Our original vague trip plans for this trip called for a few days on the beach. We hadn't really picked out a specific place to go. The night before we left for Mexico came the first real news of the "Swine Flu" (H1N1). We changed our plans a bit and decided to go to the Casa Magna Marriott in Puerto Vallarta where we felt we could monitor the situation. When we arrived in Guadalajara the next evening, the Mexican Health Department was handing out masks in the airport. There wasn't a lot of real news though so we continued as planned. We had intended to stop in Tequila the next morning. We actually did stop in Tequila but the distilleries were already closed to tours due to the flu. In Puerto Vallarta though there was no sign of any changes. No masks in evidence and the hotels and restaurants were packed with tourists. This incidentally is the view from our balcony.
We watched a bit of both CNN and Fox News from the hotel but as usual both were excessively sensational about the whole thing. Mexican news was pretty clear that the flu was only bad in the vicinity of Mexico City and San Luis Potosi so we spent a relaxing day on the beach and by the pool.
Ultimately, we spent five days in Puerto Vallarta. Each one proceeded more or less the same. We'd wake up, go down to the pool or the beach and review the days' news. There were never any confirmed cases in Jalisco or Nayarit states during our stay so it was more a problem with the impact on our plans. First museums closed, then most parks which made travel to some of the places we had considered less worthwhile. There was a vague threat of restaurants closing to take-out only as they had in Mexico City. In both Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara they closed all bars and nightclubs after midnight. Apparently the flu mostly spreads after midnight.
As you can see, Puerto Vallarta isn't the worst place in the world to be potentially quarantined. We worked on a vague theory that alcoholic fruity drinks could ward off all illnesses. So far at least it has not been proved wrong. We went into Puerto Vallarta's center several times to wander the streets. It is a bit narrow and cramped down there so we don't have any good pictures from the city itself. The public squares are lovely at night and we found several good restaurants in the area just east of the Rio Cuale.
Because our hotel was at Marina Vallarta we also spent a couple evenings in the Marina area. It was lively the first few days when there were still cruise ships in port. After a couple days though cruise lines had abandoned Mexico and the hotel occupancy had dropped noticeably. The inner marina is lined with restaurants as well as people trying to get you to go fishing, diving, time-sharing etc… We did spend a day at the Marieta Islands just outside Banderas Bay but we've devoted a whole separate web page to that.
The restaurants in the marina are definitely not using the same cost scale as most of Mexico. There are a few typical places that have only slightly inflated prices on the streets leading away from the water.
We were in Puerto Vallarta during the end of the dry season and there was barely a cloud in the sky during our stay. The afternoons involved a lot of haze across the bay. The bay itself was much calmer in the mornings although there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of ocean swimming in PV. We did decide to return to Guadalajara for a couple days at the end of the trip as originally intended.