Dec 4-15 Trip Report

Report on your Puerto Vallarta trip, hotel, restaurant, tour, etc.

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tandr2
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Dec 4-15 Trip Report

Post by tandr2 » Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:55 pm

Sorry for taking so long, with the holidays and being busy at work, this is the first chance I've had to edit my report. It's a day by day report, sorry if it's long. At the end of the report is a link to my pictures. :)

Puerto Vallarta 2008

Dec 4-15

Day 1 – we had to be at the airport for 5 so we were up and had showers by 3:30. Got to the airport and since I already had our boarding passes printed, we just had to check our baggage. Went through security and went to our gate. Got into Edmonton with no problems and had 3 hours to kill before our next flight that would take us to PV. Walked around for a bit, went through security again and had a bite to eat. Went and sat by the Gate and waited and waited. :) I noticed we weren’t loading yet and wondered why. Turns out we didn’t have two functioning bathrooms, so the pilot requested a whole new plane. Then they had to switch all the food and baggage over. Well, except for 2 of ours… Robin was paged to the Westjet desk and turns out two of our 3 checked bags didn’t get on the plane from Winnipeg. :( They wouldn’t arrive in PV until 6:30 on Friday…grrrr. I was not happy to say the least. Not knowing which two bags were missing, I didn’t know if we’d have any clothes, etc. We got into PV 35 minutes late, got through Immigration and Customs no problem and Mark was still waiting. :) He’s a trooper…the last two trips we’ve been late when he’s been waiting for us. We stopped at a store so Robin could pick up some beer. It ended up being close to the Canto so I stopped and made massage appointments for Friday morning. Then we were on the way to the Condo. Found it no problem but Mark had a hard time maneuvering his truck…but we made it. Just in the nick of time though, Eric (the Caretaker) said he was just having a shower as he and his wife were going to watch the Parade’s. Whew! Got all settled in and walked down to the Malecon. Walked to the sails and back before deciding to eat at the Cheeky Monkey. We both ordered Chicken Wings – they were good. I ordered the Shrimp Scampi and Robin ordered the “Everything” Pizza. I had never had Shrimp before – I took one bite and decided I won’t be eating it again. I didn’t finish any of it...but ate all the garlic bread it had come with. :) Then we walked back to the Condo…up and up and up some more.  One good thing is I might lose weight climbing the stairs all the time. :) I’ve told myself I won’t take a taxi unless we have Groceries or such. Bedtime. :)

Day 2 – Got up at 8 for our 8:30 massages. Took a taxi for 60 pesos...They were both really good and I definitely needed mine! 75 minutes for $25 – that’s a great deal! Walked to the Cambio and exchanged some money so we could get Groceries. Found a “anything you might need store” I’ll have to find out the name of it. * Note – it was Coppell * I bought each of the girls a T-shirt and myself a purse for 287 pesos. Then we walked to Mega for food. Bought whatever we thought we’d need and paid 850 pesos for a cart full. 1 kg of Chicken that would have cost us $10 back home was 44 pesos. Bought milk, hamburger, bread, lunch meat, romaine lettuce, salad dressing, beer, pop & a couple of waters…I thought that was a good deal. Took a cab back to the Condo for 50 pesos. Unloading everything and put it all away and had lunch. We’re going to Café Roma tonight so we’re just going to be lazy this afternoon. Headed to Café Roma around 4 and ended up staying until close. Headed back to the Condo a little tipsier than when we left but that’s OK.

