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Puerto Vallarta Mexico, mid February 2000

One of my nieces decided it was finally time to get married. After some discussion, and a tentative plan to have the wedding in Hawaii, the wedding was scheduled for Puerto Vallarta Mexico. So, a whole bunch of us went down there for the occasion. Naturally I took lots of pictures. This was my first visit to Mexico, so I concentrated quite a bit on the views.

The resort we stayed at is "La Jolla de Mismaloya", which is in the Mismaloya area, on a small bay that is part of the larger Banderas Bay. The Mismaloya area is a few miles south of the town of Puerto Vallarta, along a narrow, winding and very scenic coastal highway.

This is the view from the balcony of the suite I was in. We looked roughly south, towards the other building of the resort.
This view looks out more towards the east. The roof is that of the reception and office area of the resort. There are large houses and villas in some areas of the hills - one is visible behind the microwave tower.
Again from the balcony, but this time looking down into the central area, containing pools, jacuzzis, lawns and lots of patio areas.
Here is the mostly west view from the balcony. Here you can see some of the loungers in the patio, one of the pools, and the Pacific Ocean in the distance above the palm trees. The ocean isn't actually far away - the resort is right on the shore, with a sandy beach.
One of the first things that struck me was all of the flowers around. This shot is from the open walkway at the back of our building, looking over an associated services building. The highway is just visible back there as well.
Here is a similar view, from a bit further along the back (closer to the elevators), showing the general nature of the terrain in the area.
This is a good shot of some of the villas and houses up on the hill across the highway. Later shots are taken from up there, between the closer buildings and the slightly further, higher, ones.
This is a zoom in on some of the flowers, showing two of the colours that were common in the area. All of the red and violet that you see are masses of flowers on bushes around the area.
This is the first picture from on our walk up the hill across the highway. This shot looks up from the steep cobbled road to one of the villas higher up.

A few more pictures were taken up here, but I made them large images, suitable for backdrops. The page containing them is here.

