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  • Chinese auto maker planning MX plant.

    Chinese auto maker planning MX plant

    The company will begin selling a sedan/hatchback and SUV this month

    BAIC's X25 sport-utility vehicle. 

    BAIC's X25 sport-utility vehicle.

    Chinese auto maker BAIC has revealed it is not only going to begin marketing its vehicles in Mexico but is looking at assembling them here as well.

    The company announced two weeks ago it would sell two of its models in Mexico.

    Yesterday it said those two models will be the subcompact D20, to be offered in both sedan and hatchback versions, and the X25 sport-utility vehicle. Both will go on sale this month in Mexico City, Morelos and Querétaro.

    The D20’s price will range between 179,900 and 210,900 pesos (US $9,600-$11,300) while the SUV will sell for 239,900 (US $12,900).

    Dealerships are to open next year on the Yucatán peninsula and in the north of the country.

    One of China’s top-five auto makers, BAIC is currently scouting locations in Mexico to establish a plant with a capacity of 100,000 to 150,000 vehicles annually, said company vice-president Wei Huacheng.

    “We want to grow our presence in America and we chose Mexico as the export platform for some of our new models,” he told a press conference.

    He said meetings have been held with some state governors and and a decision would be finalized next year.

    BAIC has 30 manufacturing plants in Asia and Africa, some of which operate through a joint venture with Hyundai.

    It anticipates selling as many as 3,000 vehicles in Mexico this year, and 15,000 annually within five years.

    Source: Expansión (sp)

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  • Mexico knows chili; an introduction to this spicy fruit.

    chili mexico
    © Proporcionado por Comercial TNSMEX

    Mexico knows chili, an introduction to this spicy fruit

    If there is any food that characterizes and gives flavor to Mexico, it is the chili. A fruit of spiciness whose genus includes just over 26 species. Its common name comes from Nahuatl chili, and so far more than a thousand varieties of chili have been identified in the world. It is an essential ingredient in Mexican cuisine.

    According to the director general of Cocinarte, Beatriz Attolini, peppers are classified according to their sweet and spicy taste, they are eaten fresh or dried. Of the fresh chilies, the most spicy is the habanero peppers and manzano chili. Followed by jalapeno, serrano, arbol, and chilaca. Moderately spicy chilies include poblano, chipotle, mora or morita, árbol, pasilla and the famous piquín. While less spicy are the mulatto, guajillo, seco del norte and chilhuacle.

    As for its health benefits, it is known that the chili serves as a fungicide; it has been found that to contain anticancer properties, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.

    Its active ingredient is capsaicin, which gives the characteristic spicy flavor. Additionally, chili consists of water, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, sulfur, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, magnesium and iodine.

    Meanwhile, red chilies contain large amounts of vitamins C and A, rather than yellow or green. And in the respiratory tract, chili can act as an expectorant to help with cough or congestion problems. It also can assist in weight loss providing the feeling of fullness, and is believed to inhibit proteins associated with oil production.

    It also works as an antioxidant to protect against cardiovascular diseases and digestive diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, strengthens the immune system and energy expenditure increases moderately due to a thermogenic effect.

    Now that you know all the properties and benefits that consumption of chili, treat yourself to put the picosito flavor to your food. No wonder Mexico is one of the countries with the most chili consumption.

    Know your chilies:

    Among the more than a thousand varieties of chili peppers exist, here are some common chilies you will find in Mexico:

    Chile de Arbol is also known as either bird’s beak chili or rat’s tail chili. They are a very distinctive bright red color when mature. These peppers can be found either dried fresh or powdered and are often used to decorate wreaths because they do not lose their red color after they are dried. You can substitute Cayenne pepper with Arbol in most recipes.

    Jalapeno is a medium-sized chili pepper, mature it is 2–3½ inches long and is commonly picked and consumed while still green, occasionally it is allowed to fully ripen and turn a beautiful crimson red.

    Cascabel, also known as the rattle chili, is a Mirasol variety and gets it’s name from the tendency of loose seeds to rattle inside a dried cascabel when shaken. The pigmentation of the fresh chili blends from green to red and darkens when dried.

    Habaneros, unripe are green, and they color as they mature. Common colors are orange and red, but white, brown, and pink are also seen. They are the hottest commonly used chile in Mexican cuisine so be careful when preparing them.

    Poblano is a mild chili pepper. Dried, it is called a chile ancho. The ripened red poblano is significantly hotter and more flavorful than the less ripe, green poblano. The flavor and heat can be unpredictable, occasionally they can have significant heat.

    Pasilla or “little raisin” refers to the dried chilaca pepper. Many times grocers miss label these for Ancho chiles. The Pasilla chile is normally 8 -10 inches long and narrower than Ancho.

    Morita is a smoke-dried jalapeno, commonly referred to as a chipolte.

    Guajillo chili is characterized by it’s thin, deep red flesh. It has a mild green tea flavor with berry overtones, only a small amount of heat. They are sometimes used to make the salsa for a sweet taste with a surprisingly hot finish.

    Ancho is the dried form of Poblano and the most widely available dried chili. Different peppers from the same plant have been reported to vary substantially in heat intensity.

    Chili descriptions by

  • Uber no longer looking at Puerto Vallarta market.

    Uber Mexico
    File illustration picture showing the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. A Frankfurt court earlier this month instituted a temporary injunction against Uber from offering car-sharing services across Germany. San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services on their smartphones, offers two main services, Uber, its classic low-cost, limousine pick-up service, and Uberpop, a newer ride-sharing service, which connects private drivers to passengers - an established practice in Germany that nonetheless operates in a legal grey area of rules governing commercial transportation. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CRIME LAW TRANSPORT)

    Uber no longer looking at Puerto Vallarta market

    Deputy Chairman of the State Congress of Jalisco, Alejandro Hermosillo, announced that Uber has indicated that Puerto Vallarta is not among the company plans for expansion in Mexico after reviewing the area for several months.

    “Unofficially, they (Uber) told me that it’s not in their growth plans to reach Vallarta, understand that the situation here is complicated by the taxi unions and I think, if they want to enter, they would have to open up working groups to find a way.”

    RELATED: State Congress decides fate of Uber in Puerto Vallarta

    The “Uber Law” went into effect last week across the state, which regulates transportation companies. With this, the possibility that other transport companies working within digital systems (or digital application), may operate in Puerto Vallarta and bring competition to the taxi industry.

    “Now there is a legal possibility for local businesses like City Drive, or companies arising from here or elsewhere, may operate throughout the state,” said Alejandro Hermosillo.

    Uber may also enter the market in the future.

    Src: Generation Online

  • San Blas 56th International Sport Fishing Tournament.

    san blas fishing

    San Blas 56th International Sport Fishing Tournament

    The Marina Fonatur will host the 56th San Blas International Sport Fishing Tournament June 1-5, 2016 one of the most traditional events in the Riviera Nayarit and considered one of the top fishing tournaments in the Mexican Pacific.

    Organized by the Tepic Sport Fishing Club, the categories include Sailfish, Marlin and Mahi-Mahi. The profitability of the tournament is based on the cost-benefit for the participants, as it has a 25 thousand-peso registration fee per boat and prizes that far exceed that amount.

