Easter in Mexico

Undoubtedly Easter is the most crucial celebration of the Christian world. The resurrection of  Jesus Christ marks the beginning of the Christian fate and is celebrated widely. 

Semana santa en la Ciudad de México

Easter happens in Springtime, the time of the year when everything awakens from the long winter slumber, flowers bloom, filling with vibrant colors our scenery. Often the Easter celebration is a time when people like to travel. The well-deserved Easter holiday is marked on the calendar of many.  

Celebrating Easter in Mexico 

You will not find Mexican children eating chocolate bunnies or hunting for eggs in Easter week like in the United States. On the other hand, in Mexico, the Easter celebrations are full of Catholic rituals and symbolism carried over centuries. Catholicism arrived with the Spanish conquistadors in 1531, and it is until today a significant part of the Mexican identity, with about 100 million Mexicans identifying themselves as Catholics. Therefore, if you are traveling to Mexico during this time, you are in for a culturally fascinating experience.  

Mexicans celebrate Easter in a two-week period, where the first week is called Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the second one is Semana de Pascua (Easter Week).

In Mexico, the Holy Week takes off the Friday before Palm Sunday. This day is known as Viernes de Dolores (Friday of Sorrows), where the pain experienced by the Virgin Mary cause the loss of her son is remember. 

Palm Sunday 

Palm Sunday, also known as Domingo de Ramos, marks the official beginning of the Semana Santa in Mexico. This Sunday commemorates when Jesus Christ victoriously entered  Jerusalem riding a donkey. His followers lay palms on the way, representing peace and victory and recognizing Jesus Christ as their Messiah.  

Procesión de palmas el Domingo de Ramos, interior del templo de La Merced, Antigua Guatemala.

On Palm Sunday In Mexico, you will find vendors offering intricate, beautiful palms weaved in various designs outside churches. Also, depending on the city, processions are organized this day. Later on, the devotees gather for mass where the priest will bless the palms, the ones that decorate the church will be used for the Ash Wednesday ritual the following year.  

Maundy Thursday 

Holy Thursday or Jueves Santo is when Mexican Catholics remember Jesus and His disciples’ last supper. Plus, on this Thursday night, traditionally, people visit seven churches.  The idea of this rite is to offer the congregation time to reflect and meditated about Jesus’s life. 

Good Friday 

This day is one of the most crucial celebrations of Semana Santa. On Viernes Santo, no mass is officiated. All sculptures and the cross inside the church are covered with purple mantles. Customarily,  the Catholic church dictates their congregation not to consume meat and fast on this day.

Cuaresma. Templo de Santo Domingo. #Zacatecas

It is popular that on Good Friday, actors portrait the Viacrucis( The Road of the Cross), a Latin word that refers to the journey Jesus experience from the moment He is sentenced to death to the time He dies on the cross. This procession happens all over the country. However, the one in San Luis Potosi is peculiar because none all the participants speak. Therefore it is called Procession of Silence. The Procesion del Silencio was declared cultural heritage in 2013.  

Holy Saturday 

This mourning day, also called Sabado de Gloria, is a time to reflect on the pain Christ endured due to His sacrifice for humanity and the hope of His resurrection.

One controversial Mexican tradition of this day is that people throw buckets of water at each other. Because water is a precious resource not to be waste, this tradition had been stopped, and fines can be given to people practicing this. 

Surprisingly, this tradition of throwing water originated in the Middle Ages when parishioners will not shower during the Holy Week because it was considered a sin. In contrast, on Holy Saturday, they will throw water to each other as a symbol of purifying their souls and washing away their sins.

Easter Sunday 

For Catholics, salvation arrives on Domingo de Pascua when Jesus of Nazareth conquers death. Many attend the Easter mass, and church bells ring. In some parts of Mexico, effigies of Judas are made out of paper and then burn. After the celebration at the church, family and friends will gather in plazas to celebrate.

