purposes, the carry on comes out, the coats and hat get put on, and all other incidentals get thrown in wherever they may fit. Smaller purse had already been neatly tucked into bigger purse (okay, maybe it was a tote bag, disguised as a purse), where all other items that didn’t fit the smaller purse went : sunglasses, phone, kindle, notebook, water bottle, jewelry roll, make-up pouch, two masks, and some other crap. Smooth boarding!

Organized travel

Once on the plane, the hackers and sneezers begin their symphony of song. . . continue reading

 

 

Source: Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Flight Manifesto with D.G. Kaye…Debby Gies | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Have you Heard of ‘Spresso’ Socks? – No, not the Coffee!

Healthy Tips for Your Legs

Healthy Tips

 

When my husband was in the hospital, a nurse had measured his legs – length, calf and ankle circumference, to fit him for what are named ’embolism prevention socks’. They look like white opaque thigh-high stockings that they put on him to to prevent blood clots from forming while lying in bed for extended amounts of time. I was already aware of the fact that sitting for a long time – particularly in a cramped airplane could promote a blood clot, but wasn’t aware that lying down for prolonged time could cause the same problem. But these particular stockings are for bedridden patients and those who are post surgery.

 

How do those stockings work to prevent blood clots or what is known as ‘deep vein thrombosis’?

The tightest part of the pressure begins at the ankle and lessens as the sock goes up. This is to keep the blood flowing back through the body to alleviate it from pooling around the legs. Blood has to work against gravity to flow back and circulate through the body. This is why the legs are measured – particularly focused on the ankle and calf to get the correct fitting stocking. These socks help reduce swelling in legs, help alleviate throb from painful varicose veins. It’s important that these stockings are fit correctly so they are not causing problems instead of alleviating them, this is why it’s important to measure ankle and calf circumference before purchasing. You can find more detailed information on how to use and measure compression socks HERE.

There are also various types of compression socks available that don’t go up to the thigh, but are more like a knee sock, or just over the knee. The older versions of these socks aren’t always beneficial because if they have bands at the top of the sock which counteracts the benefit of the compression with the easing of pressure as the sock gradually goes toward the knee. Many people wear these socks for traveling on airplanes, to alleviate edema in swollen legs, sitting for prolonged amounts of time even at home, pregnancy pressure on the legs, and even for standing long spans of time such as at work, hiking, or any other activity that keeps one of their feet for lengthy periods of time.

 

I had occasionally seen people wearing these types of socks. Some looked quite uncomfortable and not visually appealing, some looked like the band at the top were digging into the leg. And most of all these socks can be quite expensive, usually sold at a home care or medical supply stores, pharmacies or doctor’s offices. But ironically, after a few days of getting my husband home from hospital I was tuning into my local Shopping Channel station and they were advertising Spresso Socks as the special of the day for $29.99! Wow, that’s a deal, I was thinking. I continued to watch the show with the vast array of patterns and colors offered in these socks and then went onto the website to read reviews – I always read reviews before purchasing online, particularly for a new product.

The reviews were raving, and there were many of them. People have found those socks good for so many reasons, from using them for athletic sports to travel, to just sitting too much on their couches. And it got me thinking that perhaps I should get a pair myself to have on hand for my own next venture on an airplane and maybe even when I’m sitting on my computer for too many hours. I also thought I’d grab a few pairs for my hubby for his own long sits on his couch and just for everyday use.

Read more about Deep Vein Thrombosis and how to best avoid it from happening with compression socks HERE.

Read more about how compression socks work HERE.

From the time I drafted this post to posting, I received my purple Spresso socks. I love them. I tried them out one day while working at the computer for a few hours and I have to say after taking them off my legs felt refreshed. Now, I just have to get on an airplane and go somewhere!