    In fact, there are three million pesos in prizes, including eight cars, boat motors, cash prizes and a raffle for a late-model car. The daily Sailfish jackpot is two thousand pesos in cash.

    The Historic Port of San Blas is teeming with fish that more than meet the requirements for the competition as well as the ideal infrastructure to handle the tournament. San Blas is truly a great destination for practicing sport fishing nearly year round.

    The municipal and state governments together with the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau topped the list of sponsors that made this event possible. For more information visit:

  • Solar sewer plant is a first in Latin America.

    Solar sewer plant is a first in Latin America

    Nogales system gets all its electricity from solar power

    Officials at yesterday's ceremony with solar panels in the background. 

    Officials at yesterday's ceremony with solar panels in the background. 

    A wastewater treatment plant in Nogales, Sonora, is the first in Latin America to operate with clean energy.

    Los Alisos, which treats 220 liters of sewage per second, now obtains all the electricity needed to operate from an array of 3,900 photovoltaic cells installed in an area of 15,000 square meters.

    A federal government representative said yesterday at an inauguration ceremony for the 960-kilowatt system that it would reduce maintenance and operating costs by 70%. Francisco Muñiz pointed out that that was a significant issue for it meant that unlike many other plants in Mexico, it will be able to operate continuously, not having to shut down for lack of operating funds.

    The project was a bilateral one. Also on hand yesterday were representatives from the United States, which put up 8.2% of the 82.8-million-peso investment (US $4.4 million) through the Environmental Protection Agency.

    The Mexican government provided 35% and the state of Sonora 39%.

    The U.S. was also involved in the construction of the plant, which began operating in 2012, by helping with its 238-million-peso cost. It was announced yesterday that plans are going ahead to boost the capacity to 330 liters per second.

    Source: Reforma (sp)

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  • Puerto Vallarta announces six days of celebration for 98th Anniversary.

    los arcos puerto vallarta
    Photo by Bruce Irschick - Creative Commons

    Puerto Vallarta announces six days of celebration for 98th Anniversary

    Puerto Vallarta will be celebrating its 98th anniversary as a municipality and 48th as a city from May 26 – 31 with a cultural, artistic, and gastronomic festival.

    Over the years, the city has established itself as a destination not only for sun and beach, but also culture for both tourists and locals, so the festivities that have been prepared to reflect the diversity and culture of the city.
    In a statement, the city announced that as part of their celebrations, May Fest 2016 will begin on Thursday, May 26 at 7:00 pm in the open air theater of Los Arcos del Malecón, with the presentation of the Puerto Vallarta Big Band swing and jazz band.
    Later, at 8:00 pm at the Faro del Malecón, a Pingo’s Orquesta from Aguascalientes, with international music, and to end the day there will be the presentation of the tapatía band electro jazz San Juan Project, at 9:00 PM.
    During the six-days of celebration, the city will present several musical groups, such as local Joker Trio Band, rock and roll will be presented; Tatewari of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, who plays Mexican, jazz and flamenco music.
    The popular Sonora Dinamita; a Huichol group from Ocota de la Sierra, Jalisco; Mr. Owl, tapatía jazz band; Moon Rumba, local group of new flamenco and world music.
    The program also includes an educational concert for children with Pingo’s Orchestra, in the Cuale Cultural Center, and a meeting of chroniclers of Puerto Vallarta.
    To complement the celebrations, on May 28, from noon to 9:00 pm, will be held for the first time, ” Vallart”a flavors, gastronomic event that will bring together the best restaurants in town.
    Organizers expect during the nine hours of celebration, about two thousand diners will be enjoy with the traditional flavor of the city at affordable prices, besides being part of the practical workshop ‘How to cook ceviche and cultural talks” are held.

  • Nuevo Vallarta receives first of its kind in environmental certification.

    nuevo vallarta

    Nuevo Vallarta receives first of its kind environmental certification

    Rafael Pacchiano Alamán, head of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT by its acronym in Spanish), presented Roberto Sandoval Castañeda, Governor of Nayarit, a certification naming Nuevo Vallarta a “Clean Tourism Destination,” making it the first in Mexico to receive this environmental recognition.

    Nuevo Vallarta is operated by the Banderas Bay Trust (FIBBA, by its acronym in Spanish) and it was there the formal act took place along with the unveiling of the plaque on Thursday, May 19, 2016.

    “I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to the Trust and, of course, to don Carlos (Rosales) for his leadership, as well as the State Government and the municipality of Banderas Bay for having gone above and beyond the requirements of the law,” declared Pacchiano Alamán.

    “Today Nayarit has stood tall and demonstrated that, as a tourism destination, our interest is to always encourage development without forgetting about the environment,” said Roberto Sandoval as he recognized the work of the FIBBA staff and the authorities of the three levels of government.

    Guillermo Haro Bélchez, head of the Environmental Division of the Federal Attorney’s Office (Profepa, by its Spanish acronym); José Luis Mario Aguilar, top official of Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism (Sectur); José Luis Mario Aguilar, Mayor of Banderas Bay; José Gómez and Carlos Rosales, director of FIBBA, as well as the state delegates of Profepa and Semarnat were all present at the event.

    This environmental quality certification was obtained thanks to FIBBA’s compliance in the fields of Integrated Water Management, Integrated Waste Management, Urban Infrastructure and Natural Resources.

    AHMBB presented Semarnat with a letter of intent.

    Before the event a Business Meeting was held with the Tourism Sector of the State of Nayarit, where Fernando González, the president of the Banderas Bay Hotel and Motel Association (AHMBB by its acronym in Spanish), presented Rafael Pacchiano Alamán with the letter of intent that manifests their interest in promoting and encouraging the participation of the unions that form part of the AHMBB into the National Environmental Audit Program.

  • Tourism projects begin in Compostela, Nayarit.

    Tourism projects begin in Compostela, Nayarit

    Equestrian center, polo fields and two hotels included in one project

    Officials lay the first stone in construction of Hotel One & Only Mandarina. 

    Officials lay the first stone in construction of Hotel One & Only Mandarina. NAYARIT EN LÍNEA 

    Construction of a hotel and residential development that will include a world-class equestrian center began this week in Compostela, Nayarit, a project the state hopes will boost tourism, attract more development and reactivate the economy.

    Officials laid the first stone of the Hotel One & Only Mandarina in the community of El Monteón, the first part of a US $870-million project expected to generate 8,000 jobs.

    Along with two hotels of 125 rooms each, and a residential component with haciendas and villas, the Mandarina project will feature an equestrian center and two polo fields.

    The Hotel One & Only will be the chain’s second in Mexico and is expected to open near the end of 2018.

    The company behind the project said at a stone-laying ceremony that Nayarit is one of Mexico’s “exceptional regions.” With impressive natural resources it can offer a unique, world-class project focused on low-density, ecological tourism, said Ricardo Santa Cruz of Rasaland Development.

    He also credited the state government’s vision in creating a tourism corridor including highway infrastructure that was previously lacking, as well as conditions of security and stability.

    Located on the south coast of the state, Compostela lies to the south of San Blas and to the north of Bahía de Banderas and the state of Jalisco.