Easter Sunday marks the beginning of the Semana de Pascua, a time most Mexican families use for traveling. Either they take holidays for one or two weeks. Beaches such as Puerto Vallarta are some of the most popular destinations among nationals. The Easter Holidays here in Puerto Vallarta marks the end of the high season for some.  

Let’s not forget that, like other Mexican traditions, Semana Santa and Semana de Pascua are also the time to savor delicious traditional dishes.  In many places, you will find romeritos (tender sprigs in mole sauce), tortas de camaron (dried shrimp cakes), bacalao a la Vizcaina (Codfish in tangy tomato sauce), chiles Rellenos, capirotada  (French Toast with the Mexican twist).  There are so many more apetizing dishes that you must try this Easter holiday in Mexico. 

What A Drag 2021 – Fundraiser for Banderas Bay Women’s Shelter

What A Drag is one of the most anticipated events in Puerto Vallarta each year. The show is a fundraiser to support Casa Esperanza Women’s Shelter and Compassion for the Family.

It’s a musical comedy show like no other, with an evening of music, dancing, and hilarious theater, as straight men dress in drag for the first time in their lives and participate in a talent show, with the help of their Fairy Drag Mothers who do their makeup, costumes, styling and coach them on how to walk in heels and perform onstage.

The show is held at Teatro Vallarta each year. This year, due to COVID-19, the theater itself only had a small live audience in compliance with Covid protocols, with every other row of seats blocked off, and the theater only about 25% full.

This year the show was live-streamed for the first time ever, by Colectivo Hueco, and over 200 live viewers tuned in on Facebook to watch the stream. There were also satellite viewing parties at Act2PV’s Starlight Cabaret, Monzon Brewing, and Casa Karma where small audiences gathered to watch the live stream on projector screens.

Sutton Lee Seymour hosted this year’s event onstage as the “Mistress of Ceremonies,” while Amy Armstrong hosted the online streaming.

Eli Estrada opened the show, singing Stand By Me in a beautiful solo performance, and then Sutton Lee Seymour performed Queen Like Me.

Eli Estrada sings at What A Drag 2021. Photo by Ernesto Gallardo / GALUZ Fotografía.
Sutton Lee Seymour hosts What A Drag 2021. Photo by Ernesto Gallardo / GALUZ Fotografía.

Ruben Marquez performed a belly dance, and the six contestants were introduced one at a time, each belly dancing across the stage.

A contestant belly dances across the state at What A Drag 2021. Photo by Ernesto Gallardo / GALUZ Fotografía.

Sutton Lee Seymour then asked each contestant a question in the style of beauty pageants, and their answers were amusing. They performed a second belly dancing number as a group with Celeste Innocenti singing.

Each contestant then performed individually during the talent portion of the show. As is tradition, each contestant created a drag queen character with a drag name.

Berry Sweet

Todd Atkins portrayed “Berry Sweet.” Her Fairy Drag Mother, Steven Retchless said, “Berry Sweet was inspired by UK transgender drag queen ‘Juno Birch.’ Drag is not just about making a man appear as a woman but embodying a fantasy. Juno is a trans woman in drag who is inspired by the movie Mars Attacks and an alien’s interpretation of an Earth Woman. Set as an ideal housewife, Stepford wife with fashions from the 50s-70s. She often uses varying tones of pastel skin tones from blue, pinks and peach. Her signature look is always topped off with a pair of wide angle sunglasses and white acrylic paint highlights. Todd is the owner of Lix Ice Cream, so I wanted to choose a name of a an ice cream flavor, and since were changing his entire skin tone blue we went with ‘Berry Sweet.'”

She performed Barbra Streisand’s “Gotta Move,” set in a grocery store where Berry Sweet was mopping the floor and dreaming of a new life. The lyrics of the song are about a woman getting out of a troubled situation and moving to a new town with new faces. She had five backup dancers, led by Ulises Perez Torrez and his group, Loco Por la Rumba. It was an interesting performance, and even she rolled a shopping card across the stage.