Day 3 – Got up around 9 and Robin went to see if our luggage showed up at Hotel la Siesta. Still no luggage. :( We decided to go to Café Roma and call Westjet as well as help with the lunch for the Kids. We ended up not being much help – they had 15 people show up to help. Maybe we can help next Saturday. Robin called Westjet and got the same runaround as our previous call… it should be delivered today. So we stayed at Café Roma until 1:30 and walked to the Malecon. Stopped at The Zoo for lunch and 2x1 drinks… then figured we might as well head to Walmart and pick up some stuff. Got back to the Condo and still no luggage. So we made supper and relaxed for a while. Then we figured we’d try to find a phone to call Westjet again… couldn’t find a phone and we were already ½ way to Café Roma so we watched the parade as we walked. Got there and ordered a drink while Robin phoned Westjet. Finally he got someone fairly helpful…she said ours bags are definitely in PV but she can’t confirm if they’ve cleared customs yet.. she gave us the # for the baggage desk here so we’ll call them first thing tomorrow. She said we’d get a $25 per day allowance…I’ll be getting more than that when I get home...but for now all I want is my luggage. Stayed at Café Roma until a little after closing and walked back to the Condo. :) It’s bedtime for now…hopefully we’ll track down our luggage tomorrow. :)

Day 4 – Got up about 8 and had breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns & toast... mm mmmm good. We laid around for a bit and then went out. We went down to the Malecon for a bit and then decided we’d take the bus to see if we could find Blake’s for tonight’s supper. We stopped in at a Cambio to exchange some money, called Westjet again and were told that our luggage should be delivered today. We said, nope, we’ve heard that for 3 days already. So we got someone from Baggage Services on the phone. He apparently reviewed our file and apologized a lot. They’re system is showing that the bags were on the plane from Calgary on Friday evening, but PV has no record of receiving them. So he was looking on their system and it told him that Cuba is reporting that they received two bags that are similar to ours…Yikes! So far they have offered us $500USD to replace anything we need…and if the bags are never found…they’ll give us another $1600USD. Not bad, but still doesn’t help me down here…I don’t have a spare $500 kicking around to go and buy everything that was in those bags. Also, finding clothes down here that fit me is NOT fun…as well I am very careful about the sunscreen that I use as I’ve reacted to other ones before…and yup, you guessed it, no one down here carries it. :( Then we stopped at Mega for a few more groceries and I found some tank tops there that I bought as well as some underclothes. We laid around after that and had a light lunch and went for a swim. We’re meeting Glenn & Dawna and possible Mark at Blake’s for supper at 7:30 so we better get going. Might take a bit to get there because of the nightly parades. Had a good supper at Blake’s – the ribs were awesome and Robin’s nacho’s were good too. Then we ran to Walmart for a few more things…1800 pesos later…I think we’re set for our vacation. Took a Taxi home 60 pesos and now we’re going to sit outside and enjoy the night. Tomorrow is beach day – now that we have sunscreen & sandals. :)

Day 5 – Got up about 9, made breakfast and had a “relax by the pool” day. Had lunch and more relaxation by the pool. Decided we’d head downtown for supper/sunset so started getting ready about 4:30. Headed down to the Malecon and had supper at Mi Querencia it was good.. but was fairly pricey 370 pesos for 4 daquiri’s, chicken fingers and a salad. What can you expect when you eat at the “tourist” places? Then we walked all the way to the Pier – stopped at Andale’s for a drink and walked back to Café Roma for another drink and to listen to the Jam Night for the Kids. Then walked back to the Condo all the while watching the parade. Got home and relaxed out by the pool and decided to call it a night…until we looked at the clock and saw that it was only 8:45!! Nope, not bedtime yet.  We found some cards and played Rummy for a bit – now it is bedtime. :) Tomorrow might be a Bucerias Day – we’ll see what the weather’s like in the morning.

Day 6 – Got up and made French toast for breakfast and Robin had just plain toast. Lazed around for a bit and then got ready to head to Bucerias. Took the bus to Wal-Mart and switched to the Bucerias bus… 32 pesos to get there. Not bad. Walked through the market there and saw a nice Puerto Vallarta sweater – he wanted 320 pesos and I paid 250. Not a bad deal I think. Went to Adriano’s for lunch and sat on the beach for a bit. Bought some necklaces and a chain for 800 pesos – I know I spent too much, but what can ya do? Had two cheeseburger and fries plus two beer and a water for 165 pesos. Headed back through the market but didn’t buy anything else. Caught the bus back to PV and stopped at Mega for a few things. Took a taxi back to the Condo and sat out by the pool til 5:30. We had a 7pm reservation at Teatro Limon. God ready and headed downtown to exchange some money. Took a Taxi to the restaurant because I wasn’t sure where it was. 70 pesos and we were there. We weren’t quite sure what to expect – thankfully we brought enough money. It’s 450 pesos per person and there is no menu. He asks you a few questions and makes whatever he wants. We had buns, salad, duck, filet mignon and chocolate cake plus 3 daquiri’s between us…the bill was 1350 pesos. It was more than we had planned to spend, but it was something we’d never done. Got back to the Condo about 9 and played cards for a few hours. Tomorrow is a lazy day around the pool and hopefully our luggage shows up. Westjet emailed and said it was definitely in PV so we’ll see if it shows up tomorrow.