    The municipality will also be the site of a major development announced last month at Mexico’s tourism and travel fair, Tianguis Turístico. The Costa Canuva project, a venture by the tourism promotion fund Fonatur and the Portuguese firm Mota-Engil Turismo, will represent an investment of $1.8 billion.

    A 250-room Fairmont Hotel will be the first hotel on the site. Eventually Costa Canuva will boast 3,200 hotel rooms, some 4,000 residential units and an 18-hole golf course designed by Mexican golfer Lorena Ochoa and Australian Greg Norman.

    The site will occupy 272 hectares and include 3.8 kilometers of oceanfront.

    Source: El Sol de Nayarit (sp), Nayarit en Línea (sp)


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  • ‘You Are Here’ exhibit shows the future of Puerto Vallarta.

    future of vallarta

    ‘You Are Here’ exhibit shows the future of Puerto Vallarta

    You Are Here, provides the opportunity to visit Puerto Vallarta, not as it is, but as it could become. It places us in the realm of ideas and discourse about the city, presenting a plan incrementally produced through independent, diverse, and heterogeneous ideas that together, exemplify a city panorama that pertinently responds to the urban challenges of the 21st century. This exhibition marks the second year anniversary of the opening of OPC (Office of Cultural Projects).

    The exhibition brings together the vision of architects and urban planners, through work of critique and architectural proposals with great transformative potential for Puerto Vallarta. It covers aspects of cultural infrastructure, mobility, public space, real estate development models, responsible activators of public space, fluvial water management, environmental conservation, preservation of historical heritage, identity, imaginary, and social capital.

    The exhibition is the result of curatorial efforts by the OPC team and Oscar Moran Guillén, architect and urban planner involved in urban projects through non-governmental organizations, as well as private practice. The exhibition seeks to create a space for dialogue and discussion about the urban reality of Puerto Vallarta and the potential for developing a critical longterm vision for future growth. 

    OPC annually organizes an exhibition dedicated to Puerto Vallarta on the occasion of its anniversary (both the gallery and the Port). You Are Here coincides with the 98th anniversary of Puerto Vallarta, opening a space that fosters discussion and dialogue about the urban possibilities of the present and the future.

    The exhibition consists of three main themes:

    Reflection and Criticism: through artistic representation techniques (audio visual, installation, graphic), a human reality of the city is presented, experiential implications of current urban policy and city making decisions that shape the everyday lives of the city’s dwellers. 

    Research and Heritage: reflects upon hard data, surveys and mapping from an academic perspective and is presented graphically to provide the opportunity for a comprehensive and analytical and de-romanticized reading of the city in with its problems, opportunities, its legacy and its contrasts.

    Urban Vision: displays projects with potential for broad impact and transformative qualities for the city, projects proposed but never built show through architectural representation such as models, plans, 3D visualizations, all independently produced mainly by architects and urban planners of Puerto Vallarta.

    The exhibition features the participation of the following architects with practice in Puerto Vallarta: Ana Olivera, Alfonso Baths, Jorge Ramírez, Alberto Reyes, Leonardo Díaz Borioli, Luis Echeverria, Arturo Davila, Raul Henderson, as well as projects architects of national stature Javier Sanchez, Mauricio Rocha, Alejandro Zohn, and Ricardo Agraz.

    It also features the participation of activists and artists such as Davis Birks, Javiera Pintocanales, Ana Joaquina Ramírez, Ana Ramos, Enrique Reyes, Alberto Reyes, Jimena Odetti, Eduardo Solórzano, Josef Kandoll, and Alejandra Ferrise Grant.

    Oscar Moran Guillén (Guadalajara, Jalisco 1976) received his degree in Architecture from ITESO (Guadalajara), Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Southern California (Los Angeles). Oscar is director and founder of the Architecture and Planning studio RH+OM. He has over 15 years of experience in the practice of urban planning, architecture and real estate development. He is a founding member of the OPC (Office of Cultural Projects) and is an active member of various non-governmental and urban activism organizations in Puerto Vallarta. He began his career as Research Manager at the Center for Housing Research and Documentation (CIDOC) at the National Housing Institute of Mexico under the direction of Sara Topelson. 

    He gained most of his urban design experience working for AC Martin and Gensler in Los Angeles, leading urban planning projects in the United States, Korea, Egypt and Mexico. He has conducted research at the Center for Economic Development in the University of Southern California, and has been involved in Transit Development Projects with the LA MTA since the early 2000s. In recent years he has worked as consultant to urban infrastructure projects in Mexico such as CETRAM Cuatro Caminos in the metropolitan area of Mexico City among others. He exercises his architectural practice in Puerto Vallarta where he is an active participant in Planning efforts through art collectives, activism, and non-profit institutions.

    The Office of Cultural Projects (OPC) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting contemporary art through exhibitions, roundtables, public art initiatives and educational services programs. Born with the desire to contribute to the reflection of contemporary, cultural, and artistic environment; with the aim of sharing it with the inhabitants and visitors of Puerto Vallarta. OPC works with various artists, architects, curators, academics, and writers who contribute to the construction of our notion of city and contribute to the cultural landscape linked to Puerto Vallarta but global reach.

    You Are Here: Urban Approximations opens on May 28, 2016 in the Office of Cultural Projects Puerto Vallarta at Juarez # 598 Aldama corner in downtown Puerto Vallarta.

  • My Marvelous Mexican Midlife Crisis goes to Guadalajara – PT2

    guadalajara vacation

    My Marvelous Mexican Midlife Crisis goes to Guadalajara – PT2

    Since my last article about our trip to Guadalajara, I have gotten many bits of advice and comments from people with more knowledge about the city. I’ve enjoyed reading people’s comments. One theme that got multiple comments was my experience with taxis. I have gotten mixed advice about how to get the best taxi prices. Some have told me to always use the meter, because it is always cheaper. While others warned that the meter can be problematic if there is a large amount of traffic and you are stuck waiting. From these people I was told that sometimes it is cheaper to agree on a set price. It appears that the debate continues…

    My son is nine years old and very active. For him, seeing amazing architecture, visiting historical sites and museums are okay activities, but they aren’t fun with a capital F. I think as he matures he will learn to appreciate doing these things, but right now they aren’t at the top of his list. In this article I will explore some of the activities that we did in Guadalajara that were of more interest to a nine year old boy and his parents as well.

    thumbnail_20160320_130254We are a cycling family, so we notice anything that is associated with two wheeled motorless transportation. When we first moved to Puerto Vallarta we were excited to see that the city closes Francisco Medina Ascencio to motorized traffic on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings so that people can cycle, roller blade, or walk in a safe environment. We were not expecting something like that in Guadalajara, but on our first full day there we made a heart warming discovery. As we rode the bus into the downtown core we saw roads that were completely blocked off to vehicular traffic. Instead, the lanes were filled with bicycles! It was just like home, but on a much larger scale. All of us had the itch to get on a bike, but unfortunately we had no idea where to rent one or how long the streets were closed to cars.

    thumbnail_20160320_120437When we arrived downtown, we made another delightful discovery, self serve bike rentals! We were walking across a plaza and saw a line of cruiser bikes locked up. We wandered over and took a peek. The bikes were locked up to a bike rack with the locking system being controlled by small consoles. From what we could tell, once payment was made the bike is then automatically released. When you are done, you return the bike to one of these automated rental bike racks. All in all it is a very cool idea and a wonderful way to reduce carbon emissions. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any children’s bikes, (I think their clientele are mostly commuters), otherwise we probably would have jumped on and gone for a pedal. Clarence and I agreed that before our next trip to Guadalajara we were definitely going to research bicycle rentals and take a two wheeled tour of the city.

