PV Livin

St. Patrick’s Day in Puerto Vallarta

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Who doesn’t love a reason to get up early and start chugging beer? If you’ll be in Puerto Vallarta for St. Patrick’s Day, there’s plenty of partying to be done.

There’s no doubt that the St. Patrick’s Day Festival hosted by The Shamrock in Bucerias is the biggest celebration in the Bay. It’s a full on out-door festival with live music, beer tents, and the works. For everyone in Puerto Vallarta, though, the problem is getting all the way up to Bucerias and back. For those looking to stick in town this St. Patty’s, here’s a little road-map:

Los Muertos Brewing – Having just opened in November of 2012, Puerto Vallarta’s first brewpub is coming out swinging this St. Patty’s. They’ll be opening early to serve free breakfast (10am-Noon) to the green-warriors up for some AM drinking. They’ve got their own stout on tap, so Irish Car Bombs will only run you 50 pesos! Jameson is also on special for the day at 35 pesos a shot.

Murphy’s Irish Pub – Located on the Malecon with a killer view of both the ocean and passing bikinis, Murphy’s is an obvious St. Patty’s hotspot. It’s hard to tell for sure from their flyer, but I believe Murphy’s will have live music all day, all you can drink beer, a buffet, and a free tee-shirt for 700 pesos.

Que Pasa – Tucked nicely in the back end of Old Town, Que Pasa is always up for a party. They’ll be serving homemade Corned Beef and Cabbage for 135 pesos (starting at 2pm) and Chris Kenny will perform some live Gaelic Blues. Not sure what Gaelic Blues sound like but after a few car bombs down at Los Muertos Brewpub, I’m sure it will be fantastic.

Casa Isabel – Perched on a cliff above Old Town, the traditionally more formal Casa Isabel is letting her hair down this St. Patrick’s Day and will be serving corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, Guinness stew, and green beer. You go girl!

Nacho Daddy – For those looking to get a little less-than-obliterated on St. Patty’s, Nacho Daddy is hosting a murder mystery dinner show complete with corned beef, cabbage, and the works for 450 pesos.

If you know of more St. Patty’s hotspots that are not included above, please let us know in the comments below! Cheers!

Category : Blog &PV Livin

Catching Dinner

After a raging Friday, I hopped the bus back down to Boca to hair-of-the-dog it with Boca Jack. What I thought would be a leisurely day of drinking on the beach turned into a fishing excursion and I ended up catching what I’m told is a “Bonita” fish. As the sun went down, we pulled right up to Piño’s restaurant where he cooked our catch for us. Pretty awesome.

Category : Blog &PV Livin

Sunday with Boca Jack

Walking the river with beer

Boca Jack on the way to The Ranch

Last Sunday, we cruised down to Boca de Tomatlan to hang out with Boca Jack and his girlfriend’s family. For those of you who don’t know Boca Jack, allow me to introduce you.

Jack first came to Puerto Vallarta almost two years ago while on spring break from Penn State University. My old college roommate, Stanley Shetron, who visits me often grew up with Jack so when Jack and his friends were deciding on where to take their spring break, Stanley suggested everyone meet up here in Vallarta. During their vacation, we spent an awesome day out in Yelapa but it was the quiet little fishing village of Boca de Tomatlan (where you get the water taxi to Yelapa) that stole Jack’s heart.

Jack graduated a few months after their trip and immediately packed his bags and moved to Puerto Vallarta. While he lived in town, Jack was known as Spring Break Jack, but that didn’t last very long. Unable to avoid the call of a small-town fishing-village lifestyle, Jack moved down to Boca de Tomatlan and has since been known as Boca Jack.

Boca’s been good to Jack. He’s out on the water every day, often catching his own dinner and surfing. He even landed a beautiful girlfriend named Margo who’s family has embraced him into their lifestyle. On Sundays, their family walks up the river to their ranch where they cook carne asada, chorizo, fish, and quesadillas. Last Sunday, Graham (of Mattock Photography) and I were fortunate enough to be invited to the ranch.

