I Love Vallarta in November

15 Oct

I love November in Vallarta, it’s my favorite month. I even got married in November. Everything is still lush and green after the rainy season, but it is cooler and the humidity is down. I can sleep with my terrace door open again. It’s like the switch was flipped and the season has changed, just that easy. Town is busy, but not too busy and great things are happening.

One of the best things  to happen in November is the International Gourmet Festival. Some of the best restaurants participate with exceptional, creative menus and guest chefs from around the world. Special events like Chef’s Table, wine and cheese tastings, and a Gala Dinner are part of the fun. For pure indulgence, hop on a plane and come right now! www.festivalgourmet.com

Another biggie in November is the International Sailfish and Marlin Tournament. Prizes are varied, including a 24ft. Boston Whaler boat, $20,000, $10,000 and travel certificates. Even if you don’t fish, it’s interesting to walk around the marina in the afternoon and see the catch of the day being weighed in. www.fishvallarta.com

 For as much as Vallarta has grown, in her heart she is still a small Mexican town. I lived in a small studio in the heart of downtown from 1988-1994 and they were some of my most enchanting years here.  I had a view of the ocean and you might think that a sunset would be the same day after day. Not so, the sunsets are always different, vibrant, colorful. And that’s not even considering the jumping dolphins, sunset cruises, pirate ship and fireworks. I remember when my sister first stayed in that particular apartment. During the night the roosters next store were crowing, a donkey was braying up the hill, the cathedral bells chimed – ah, Vallarta! I would step out my door onto a cobblestone street with warm tamales for sale on the corner and the hum of life all around. Sometimes there were strolling musicians in the street. I remember one particular group that was so bad that I threw down money from the balcony just so they would go away! I also loved the little old man and his donkey that would be loading up sand to take up the mountain for building.  Make sure you visit the many art galleries here and you may take home a beautiful piece – someone’s vision, inspiration, passion – that will remind you of Vallarta magic.

 I just had to drive out to the Vallarta Botanical Gardens.  It is one of my favorite places here. It is straight south of Vallarta about 30 minutes through some lovely winding highway. You will come around a bend and there will be no mistaking you have arrived when you see the majestic main building rising from the green surrounding hills. There is gorgeous vegetation, a beautiful trail over a hanging bridge and through a fern gully. They have wonderful orchids and bromeliads on display, as well as for purchase. As I am an orchidholic, I have to control myself when I go. I have my sights set on his new collection of vanilla orchids.  Vanilla comes from a pod from an orchid. The pods are on sale in the gift shop and you can take them home and crush the seeds inside the pod for your very own freshest vanilla flavoring.  There are artistic touches everywhere and owner Bob Price is on hand with a warm welcome. The restaurant has a growing menu of great food that you eat overlooking the river down below. You can hike down and take a swim if you wear your suit.  www.vallartabotanicalgardensac.org

Lastly, Vallarta’s growth has jumped this past week with the opening of Galerias Vallarta, a new shopping mall across the street from the marina where the cruise ships dock. The mall is anchored by the upscaleLiverpooldepartment store and there are dozens more stores to come. The local paper explained that the Frenchman who started the store in the nineteenth century imported his goods fromEurope. Many of the shipments went throughLiverpool,England, hence the name. Home Depot opens tomorrow – where was it when I built my house? My husband is a construction engineer and attended a private inauguration for the construction community last night. When he came home he said that he felt like he had just been toDisneyland! Everyone has their own idea of fun. And speaking of construction, Costco is being built in the Fluvial development and should be open in February.

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