    After checking out the bike rentals we wandered and window shopped our way up a long pedestrian mall. The name on a building caught my eye, Friki Plaza (pronounced Freaky). Friki Plaza is a very unique shopping experience. If you love comic conventions, video games, cartoons, anime, or trading card games like Pokemon you will love this mall; it is a flea market for anything related to these forms of entertainment. (I did mention that I have a nine year old son didn’t I? You know what is coming next.) My son Ethan lives for video games and is also a Pokemon freak. He has a massive collection of cards; and he along with his friends regularly compare, brag about, and trade these cards. Unfortunately for him, there is really only one store in Puerto Vallarta that carries new Pokemon and it is expensive. So when Ethan found Pokemon cards at a lower price in Friki Plaza, he was over the moon with joy and my wallet was much lighter. It wasn’t just Ethan who enjoyed looking at all the merchants in the plaza I also had fun muddling along through the various booths. There was so much wonderful junk! What I liked the most was the memorabilia and costumes from cartoons, movies and comic books. There were also mementos from a variety of video games and anime movies, which I am afraid that I am too old and certainly not hip enough to have any idea what they are. Nevertheless, I still appreciated the art. In a moment of weakness, I was tempted to buy some Wonder Woman leggings but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) they did not carry them in a large enough size for me. If you have kids, they will definitely go crazy for the place. Ethan enjoyed it so much that he continually found excuses to ask if we could go back on another day. Knowing what that would mean to my pocket book, I replied that we would not be returning to Friki Plaza because we wanted to do other things on our trip.

    After we had explored the downtown area for a few days, we decided to take a day and go to the zoo. We had heard from a variety of people that the zoo was a great family attraction and they didn’t lie. The zoo is a big, modern and well-maintained facility that has a sky car ride, train, aquarium, playgrounds, and a large variety of animals. It was not the cheapest activity that we did in Guadalajara, but we got a coupon from our hotel for the “diamond” pass which included the zoo and all the extra attractions for a reduced price. We felt that we got good value for our money. We spent the entire day there and still did not see everything, which was fine by us. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we will definitely go back.

    For me, one of the biggest highlights was getting a fish manicure at the aquarium. Right beside the ray exhibit was a good sized pool that was getting a large amount of traffic and more than one squeal of delight. We couldn’t figure out what the attraction was, but dutifully washed our hands as instructed and headed to the waist-height pool. When we arrived at the poolside, we followed the instructions on how to submerge our open hands in the water. We were then strictly warned not to attempt to hold or pull the fish out of the water. I was not prepared for what came next. The fish, about the size of minnows congregated around my outstretched fingers and began to nibble at my skin! What an odd sensation to have my cuticles chewed on my little pouty fish mouths! I can’t remember the last time I had a manicure, so the fish were having quite a banquet, let me tell you. It kind of tickled until one started gnawing on a very raw, red hang nail. Wow, my hands shot out of the water as if it were boiling! I let out a laugh and wasted no time in getting my hands back in the water with a bunch of tiny mouths eating the dry skin off my hands. Apparently in some countries, this is considered a very luxurious type of manicure, but my husband Clarence thought it was just icky and refused to try it.

    thumbnail_20160323_111410We had another close encounter with a much larger animal at the giraffe enclosure. There was one giraffe in particular that was very friendly. It really liked my son who was seated near the fence of the exhibit. Ethan’s new spotted buddy leaned over the fence, sniffed his red t-shirt, and then tried to eat it! I think it must have been part goat, because it tried multiple times to nibble his shirt. Other people tried to get the giraffe’s attention, but it wouldn’t give them a second look. The animal only had eyes for Ethan and his snazzy red couture.

    The reptile exhibit was also very impressive. It was large and housed a wide array of animals all of which were easy for the public to see. We were especially impressed by a humungous python. Its skin was the most beautiful shade of yellow, reminding me of creamy French butter. It was so large that its body was as big around as one of my thighs and at least 10 feet long. Forget trying to eat my son’s shirt. This animal could have eaten my son! Despite this, I doubt Ethan would have hesitated to pet the large reptile if given the chance. It was an amazing animal.

    We enjoyed our whole day there with the exception of one attraction, the zoo train. This ride takes you on a circuit tour of the zoo highlighting various animals and has three stations. If you mistakenly decide to board the train at station number three as we did, you are only allowed to board the train if some of the other passengers who boarded at station one, decide to disembark halfway through the tour. Understandably, most people didn’t get off, because they wanted to take the whole tour. Moreover, those of us who got on at station three were required to get off at station one, meaning we only got half the tour after an extensive wait. At one point a tractor pulling a trailer that was clearly meant for maintenance was met with cheers and jeers from the Mexicans waiting in line. We had all been waiting nearly an hour by that point and many of us would have gladly clambered aboard the trailer. Actually, it was quite a shock that this attraction was so poorly organized, because everything else about the park was very well maintained and managed.

    In contrast, the Sky Zoo ride was delightful. It is basically a ski lift chair that takes you on an out and back tour of the zoo over the course of a half an hour. My son had a great time trying to get people’s attention on the ground by yelling at the top of his lungs. To his delight, a few people did hear him and he got a couple of friendly waves. Thank goodness, because despite my multiple reminders he just couldn’t stop hollering at the passersby below us. Once he met with success, he finally stopped exercising his lungs. We also passed over many enclosures and got a bird’s-eye view of the lions as well as other animals. At the turn around we were treated to an amazing view. I have no idea what it was but it looked like a large natural park. It was gorgeous. We got a quick glimpse of rounded rolling mountains and a valley with lots of trees; then the chair took a sharp right and brought us back on our return trip. I only have one piece of advice; hold onto things like hats, flip flops and sunglasses. Although bags were not permitted on the ride we received no reminder to remove loose hats and sandals. Ethan nearly lost his flip flops because I totally forgot that they could easily fall off. My husband riding behind us, desperately yelled at me to take Ethan’s sandals off before one of the lions ended up using them as chew toys. We manage to get them off and I made the rest of the trip with his sandals stuffed into the waistband of my shorts so that we wouldn’t lose them. (Yep, I’m a parent.)

    The last major attraction that we visited in Guadalajara was Bosque Colomos. Everything we read said that this large park was a great way to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city. Unfortunately, we went on Good Friday and it was wildly busy, but we still had fun. There are many activities and sights throughout the park including horseback rides, fountains, playgrounds, arts and crafts booths, and a Japanese garden.

