In an all inclusive resort, residing in an overcrowded Mexican city, there is little exposure to authentic Mexican culture. Maybe that’s how you prefer it, that’s ok, I won’t judge. I mean, after all, many want to avoid the language barrier or being subject to situations that may be perceived as dangerous. I understand, an all inclusive is a utopian world, what better place to spend a vacation.
I love to discover things and be slightly daring, don’t get me wrong -I’m not thinking of climbing Everest or anything like that. That being said, I often make things a tad more difficult. Sometimes its worth the trouble, other times I’m left with regret. I like different experiences and exposing myself to a different way of living, that’s why I like Barra de Navidad.
The closest airport to this small tourist/fishing town is a thirty minute taxi ride away, set in a another coastal city by the name of Monzanillo. Even if you did fly into that very small airport, tickets are twice what you would pay if you were to fly into Puerto Vallerta.
Hence, I decided to fly into Puerto Vallerta from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Puerto Vallerta is a four hour bus ride to Barra, I know, pretty long. However, the plane tickets were around three hundred per person, round trip. Add the fact that the bus for two people into Melaque, the town that shares the four mile beach with Barra, are only 35 American dollars, it’s rather economical.
I wake at 3:15 am in a Days Inn, struggling mightily against a lack of sleep and slight hang over. The afternoon/evening in Chicago was fun, but now I need to catch the 4:00 am shuttle to O’Hare. We clean up a bit, having showered upon arriving to the hotel, and make our way downstairs. It is lightly snowing this morning, as I tell myself this long day will end in weather suitable for shorts.
Our plane boards at 5:30, plenty of time to get through security. We decided to get our boarding passes the night before, to lessen the stress. Everything goes without a hitch and we meet our departure time of 6:05.
We only brought carry on luggage, fearing the prospect of the airline losing our luggage since we’re catching a connecting flight in Houston. That’s where the trouble begins. After eating breakfast in a cool little sit down restaurant, where you order and purchase your food with a touchscreen, we board the plane. The attendant at the gate insists we check my companions luggage. After we board the plane, I’m a bit ticked, the bag would have easily fit into the compartment.
Adding to the stress, there is an hour delay on the taxi way. As we’re taking off, I assure her we’ll be able to find her bags reasonably easily, I couldn’t have been more wrong. After Immigration in Puerto Vallerta’s airport, customs and the baggage pick up was a cluster, an absolute mess! The line into customs really had no rhyme or reason and the baggage claim, despite seeming organized, really wasn’t.
We get separated and I’m severely worried, being in a foreign country’s airport and desperately searching for my companion. The line for customs serpentines into the baggage claim area. I have no idea whether my companion found her bag. Finally I spot her, after about ten minutes. At this time she is still looking for her bag, she finds it about five minutes later.
We catch a taxi to the bus station. For reference, upon leaving the airport, we walk across the skyway and pay about a 140 pesos less than if we had accepted a ride from the first driver who approached us. The rest of the trip goes with out a hitch. When we arrive in Melaque, using the Primera Plus bus line, it is about 8:45 and we catch another cab. The driver barrels through the streets, nearly colliding with bicycles and other cars on the way.
As we arrive in Cabo Blanco, the stress melts away. I pay the taxi driver 80 pesos and an elderly man takes our luggage. There is no problem checking in, actually, they’ve been expecting us. The hotel is $59 a night, it is quite worth it.
The desk rests at the mouth of a well-groomed courtyard, accented with a beautiful pool. The grounds, itself, is located at the end of a small and narrow canal. As the hotel is placed at the edge of the barrio between residences and the town, a small marina is also set at the end of the canal. For this reason, you can take a boat-taxi across the lagoon for no charge. Tonight, however, we are tired.
When we wake the next morning, I am refreshed. We wander into an ocean view restaurant for breakfast, which was amazing. The name of the establishment is known as Bananas, being a feature of Hotel Barra de Navidad.
We return to Cabo Blanco and relax at the pool bar, shaded by a palapa. Later on, a band plays some classic rock favorites, reggae is infused into many of the familiar songs. It’s a fun vibrant atmosphere, as many retirees from Canada enjoy the pool and music as much, or maybe more, than we do.
The hotel is really quite nice and they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at a poolside restaurant. The rooms are slightly above average with a fairly decent size TV(Who wants to watch TV when your on an exciting vacation?). Equipped with air conditioning and a large ceiling fan, the room is quite comfortable. My only complaint would be the fact that there is no curtain for the shower, water finds itself everywhere. Free WiFi is included with the room, as it is with many businesses in the town.
So far our trip has been fun and relaxing-catch another post for more on this wonderful trip.