Day 7 – Got up and had waffles for breakfast. Sat out on the patio for a bit and then we sat by the pool for most of the day. Eric taught us how to play Scaboo and we taught him how to play Rummy. Our luggage finally showed up!! Woohoo!! It was a good day. We ordered KFC for supper and then went down to the Malecon to bring Gord & Diane their muffin tins we brought down for them. When they got there, we went to the Cheeky Monkey for a drink and visited for a bit. We parted ways on the Malecon and we went back to the Condo. Eric & his wife came home and we visited with him til 11 and went to bed.

Day 8 - Got up and had toast & cereal for breakfast. Sat around for a bit and then decided we’d head to Café Roma to deliver the last of the stuff that was in our luggage. Had a drink there and headed to the Market for a few things I wanted to get before we left. Once we had the blankets and some T-shirts, we went back to Café Roma and had a bite to eat and a drink. Then we headed down to the beach and ended up at Burro’s Bar by the Pier. Robin had a bucket of beer and I had ordered Daquiri’s but they weren’t good so I didn’t drink them. We sat there for a bit, bought a pair of earrings and headed back to the Malecon. Caught a Taxi back to the Condo and went for a quick swim and then sat in the sun for a bit. Robin made supper while I had a shower and then we headed down to watch some of the parade. We also wanted to go to the Canto to see if anyone was there painting tiles. Nope, not tonight…he was doing some other paintings. He said the tile guy would be there tomorrow night – so we’ll head there again tomorrow. No one even questioned us for wristbands…guess because we looked like we belonged there. Then we stopped at Mega for a few groceries…milk, beer, bananas, hash browns and toilet paper. I also got some water and some bakery things and ice cream…all for about 400 pesos. Then we took a taxi back to the Condo – he had to take the long way because of the parades. Once all the groceries were put away, we had some ice cream and played cards. Tomorrow is just a sun day – our second last (full) day before we have to go back to reality. :(

Day 9 – We got up and had our usual breakfast. Laid in the sun all day – went for a couple of swims. Then we headed to Café Roma for Karaoke night, ran into Glenn & Dawna so we sat with them. They left just before we did – they were heading to Andale’s. We left about 8:30 to head to the Canto for paintings. I slipped into the Canto no problem, but there was a big line up for paintings so I had to wait a while. Robin was waiting outside and I guess security didn’t like him there so they gave him a hard time. Finally my paintings were done so we high-tailed it out of there. Took a taxi back to the Condo as it was the last night for the Parades and was crazy downtown. Got back to the Condo, dropped off the paintings and headed back down to the parades as we promised Eric we’d go and watch him dance. Turns out they started earlier than he had told us so we missed him – we felt really bad because we wanted to see him and he was sooo looking forward to us watching him. :( Got back to the Condo about 12 and went straight to bed. One more full day and then it’s home time. :(

Day 10 – We got up about 9:30 and had breakfast. It was another lazy day by the pool. We headed out about 4:30 for supper – we tried a Buffet across from the Canto called Josephina’s – it was good food for 202 pesos. We both walked away full. :) Then we headed to Walmart for some last minute souvenirs. It was crazy busy in there – we figured because of Christmas…turns out it was because of Christmas and because Walmart was giving the IVA tax back. Took a taxi back to the Condo and dropped off our bags. Then we headed to Café Roma to say our goodbyes. Fox & Cheryl had gone to the VallartaScene board meeting so they weren’t there. Just the 3 guys were there. We sat and visited with them for a few hours – I think we had a really good conversation. We were the only ones there for a while. Headed back to the Condo around 9:30 and played cards until 12. Bedtime now.