This shot attempts to show some of the birds we saw quite often. Some appeared to be eagle-like, and others were kestrels or cormorants or something. Later, it occurred to me that since they were usually circling around the same area, there was likely something dead up there. How romantic!
This shot is from the higher part of the resort's private beach (the lower part, nearer the water, is shared). Here you can just see the north arm of Banderas Bay in the distance. The building on the bluff to the right is a set of condos. At the very end of the bluff is the remains of a restaurant that burned down - just a circular stone base is left.
Looking pretty much directly west, we see the "Discovery", the catamaran belonging to the resort, and available for tours, etc.
Looking more south, we see the southern point of the small bay. You can just make out the roof of one of the restaurants there.
Looking south along the beach, we see - tourists! Actually, most of the umbrellas are in front of a set of local restaurants/bars that are not directly associated with the resort. There are palm-thatch-roof buildings to the left of them, which are the permanent parts of those facilities. The arch just visible to the right is over the beginning of the seawalk out to the point. There is also a bar there, although it is mostly stone.
Looking east from the beach, we see the beach entrance to the resort itself. To the right is one of the common private retailers who wander up and down the beach. This one appears to be selling silver jewelry. The palm-thatch shades work quite well, and I found their scent to be quite pleasant.
Looking slightly more north from the same spot, we have a view of most of the northern suite building. In the lower left, just above the palm-thatch shades, you can see the roof of the water-center building, where there is an open-air evening restaurant (prime-rib, lobster, etc.)
This is one of the swimming pools in the center area of the resort. The raised area in the middle is fake rock (but nicely done) over some washrooms. The couple walking have to step on some stones over a small artificial stream going into the pool. To the left, in the middle of the pool, is an island containing a jacuzzi. It is reached via an arching stone bridge, and it too has a small artificial stream going into the pool.
This is another view of the jacuzzi island. The bridge to it is on the far side. This shot also shows, roughly in the center of the picture, the suite I stayed in.
This is the other pool, which is closer to the south suite building. You can see a shallower shelf beside the small island. There is also a larger joining stream that goes under a steeply arched concrete bridge. That joining stream comes from a smaller side pool which is at the bottom of a small children's waterslide. All of these shots were taken in the morning - later in the day nearly all of the loungers would have been occupied by sunbathers.
This is an evening shot, looking out from one of the patios towards the beach, through the resort's arches.
This shot shows the stone bridge leading to the island jacuzzi.
Here is a zoom-in of the back of the jacuzzi island.
There isn't a lot of lawn in the resort, but the parts there are are well kept and green. Oh yes - no mosquitos either.
From down below, this shot looks up to the room I stayed in. It's the second from the end one on the fourth floor (of 9) - the one nearly in the center of the picture.
As mentioned above, there are some non-associated bars and restaurants to the south of the resort, on the beach. The bridge leads to them, crossing over the small stream which is the Mismaloya River. The bridge is decked with 1 x 4's and has no railings - there are a lot less regulations in Mexico! You can see some boats in a small lagoon that is drained by the stream. The owners get them there by pushing them up the stream, under the bridge.
This view is from the north bank of the river, as it cuts across the beach. This shows the condos to the north of the resort, lots of the houses and villas on the hill above, and the west end of the north resort building.
Here we are approaching the seawalk to the associated restaurants. It starts at the stairs heading up, then goes sort-of through the bar there, under the arch, and on. The arch reads "The Sets of the Night of the Iguana". The area on the south point of the Mismaloya bay is where the movie "The Night of the Iguana", starring John Houston and Elizabeth Taylor, was shot. Some of the sets have been turned into a restaurant, and there is also "John Houston's" restauraunt. Both are higher up, above the beach. The latter is where the wedding was held, on a patio with a wonderful ocean view.
This shot shows the view looking towards the south point, just before going onto the seawalk. The pole you can see at the end of the point is a concrete-coated tree with a large iguana carved on it.
This shot shows a zoom-in towards the point. You can see the dock there that is sometimes used to take visitors to the two restaurants. You can also see the seawalk along the rocky shore.
Looking down at the rocks below the seawalk, you can often see lots of small crabs (the biggest we saw was about 6 inches across). Most of the white spots are snails, and there are black and grey ones as well. Rocks right in the water also tend to have some barnacles on them.
The surf in the area can be quite violent - fun to watch from safely (well, if you don't mind getting splashed) up on the seawalk.
This view from the seawalk shows two of the islands out from the north point of the small bay. The group (3 main ones - the larger two here) is called "Los Arcos" - The Arches. The far and left sides of the islands have had their bases undercut by waves, producing arching caves. The center island (leftmost in this shot) has a water-level tunnel going right through it. Its big enough to walk through, but I wouldn't want to try it without some good tough clothes! I don't think these particular islands are bird sanctuaries, but they are pretty hard to get onto, and are crowded with seabirds.
Looking back from the seawalk, towards the southern resort building, with the bars and restaurants in the foreground.
Another view of the surf in the rocks.

The resort was overbooked when we were there. So, the management went to some of our group (14 in total) and asked if they would like to merge from pairs of single rooms to a couple of the presidential suites, which are each for two couples. After looking at them 4 couples said yes. The new bride and groom moved to this unit, which is on the third floor of the west end of the north building. The web page lists the suites as 2800 square feet, but this particular one has a much larger balcony than the others, since it is above the resort manager's suite, which in turn is above the sports bar.

This shot is looking northeast in the suite, showing the dining area, the living area, and the entrance area. The kitchen counter can be seen in the center right, and the two large bedrooms (and 3 bathrooms) are to the right of that.
Here, I am standing in the southwest corner of the balcony, looking to the north. This piece of the balcony (from where I am standing, going to the right) is about 40 feet wide and 20 feet deep. The shaded, central, arm of the balcony is in front of the living area and one bedroom. The balcony continues around the north side of the building. To the left is ocean view. Some of the folks were standing out there watching whales in Banderas Bay.

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