    For us the first stop was the Japanese garden. It was lovely. Carps swam in the various ponds pouting at their neighbours, the turtles. The turtles in turn, lazily swam and sunned themselves with their noses in the air, ignoring the fish. Normally, I love this kind of garden, but it was so busy that it made the experience less enjoyable for me. I couldn’t stop and admire the small details, because there always was someone behind me who wanted to walk by. I felt like I was on a conveyer belt always being rushed forward. It was not very calming. We left the garden and meandered up the main path toward a playground that we had seen on the map at the entrance. We never made it. Instead we were sidetracked by an unexpected activity.

    thumbnail_DSCN1179I was pleasantly surprised by the presence of craft booths in the park. There are two different stands that sell crafts that you can paint and take home. One sells wooden items while the other sells ceramic items. The paint supplies are included in the price. You buy the item and then paint it right there in the park. I think that the owners had intended this to be a children’s activity, because all the tables and chairs were kid sized, but there were still many adults hunkered over their masterpieces painting alongside their children. My son, who normally could care less about art, stopped in his tracks and practically begged to paint. A mask that looked very Aztec to him had caught his eye. The prices were reasonable, so I selected an apple trivet and we both set to work. The paint brushes and paints were not of the highest quality, and balancing my bottom on those children`s chairs was quite a challenging glute workout, but I still had fun. Doing crafts with my kid doesn’t happen very often, so when I get the chance to do it, I savour the experience.

    It was very hot at the park that day, but there were still many opportunities for shade from large coniferous trees throughout the park. In fact, some of the footpaths were completely covered in a carpet of old tree needles from these giants. It surprised me to find conifers in Mexico, because I had incorrectly thought that they only grew in colder climates.

    These trees fired up my imagination. They were very tall with the branches starting quite high off the ground. They reminded me of lodgepole pines with extra long needles, but that description doesn’t do these trees justice; they had too much personality. Imagine a lodgepole pine. Now, give it a mullet. I’m not kidding! I’m not sure what the species is called, but my vote is for hockey player pine. If it is possible, I want one of these for my next Christmas tree and then I’ll decorate it with hockey themed ornaments! Actually, I am not a huge hockey fan (I know. I’m a very bad Canadian.), but I am a fan of schlock. And I don’t think it gets much schlockier than a hockey themed Christmas tree with mullet like needles! The only question would be which player to use as the angel? Gretzky? Too obvious! Maybe Orr? That seems more classic to me. Wow! That was one heck of a tangent. Where was I? Right! I was talking about the trees in Bosque Colomos. I told you that they fired up my imagination!

    thumbnail_DSCN1170Another plant of interest that we came across was a bush that looked almost dead. It had grey dry looking bark with no leaves, and would have looked quite sad if not for the shocking pink flowers that sprouted on the ends of the seemingly dead branches. These hot pink flowers looked like something that Dr. Seuss would have dreamed up with and so we dubbed these plants truffala trees like those in the book and movie called “The Lorax”. The contrast between the vibrant pink flowers and the dull grey bark of the bush was so stark that the three of us wandered around one of the bushes examining it from all angles. El Colomos was a truly wonderful place. My only regret was that we couldn’t spend more time there. There were hiking/jogging paths going in all directions that begged to be explored, but we ran out of time that day.

    We also did some activities closer to our hotel that aren’t truly considered touristy, but were still fun. There was a bowling alley about a ten minute walk from our hotel and on two occasions we went and bowled during their disco bowling evening. There amidst booming pop music and black light, Ethan made his first strike and beat both Mom and Dad at bowling for the first time.

    We also discovered a wonderful local park with a soccer pitch and a large playground very close to our hotel. One evening after supper we went over to let Ethan run off some steam. He played with some other children, but when the game turned to tag, they were not able to keep up with Ethan’s speed. Soon, he turned his sights on Mom. In the end, the game became cat and mouse tag with my son literally running me from one end of the park to the other, in and out of the evening shadows, and up and down the playground equipment. My husband was not feeling well that night, so he became our spectator as we ran from one corner of the park to the other. If you ever need a great cardio workout, just play tag with a kid. My poor heart was racing like I had been doing a hard core Zumba class!

    The park was filled with families that evening. A few other parents and grandparents had been watching me unsuccessfully trying to catch my monkey of a son, who was always a good ten steps ahead of me. Ethan headed toward the stairs on a piece of playground equipment. Just as he arrived at the bottom step another woman who looked about the age of a young grandmother reached out and grabbed him in a loose hug saying, “Gotcha!”, so that I could catch him. I let out a whoop and started chanting, “Moms! Moms! Moms!”, as she let him go into my arms. It was a spontaneous fun way to join our game.

    I didn’t think about it at the moment, but as we were walking back to our hotel I wondered if the same thing would have happened in Canada or the United States. In Canada there is much less physical contact between individuals. As well, there is a very pronounced fear of being accused of harming a child or of having one’s child harmed. I know that I personally would never dream of grabbing another mother’s child, if I was not already well acquainted with the mom. This makes me wonder if that woman’s actions were seen as unusual by the other parents and grandparents in the park. From what I remember, no one else seemed to bat an eye. Possibly her actions were socially acceptable because we were both women and I was right there. Whatever the reason, it is a pleasant memory for me. I felt like our family was, for a short time, part of the neighbourhood. Despite the size of Guadalajara, I didn’t feel like an anonymous foreigner that evening. My family and I were part of the park community.

    Community and family are two very important aspects of Mexican culture. I remember flying into Playa Del Carmen with my husband many years ago on our honeymoon. A single mother was standing behind us in the customs line with three young children, the oldest of which might have been about five or six years old. Seeing her trying to keep three little ones happy and controlled all on her own, a customs officer came over and told her that she could go to the head of the line and actually helped her with her bags and children! We didn’t have any kids at that time, but we were still impressed that they allowed her to go ahead. It was a memory that has stayed with both of us and quite possibly partially fueled our desire to move here. I saw this aspect of Mexican culture again in our hotel.

    Semana Santa (Easter week) is a big holiday in Mexico and on the long weekend our hotel filled up with Mexican and foreign guests. It interested me that the Mexican families seemed to come back to the hotel relatively early and then congregated around the pool. It seemed to me that the Mexican families that we saw at the hotel were not coming to the city to be tourists, but rather to reconnect with loved ones. Large groups of parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles would hang out in the deck chairs chatting over tables laden with takeout containers and convenience store purchases while the kids played in the pool sometimes to the point of open war.

    In contrast, we stayed out much longer exploring the city and then hit our room to watch a movie together. Sometimes we even took a well deserved siesta. We too were enjoying family time, but it was on a smaller scale. Seeing the families eating and catching up made me a bit wistful recalling camping trips and barbecues with our families back home in Canada. I hope to someday have a large family gathering like I witnessed at our hotel. It would be wonderful to welcome our family to our new, Mexican home.

    Guadalajara seems to have an endless list of activities and attractions to keep visitors busy. I’ve only touched on a small portion of them and I wrote two articles! It is a long, winding drive from Puerto Vallarta, but it is certainly worth it. We will definitely return soon. After all, Ethan needs to buy more Pokemon!

    Did you miss Part 1 of My Marvelous Mexican Midlife Crisis goes to Guadalajara? You can read it here!

  • Mexican Wildlife.

    Courtesy:  Vallarta Tribune. 