Day 11 – Our last day here  Got up at 9 and had waffles for breakfast. Robin went in search of the PV Mirror and I stayed at the Condo to pack. We’re going to sit in the sun until we have to leave so I only kept out the necessities. Sat in the sun til 2:30 and got ready to leave.  Eric arranged for a taxi for 3 so I better get going. Had a quick shower and the taxi was 10 mins early so I was rushing around. Said goodbye to Eric and headed for the airport. Got to the airport about 3:15 and checked in no problem. Went through security and realized I had forgotten all my chocolate bars and cookies that I was going to bring home. :( Had a quick bite to eat at Sbarro – a pizza place in the airport. Huge pieces of pizza, salad and a drink for 70 pesos each. Got to our gate and waited. Then some kind of glitch happened and the voice said “Last call for Westjet flight 755”. Everyone freaked out and ran for the gate…then a lady came on and said it was an accident. But not before a couple of people yelled at the boarding gate workers. Yikes! What’s the rush? :) It’s -40 back home in MB…not sure what it is in Edmonton but I’m sure it’s cold too. So it’s 5:16 and our plane that we’re taking isn’t even landed yet. So we wait…manana. Finally got on the plane and left PV behind :( Got into Edmonton and the temperature was -30 without the windchill. Yikes! Had to wait for a bit for our luggage – the poor baggage guys were soo cold they were getting frostbite. While we waited, I called the hotel for the shuttle. We got our bags and headed for the door..got on the shuttle and were zipped off to the hotel. Dropped our bags and I ran next door to Tim Hortons for a Hot Chocolate. Brrr. Got settled in bed, drank my Hot Chocolate and called it a night at 12:30. We asked for a 4:30 wake up call and the shuttle for 5. Got to the airport and checked in no problem. Headed through Security as there isn’t much open at 5am so why wait? Got on the plane, Robin had the aisle seat and I had the window – there was no one in between us so we could stretch out.  Taxied backwards and the pilot started the engines – something wasn’t right so he taxied back to the gate. After a few minutes, we were told we might as well de-plane. We ended up on a completely different plane around 9:30 – only 3 hours late. Landed in Winnipeg about 12:30 and got our luggage no problem. Grabbed a taxi to my parents place to pick up our truck. Stopped at Leon’s for a new stove as the glass on ours broke the night before we left. $500 later we head for home as I was supposed to be at work for 1pm. Finally showed up there at 3:45… oh well.

Update on Westjet – Sent in my receipts for the stuff we bought on Wednesday and someone from Baggage Services called me that night – he said I had two options, I could take the $537 in cash or they would give me a $1200 flight credit. I thought about it and called them back on Thursday. I explained what all had happened and that I thought I should get a $1500 flight credit – the guy reviewed our file and agreed. So our next flight is basically free…woohoo. I’m glad they made the effort to correct their mix-up. :)

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smitty
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Post by smitty » Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:39 pm

Tracy - you write a very interesting trip report . I laughed about your reaction to shrimp - you sound very much like my wife ! I liked the picture of the beach dog and the food ones . It's a shame your luggage got lost but the compensation was good . You and Robin have good attitudes and know how to have fun ! :)

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Post by Chevy Man » Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:52 pm

I got a kick out of the last call for your flight. That happened to us last year. Of course it was a mistake since the plane hadn't even got there yet. Must be a tape they play just to keep everyone on their toes! :lol:

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Post by northmb » Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:54 pm

Great report Tracy! Glad to hear that you guys had a great time and happy to hear that Westjet made good on their mix-up with your luggage! Maybe we'll get to see you guys there next year!

Sherry & Des

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tandr2
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Post by tandr2 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:01 pm

If all goes as planned (insert "if Tracy gets what she wants" here :)) we're going to be there again March 26-April 2 with some friends of ours and Robin's parents...but it's still up in the air.