River beach in Boca de Tomatlan

Margo's family by the river

What an awesome day it was. The ranch has a nice sandy beach on the bank of the river where we sat drinking coronas and taking down tacos and quesadillas. Margo’s family doesn’t speak much English, and I had fun practicing my Spanish (which is always in need of some practice as there’s waaaay too much English spoken in PV). I learned several new words throughout the day, and we were also introduced to some pretty wild local plants and trees.

children waiting for watermelon

Lined up for watermelon

Throughout the afternoon, the younger children would huddle in small groups with one of women of Margo’s family and practice reading to each other. When they finished, many of them ran into the river to splash each other despite its chilly winter temperatures. It wasn’t the cold that brought them out of the water, however. One of the fathers produced a large watermelon from his bag and the children went crazy, rushing to line up for a slice. Graham and I were amazed as we agreed that you’d never see kids so excited for fruit back home in the US or England.

Mexican rope bridge

The bridge to Piña's

As the sun went down, we packed up camp and walked back down the river to a boutique hotel and restaurant that the one father called Piña runs. Piña cleaned up, put on his chef’s outfit, and started cooking away in the kitchen while sat in the restaurant finishing the Corona’s and listening to my iPod, which he let us plug in. After cooking for several travelers that stopped by, Piña made us a special dish of Chile en Nogada, which is usually reserved for Mexico’s Independence Day. I tried several times to tell him that it was really unnecessary and that something simple like fajitas would be fine, but he insisted on the Chile en Nogada, which he also insisted was on the house.

My Chile en Nogada

Unable to thank Margo’s family enough, we crossed the rope bridge over the river back into the village of Boca where we had my girlfriend pick us up (by that time we were pretty hammered). With the window down and my head nestled in the hood of my sweatshirt against the door, we drove the windy sea-side road back into town and I thought: It’s days like today that remind me of why I moved to Mexico.

*All photos courtesy of Mattock Photography

Category : Blog &PV Livin

Some Holiday Cheer in Vallarta

I’ve been living in Puerto Vallarta for three years now, but this is my first Holiday Season here in Mexico. I’m not going to lie; coming from Philadelphia where Christmas means cold and snow, it’s been a bit of a “blue” Christmas.

Weather in the 80s, my girlfriend working on Christmas morning, being away from my family… all these things have been crappy but nothing, however, has been as crappy as when I lost my wallet the other day.

After ransacking our office and my apartment for two days, the only possible scenario I could come up with was that after purchasing a coke around the corner, I went to put my wallet in my pocket but missed and didn’t hear it fall (but I mean, come on. When does that actually happen?). I checked back with the store twice but the guy who was working when I bought the coke had been off and his son was sure that no wallet had been left, so I was left with no choice but to start canceling debit cards… the worst.

On my way to the bank, however, I popped back to the corner store where I got the coke in a last-ditch effort and, lo and behold, a Christmas miracle took place. The original guy who sold me the coke was there and had my wallet (which had indeed fallen behind due to me missing my pocket)! More incredible was that all my money and cards were still in the wallet as well. I couldn’t believe it.

I left the coke man 150 pesos for his good deed and have vowed to purchase all my beer from him for the next two months, but I encourage anyone in the Old town area in need of alcohol, soda, and/or snacks to visit my Holiday Hero and reward his good deed with your patronage (See the map below for his location).

I hope my Christmas miracle brightens up your Holiday Season as it has mine. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

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Category : Blog &PV Livin

Puerto Vallarta to Philadelphia: A Tale of Two Weddings

Cathedrals of Puerto Vallarta (left) and Philadelphia (right)

Cathedrals of Puerto Vallarta (left) and Philadelphia (right)

It’s been a busy start to the Holiday Season for my girlfriend and I as we were invited to back-to-back weddings – one in Puerto Vallarta, where we live, and the other in Philadelphia, where I’m from. Both were absolutely beautiful events, alike in many ways yet unique in traditions and customs. Reflecting back on the ceremonies (through the haze of champagne and tequila) offers some interesting insights into a tradition both Mexicans and Americans hold as holy.

It’s important to note that both weddings were Catholic, a faith to which I do not belong, so each ceremony was both foreign and intriguing to someone who has not spent much time in a cathedral. And what cathedrals they were! Our Mexican friends were married in Puerto Vallarta’s beloved Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe – one of the cities most prominent symbols, and our American friends were married in The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul – one of the oldest and most architecturally impressive buildings in Philadelphia. Both cathedrals were breathtaking and, in truth, distracting as I couldn’t help but allow my eyes to wander during the ceremonies.