Berry Sweet was sponsored by Ryan Donner Realtor y Asociados.

Berry Sweet getting ready in the dressing room. Photo by Ernesto Gallardo / GALUZ Fotografía.

Marilyn Hungloe

Carl Sidoti portrayed “Marilyn Hungloe,” an homage to Marilyn Monroe’s character in the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She performed Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend with a small cast of back-up dancers in ballgowns and suits, in a recreation of the number from the film. Marilyn Hungloe was sponsored by Elengorn Realtors, and she earned 2nd runner-up for this performance.

Marilyn Hungloe performs at What A Drag 2021. Photo by Ernesto Gallardo / GALUZ Fotografía.

Minni Nomember

Ryan Bymaster portrayed “Minni Nomember.” She performed a spirited version of Aretha Franklin’s Respect with backup dancers in sequined jackets and images of respected women projected on the screen behind her, including everyone from Madeline Albright to RuPaul. For the number’s finale, she was levitated in a hoop over the stage while her backup dancers held pyrotechnic sparklers. Minni Nomember was sponsored by the Texas Embassy Blues Band and Keller Williams Luxury properties, and her performance earned her 1st runner-up.

Minni Nomember performs at What A Drag 2021. Photo by Ernesto Gallardo / GALUZ Fotografía.

Lola Pop

Billy Pilawski portrayed “Lola Pop.” She performed an exciting version of Barry Manilow’s Copacabana (At the Copa), complete with conga line and extravagant headdress. Lola Pop was sponsored by ReMax Sites Marina & Destiny.

Lola Pop performs at What A Drag 2021. Photo by Ernesto Gallardo / GALUZ Fotografía.

CarolinAmor

Tirso García portrayed “CarolinAmor,” an homage to Courtney Love and her band Hole, as well as a nod to theater tech crews everywhere. Tirso himself is a professional theater tech, with his background running lights and sound at Act2PV, on a cruise ship, and now at Collectivo Hueco. CarolinAmor walked out on stage with her own set of theater lights and handmade wooden cut-out guitar. After a minute of funny on-mic banter with the tech crew in the booth at Teatro Vallarta, she performed Hole’s Celebrity Skin while turning on her own stage lights one at a time and rocking out. This performance was modern and funny, and much appreciated by all theater geeks who witnessed it. CarolinAmor was sponsored by Dr. Randy Trust and Nacho Daddy, and supported by his Fairy Drag Mother Kami Desilets and the rest of the crew at Collectivo Hueco.

CarolinAmor performs at What A Drag 2021. Photo by Ernesto Gallardo / GALUZ Fotografía.

Charity Fundrazor

John Guptill portrayed “Charity Fundrazor,” an homage to Lady Gaga. She performed a medley of Born This Way and Bad Romance. Her costume and the costumes of her backup dancers were certainly creative, in typical Lady Gaga fashion, including hospital gowns and masks, as well as horns.

Charity Fundrazor won this year’s Ms. Sweet Charity for collecting the most funds of any contestant in the fundraiser, and she also won first place in the show and was crowned the winner with the title of Ms. What A Drag. Charity Fundrazor was sponsored by Barcito PV.

Charity Fundrazor performs at What A Drag 2021. Photo by Ernesto Gallardo / GALUZ Fotografía.

Voting was conducted via paper ballot at Teatro Vallarta as well with a poll on Facebook.

After the individual talent performances, Kim Kuzma, Amy Armstrong, Sutton Lee Seymour, Al Carswell and Tonny Kenneth performed.

Kim Kuzma performs at What A Drag 2021. Photo by Ernesto Gallardo / GALUZ Fotografía.
Al Carswell performs at What A Drag 2021. Photo by Ernesto Gallardo / GALUZ Fotografía.

