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Day 19 - Puerto Vallarta

Written on: Wednesday April 5th, 2006

A journal entry from: Mexico 2006


This is our last day in Puerto Vallarta and really the last day of our trip. The next couple of days will involve us flying back to Huatulco, staying over one night, then catching our flight out of Mexico back home to Canada. I?m really sad, it?s over so soon!

This morning, we woke up early, did some packing and got ready for our Outdoor Adventure Tour which we got at a discounted price through Adrian. Isn?t that nice of him? We had breakfast at the same coffee bar as 2 days ago. We got a tea, a coffee, and two very large cookies to go. We hopped a taxi for 60 pesos to the departure point of our tour: the Vallarta Adventures office in the Marina. We were there 1 hour early, so we sat down, ate our breakfast, felt the warm sunshine on our skin, and watched the Marina workers wash the moored yachts and sailboats. It was so nice and relaxing and good way to start the day that promised to be full of adrenaline and excitement.

At 11 AM, our driver arrived in an old, bright yellow Mercedes-Benz Unimog that was used by the Swiss army in the 50s. We (14 of us) loaded up in the back, our driver got in the front and oops the truck wouldn?t start. Our driver poked around the motor and tried to figure out what was wrong then informed us that we would have to wait for the mechanic to arrive from Nuevo Vallarta in about 5 mexican minutes. Knowing that 5 mexican minutes really meant 30 minutes, we got ready to wait it out. What else could we do? One of our fellow passengers was a bit of a nuthead when it came to old trucks so he decided to use the waiting time to poke around to see if he could figure out the problem. Lo and behold, it was the battery, it was bone-dry. He poured in 3 litres of water from the water bottles we all had brought and the truck started right up. Yeah! We left the Marina and drove through the hotel zone, through old town, into the romantic zone, then up into the mountains along highway 200. We zoomed along in the open back, watching the ocean on our right and the Sierra Madres on our left. At one point, some of our fellow tour passengers swore they saw whales, but I didn?t see anything. We cruised up and down through tight corners and narrow ravines, enjoying the spectacular vistas. At about the 30 minute mark, we turned left onto a dirt road and that?s when the real fun started. We were bounced all over as our truck navigated large potholes and ruts on the dusty road, it was fantastic. Every time we got to a steep hill, we would feel the truck list to the right or left and wonder if we would make it. We arrived at the Vallarta Adventures property and were greeted by our guides for the next 3 hours. We were quickly suited up with a helmet, leather gloves, and climbing harness with carabiners and rappeling rings. They introduced themselves and had us pumped up for what turned out to be one of the best 2 hours of my life. I?ve done a bit of indoor climbing before but this was so much better. After giving us run down of what was expected of us, simple techniques and security regulations we got started. First phase was to get on mules that would bring us up to the top of first zip line. My little guy was fiesty and although I was one of the last to leave, I was the first to arrive. He doesn?t like to follow anyone and would pass his slower friends at any given opportunity. I felt safe and knew he knew what he was doing much more than I did, so I let him do his thing and crooned into his ear that he was such good boy.

At the top, we walked up a little path and were greeted with 180 degree of the Sierra Madres mountains extending as far as the eye could see. One by one, we went over the safety regulations, got attached to the zip line and wheee! down we went over 200 ft above the tree line! It was fantastic! I had major nerves before my turn, I was worried I would do something wrong but it was so simple. They do everything for you, all you have to do is to sit down in your harness once attached, cross your feet, keep your strongest hand on the line above and off you go. As you got close to the end of the line, to slow down, you applied pressure to the line with your leather gloved hand and you stopped. Over the course of the next hour we did 4 zip lines, including one that dumped you into a pool of water. It was freezing cold! After, we had 2 rappels, including the first one that was over a rock lip and down 100ft. Again, I was really nervous since I had never rappelled before with an Figure 8 descender, I had only used GriGri belay device. It was easier than I thought although I did take my time to make sure I really got comfortable with it since I knew I had another one to do. The end of the rappel was into a pool of water, so needless to say by the end of the tour we were soaked from head to toe. All the while, the tour had a photographer taking pictures of us since it would have been too dangerous for us to be carrying around cameras and trying to take pictures. He got a great shot of me descending that I bought (of course you had to pay for them). On the next rappel, we rappelled down along a waterfall and landed in a 10ft deep pool of water and had to swim out. It was the end of our adventure, but we were all ready to keep going for another couple of hours. We walked back to the beginning of the property and had lunch while we waited for our pictures to be available. The lunch was a sandwich buffet with buns, meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo and mustard. Kevin and I finally bought 3 photos, one of each of us and great shot of us together for 45$ USD. Ouch, it was really expensive but it was our last day and we really wanted to have a photo memory of this day. It was a great day and we would recommend this tour to anyone in the Puerto Vallarta area. It is well organised, incredibly safe, and the guides are fantastic. Although, one small suggestion, bring a change of cloth for the return trip, it?s really cold in the back of the truck when you?re soaken wet.

Once back at the hotel, we took long hot showers to warm up and spent the remainder of the evening around our hotel pool watching the sunset. It was the first time since we had arrived that we had been at the pool.

We went to bed that night tired but happy at how our trip had ended. Tomorrow off to Huatulco for us.