When in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, you’re overwhelmed by people trying to convince you to go on tours or eat at restaurants where they are tipped for bringing in tourists. There are so many options out there that it becomes difficult to decide which to choose to make the most out of your vacation. On this day we decided to go with the Beach Boy day cruise which normally only costs $50 per person but we happened to get it free which was even better! The staff members were very energetic and tried to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves constantly walking around the boat with drinks and hosting a party on the ride back, (bit too much of a booze cruise actually).
The cruise comes with breakfast, lunch, and an open bar on the boat all day. Breakfast was nothing special. We were given half a banana, a quarter of an orange, and a slice of cantaloupe on the dock while we waited along with coffee and juice. The lunch options presented were chicken, fish, and quesadillas which would be served at a restaurant on Las Animas beach and was a very tasty, authentic Mexican meal served in a very humble and quaint village restaurant not for the faint of heart!
AS we zipped to our first stop the boat closely follows the shoreline so you can get a good view of the hotels and downtown providing an opportunity for pictures although the early morning fog an sun made it somewhat difficult to get that great shot.
The first stop was Los Arcos where the staff provided us with snorkel gear and we had a half hour to look at the fish. They threw fish food into the water to attract the fish for us to look at. I saw three different kinds and an ok turnout but fun nevertheless. We were not allowed to stray very far from the boat and there were a lot of people cramped into a small space but it was still enjoyable. I was permitted to remove my vest and dive below the surface which made it much more enjoyable exploring the clear waters.
The boat then continued on to Quimixto, a small fishing village. Here, we were given the option of hiking or taking a 150 peso horse ride up to the top of a mountain to a waterfall. We chose to ride and it took about a 20 minutes through some pretty difficult terrain, even on horseback. No safety regulations were in place and you were pretty much on your own most of the time. We even saw children riding on the same horse with their parents squeezing into a single saddle. Unfortunately the horses weren’t well cared for and you could see the neglect and wear on them. Once we got to the waterfall, you could grab a drink and swim at the pool located at the bottom of the falls or climb the bank and dive in or go into the waterfall if you dared try.
The last stop was at Las Animas beach. This is where we ate lunch and had some time to hang out on the beach. The beach was pretty and very clear water but the village was definitely not a nice touristy location. The people were extremely friendly but lined with shacks, broken boats, anorexic dogs, (who liked to walk through the restaurant), and a few friendly peddlers trying to make a few pesos. A sweet young girl around 3 years old approached us as we were watching some puppies playing and continued to repeat the phrase - Puedo algún cambio? She spoke so softly but we couldn’t understand her until another Spanish speaking tourist informed us she was asking for change. I had nothing with me but he handed her a couple coins and her face lit up and she ran yelling for her mother…very heartbreaking.
I recommend this tour if you are looking for a fun way to spend a day exploring Puerto Vallarta without the touristy look and feel you often get with the more formal charters. It did pose some safety concerns as well as sanitary conditions but I’m glad we had the opportunity!
© A Picture To Remember