I walked into the Puerto Vallarta’s iconic Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in the heart of its downtown and found myself at (or in) a wedding. As far as I know I wasn’t invited, but don’t tell the ushers who instantly handed me a fan to cool off from the afternoon heat. I thought sneak a peak or maybe take a photo, but instead I stayed for the ceremony. I felt very welcome.
Often its the surprises of a vacation or a destination we remember most. I recently wrote about the surprise of baseball in Mazatlan, so I thought I’d mention a few surprises from my recent trips to Vallarta.
• Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Often times the famous, iconic churches at a destination seem to survive solely on tourists. They display sculptures, paintings, and relics from past glory. Vallarta’s symbolic church is different. Not only did I walk into a wedding, but the night before I found myself at an quinceañera (special celebration for a teenage girl when she reaches 15). Again, I stayed to watch some of the ceremony and felt like an invited guest. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church is alive, active and welcoming.
• International Cuisine. Mexican cuisine is flavorful, colorful, and frankly, quite tasty. The food is one of the many reasons I love traveling south of the border. But I discovered Puerto Vallarta is more than just Mexican cuisine. What surprised me was the emphasis on international cuisine not just from its resorts, but also from its downtown restaurants. Restaurant week and the International Gourmet Food Festival help highlight this delightful gastronomic destination.
•Blue-Footed Booby. Puerto Vallarta is teeming with ocean life both above and below the sea. Seasonal whale migration, impressive snorkeling, dolphins, and indigineous birds call Banderas Bay home. But the surprise was the Blue-Footed Booby. Originally, I thought the electric blue footed bird only called the isolated Galapagos islands home. Nope, you can find the bird just outside Puerto Vallarta too.
Well, these were some of the surprises for me this season in Puerto Vallarta. What surprised you?
Photos: Both by Craig Zabransky