A Travellerspoint blog

December 2017

Very relaxing & enjoyable 2 weeks in Puerto Vallarta

The boardwalk (malecon) stretches 2 miles with lots of sculptures; Sunday is family day in Mexico and the malecon is packed with the PV municipal band playing in the plaza at 7pm

The boardwalk (malecon) stretches 2 miles with lots of sculptures; Sunday is family day in Mexico and the malecon is packed with the PV municipal band playing in the plaza at 7pm

The many tour boat guides that visit Los Arcos feed the fish creating an aquarium effect; the yellowtail surgeonfish is the most common tropical fish around PV

The many tour boat guides that visit Los Arcos feed the fish creating an aquarium effect; the yellowtail surgeonfish is the most common tropical fish around PV

The heart of old Puerto Vallarta is the Church of our Lady of Guadalupe; red, white and green are the colors on the Mexico flag

The heart of old Puerto Vallarta is the Church of our Lady of Guadalupe; red, white and green are the colors on the Mexico flag

We took the public bus many times since it was a terrific bargain at only 45 cents per ride!

We took the public bus many times since it was a terrific bargain at only 45 cents per ride!

PV has become a popular cruise destination although the cruise port is well north of PV, closer to Nuevo Vallarta which lacks the character and ambiance of PV

PV has become a popular cruise destination although the cruise port is well north of PV, closer to Nuevo Vallarta which lacks the character and ambiance of PV

Concha Chinas is a quiet beach about a 20 minute walk south of our condo; the water was warm enough but the visibility was not good

Concha Chinas is a quiet beach about a 20 minute walk south of our condo; the water was warm enough but the visibility was not good

Playa de los Muertos even has sculptures at the water's edge; hurricanes seldom strike PV although Patricia, the most powerful cyclone ever measured in the Western Hemisphere with 200mph sustained winds, made landfall south of PV in 2015

Playa de los Muertos even has sculptures at the water's edge; hurricanes seldom strike PV although Patricia, the most powerful cyclone ever measured in the Western Hemisphere with 200mph sustained winds, made landfall south of PV in 2015

The Night of the Iguana in 1964 was filmed just south of PV; the affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who was in the film, created lots of free publicity for PV

The Night of the Iguana in 1964 was filmed just south of PV; the affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who was in the film, created lots of free publicity for PV

Gorgeous sunset from our condo; Lee found a great, cheap 2 bedroom condo where I kept my room at 60 degrees and he kept his at 80 degrees

Gorgeous sunset from our condo; Lee found a great, cheap 2 bedroom condo where I kept my room at 60 degrees and he kept his at 80 degrees

We took a day trip to nearby Yelapa which is the southernmost cove on Banderas Bay, the seventh largest bay in the world

We took a day trip to nearby Yelapa which is the southernmost cove on Banderas Bay, the seventh largest bay in the world

Lee and I went to a local performance of Greater Tuna; it wasn't bad but the actors couldn't match the terrific roles performed by the original cast of Joe Sears and Jaston Williams

Lee and I went to a local performance of Greater Tuna; it wasn't bad but the actors couldn't match the terrific roles performed by the original cast of Joe Sears and Jaston Williams

We started our hike to Las Animas from Boca de Tomates (pictured); Boca is at the mouth of the Ameca River so visibility isn't good and there are sometimes crocodiles in the area

We started our hike to Las Animas from Boca de Tomates (pictured); Boca is at the mouth of the Ameca River so visibility isn't good and there are sometimes crocodiles in the area

PV is considered the most welcoming and gay-friendly destination in Mexico; water pollution continues to be a major problem in PV with bacteria levels well above US standards

PV is considered the most welcoming and gay-friendly destination in Mexico; water pollution continues to be a major problem in PV with bacteria levels well above US standards

Lots of cool sculptures along the malecon; air service started to PV 1932; plumbing system started 1939; first road to PV opened 1942

Lots of cool sculptures along the malecon; air service started to PV 1932; plumbing system started 1939; first road to PV opened 1942

Brown pelicans are a common sight in PV; their graceful flying, just inches above the water, adds to their appeal

Brown pelicans are a common sight in PV; their graceful flying, just inches above the water, adds to their appeal

Lee decided Las Animas Beach was too chaotic for him and went to the next cove where he had a large beach all to himself

Lee decided Las Animas Beach was too chaotic for him and went to the next cove where he had a large beach all to himself

The water looks deceptively calm in this photo of Los Arcos; swimming out to the islands I experienced a very different view

The water looks deceptively calm in this photo of Los Arcos; swimming out to the islands I experienced a very different view

Got lots of reading done during the 2 weeks in Puerto Vallarta

Got lots of reading done during the 2 weeks in Puerto Vallarta

The main square is being decorated with beautiful tile murals; not a city where you would want to rent a car

The main square is being decorated with beautiful tile murals; not a city where you would want to rent a car

The modern pier at Playa de los Muertos, the city's largest public beach; PV is a popular retirement destination for Americans and Canadians

The modern pier at Playa de los Muertos, the city's largest public beach; PV is a popular retirement destination for Americans and Canadians

There are lots of art galleries and a strong arts community in PV; dozens of interesting sculptures scattered about

There are lots of art galleries and a strong arts community in PV; dozens of interesting sculptures scattered about

Southwest Airlines now flies to PV; the black ones with a white stripe and orange tail are king angelfish

Southwest Airlines now flies to PV; the black ones with a white stripe and orange tail are king angelfish

This large iguana was just checking things out; a Canadian couple said the iguana was in the exact same spot when they visited a year ago!