    Mexico encompasses such a vast area of land that it is not surprising that it is home to such a wide variety of flora and fauna. Inhabiting areas from pine forests and tropical ecosystems, to deserts and an enormous coral atoll, Mexican wildlife is incredibly diverse and has some truly unique species.
    Mexican animals are an incredibly diverse mix of creatures, from wolves, jaguars and pumas to axolotl, iguanas and the famous Monarch butterflies. Marine animals in Mexico are also varied with turtles, sharks, swordfish and whales all inhabiting the shores.

    The plant life is equally diverse with over 30,000 flowering plant found throughout the country from orchids to the famous Cacao trees. There are some truly unique and fascinating plant species found in Mexico, including 20m tall Cacti and Boojum Trees.

    There is also an abundant variety of fruit in Mexico, with some particularly intriguing native species such as Mamey Sapote and Canistel.

    Unfortunately, due to an increase in deforestation, pollution and in certain cases overhunting, there is an ever growing list of Mexican protected species. Many of these animals are endemic to Mexico, so the government´s continued conservational fight and maintenance of Mexico’s natural parks is key in ensuring that native species do not die out.
    Some of the animals that are most endangered include the Vaquita, the smallest marine mammal found only in the Gulf of California; the Totoaba a fish also native to the Gulf of California that was once abundant but has suffered greatly from over fishing. Land mammals that are critically endangered also include the Mexican prairie dog, the San Quintin Kangaroo Rat, the Volcano Rabbit and the Oaxacan Pocket Gopher to name a few.

    Chihuahua Dogs
    “Archeological findings, suggest that Chihuahua dogs have intrigued and endeared themselves to humans for thousands of years.”

    Archeological findings, discovered mostly around the Mexico City area, suggest that Chihuahua dogs have intrigued and endeared themselves to humans for thousands of years. Ancestors of this adorable little dog make fascinating appearances in pyramid, tomb, and temple carvings as well as in the afterlife beliefs of the ancient Aztecs. They also included them in their homes, religious ceremonies and burial rituals for companionship in this world and beyond. Today the Chihuahua, native to Mexico, is a popular pet in many countries.

    The modern history of Chihuahua dogs begins in 1850, when the remains of a long haired breed were discovered in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico near Casas Grandes.

    The American Kennel Club registered them as a breed in 1904, and in 1923, fanciers founded The Chihuahua club of America, a club for breeders and enthusiasts that still holds events across the country and whose mission statement states that members do everything in their power to protect and advance the interests of the Chihuahua.

    According to ancient texts and stone carvings, The Toltecs, who in 1100 A.D. ruled much of central and southern parts of Mexico, domesticated a dog called the Techichi, which is depicted as being small, silent and with a long coat. This was probably the ancestor of today’s Chihuahua. 

    The Toltecs kept these dogs in the home as pets and for religious purposes. Later, the Aztecs came to power in the region and they also kept the dog as pets and used them in religious ceremonies. Some experts think that the Aztecs believed that these dogs would act as a guide for the human soul in the afterlife.

    Archeologists have found the remains of techichis in the pyramids of Cholula, in Chichen Itza (one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mexico) and buried in tombs along with humans all over Mexico and in parts of the United States.

    Another interesting theory behind these findings is that the Aztecs believed that the buried Techichi would absorb the sins of the person buried alongside thus purifying their soul. Interestingly, many asthma sufferers claim that their asthma symptoms seem to be absorbed by the Chihuahua resulting in a reduction in an improvement of their symptoms. However, for the poor Chihuahua, the means that the poor dog must deal with asthma issues of their own.

    Although the smallest breed in the world, these dogs often have a strong personality. Some say the because of the Aztec’s sacred treatment and their noble nature has influenced the demeanor of the dog today which is reflected in their proud, sensitive and often eccentric character.
    Despite years of efforts to cool off the Chihuahuas’ fiery temper, they have resisted any changes and their suspicious temperament continues to show itself in their less than friendly attitude toward strangers. This attitude, ironically, makes them great watch dogs.

    Due to sheer size difference, they may lack the same ability to intimidate as larger breeds such as the German Shepard, but most types of Chihuahuas are extremely loyal, alert and tend to bark at people they don’t recognize. Also, a close look at an angry Chihuahua’s tiny tensed face can be terrifying.

    Chihuahua dogs make great pets; they adapt well to urban environments and smaller apartments, are known to follow owners around the house, love attention and pampering.
    Best of all, their miniature frame requires little feeding. The short fur coat of most varieties keeps their grooming maintenance to a minimum and helps them endure hot weather. If you are considering welcoming one into your home as a pet, don’t forget their royal roots and remember to treat them accordingly.

    The Mexican Crocodile
    The Mexican Morelet’s Crocodile is crocodile that is native to Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Known also as the Mexican crocodile it also has many names in Spanish including Cocodrilo de Pantano, Lagarto negro, Lagarto de El Petén and Lagarto Panza. The name Morelet comes from the French naturalist Pierre Morelet who discovered the species in Mexico in 1850.
    The Mexican crocodile’s habitat is mainly isolated and secluded inland freshwater environments, such as swamps, marshes and lakes. However, they also inhabit heavily forested areas, and have been seen living in brackish waters as well as the savannas found in the Yucatan.
    Mexican crocodiles normally grow to about 9 feet long (3m); however they can grow longer. Wild crocodiles generally live to between 55 to 65 years old, while those kept in captivity can live upwards of 80 years.

    Of the distinct characteristics of these crocodiles are the black bands and spots that decorate their grayish-brown bodies; this coloring is an important adaptation of the Mexican crocodile for camouflage. Younger crocodiles are often bright yellow with black bands.
    The feeding habits consist of aquatic prey, such as small fish and invertebrates. However, as they grow, so too does their prey, often feeding on mammals, birds, reptiles and snails.
    They are skilled hunters but may also scavenge when given the opportunity. They are also known to be cannibalistic by eating their young.

    Mexican crocodiles normally breed from April to June and females usually build a protective mound near the water or on floating vegetation. Normally about 20-45 eggs are laid, just before the rainy season begins. When the eggs are ready to hatch, the females will carefully dig them out of the nest and carry them to the water in their mouths.
    The population of Mexican crocodile is relatively small and is now considered to be a threatened species.

    The estimated wild population is between 10,000 and 20,000 individuals.
    The main cause of the reduction in numbers is the extensive illegal hunting that took place throughout the 20th century. In fact, it continues to be a problem as too does the rapid destruction of their habitats.

    There have been moves to breed them in protected habitats; however the reintroduction of the Mexican crocodile that have been bred in captivity into the wild could cause a huge threat to other species of crocodiles. Morelet’s crocodiles have been known to establish feral populations.
    In Mexico, however, protected Mexican Crocodile areas such as the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reverse have been set up carefully to their habitat with little outside interference. This measure has proved to be a great success for its reintroduction.

    Monarch Butterflies in Mexico
    “The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is a protected area that comprises of over 50,000 hectares, 7 hours drive from Puerto Vallarta.”
    The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is a protected area that comprises of over 193 square miles (50,000 ha) of mountainous pine-oak forests northwest of Mexico City along the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. Not only is this Biosphere Reserve an important conservation area, it is also a World Heritage Site.

