Sleeping to the sound of the waves must agree with me. I slept a lovely 7 hours Thursday night, getting up about 5:30am. I went to the OXXO a few hundred feet away from my condo but it wasn’t open yet; good thing I had some Diet Coke in the fridge.
I got the blog up and went back to OXXO before 7 to get my first coffee. I wasn’t meeting Greg until 7;30 so spent a little time on the balcony just relaxing.
We met at Coexist, a restaurant on the same street as my condo, just a block away. We were the first ones there.
It’s in a hotel which has a nice pool inside.
I got the machaca, dry beef scrambled in eggs with onions and poblano peppers. It was perfect.
Greg got a dish called Motulenos, with eggs, ham, gouda cheese, corn tortilla, beans, and fried plantains.
We called for an Uber and made our way to the marina to check in to our activity at 9am. We had signed up for the Outdoor Adventure put on by Puerto Vallarta Adventures, which puts on activities like this as well as other tours to various parts of the area. They are most famous for Rhythms of the Night – I rarely talk to anyone who hasn’t been to that yet – a dining and entertainment tour that I did in 2020.
There were 16 of us in our group and we got on a speed boat to, well, speed across to the opposite side of Banderas Bay.
I always enjoy being on the water looking back at the town. This is center of it all, you can (sort of) see the pier far right center.
I had done this tour in 2019 by myself and was thrilled to be doing it again with Greg. We got off at Boca de Tomatlan and were put in these big 4-wheel drive vehicles that comfortably sat 8 people, shown below.
It was at least a 15-minute drive up the mountain. Note the couple on the left; I will reference them again a couple of photos down.
All Americans in the group with another amazing crew. This is my 3rd time doing a zip line excursion with this company and I’m always So Impressed with the crew. As an HR person I often wonder about their selection process. Whatever it is, they seem to find people who are extremely competent with amazing personalities, keeping you very safe while also showing playfulness and concern at exactly the right moments.
This might be a “location” thing, meaning you had to be there. The gay couple was right before us and one of them jumped into the other’s arms, “over the threshold” style, for this shot. We were joking about that as it was our turn and Greg starts with the leg up. You can tell I thought it was pretty funny.
Here’s a more normal pose for us!
From here it was a good 20-minute mule ride eve further up the mountain along a very dusty and steep road. We gathered together for the instructions and off we went on the first activity.
This was a 700-foot zip line. The first one is always a little scary and I had to keep reminding myself all the reasons this was safe, especially the number of times I’ve done this before. It was weird that I had this very low-level panic attack once we got here because it was so irrational. Notice the placement of my right hand which is wrong. It’s supposed to be on the bottom line, not the top. You need to keep it loosely on the line – too tight and you’ll slow down or worse stop – which is difficult because my natural instinct at any rate is to grip it. And behind you which helps keep you straight. For some reason that’s always difficult for me and this time was no exception, made worse by having it on the wrong line. I’m sure I was just distracted by all the noise in my head! In the video (which is taking Forever to upload, will see if it lets me publish this without it being finished) you can hear them yelling at me to move my hand. Oh well :) Eventually I just let my right hand go and spun the rest of the way which was fun.
Greg like a pro on his very first zip line with a nice video below.
The 2nd zip line was 850 feet, and the rappelling was next. This was a surprise to me the last time, although it shouldn’t have been because it clearly said “rappel next to a beautiful waterfall” in the description. This time I wasn’t scared at all because and actually made my way down pretty fast.
Well, clearly I had a moment of something. It cracked me up that….
….that’s nearly the exact expression I had in the 2019 version.
“What have you gotten me into?”
Having some fun now.
We made it! That water was Cold.
What’s funny about this shot is they did it as a selfie pose even though the photographer is holding the camera.
There were a total of 11 activities on this tour. Several smaller ziplines, including my favorite: backwards and upside down. A couple of wobbly bridges, and one wobbly bridge from the last time that was replaced with – damnit – a tight rope walk. That was in my 2020 tour and was the one thing that I never wanted to do again. But here we are. It wasn’t as long and not as high so I wasn’t as scared.
When I did this in 2019 there was an activity that was just jumping into a big pool of water which I didn’t care for, for several reasons. That had been replaced with a roller coaster. A zip line roller coaster. It was over 1500 feet long and had a bunch of turns and dips. It was pretty fun.
Here’s Greg coming around the last curve.
The only instruction they gave you was “when you see my guy after the last turn hold your nose” before you dropped into the water.
Not as pretty.
This was zip surfing – the last activity before the water slide that took you back to base camp. It feels precarious at first but is a smooth and beautiful ride over the canopy of the jungle.
There was a fun water slide after this, and then it was really over. There was hibiscus juice and bananas for us at that last stop – there had just been water stops along the way – and then the ritual of changing clothes and photo selection. We each had a quesadilla and lemonade after that. And Greg got his arm cleaned and bandaged, after getting a pretty bloody rope burn on the roller coaster.
This is the beach at Boco de Tomatlan.
An actual selfie just before getting back on the speed boat.
The ride back across the bay was as I remembered: bumpier than the morning ride. We stopped for a bit to do a little whale watching (mostly missed them) but were back at the marina about 4pm, and back to town around 4:30pm.
Greg and I parted ways then, agreeing to meet for breakfast again this morning. I relaxed a bit before going out for dinner, getting most of the photos ready for this entry and enjoying the balcony before the sun started setting directly on it.
I had a massage scheduled for 7:30pm and made my way out about 5:45pm. I was going to go to a well-reviewed taco joint that I haven’t been to before, but the line was ridiculous. So instead I returned to something I’d planned on going to again this trip anyway a few blocks down: Mole de Jovita. This is my 3rd time here. I think it’s great but as you can see it’s not crowded at all for prime dinner time. I sat at the table up on the far left.
Mole is their thing as the name suggests, so I got enchiladas – or “enmoladas” as they call enchiladas with mole on them. And of course, I got all 3 options: the brown is the traditional chocolate mole, the green is cactus, and the brown peanut.
These might be the best enchiladas I’ve ever had. In addition to all 3 moles being super flavorful, the filling was amazing: ground beef in a light but spicy tomato sauce with tiny carrots and potatoes.
On my way back towards the massage I passed Lix, a terrific ice cream place that I’ve stopped at more often than I should. But why not, it’s vacation, right?
The couple ahead of me ordered ice cream sandwhiches which I’d never noticed they had before so I follwed suit. Vanilla ice cream between cookies there were sort of oatmeal M&M. Whatever, it was perfect.
The Blue Massage is well known is these parts, a little staircase off a sidewalk that’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. I typically come here twice a trip. The prices are super reasonable – with tip my 90-minute massage was $62 – so I get as many as I can work in while I’m here.
I was back around 9:30, finished uploading photos and was in bed before 10:30pm.
Not much planned today – finally. Greg and I are meeting with a real estate agent to look at a few properties just for fun. And I have another massage scheduled for this evening. Will see what else comes up!
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