Alex Daoud was awarded best makeup and hair styling. Additional Fairy Drag Mothers, hair stylists and makeup artists included Amberleigh Thatsalll, Javier Martinez, Kimberly LaRue, Luis Germany, Mary Pompa, Nickitta Fuentes, Nicky Ziccolonee, Olga Lidia Maldonado Valle, PoLy Muñoz Duran, Vicente Martell and their teams.

The show ran smoothly with high production value and professionalism, even when an audience member unexpectedly walked onto the stage! Sutton Lee Seymour expertly guided him off the stage and back into the audience where he belonged.

“This year, Covid made us do things differently. So, we did,” show director Javier Martinez said on his Facebook page. “We went online for the first time… Broadcasting this unique experience to the universe may be here to stay.”

The goal of What A Drag is to raise money for Casa Esperanza, the Banderas Bay women’s shelter. This year’s event raised $1,088,433 pesos for the shelter, which is the majority of the organization’s yearly operating budget. Casa Esperanza exists due to its founder and director, David Zude. The entire Puerto Vallarta community extends immense gratitude for his important work providing a safe place for women and children escaping domestic violence.

We Love PV was the presenting sponsor for the event, and additional sponsors included The Rice Girls, Lori Baumgardner, American English Tree, Kim Kieler Properties, Jim Davis, David Wilhoit, Coldwell Banker La Costa Realty, Puerto Vallarta Boat Club, and BNC Tax.

The What-A-Drag committee is Freda Thompson, Tammy Carruthers Prust, Christopher de Ande, Jim Lee, Juan Alvarado, Virgil Salzman and Michael Bracken. Javier Martinez is the show director.

To purchase tickets for next year’s event, or get involved in next year’s event as a contestant or a volunteer, please contact Freda Thompson at fredafish@hotmail.com

Snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta

Where to Go Snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta

Snorkeling, not only doesn’t require formal training but it’s also a fun activity to share with friends and family. Even if you are not an expert swimmer you can snorkel either wearing a life vest or holding on to a flotation device. Trying snorkeling will get you a first-row seat in a breathtaking underwater world full of colorful life forms. It takes your vacation experience to the next level.

Benefits of Snorkeling 

Snorkeling is not only entertaining but also comes with few health benefits, such as 

  • Improves joint mobility, eases joint pain.
  • Increase vascular health, strengthening the heart muscle. 
  • Enhances breathing by increasing oxygen intake.
  • Relieves stress and anxiety by practicing mouth breathing techniques. 
  • Full workout, you can burn up to 300 calories per hour 

Snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta

Snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta will expand your discovery of this beautiful town. Puerto Vallarta offers a variety of places where you can come in contact with its rich marine world. 

With more than 20 locations, found in the area between Los Arcos and Yelapa, you can pick one or more that are interesting for you to explore. Here, snorkelers can visit shallow coves, and come in contact with sea life such as starfish, giant lobsters, needlefish, turtles, eagle rays, and much more. 

Some of the most popular locations for snorkeling are Las Caletas, Los Arcos, Quimixto, Las Islas Marietas, Najahuitas, Pizota, and Colomitos. All of them offer a different experience. Let’s take a closer look into some of them to see what they offer.

Islas Marietas (Marietas Islands)

Snorkeling at Islas Marietas – ecotoursvallarta.com

The Marieta Islands are part of the UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere program to improve the relationship between humans and the environment. Oversee by the Mexican government, they make sure that this paradise continues protected from commercialization. Therefore, you will be able to enjoy untouched views of cliffs, beaches, and wildlife. 

At Marietas Island, three water currents gather,  giving a place for an abundant oceanic life as well as birds. Here you will find manta rays, multicolored fish, dolphins, humpback whales, blue-footed boobies, and sea turtles. 

Situated 20 miles south of Puerto Vallarta, you can either take a one-hour boat ride or drive to Punta de Mita and from there take a shorter boat ride. 