    Monarch butterflies in North America are live in two regions: California and east of the Rocky Mountains. The monarch’s that make the journey to Mexico originate east of the Rocky Mountains. Here, every winter, millions of migrating monarch butterflies make this area their home. The Reserve aims to not only protect the Monarch butterflies but also the ecosystem that they rely on.
    Monarch butterflies are very intriguing. They are the only known species of butterfly to make long yearly north-south migrations. Every winter, from October to March, millions of monarch butterflies make the nearly 2500 mile (4,000 km) trip from the US to the Reserve in central Mexico.

    When the butterflies arrive at the Reserve, they congregate forming colonies, clustering on the trees in the forested hills. These Monarch colonies transform the trees into moving orange masses, bending branches under their collective weight. The reason for such concentrated clustering is to conserve as much heat as possible during the cold months.
    A migrating monarch butterfly’s life span is approximately 2 to 7 months which means that a single butterfly will not live through the entire migratory cycle. It is a mystery how the monarchs return to the same area year after year. Some believe that they inherit the flight pattern. In the spring they will begin their migration towards eastern Canada, during which four generations will be born and die.
    The history of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve dates back to the 1970s when scientists began to notice patterns in the migration of wintering monarchs. The protection of the area was made official in 1980, when President Jose Lopez Portillo decreed it a protected wildlife refuge. Throughout the 1980s, the management of the area developed, with the primary focus concentrated on the direct welfare of the butterflies themselves.

    The year 2000 was a significant year in the history of the area as it was promoted by a legal decree to the status of a federal biosphere reserve and was officially given the title of Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca, or Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in English. In 2008 it was included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
    While there has been some threat by illegal logging and growing tourism, the authorities in charge of the area have worked hard with the local communities that occupy the protected land to help with conservation efforts. Nowadays, efforts have shifted from the primary welfare of the Monarch butterflies to being more focused on the conservation and maintenance of the broad ecosystem to which they belong.

  • 5th Jarretaderas Fishing Tournament.

    Jarretaderas Fishing Tournament

    5th Jarretaderas Fishing Tournament

    Sunday May 15, 2016, marks the start of the 5th Jarretaderas Fishing Tournament held at the mouth of the Ameca River, from the area known as “El Tunel” (The Tunnel) to the beach across from the Isla de los Pájaros.

    The Children’s Category is free in this shore fishing with bait tournament; it includes kids from five through 11 years of age and the only prerequisite is an adult accompanies them. The Freestyle Category begins at 12 years of age with a registration cost of MX$80 for presale tickets and MX$100 on the day of the event.

    “We’re very grateful for our sponsors—and this year we have more of them—and especially for the Riviera Nayarit CVB, which for the second year is backing us, as well as the Banderas Bay city council for all the facilities. We want to promote and emphasize the fact that this area is also great for sporting, tourism and family events,” said José Roberto Quezada, one of the organizers.

    The inauguration is anticipated to start around 7:30 a.m. This year they expect approximately 100 children and 150 participating adults. The species approved for the competition are red snapper, sea bass and horse mackerel. Only those weighing more than 1 kg will count, the others will be thrown back in the water in pro of conservation.

    The first three places in the Freestyle Category will take home prizes in kind with a value of more than 8 thousand pesos; gifts will be given to the winning children according to the donations provided by the sponsors. It’s important to point out that each person must provide his or her own fishing equipment; however, the children who don’t have rods and reels will be provided with a plastic jug, fishing line, a lead weight and bait.

    The event will include soccer and beach volleyball tournaments, as well as food and beverage stands and accessory vendors for those present. The participation of people from other regions including Tepic and Colima, among others, has been confirmed.

    Tickets are on sale at Ferretería Express, Vallarta Fishing Center and Computec. For more information please call 322-120-0880.

  • Inspired by Mexico, Luzia opens in Canada.

    Inspired by Mexico, Luzia opens in Canada

    One goal of the new touring show is to inspire people about Mexico

    Luzia, inspired by Mexico. 

    Cirque du Soleil's new show now running in Montreal. 

    A new show created by the Canadian entertainment company Cirque du Soleil and inspired by Mexico opened this week to positive reviews in Montreal.

    And while Mexico provided the inspiration for Luzia, one of its objectives is to inspire people about Mexico.

    Typical of a a show by the world’s largest theatrical producer, Luzia uses lots of allusions, such as the woman with large gossamer wings running on a conveyor belt.

    In a review of the show this week for Canadian newspaper the Gobe and Mail, Robert Everett-Green wrote that he had to ask creative director Patricia Ruel to discover what those allusions were.

    The wings, she explained, were a reference to the monarch butterflies that migrate annually from Canada and the U.S. to Mexico, the running was a nod to the Tarahumara indigenous people, famous for their running skills, and the fact that the runner was a woman was a reference to strong matriarchal aspects of Mexican society.

    But noticing all the allusions isn’t necessary for the audience, Ruel said.

    “We’re not trying to teach people about Mexico. We want them to get a feeling for it, to be inspired by it.”

    The potential of Luzia to inspire audiences about Mexico is evidently big enough for the Mexican government to put up US $47.7 million in sponsorship money, an investment that will help support the show’s presentation in 450 cities around the world over the next seven years.

    Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid, who was in Montreal this week, said it was going to be one of the most alluring shows, “based on our culture and music, but with the stamp of Cirque du Soleil.”

    That stamp means things like avoiding cliches: there is no mariachi music in the soundtrack, for example, but instead “an international sound with a Mexican vibe,” in the words of composer Simon Carpentier.

    Tourism Secretary de la Madrid explained that the show’s name is a fusion of the words luz and lluvia, or light and rain, elements on which Luzia is based.

    On its website, Cirque du Soleil describes the show as a waking dream “that transports you to an imaginary Mexico. Experience a wondrous world that inspires you to explore your senses, enveloped in light and nurtured by rain.”

    For reviewer Rebecca Galloway, writing in the Montreal Gazette, “Luzia was an absolute pleasure to watch — not just for the high-octane tricks but as a spectacular and cohesive theatrical experience that was successful on every level.”

    Luzia runs until July 17 at the Old Port of Montreal before moving to Toronto’s Port Lands from July 28 until October 2.

    Source: El Financiero (sp), The Globe and Mail (en), El Sol de México (sp), Montreal Gazette (en)


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  • Mother's Day in Puerto Vallarta.

    Courtesy:  Valiene 

    For those who may not know, US Mother's Day is Sunday, May 8th.  In Mexico, Mother's Day is always May 10th.

    Tuesday, 10th May, the last show of the season:  Douglas on the bass, Rigo on guitar and Elaine with her Brazilian lyrics.  A wonderful night of music at Karen's Place from 7pm onwards.

    Happy Mother's Day from Mark's Bar & Grill
    Let them help you celebrate Mom in delicious style with their four course menu for $395 pesos - May 8-May 10 from 5pm. Start with seasonal tomato basil crostini followed by coconut shrimp cakes with ginger mango salsa, or roasted asparagus and portobello mushrooms with hollandaise sauce :
    main course is fresh red snapper with curry infused Baja mussel sauce, couscous and asparagus.  For dessert, enjoy vanilla bean ice cream with local strawberries and shaved chocolate.

