Eating out on the "North Shore"

What's to do around here?



Visiting? Got visitors? Looking for things to do that don't require big bucks or pre-work? How about:

-packing a picnic cooler and going beach-hopping in the Bay, first to Destiladeras, then to Punta de Mita's quiet beach (well before the restaurants, down from the pink public health building). Do-able by bus. Choose Destiladeras if only doing one.

-packing another cooler, or using one of the beaches' many restaurants, and going beach-hopping on the Pacific coast, first to Sayulita, then to San Francisco. Also do-able by bus.Choose "San Pancho" if only doing one.

-renting surfboards in Bucerias and going surfing at Sayulita. After you get the hang of it, join the big kids at Punta de Mita and Punta de Burro.

-renting a horse on the Bucerias beach and heading south to Mescales and the bird sanctuary/lagoon called Quelele. You'll see hundreds of birds from treehouse viewing areas. The lagoon is prettiest at high tide.

-driving into the mountains to Las Palmas. Look for signs to Rancho Capomp where you can go for a horseback ride in the sierra. On the way back, stop to eat at Restaurant El Guero Palancas. It's down next to the only river nearby and serves good grilled crayfish.

-going whale-watching off Punta de Mita. Get to the restaurant area early, i.e., by 9 a.m., and ask for space in a panga (Mexican fishing boat). They try to fill a boat with six people and divide the cost per head.

-taking a panga water taxi ride to Quimixto or Yelapa (same boat; Yelapa is its last stop). Be at Puerto Vallarta's Los Muertos beach for a 10:30 a.m. pickup and return about 5 p.m. Wear a swimsuit so you can take a dip in the pool under the waterfall at both places. Quimixto is less developed and has a bigger waterfall pool (try the restaurant set apart way down the beach). Yelapa is funkier and has a couple of nice shops.

-driving along Rt. 200 above Puerto Vallarta. The sea views are fantastic, especially from Le Kliff Restaurant, which has a cold avocado worth stopping for.

-playing golf at Los Flamingos Club de Golf or tennis at Nuevo Vallarta's Hotel Marval

-getting a day pass at Nuevo Vallarta's Paradise Village spa and using the exercise machines, steam room, sauna, or jacuzzi plus attending one of the exercise classes.

-going to the bullfights in Puerto Vallarta on Wed. nights at 5 p.m. The matadors are often Spaniards on the winter Mexico circuit, lured to PV by cruise line money. The fights are often good but don't go if you plan on joining the bozos cheering for the bull.

-walking south on the Bucerias beach for 50-60 min., passing Nuevo Vallarta's luxury villas and arriving at Etc Restaurant. Their shrimp hamburgers and fajitas are worth the walk.

-taking a scenic three hour drive on one of Mexico's swankest and most scenic autopistas to the town of Tequila for a plant tour and tequila tasting. On the way up or back, stop to see or have a meal in the cute little beach town Chacala.

-pigging out at one of the Mexican fiestas/buffets. Wahoo's in San Pancho has a Friday Mexican with good food and all drinks for a set price. The Sheraton's Sunday mariachi champagne brunch is the best music and food combination in PV.

-if you have small boat access, touring the canals of Nuevo Vallarta. You can idle in front of the dolphin tank and watch the noon show of tricks. Snorkeling at the Marieta Islands off Punta de Mita can be fun; snorkeling at Los Arcos off PV rarely is (too many boats murking up the water).


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