The Mexican ceremony was, naturally, in Spanish; however, the American ceremony was just as foreign as both included many call-and-response verses, which most attendees knew by heart. Both traditions also included Communion, which I found interesting as it broke up the flow of the wedding. The Spanish Priest seemed much more traditional and stern; however, only at the American wedding did we actually have to kneel.

Unique to the Mexican wedding, I found the tradition of El Lazo (The Lasso) to be quite interesting and beautiful. The Lasso is a double-looped Rosary, in this case made of clear crystals and adorned with a dangling cross, which is placed around the heads of the bride and groom during the ceremony. I’m told that el lazo symbolizes unity and “should bind the couple together everyday as they equally share the responsibility of marriage for the rest of their lives.” It was a powerful and beautiful image to see our two friends kneel before the priest, bound literally by a crystal lasso as they spiritually bound their love.

The best man and the maid of honor placing the lasso

Although much different in style, music played a significant part in both ceremonies. Throughout the American wedding, a single female soloist sang several songs, which were lovely; however, it was the music of the Mexican wedding that stands out in memory. A full-piece mariachi band, brilliantly dressed in traditional garb, assembled to the side of the altar where they brought the ceremony to life through various songs of faith and love. I’m told that not all Mexican weddings have a mariachi band but that it is common in weddings of the higher Mexican society, which makes sense – between the grandeur of the cathedral, the austerity of the old priest, the resounding music of the mariachis, and the gorgeous appearance of both the bride and groom, the occasion was certainly fit for royalty.

Having not been to many weddings in general, it was a pleasure to attend two weddings in two countries in the same week. Witnessing four friends commit their love to each other in such impressive settings was unforgettable, however, now being able to juxtapose the most sacred event of these two cultures, I must say that if you ever have a chance to attend a wedding at Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Puerto Vallarta, don’t pass it up!

Mexico Today (Marca País – Imagen de México), is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination. This program is designed to shine a light on the Mexico that its people experience every day. Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating content as an Ambassador for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own. Visit Mexico Today on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn

Category : Blog &Only in Mexico &PV Livin

Que?Pasa’s Trash Brigade Making a Difference in PV

I don’t plan on re-posting everything I write for Banderas News, but Que Pasa’s Trash Brigade program is so awesome, I want to give it as much publicity as possible.

#MexicoToday: When you think about organizations that are changing the world, a local-ex-pat bar in the back-end of a tourist town in Mexico is probably not the first thing to come to mind. Surprisingly enough, however, Que?Pasa bar (located on the outskirts of Old Town in Puerto Vallarta) is doing just that – changing the world through environmental education, one Mexican child at a time.

In general, the Bay of Banderas is gorgeous region of Mexico with the charming city of Puerto Vallarta beaming from it’s center like the crown-jewel of a coastal tiara. Yet when you set out and explore the more remote rivers and beaches of the area, you’ll most likely be shocked by the amount of garbage laying around.

Such was the case with one river in particular, the Rio Cuale, which was especially tragic for those of us who love Vallarta as it divides Old Town Puerto Vallarta from Downtown Puerto Vallarta and is highly visible to visiting tourists. Fortunately, Que?Pasa, which backs up to the Rio Cuale, has decided enough is enough and is cleaning not only the river but also their neighborhood through what they’ve come to call La Brigada de la Basura (The Trash Brigade).

La Brigada de la Basura was started on June 20th, 2010 by Michael Hayes, owner and operator of Que?Pasa along with some volunteers from the bar and 16 children (and a few parents) from the neighborhood in which his bar is located. Each Saturday morning, The Trash Brigade meets at Que?Pasa where Hayes hands out rubber gloves and trash bags to the kids. Together, the group heads out to either the river or the streets of the neighborhood picking up any trash they come across along the way.

Once their bags are full, the children make their way to the back entrance of Que?Pasa where they form a line and wait to have their trash inspected. Motivating children to spend their Saturday morning picking up trash is not an easy task, so Hayes rewards the children who participate with a free hot-dog and chips lunch in exchange for their services. The ticket into lunch is a bag full of trash, and Hayes sticks to his policy – no trash, no hot-dogs.