    Mark's is proud to announce it will be participating in #RestaurantWeekPV sponsored by Lifestyle magazine. Beginning  May 15-31st, participating restaurants from PV and Riveria Nayarit will offer special 3 course menus for $349 pesos or $229 pesos.  Stop by Mark's and pick up the printed booklet with a list of restaurants and their menus or please visit Restaurant Week by Vallarta Lifestyles 

    Also at Mark's you will find new summer items on the menu such as, shrimp tacos, kobe beef burgers, shrimp salad in rice paper and daily specials. Happy hour is from 5-6.30 pm when you can enjoy a house drink or glass of wine plus mini appetizer of the day, or two house drinks or two glasses of wine for just $120 pesos (cash only for happy hour)

    Tapas del Mundo The Secret Garden is open for lunch for groups of eight or more Monday through Thursday at 1 pm. Set menu is 100 pesos per person. Groups of 6 or more for fondue or paella parties at 7:30 pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday. Cost is $150 pesos per person. Regular Tapas menu all days. Reservations only. 322-118-1795

    La Lomita Restaurant at #22 Augustin Melgar (up the hill from Chingon) is staying open this summer. Did you know that LaLomita was the second restaurant to open in Bucerias? Their hours are 12 noon to 9 P.M. Tuesday to Sunday ( Closed Monday) They are offering delivery to the beach  around the Decameron area . The cheeseburgers with fries are huge and  a bargain at $65 pesos. Call them at 329 298 3442. They are also offering, a little later in the day, their regular five course menu  at $185 pesos or you can order a la carte with all 6 house specialty entrees offered at $120 pesos. When you stop in for dinner be sure to check out Ernesto’s innocente/naïve paintings. They are spectacular and similar paintings in the U.S. sell for upwards of U.S. $1200. You just may need one of your own. You can buy these originals for much less than U.S. prices !!Tell your friends! Please support the locals during the low season!

    Every Saturday and Sunday, Brunch Buffet in La Cruz, at the Las Palapas Beach Restaurant! Buffet is $80, open from 9-1.  Live music by Zoe Wood  from 11-1; Latin and Swing Jazz Standards, Nuevo Flamenco, Bossa Novas, Boleros. Come cool off with the ocean breezes and a lovely view.... Location: Calle Arroyo Seco #1, Playa La Manzanilla, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, 01 329 295 5605,


     "Dance All Night" with the Puerto Vallarta Gay Men's Chorus in our 5th annual series of gay pride concerts. Celebrate our "1 Family" with your friends and the men of the chorus as we sing and dance to pop love songs and hits from musical theater. This year's gay pride concerts will be at the Main Stage of Act II Entertainment Stages at 5 PM on Sunday, May 22, and at 8 PM on both Monday, May 23, and Friday, May 27.   The Puerto Vallarta Gay Men's Chorus is proud to be the first gay chorus in Mexico, bringing together foreign and national singers of all ages. The chorus is completing its second year under the artistic direction of Alfonso López, a graduate of The University of Texas-Pan American in vocal performance. The chorus provides musical education and training with a number of concerts in the Bahía de Banderas area throughout the year. The chorus is also a familiar group of faces in community parades and at other events supporting worthy local causes.   Invite your friends and family to join the chorus for a fun-filled and uplifting fiesta of gay pride, music and dance! We will have a reception after each concert in the Encore bar to meet the men of the chorus and participate in some fun fundraising activities to support and help us build our new rehearsal space home at ACT II.   You may purchase your tickets now at the box office or online at Act II Entertainment Stages, Insurgentes 300 and up the stairs on Basilio Badillo in the Romantic Zone, telephone 322-222-1512.

    Costa Banderas Democrats Abroad, Wednesday, May 11th at 7pm.  Location: The Jazz Foundation
    Don't miss this wonderful film, as well as, an opportunity to enjoy a meal at this fantastic venue!! You will also have an opportunity to receive information & help for registering to vote, if you are a US/Dual Citizen. 
    Movie: This Changes Everything,
    Filmmaker Avi Lewis (Screenplay: Naomi Klein) examines the challenges of climate change and how environmental activists make a difference worldwide. A look at seven communities around the world with the proposition that we can seize the crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better. 
    Donation at the door for the movie is $70 pesos.  Meal: A choice of 3 menu options at a cost of $200 pesos
    #1 Vegetarian Option: green salad with cherry tomatoes, green rice with mushrooms
    #2 Chicken Option:  Clam chowder, blackened chicken, pureed camote and grilled vegetables (carrot, zucchini & mushroom)
    #3 Pasta Option:
    Clam chowder or salad, garlic pasta with baby mushrooms and garlic bread
    If you want to come for dinner, please arrive by 6pm to eat before the movie. Contact Tricia Lyman at via email or PM me at Tricia Lyman, to advise me of your meal choice & number of attendees. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY necessary, if you want a meal. Thank you for your understanding.
    The Jazz Foundation is located on the Malecon upstairs. The address is Allende 116. You enter around the corner from the Malecon on Allende. It's well signed.

  • How wrong was Lula over Mexico, Brazil.

    How wrong was Lula over Mexico, Brazil

    Brazil's golden decade could be Mexico's instead

    Peña Nieto and Rousseff: unpopular leaders. 

    Peña Nieto and Rousseff: unpopular leaders.

    Nearly two years ago, former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio de Silva, or “Lula” as he is known, forecast that his country was set to begin a golden decade and that Mexico had nothing comparable to offer in terms of its economic and social performance.

    Mexico, he said, was not the new rising star and its outlook was worse.

    There is indeed a difference between the two countries in terms of economic conditions and outlook, but not in the way Lula had envisioned.

    “Right now Mexico and Brazil are as different as they come, this is day and night,” Alberto Ramos, head of Latin America economic research at Goldman Sachs, told CNN this week.

    Unemployment in Brazil rose to nearly 11% in the first quarter, up from 8% the year before. Mexico’s rate is 3.7%.

    Mexico’s economy grew slightly more than what was expected during the same period: 2.7%. Brazil’s shrank 3.8%.

    Experts, wrote CNN’s Patrick Gillespie yesterday, say the differences are a result of different strategies, one populist with lots of public spending and the other entailing the introduction of economic reforms, reduced spending and diversification.

    Brazil could afford to spend more in the 2000s because of strong commodity prices and demand from China. Exports to that country rose from US $4 billion in 2003 to $46 billion 10 years later.

    Now, China exports are down, the economy is suffering and the government continues spending. Overshadowing everything is the corruption scandal at the state oil company, Petrobras.

    An advantage for Mexico is its diversified economy, says Marc Chandler of Brown Brothers Harriman. It is also tied more to manufacturing than it is to commodities and it has addressed structural issues with sweeping reforms.

    Another factor is trade ties with the United States, its biggest trading partner. While China has been losing steam, the U.S. economy has strengthened.

    One thing Brazil and Mexico have in common is the unpopularity of its leaders: the former’s Dilma Rousseff could face impeachment proceedings this year over corruption at the state oil company, while Enrique Peña Nieto has been tainted by suspicions of corruption, crime and insecurity and slower-than-hoped-for growth.

    Economically, things could be better in Mexico, but it is still far more stable than Brazil.

    And while the latter remains Latin America’s biggest economy, second-place Mexico is narrowing the gap.

    Mexico News Daily

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