Parque Marino Los Arcos

Puerto Vallarta Los Arcos Small-Group Snorkeling Adventure 2021

Located 12 miles south of Puerto Vallarta in the area called Mismaloya. Los Arcos (that means arches in English) National Marine Park is formed by three rocky islands that have passages, tunnels, and arch formations that shelter a diversity of aquatic life. 

This government-protected marine reserve is very popular for snorkeling, diving, swimming, Stand-Up-Paddle (SUP), Yoga SUP, and kayaking.

Formed by five granite islets, the bigger three are called Roca de Los Arcos, Roca de la Tortuga, and Roca del Diablo. The islets are at the deepest part of the Bahia de Banderas Bay, which depth can range anywhere from 30 to 1600 feet. It counts with underwater caves, deep tunnels, impressive reefs, and arches. Its waters are loaded with specimens such as the pufferfish, octopus, eel, moray eel, parrotfish, cornetfish, lobsters, angelfish, rays, clownfish, stingers, anemones, nudibranchs, and sea turtles. 

Los Arcos National Marine Park is also the home for a diversity of marine birds which choose this place for reproducing. Here you can find the rare blue-footed boobies, sea hawk, some species of parakeets, cormorants, pelicans, and others.

At only 20 minutes away from the center of Puerto Vallarta, reaching Los Arcos is very easy. You just can jump in a local bus and get off in Mismaloya and from there hired a panga (water taxi) to take you. On the other hand, if you are more experienced at snorkeling, it’s also a possibility of hiring a private boat, you would have plenty of options where to choose from.

Pizota 

If you are looking for a tranquil spot to snorkel that is not on the touristic radar Pizota is the place you should go. Most visitors make it as far as Yelapa, which is a charming fishermen town with a lot to offer like restaurants, boutique hotels, and an impressive waterfall. However, it can get crowded, and with a heavy boat-traffic does not have the best conditions for snorkeling. 

Therefore, taking the short trip after Yelapa’s beach to the town of Pizota is worth it.  With very few visitors you will find great snorkeling conditions. 

To reach there you can ask one of the pangas (water taxi) drivers to drop you, just make sure you set a pickup time, so they can bring you back to Yelapa. Another option is to charter a boat to take you to Pizota. 

Before your Snorkeling Trip 

Some things to consider before start packing your snorkeling gear.

  • The best time of year to snorkel with very clear water is during the “shoulder seasons”: from April to June and then from October to December. However, its been reports of “cloudy waters” around the Christmas and New Years’s holidays. 
  • There are stronger water currents during the winter months that can make it difficult to snorkel or swimming.
  • During the rainy season, the rivers flow mud into the ocean which makes the water cloudy decreasing visibility.   
  • Check for a guided snorkeling tour in Puerto Vallarta. 
  • Use biodegradable ocean-friendly sunblock to prevent contamination to the marine life.

Also, remember to be safe and have a fantastic time while snorkeling and visiting beautiful Puerto Vallarta.

Los Muertos Pier

File:Muelle Puerto Vallarta.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

If you had recently discovered the paradise spot named Puerto Vallarta, and venture in sunny walks through its cozy streets, I am certain you came across Los Muertos Pier. 

A sail looking structure that stands out in what is also known as Los Muertos beach. It looks impressive during the day and even more charming at night with its changing colors.

Let me tell you that the pier did not always look that way, this splendid new pier has been there only since 2013. However, the life of Los Muertos dates way back in time and its significance for the citizens of Puerto Vallarta. 

A “star” Is Born 

The first Los Muertos Pier was built as a way to transport from Puerto Vallarta to Mismaloya, the cast and crew that was filming “the Night of the Iguana” in 1964, the famous movie that place Puerto Vallarta on the map. Starting Elizabeth Taylor and her then-husband Richard Burton, directed by John Huston. The pier was far from glamorous, made out of wood, but it fulfills its mission, to safely transport the movie team and equipment. 

