Vallarta: Sound Advice

Hands on the Wheel

We have learned it’s best to keep hands on the wheel while driving in Puerto Vallarta and eyes on the road. While cruising along recently with our visiting granddaughter in the back seat, we stopped at a light and pulled out the cell phone. Our intention was to let friends know we were almost to their apartment complex so they could come and meet us at the gate to let us in for an afternoon swim. The light turned green and we tooted on along, phone to our ear, waiting for someone to pick up on the other end. In the meantime, an ominous blurping sound interrupted our forward motion and we were forced to pull over and have a conversation with an office of traffic law, who had signaled us from his scooter.

There was no argument. I knew I had been caught phone-handed. I was issued to ticket that he said would be halved if I paid it quickly. At the police station. On the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta. This is painful, because one would much rather be entertaining the grandchildren at the beach. The ticket was $75 pesos so the final cost was $37.50 pesos, a pittance. However… we had to travel, altering our schedule with visiting family in town and go to Las Juntas to stand in a line in the hot sun to pay a silly ticket. It’s not the amount; it’s the inconvenience. This is about to change in the State of Jalisco.

Pending final approval, this new regulation is expected to be take place soon, considering that at least 55 citizens a day are involved in accidents as the result of cell phones. This includes drivers of all types of vehicles, their victims and pedestrians who are distracted while texting and phoning while walking.

The fine for driving in Puerto Vallarta, while being distracted by one’s cell phone is about to leap from a paltry $75 pesos to perhaps somewhere in the vicinity of ten times that much. It won’t simply cause irritation, it will pain the pocketbook, which is exactly what authorities intend. An impact needs to be made on errant drivers.

Puerto Vallarta won’t be caught off guard. This initiative will be accompanied by a PR campaign to inform drivers in Puerto Vallarta and the wider areas of Jalisco to be alert and put the phone away. We can’t argue with the sensibility of this motion.

Que es cómo es.

Vallarta: About Crocs

About Crocs

Our friend Bob refers to torrential rains in Puerto Vallarta as “gully washers.” These events cause water to come gushing down from the mountains.  Along the way, creatures often go along for the ride, willingly or not. Consequently, there have been more than the normal amount of croc sightings in the past couple months and this could be why.

Crocodiles are comfortable in fresh and salt water so they don’t mind the quick trip to the seashore. Signs are posted in prominent spots where these large and frightening reptiles often are seen. Crocodiles are indigenous to Puerto Vallarta; they were here long before the first hotel, vacationer, fisherman or pineapple picker. You’ll find the locals respect crocs and while they keep a safe distance, aren’t usually afraid of them. Crocodiles are predictable in the sense their locations are easy to guess, as opposed to snakes and scorpions, which are more inclined to cause alarm for someone familiar with the terrain. The species in Puerto Vallarta is the American Crocodile, not surprisingly found in the Americas. They inhabit areas up to twenty miles inland in the states of Nayarit and Jalisco. We’ve seen them and don’t bother with an approach. The mature male can grow to the length of 5 – 6 meters, which is 16 – 19 feet; we have no interest in getting close. That’s what a telephotos lens is for.

These animals have no natural predators; their only real enemy is man. In Puerto Vallarta, when a crocodile is found in a populated area, a rescue crew responds. I’ve watched this operation and it’s as humane as possible, considering the croc has a tendency to fight back. Not surprising. They take the crocodile out of harm’s way and relocate them. That isn’t to say that no one has ever been attacked. There have been dogs, off leash, which have disappeared into the jaws of these prehistoric-type fellows, while owners stood by helplessly. A man was reportedly killed this last summer in the Ameca River. He was sitting on the edge of the riverbanks, dangling his legs in the water and met a horrible end. Ordinarily crocs are not aggressive but if you see a sign that tells you to beware of them, don’t trespass.

Crocodiles in Puerto Vallarta are not as nocturnal as their behavior would naturally be, since our presence has upset the balance and changed their habits. If you want to see crocodiles up close in Puerto Vallarta, there are preserves with well trained staff who will be thrilled to introduce you to these amazing animals and give you an education in their habitats.

Que es cómo es.

Vallarta: Coming or Going; Your Suitcase and You

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Coming or Going; Your Suitcase and You

We’ve all suffered that airport moment, coming or going from Puerto Vallarta, anxiously awaiting our luggage to show up on the conveyor belt or tumble down an unforgiving chute.  Finding the suitcase is our first priority; hauling it is second.

Our primary recommendation is WHEELS; whether you’re dragging your junk around in a duffel bag, backpack, or a fancy, sparkly swiveling suitcase. Travel duffels and backpacks now come with wheels. Some designer, after enduring shoulders that felt like Atlas did indeed shrug, came up with this marvelous idea. What took so long?

We bought the hard body suitcase as soon as we saw fellow travelers deplaning in Puerto Vallarta … wheeling, spinning, and practically dancing through terminals and parking lots. We did serious research prior to purchase and discovered that high quality is important. If you opt for a cheap version of the hard body, be duly warned, they are prone to cracking under pressure. Same goes for soft body suitcases; less expensive brands can tear, rip and burst, spilling contents and causing unimaginable delays.

Size matters. A carry-on can be no larger than 45 inches; that’s length plus width and height. Avoid being required to check it by measuring at home. Standard major airlines specifications for checked bags are no larger than 62 inches; same LWH rules apply. If you are the person who insists on packing everything into a carry-on, remember… that baby has to go over heads and into the bin. In other words, if you can’t pick it up and hoist it, you need to rethink; and repack.

Going to some exotic place where the final leg of your journey is on a puddle-jumper (small plane with 20 or less seats), make sure you check ahead with the airline. Bag requirements are different; weight on these planes is crucial.

Our favorite bag is pink, purchased with identification in mind. We don’t care what people think when we’re lugging our belongings through the airport at Puerto Vallarta or anywhere else. We happily have a piece of luggage that  doesn’t look like everyone else’s and it stands out in a crowd!

Interiors are important, too. If you want a swim at the last minute, there are suitcases, packs, etc that have compartments for wet items. And if you want to bring that bottle of tequila to Uncle George, the hard body is for you, with straps to hold things in place.

Que es cómo es.