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Post by sjl330 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:15 pm

Great report! Thanks for sharing and the pics of the food make my mouth water.

Did you get your massages at Canto? Are they always they great of a price? And you don't have to be a guest at that resort? I'll have to check that out.

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Post by tandr2 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:47 pm

sjl330 wrote:Great report! Thanks for sharing and the pics of the food make my mouth water.

Did you get your massages at Canto? Are they always they great of a price? And you don't have to be a guest at that resort? I'll have to check that out.
We go to Essence Massage (under the Villas Vallarta by Canto del Sol) 75 mins for $25 which we find is a GREAT deal as here in Manitoba it's $60 for an hour. I've gotten two massages there now and both have been great. There are two of three more massage places in the same mall (the benefit of having 3 resorts side by side) and all are the same price. Not sure on how good they are though.

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Post by ronald » Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:04 am

Thanks for your report.

I always learn something when I read a well written report such as this. Appears that you had a memorable vacation... Just curious why you flew to Edmonton to fly to PV, when Westjet has a flight from Winnipeg to PV? I always wonder about hearing an airline say that they will provide your misplaced luggage to you the next day, when they only fly into the place once or twice a week.

Sure is nice to see that all worked out in the end... Every airline has the ability to screw things up, but WestJet seems to at least make some attempt to work things out..

Never knew that TeatroLimon had the equivalent of a minimum charge of 450 pesos per person.. That's like $45 our money... in Mexico.... WOW.

Essence Massage sounds like a great deal as well. How far is it from the GCP?

Welcome home... them free flight credits sure do make me jealous.... We'll be in PV in less that two weeks... flying Westjet as well.... think we'll take a couple of empty suitcases along and hope that they lose them.

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Post by tandr2 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:53 am

ronald wrote:Thanks for your report.

I always learn something when I read a well written report such as this. Appears that you had a memorable vacation... Just curious why you flew to Edmonton to fly to PV, when Westjet has a flight from Winnipeg to PV? I always wonder about hearing an airline say that they will provide your misplaced luggage to you the next day, when they only fly into the place once or twice a week.

Sure is nice to see that all worked out in the end... Every airline has the ability to screw things up, but WestJet seems to at least make some attempt to work things out..

Never knew that TeatroLimon had the equivalent of a minimum charge of 450 pesos per person.. That's like $45 our money... in Mexico.... WOW.

Essence Massage sounds like a great deal as well. How far is it from the GCP?

Welcome home... them free flight credits sure do make me jealous.... We'll be in PV in less that two weeks... flying Westjet as well.... think we'll take a couple of empty suitcases along and hope that they lose them.
Thanks for the kind words - I just write whatever I feel like, usually it has no rhyme or reason. :) I always take 10 minutes or so before bed (unless I'm tipsy) and write the days happenings as I remember them.

In December Westjet doesn't fly direct to PV from Winnipeg - only starting in January..thats why we had to fly to Edmonton. If we go back in March, it's a direct flight. The flew the bags to Calgary then to PV the next day - I'm guessing they alternate Calgary flights one day and Edmonton flights the next day. They go from Edmonton to PV every other day.

Yes, Westjet did what they could to make things right in the end..Air Canada wouldn't have done anything.

Essence Massage is in Plaza Las Glorias - towards downtown from the GCP. It's in the same location as Plaza Pelicanos (Grand), Villas Vallarta by Canto del Sol and Canto del Sol.

lol @ the empty suitcases. :)

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Post by travelbug_jp » Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:39 pm

Thanks Tracy for the trip report. Other than the luggage mishap it sure sounds like to had a great time and ready to go back on a freebie flight!
Joyce

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Post by katnsocal » Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:01 am

Tracy,
You gotta love those freebie flights. I got two of them one year from Aeromexico. They overbooked our flight so we gave up our seats....darn. The next day we went back and told them we would give up our seats again if they were overbooked...they were :D and we got another voucher. We figured a 3rd time would have been pushing it, LOL.

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