Patrick Comerford: Re-reading 'The Night of the Iguana' by Tennessee  Williams

Eventually, in the 90s, a concrete pier was built to replace the wooden one.  It was called “Muelle de La Solidaridad Vallartense” (The Vallarta Solidarity Dock), it was not attractive, but it was practical. Its construction was finance by residents, businessmen, and officials from Puerto Vallarta. In those years,  Puerto Vallarta, together with Boca the Tomatlan were key ports, communicating the southern beach towns which were not reachable by car. 

Up to this day, you can still observe people who live down south transporting all sorts of essential things such as a washer, a refrigerator, or a Mariachi for the Quinceañera party (Sweet fifteen) in the small pangas (small open skiffs).

A Well Deserved Makeover 

In 2010, when the pier was not looking its best, the piles were old and rotten, the local government announced its proposal of giving a needed makeover to the Vallarta centric area. 

The project had the objective to bring new life into the area as a way to increase tourist traffic by creating attractive spots for everyone’s enjoyment. Therefore, the creation of a new attractive pier was vital for this Puerto Vallarta enhancement project.  

The project was designed by architect José de Jesús Torres Vega, winner of the Biennial of Architecture that year, and it took three years to be completed. 

Home Español

On January 4th, 2013, the new pier was inaugurated. A cheerful celebration with fireworks, music, skydivers, and much more. With its impressive 21,000 square foot sail, its design was not only functional but good-looking too. The current Los Muertos Pier features more than 300 feet walking area with benches, and changing color lights. Making it an ideal place to observe the always breathtaking Vallarta sunsets, read your favorite book, or just take in all the natural beauty that surrounds the splendid Bahia de Banderas Bay. If you feeling adventurous, jump in a panga headed to the exotic and less crowded southern beaches like Las Animas, Quimixto, Mismaloya, Yelapa. Depending on the season you may be able to spot a whale or two. 

Why the Name of Los Muertos Beach?

As many stories that passed along from generation to generation, part folk tale, part history. The origin of the name Los Muertos (the dead) for the Vallarta pier has three known versions.

Legend Number One 

According to local folklore, in the times that pirates cruised the seven seas, they regularly came to this port to steal and terrorized its inhabitants. One time, the battle was fierce and many locals, as well as pirates, die on the beach. Hence the name.

Legend Number Two  

It’s said that long ago, the Puerto Vallarta cemetery covered that part of the beach. However, when the city started to grow and got more populated, the government saw the need of moving the cemetery further from there. Even so, locals kept referring to the area as Los Muertos beach. Some affirm that when the area was being developed and many were constructing houses or businesses, bodies from the former burial grounds were found. Quite a surprise!

Fuerteventura, misterios y dulces en la isla majorera | El Viajero | EL PAÍS

Legend Number Three

Probably the most fantastical of the three. A long time ago, pirates seemed to have chosen Puerto Vallarta as their hideout spot for their stolen treasures. A captain arrived at the Vallarta’s shore on a full moon night, in search of his precious treasure that he had hidden few moons before. Though, he was not able to remember the exact location. Frustrated and tired, he gave up and sent out his pirate crew to search for the bounty. 

One lucky pirate found the treasure and decided it was too good for sharing. This resulted in a ferocious battle among pirates. The story tells that it was so bloody that no one made it out alive. The next day the locals found the beach full of dead bodies and gave it the famous name Los Muertos. 

Either way, fantastic legend or not, taking a stroll along Los Muertos Pier is a wonderful experience. Whether is daytime or nighttime, I can assure you you will find yourself immersed in the vibrant atmosphere that characterized all things Puerto Vallarta has. So, stop reading and start walking.

Blessing of the fleet

Nuestra Señora de la Paz

You may have seen the christening of a boat. People gathering around the vessel, some words are said and a bottle of champagne gets broken against the boat’s bow. If by chance the bottle does not break is considered a bad omen. 

However, I bet you had never seen a fleet of boats being christened. Well, this year, if you head to Bucerias, you will be a lucky spectator of the  Blessing of the fleet, also known as the blessing of the boats. 

