January 26, 2019
Our friends Tom and Pam had asked if we would join them on the Jeep tour today and when I called to see if we got tickets (we were on the wait list), two people had JUST cancelled, so we were lucky.
Here’s the sky and part of the town that we saw as we pulled into port this morning.
What is really funny is that the conversation among many of the passengers about what they were planning to do in town today. So many people mentioned that they were going to go to Walmart – which is located just across from the cruise pier!
And that is where we went to meet our Jeeps. You can see some of them in this picture. Our guide was Pepe, he said don’t call him “PeePee” which only took Pam about 15 minutes to do. Is that why our Jeep was last in the caravan?
Tom was a great driver and we headed up into the Sierra Madre mountains. Pepe said we would have both a facial and a massage – the dirt roads we went on into small out of the way villages were both bumpy and very dusty! Here is what the cars looked like along the way.
Puerto Vallarta has a population of about 270,000 and is located in the Mexican State of Jalisco on the Bandaras Bay which is considered to be one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
It is the second most visited tourist destination in Mexico, Cancun has the most tourists. More than 5 million tourists visit in a year visit here and there are many of the American stores and restaurants.
For us, it was an adventure to get out of the city and port area and wind through the back roads. We passed through many small villages and stopped at one. Pepe talked to us about how happy the people are although they are very poor. We found them to be gracious and friendly. This town square is very small and is surrounded by the elementary school and a small church. Here the children were studying for first communion. Mexico is 80% Catholic.
After the town stop, we went to Hacienda Dona Engracia which is the area’s only tequila factory. Here we heard all about how tequila is made and got to taste 6 kinds of tequila, including peach, almond and chocolate coffee tequila. One of the most aged tequilas was delicious and we were told that was the one that you should save for family! This tequila is only sold here.
Here we are in our Jeeps. The instructions for the tour and the waiver said that the driver could not drink, but the tour included a tequila factory. Well, it is Mexico and the rules are different here I guess. Pepe made sure to check the driver’s licenses and (jokingly) said if you didn’t have one,, he would make one for you!
Our day finished with a late lunch at the Beach Club. We spent a while having lunch, watching the people on the beach and in the pretty pools and having a beach walk.
Then back to the ship, and yes, we did check out the Walmart where we picked up some wine at a very reasonable price. Can’t do that in Pennsylvania!
Tomorrow at noon we are scheduled to be in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Last world cruise we took in 2017 we missed that port due to bad weather. It is a tender port and the seas seem calm now, so we are hoping to get in.