Since its inception, La Brigada de la Basura has been an overwhelming success. Hayes says he can hardly walk anywhere in Old Town without a local community member stopping him and thanking him for what Que?Pasa has done both for the neighborhood and for its children. That, according to Hayes, is the overall goal – not just to clean the streets, but to educate the children as to why littering in general is bad not just for their neighborhood but for the world as well. This, however, is where the program is looking for help.

The success of La Brigada de la Basura has attracted a weekly stipend from the benevolent River City ATMs, which helps Que?Pasa pay for the program’s supplies and for the lunches, yet what the program is still looking for are Spanish-speaking presenters to speak with the children about eco-topics like the importance of recycling while they eat.

Film maker Esteban Uyarra (who made the video above) feels that the children are eager to learn and that lunch time after clean up is a perfect time to reach them as they are a completely captive audience. Groups interested in presenting the Brigade can contact Que?Pasa on their Facebook Page.

Que?Pasa would like to thank the children of Trash Brigade, the family and community members who help out, River City ATMs, and all the gringos who bring toys down to give to the children over the holidays.

They would also like to spread the word that all are welcome to help out with the weekly clean-ups. Anyone interested in volunteering should be at Que?Pasa by 11:15 am any Saturday morning. Clean ups usually last about an hour, and all helpers also receive free hot dogs as well!

With more volunteers and support, La Brigada de la Basura hopes to increase its efforts and begin destination clean-up trips to the local beaches of Banderas Bay. Puerto Vallarta is a paradise, but it won’t stay that way without our help.

Category : Blog &PV Livin

Bruce Springsteen Night at Alaska’s Diner

One of my favorite nights of the year is coming this Saturday – Bruce night at Alaska’s Diner. If you’re not familiar with Alaska’s Diner, Roger (the owner/cook/good-time-maker) has a movie screen he drops on Saturday nights to play classic rock dvds. This Saturday, he will be screening Houston ’78 Bootleg: House Cut, which is a dvd that comes in Bruce’s latest box-set release The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story.

Roger will running a dinner special of a T-Bone Steak with veggies and choice of rice or baked potato for $100 pesos. More importantly, beers are 2 X 30 pesos (all summer long) and drinks $25 pesos all night

If you’re a fan of the Boss, get to Alaska’s Diner on Saturday. Roger will supply the booze, and Bruce will bring the juice.

Here’s the track-list:

1. Badlands
2. Streets Of Fire
3. It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City
4. Darkness On The Edge Of Town
5. Spirit In The Night
6. Independence Day
7. The Promised Land
8. Prove It All Night
9. Racing In The Street
10. Thunder Road
11. Jungleland
12. The Ties That Bind
13. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
14. The Fever
15. Fire
16. Candy’s Room
17. Because The Night
18. Point Blank
19. She’s The One
20. Backstreets
21. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
22. Born To Run
23. Detroit Medley
24. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
25. You Can’t Sit Down
26. Quarter To Three

And here’s how to get there:

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Category : Blog &PV Livin

A Slow Night in Puerto Vallarta

PV LivinIt’s always a good time when Stanley comes to town. This was a particularly slow night in Puerto Vallarta, but fun was had none the less. Be warned that this clip contains some really, really bad karaoke.

Category : Blog &PV Livin

International Beer Day in Puerto Vallarta!!!!

international beer day in puerto vallarta

Happy International Beer Day!

Totally blindsided by this one (sorry we didn’t have more time to prepare), but it turns out that today is International Beer Day! Apparently, the holiday (why are we still at work?) began in 2007 as “as a celebration of beer and the people who provide it.” I’ll drink to that!

The fact that International Beer Day falls on a Friday this year is just the icing on the cake (even though many PV residents couldn’t tell a Friday from a Tuesday). If you’re on Twitter, you can follow along with celebrators around the world via the hashtag:  #IntlBeerDay

The only question that remains is where is everyone drinking tonight?

Category : Blog &PV Livin

Horseback Riding in Puerto Vallarta

Since I’ve lived in Puerto Vallarta, I’ve been on several amazing horseback rides through the local jungles and rivers. For this ride, we visited El Rancho Charro near the hotel zone, which was really convenient. The horses were beautiful and our guide was great. Definitely a great day of PV Livin.

Category : Blog &PV Livin

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