Bucerias 

The neighboring state of Nayarit, also part of the magnificent Banderas Bay, has its share of enchanting beach towns in an area referred to as Riviera Nayarit. One of these charming towns is Bucerias, located between La Cruz de Huanacastle and Nuevo Vallarta. It counts with 18 miles of uninterrupted beach, ideal for surfing, snorkeling, kitesurfing, or just soak in the sun.

Bucerias, which means “place of divers”,  got its name because most of its inhabitants were divers. These divers caught oysters that were abundant in the region. The oysters were mainly sold in Puerto Vallarta or consumed locally. 

Even though it had a small population living in the area, it was only until 1937 that the town of Bucerias was officially registered as an Ejido (land farmed communally under a system supported by the state) by the government. Before this, the town was called Santa Julia de las Tablas because it had a wide variety of wood, that was exported to places like Brasil and Europe. 

Back in those days, the only way to reach Bucerias was by boat from Puerto Vallarta. It only had few dirt roads that were traveled by mule or on foot, crossing mountains, creeks, and hills. These paths were used to get to other towns such as Sayulita, Lo de Marcos, or Compostela. The trip usually took hours and on some occasions even days.  

Our Lady of Peace

Bucerias’ first church, built with adobe and dried palm leaves, at the end of the 1930s stood in the same place where the newer one is today. In the last 60 years, the church is been the place to honor Our Lady of Peace, the patron saint, and protector of the city of Bucerias.

This charming but straightforward church bears detailed ironwork, a large altar with a striking painted backdrop, wooden pews, and kneeling benches. Inside the serene atmosphere creates an ideal space for reflection and contemplation. Worth visiting.

Bucerias January Festivities

Every month of January From the 16th to the 24th, the festivities honoring Our Lady of Peace take place. 

For nine days the town of Bucerias displays a wide arrange of colorful festivities in the name of its patron saint. During the celebration days, every morning at 6:00 am the traditional “Mananitas” (birthday song) is performed by a mariachi. Also, every day, from 8:pm a cultural music festival takes place at the main plaza. 

Throughout these nine celebratory days, a series of religious services, sports activities, art demonstrations, and more cultural events occurred. Everyday picturesque floats cruise the streets of the town, and pilgrimage happens.

The Big Day

On the last day of the celebrations, January 24th the biggest pilgrimage takes place. However, this is no ordinary peregrination. A float of pangas (boats) with local fishermen and their families depart the port located in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. They will carry the Antorcha de la Paz (torch of peace) to Bucerias. Upon arrival, they will take the torch to the Our Lady of Peace church. Then at the church fishermen, divers, merchants, locals, and foreigners gather together to celebrate a mass go ask Our Lady of Peace for a fruitful year with plenty of health and prosperity.   

Every passing year more tourists come to see and participate in this important celebration in the town of Bucerias. However, Bucerias still keeps its essence of an authentic Mexican village attracting Boho souls and art lovers. It is a peaceful escape from the hectic life in big crowded cities. An oasis with so much nature to offer and plenty of tradition to discover.

Don’t wait any longer, travel to Bucerias, and immerse yourself in a pleasant journey. Uncover all that the Bahia de Banderas has to offer.

Where to Get Your U.S. Taxes Done in Puerto Vallarta

It’s tax season again, and you may be wondering if you need to fly back to the U.S. to have your taxes done. Thankfully, the answer is no!

Puerto Vallarta is lucky to have a U.S. tax and accounting firm right here! Not only that, but they actually specialize in U.S. taxes for Americans living abroad, so they are familiar with issues that temporary and permanent residents of Puerto Vallarta have, such as owning property or businesses in Mexico.

BNC Tax & Accounting is a family-owned firm that was started in 2002 in California. The team has grown over the years to include a highly specialized roster of Enrolled Agents and CPAs licensed to practice before the IRS.

In 2009, two of the founding partners of BNC Tax moved to Puerto Vallarta and started serving the local community of Americans living here.

