After a pretty dismal first impression from the bus on our way north to Sayulita - we decided to research Puerto Vallarta's. It wasn't surprising that PV offered more - after all - throngs of aging Canadians and Americans flock there annually. The part of PV we saw on our first day was north of the tourist area - which we read had a great boardwalk, shops and even a Mexican brewpub.
Sold - we figured it was worth checking out.
First thing we did was get my passport (members card) stamped at the embassy (Starbucks). I've been Starbucks free since arriving and needed a fix. It was like I never Vancouver. It was more or less identical to ever other Starbucks ever but felt oddly upscale compared to other Mexican establishments.
We then walked the boardwalk and quickly got bored. Years of American/Canadian tourists have transformed it into a piece of Americana. Lined with tourist traps like Senior frog (which had three separate official merchandise shops along the boardwalk) and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company - a kitschy Forest Gump parody restaurant. In between were overpriced liquor and clothes merchants.
More or less the antithesis of what I want in a travel experience. I hate to sound like a hipster but if at one point PV's board walk was cool - it no longer is.
That's fine. I'm sure if I lived in PV, I'd find some cool places and the board walk is more or less the epicenter of the tourist trap. Government St in Victoria is the same, and I felt similarly with Check Point Charlie in Berlin - something that once was interesting but now to commercialized (it's not the volume of people that bothers me - it's what it brings with it).
We headed away from the beach and up the hill to Los Muertos brewery. I love craft beer and have been tiring of the Pacifico/Corona options - it is PV's first brewpub - no doubt a product of the aforementioned throngs of northerners (particularly those from the Pacific NW). Still - I was curious to see what they had to offer.
Being a stout boy - naturally I had the McSanchez (their stout). It was a basic stout - but good. I was about to order another when the Anillo de Fuego caught my eye. It's a chilli beer.
Not a chilly beer - a chilli beer. I don't like chillies - but desperate to satiate my sense of adventure - I went for it.
Regrets. Not only does it taste strongly of chillies - it burns your lips like them too. It's borders on unpleasant. A novelty beer at best - I can't see anyone going out of their way to drink it on a regular basis - unless they were insane.
I finished my pint. Waste not - want not, right?
Not going to lie - it was slow going near the end. My recommendation is to get it in a flight of beer. That way you can say - wow - this is weird and reminisce later about the one time you had chilli beer. Oooooor, perhaps it's better in a Michelada (as I just read on their website while retrieving the name of the beer). I wish the bartender had recommended that.
After that we bussed back to Walmart and scoped out the overpriced mall next to the cruise ship dock. At first we couldn't figure out why everything was overly priced - but then we remembered what was parked in the slip. A Walmart and an expensive mall - the first thing the passengers experience in Mexico. Great.
Which got me to thinking. For the majority of the time I've been down here - we've been paying pretty comparable prices to back home (it's definitely cheaper but we've been pretty frugal). The question arises - where is all this money going? Even Punta de Mita, which is next to a massive resort - doesn't seem to profit/capitalize on it. Other than a couple of boutiques (one selling a 4000USD rug) and a restaurant or two - it's actually pretty poor. Sayulita was the same way - tons of tourists, high prices, yet everything is pretty ghetto.
|PV isn't all bad. :-)|
|Obligatory Starbucks visit.|
^ Tamara's reaction to the chilli beer.