This large iguana was just checking things out; a Canadian couple said the iguana was in the exact same spot when they visited a year ago!

PV is only a 2 hour flight from Houston; we saw dolphins and Lee saw orcas; winter is also prime whale-watching season

PV is only a 2 hour flight from Houston; we saw dolphins and Lee saw orcas; winter is also prime whale-watching season

We had several rainy days and many overcast days in this city of 220,000; view from our nice condo out to Banderas Bay

We had several rainy days and many overcast days in this city of 220,000; view from our nice condo out to Banderas Bay

Church of our Lady of Guadalupe; December 12 is a national holiday celebrating the Virgin of Guadalupe; parades, street food and lots of people in PV since the main church here is named for the virgin

Church of our Lady of Guadalupe; December 12 is a national holiday celebrating the Virgin of Guadalupe; parades, street food and lots of people in PV since the main church here is named for the virgin

Mercado Isla Cuale; always lots of vendors selling handmade goods and souvenirs; they would walk the beach looking for sales too but were polite and not at all aggressive

Mercado Isla Cuale; always lots of vendors selling handmade goods and souvenirs; they would walk the beach looking for sales too but were polite and not at all aggressive

We stayed in the Romantic Zone which is one of the oldest parts of PV; lots of locals reside in the area and I'm not sure they all have the most basic of utilities

We stayed in the Romantic Zone which is one of the oldest parts of PV; lots of locals reside in the area and I'm not sure they all have the most basic of utilities

Puerto Vallarta can be a very inexpensive destination; the largest cost, besides airfare, is lodging which runs the gamut depending on how adventurous you are

Puerto Vallarta can be a very inexpensive destination; the largest cost, besides airfare, is lodging which runs the gamut depending on how adventurous you are

Las Animas Beach was at the end of our 2 hour hike from La Boca; it's a nice beach with plenty of restaurants and only accessible by boat (or hiking)

Las Animas Beach was at the end of our 2 hour hike from La Boca; it's a nice beach with plenty of restaurants and only accessible by boat (or hiking)

Had a nice swim out to Los Arcos; there are several large, natural arches that you can swim through; saw a fever of 6 spotted rays out there

Had a nice swim out to Los Arcos; there are several large, natural arches that you can swim through; saw a fever of 6 spotted rays out there

The hottest and rainiest months in PV are July, August and September; average daily high is 86 with an average daily low of 70

The hottest and rainiest months in PV are July, August and September; average daily high is 86 with an average daily low of 70

One of several huge nightclubs facing the sea along the malecon; PV's peak season is late November through March (including Spring Break)

One of several huge nightclubs facing the sea along the malecon; PV's peak season is late November through March (including Spring Break)

Along the bay you'll find expensive new construction right next to rundown places where the locals live in poverty

Along the bay you'll find expensive new construction right next to rundown places where the locals live in poverty

Our hike from La Boca to Las Animas took us by some secluded, private beaches and resorts only accessible by boat (or hiking)

Our hike from La Boca to Las Animas took us by some secluded, private beaches and resorts only accessible by boat (or hiking)

Posted by RNRiggins 05:21 Comments (0)

Great village of Chamonix among world's most beautiful

Mont Blanc is in the middle; tallest mountain in Western Europe

Mont Blanc is in the middle; tallest mountain in Western Europe

Always excited to run into old friends!; I could have used this guy for the steep downhills at the end of the hike

Always excited to run into old friends!; I could have used this guy for the steep downhills at the end of the hike

During WW2, a children's home operated here in which dozens of Jewish children were hidden from the Nazis

During WW2, a children's home operated here in which dozens of Jewish children were hidden from the Nazis

Heard the bells and what did I see?  Huge cows going past my hotel window. Not one or two, but three!

Heard the bells and what did I see? Huge cows going past my hotel window. Not one or two, but three!

