PV Vacation Tips from Char Crowe – Owner of Condo Casa Cuervo
Notes from Char, owner of Condo Casa Cuervo
[Char purchased her condo in 2004 and spends several months each year in PV. She is very familiar with the area and has many friends here as well and is kindly sharing her very valuable knowledge with you here.]
This post is from June 2010 – so some of the data in here may be outdated but most of the information should remain relevant and helpful.
Galleries – Each Wednesday evening most of the Galleries participate in the “Art Walk” from 7pm until 10 pm. There are too many to list, however I suggest you visit the ones listed under OldTown Art Walk. My favorites include those on Calle Corona. Galleria Corona is owned by friends of mine, Artemisa and Cordell Hicks. In addition to representing some of Mexico’s finest contemporary artists, you can also purchase very attractive small gifts. Above Galleria Corona is The Loft, a lovely gallery owned by John Strawn, also a friend. Continuing down the street, you will find Gallery 8 y Mas. Laura, who works there, is very knowledgeable. Please mention that you are a friend of mine and I do believe they will be amenable to some negotiation if you like a particular piece of art.
Massage – There are lots of massage parlors in town, however I only recommend one. Lotus Massage is located on the Guadalupe Church Street, upstairs on the left of the street. It is immaculate! Irma, a certified and licensed graduate of medical school in Guadalajara, is one of the finest. Make an appointment and tell her you are my friend. Open from 10 am to 7 pm and the cost is $30US/hour. Phone 222-9377.
Fishing – The boats that catch all the tournament winners are from Chappy Charters or call Carlos at 322 139 0724. He speaks great English and knows me from this condominium building (Oceano Plata).
Shopping for milk, soda, etc.– There is an OXXO store on the corner of Calle Corona and Calle Juarez. You can purchase milk, soda, beer, etc. there. OXXO is the Mexican version of 7-eleven or Circle K. They are usually found on the corner of major intersections.
Shopping for food, booze, etc.- Take the bus or a cab to Mega, Soriana, Costco, WalMart or Sam’s Club. Look for their names listed on the front of the bus which indicates their stops. I prefer the new Soriana store on the left just before you get to WalMart. You will find great produce, meat, poultry and even fresh flowers, plus everything that the other stores have except for auto and garden supplies. You will find the butchers and produce workers very helpful. NOTE: You will find small bottles of Microdyn in the utensil drawer in the kitchen. Follow the instructions (in Spanish) or put 20 drops of Microdyn in a sink full of water and soak ALL VEGETABLES AND FRUITS for 20 minutes and rinse well. The restaurants use this in large quantities so it is safe to eat salads, etc.
Buses – 65 Centavos (.65 cents). The bus stop for Mega, Soriana, Costco, WalMart and Sam’s Club is on Calle Juarez towards the Cathedral in front of the Melody store. Look for the stops listed on the windshield of each bus. They also stop in the hotel zone, Sheraton, etc. The bus to the south for Boca de Tomatlan, Mismoloya, etc. stops at the corner of Basillo Badillo and Constitution. Look for the stops on the windshield as well. NOTE: The buses in Puerto Vallarta are owned by the driver. Although the ride can be scary, the bus driver does not want to wreck his bus. Keep the receipt you are given for the fare as inspectors often get on the bus to check that everyone has paid. The buses have names on the front, many of them dedicated to wives, children, the Virgin Mary and some are humorous, i.e., “QuatroAsses”, meaning “Aces”.
Shopping – Just around the corner from the entrance to the condo, on the corner of Calle Corona and Calle Morales is a nice shop called “Maria de Guadalajara”. It specializes in the great gauze clothes that need no ironing and are very cool to wear. Be sure to check out the “backroom sale” rack. My favorite shopping street is Basillo Badillo between Ignacio Vallarta and Insurgentes. Serafina and Poinciana are terrific for colorful placemats, napkins, pillow covers, home decor items, clothing, purses, hats and jewelry, as well. NOTE: I do NOT suggest shopping for silver jewelry in the corner jewelry shops. For really good silver jewelry, my friend Cassandra Shaw is the owner-designer of the jewelry on Basillo Badillo. She designs one of a kind items and they are usually signed. If you want to take just one special something home from PV, I suggest a fine jewelry item from her store as her prices are very reasonable, reasonable, not cheap. If she happens to be present, please tell her that you are my friend. She also features many other jewelry designers….you will NOT be disappointed with something from her shop.
Shopping on the Beach – Puerto Vallarta has many vendors selling everything from baskets to muffins on the beach. The vendors are unionized and are assigned to specific locations which may change from day to day. I feel very touchy on this subject. Nowhere else in town are Americans and Canadians so obnoxious. The vendors are very hardworking people and begin their day at 5 am when their merchandise is allotted to them and their location assigned. If you DO NOT WANT TO PURCHASE ANY THING, PLEASE BE POLITE AND NOT INSULTING. A polite “Nada Hoy, Gracias” (“Nothing today, thanks”) or “Gracias, Nada” (“Thanks, nothing”) is sufficient. Please do not negotiate just for the fun of it. Start negotiating at a little above half of what is asked and go up from there. The same polite response is good for the time share people, as well. I have heard so many obnoxious American and Canadian responses to vendors and time share people that I become embarrassed by my own people! Good things to negotiate on the beach are pareos [sarongs/cover-ups] (about $15US or less), straw hats, baskets, and shell jewelry. Do NOT buy “silver” jewelry from vendors unless they have a license and can show it to you. NEVER buy from someone on the sidewalk. It may be “stamped” but you will soon find out it’s not silver.
[You can check out PVInsiders Blog on Shopping on the Beach]
Taxi’s (yellow cabs) – Puerto Vallarta has set fares and zones for cabs. Do NOT take anything but a yellow cab. ALWAYS negotiate the fare BEFORE you get in the cab. These are the following rates from the condo: To the River Café, or Basillo Badillo – 40 pesos. (Once you cross over the bridge, it’s a new zone. “Romantic Zone” – 30 pesos. Mega, Soriana, WalMart and Sam’s Club – 60 pesos. Hotel Zone – 50 pesos. Marina – 60 pesos. To the airport– 80 pesos. This includes all the people who share the cab. It is not customary to tip the driver unless he helps with a great number of bundles.
Please Check out Char’s beautiful Downtown Penthouse Condo