Day 3 |
Sep 22, 2008

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

By Ignacio Rojas, Naturalist

Noon Position: 20°39’ N; 105°14’ W

Weather: Clear skies

Noon air temperature: 32° Celsius/89° Fahrenheit

Very early in the morning, the Prince Albert II entered the bay and docked in Puerto Vallarta as the sun rose over the horizon.

This morning we had two options for tours. Our first optional excursion was to Hacienda Dona Engracia. New real estate developments surround the port area, but soon the coach was in the countryside approaching the hills off Puerto Vallarta.

As soon as we arrived at the hacienda, we assembled into a group for a long walk and one for a short walk. We climbed up the side of the hill for views or the Mascota River, and entered the forest. Our guides pointed out some of the plants and their medicinal uses. The long walkers aimed for the hot springs and the short walkers visited a local village nearby and retuned by horseback and ATVs for lunch.

After the walks and lunch, we visited the tequila factory and learned about the different kinds of tequila made in the Hacienda Dona Engracia. First there is the white tequila, straight from the distillery to the bottle; then golden tequila, aged for nine months on oak barrels; and finally tequila anejo, aged for three years giving it a very smooth taste. We tasted all the types produced in Hacienda Dona Engracia and then we returned to the ship.

The second optional excursion explored Puerto Vallarta visiting some of the traditional buildings and sites of the town: the City Hall, the Cathedral, the main Plaza, and of course the Malecon – a pedestrian path along the beach where we saw several statues along the way. Afterwards we were introduced to the secrets of Mexican cooking and had a chance to taste the local food.

The Prince Albert II left Puerto Vallarta mid-afternoon and we watched from deck as we left the town behind.

After the afternoon siesta, Dr. Bob Rubin presented “Ed Rickets and John Steinbeck’s 1940 voyage into the Sea of Cortez” with interesting facts about the relationship between these two renowned figures.

Later on in the day, we presented our first Recap, a traditional event aboard expedition vessels, where the naturalist and lecturers recapitulate some of the events of the day during our excursions and also the wildlife sightings of our previous day at sea. Suzana Machado, our Expedition Leader gave us the latest news for our next port of call, and the excursion planned for Mazatlan.

The seas were smooth as we enjoyed dinner and a very beautiful sunset from the windows of The Restaurant.