I enjoyed sleeping with the balcony door open but Lee didn't care for it to be 40 degrees inside our room

I enjoyed sleeping with the balcony door open but Lee didn't care for it to be 40 degrees inside our room

Bosson's Glacier; Mont Blanc is the 11th highest mountain in the world and climbed by about 20,000 people a year

Bosson's Glacier; Mont Blanc is the 11th highest mountain in the world and climbed by about 20,000 people a year

Driving from Annecy to Chamonix it's incredible how the scenery changes as you enter the valley

Driving from Annecy to Chamonix it's incredible how the scenery changes as you enter the valley

Since the train wasn't running we had to hike down 2 1/2 hours which was just brutal; rocks, roots, slippery leaves, etc

Since the train wasn't running we had to hike down 2 1/2 hours which was just brutal; rocks, roots, slippery leaves, etc

Perfect weather for our long hike with Mont Blanc at our backs

Perfect weather for our long hike with Mont Blanc at our backs

In off-season all the lifts and gondolas are closed but one; seriously limiting hiking options

In off-season all the lifts and gondolas are closed but one; seriously limiting hiking options

Chamonix hosted the first winter Olympics games in 1924; year-round population of about 9000

Chamonix hosted the first winter Olympics games in 1924; year-round population of about 9000

The Arve River runs right through the center of Chamonix before eventually reaching Lake Geneva

The Arve River runs right through the center of Chamonix before eventually reaching Lake Geneva

We think this is Lee paragliding;  I must have seen 100 flights just today

We think this is Lee paragliding; I must have seen 100 flights just today

Lee and I have both been to Chamonix before, but still took the lift up to Aiguille de Midi for the incredible vistas

Lee and I have both been to Chamonix before, but still took the lift up to Aiguille de Midi for the incredible vistas

The Mer de Glace glacier has retreated significantly since my visit only 3 years ago

The Mer de Glace glacier has retreated significantly since my visit only 3 years ago

A couple of nice waterfalls across the glacier from the Montenvers train station

A couple of nice waterfalls across the glacier from the Montenvers train station

Everywhere you go in Chamonix there are tremendous views of Mont Blanc

Everywhere you go in Chamonix there are tremendous views of Mont Blanc

Loved the fall colors.  You can see how narrow the valley is that Chamonix occupies.

Loved the fall colors. You can see how narrow the valley is that Chamonix occupies.

Chamonix gets more than 5 million visitors a year but October is low season so it wasn't crowded

Chamonix gets more than 5 million visitors a year but October is low season so it wasn't crowded

View from Aiguille du Midi of the Italian Alps; France, Switzerland and Italy converge near here

View from Aiguille du Midi of the Italian Alps; France, Switzerland and Italy converge near here

Even in October, the French Alps looked so inhospitable; we saw plenty of mountain climbers; a tough bunch!

Even in October, the French Alps looked so inhospitable; we saw plenty of mountain climbers; a tough bunch!

Who could concentrate on tennis with this view of Mont Blanc in the background?

Who could concentrate on tennis with this view of Mont Blanc in the background?

One of the most beautiful places in the world and one of my all-time favorites!

One of the most beautiful places in the world and one of my all-time favorites!

Found a couple of friends at the beginning of our long hike

Found a couple of friends at the beginning of our long hike

Tried going to casino but needed to have passport.  Didn't get good reviews on TripAdvisor.

Tried going to casino but needed to have passport. Didn't get good reviews on TripAdvisor.

Great view from our hotel balcony.  Could see Mont Blanc looking the other way.

Great view from our hotel balcony. Could see Mont Blanc looking the other way.

Posted by RNRiggins 04:24 Comments (0)

Fier's Gorge - unique attraction close to Annecy

The original footbridge here was built in the mid 19th century; it has had to be rebuilt many times over the years

The original footbridge here was built in the mid 19th century; it has had to be rebuilt many times over the years

The walk along the gorge featured plenty of educational signs making it interesting for kids too

The walk along the gorge featured plenty of educational signs making it interesting for kids too

This was my second visit to Fier's Gorge and I was glad Lee enjoyed stopping by on our way to Chamonix

This was my second visit to Fier's Gorge and I was glad Lee enjoyed stopping by on our way to Chamonix

Chateau du Montrottier is a 13th century pentagonal fortress located only 10km from Annecy and next to Fier's Gorge

Chateau du Montrottier is a 13th century pentagonal fortress located only 10km from Annecy and next to Fier's Gorge

The gorge is only open March-October; incredible video at entrance shows some of the historic floods here

The gorge is only open March-October; incredible video at entrance shows some of the historic floods here

Unique geologic features are pointed out in the gorge such as kettles and faults, even supposed faces

Unique geologic features are pointed out in the gorge such as kettles and faults, even supposed faces

The 300 meter long elevated walkway is 25 meters above the river; at points on the walls you can see high water marks from years of severe flooding

The 300 meter long elevated walkway is 25 meters above the river; at points on the walls you can see high water marks from years of severe flooding

Spectacular drive from Annecy and Fier's Gorge up to Chamonix

Spectacular drive from Annecy and Fier's Gorge up to Chamonix

Posted by RNRiggins 03:14 Comments (0)

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