With their specialized knowledge of tax preparation and accounting for expats, BNC Tax is ready to become your trusted advisor and tackle any international challenges that you may have.

BNC Tax


Learn more about BNC Tax on their website at www.bnctax.com

Book an appointment for a free consultation or paid professional advice at www.bnctax.com/appointment

Where to Get a COVID-19 Test in Puerto Vallarta

You can get a COVID-19 test at private hospitals and laboratories in Puerto Vallarta. Prices seem to be changing frequently, so it’s best to call and ask before you go. 

Hospital Joya

(formerly San Javier)
Location: Marina
Address: Blvd Francisco Medina Ascencio 2760 Zona Hotelera Nte. 48333
Phone number for appointments: +52 (322) 226-1010
Website: http://hospitaljoya.com/ 
Approx. price: $2,500 pesos to $227 USD 
Mobile service at hotel: No 
Estimated result delivery time: 24 hours 
Result delivery method: Email

CMQ Premiere

Address: Av. Francisco Villa 1749 Vallarta Villas 48300 
Phone number for appointments: +52 (322) 226-6500 
Website: https://hospitalcmq.com/hospital/cmq-premiere/ 
Approx. price: $197 USD
Mobile service at hotel: No 
Estimated result delivery time: 24 hours 
Result delivery method: Email or physical copy

SanMare Health Group

Address: Blvd Francisco Medina Ascencio 2735-9 Zona Hotelera Nte. 48333 
Phone number for appointments: +52 (322) 107-7007 
Website: http://sanmare.mx/ 
Approx. price: $3,100 pesos to $194 USD 
Mobile service at hotel: No 
Estimated result delivery time: 24 hours 
Result delivery method: Email

Salud Digna Puerto Vallarta

Address: Av. Francisco Villa 1284 Colonia Las Aralias
Phone number for appointments: not provided on their website 
Website: https://salud-digna.org/puerto-vallarta/
Approx. price: $48 USD
Mobile service at hotel: No 
Estimated result delivery time: 48-72 hours 
Result delivery method: WhatsApp or Email

Santo Domingo Laboratorio

Address: Av. Francisco Villa (next to Cafe Kubli)
Phone number for appointments: +52 (322) 688-1497
Website: http://www.labosd.com/
Approx. price: $2,799 pesos for RT-qPCR or $990 pesos for Antibody IgG and IgM
Mobile service at hotel: No 
Estimated result delivery time: 24-48 hours 
Result delivery method: information not given on their website 

Punta Mita Hospital

Address: Acceso a numero 1, 63734 Punta de Mita
Phone number for appointments: +52 (329) 688-0059
Website: https://puntamitahospital.com/
Approx. price: $186 USD
Mobile service at hotel: No
Estimated result delivery time: Same day – 24 hours
Result delivery method: Email or physical copy

Additionally, most of the large hotels, resorts and timeshares will have third party medical professionals on-site who can administer PCR and/or Antigen tests and provide the necessary medical certification for your trip home. If you are staying at a resort or timeshare, ask the front desk if testing is available on-site.

If you have any corrections to this list, please leave a comment or send us a message through the Contact page.

History of the Term Pata Salada

I have heard stories from locals about what it was like to grow up in Puerto Vallarta in the 1950s. 

Once, a taxi driver told me this story: 

In the 1950s, it was common that children in Puerto Vallarta didn’t wear shoes until they were about 10 years old. This is why now people born in Puerto Vallarta are called pata salada. The term means “salty paws,” which is a reference to children going everywhere barefoot. The children, of course, loved this lifestyle. 

At that time, the school in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood had no wooden doors or glass windows, only openings in the building where they would go. Anyone who lives full time in Vallarta can tell you that during the hot, humid summer months it’s better to have an open air design, and this is why some of the older buildings and homes in Vallarta do not have doors or windows. Now that air conditionings are becoming ubiquitous, this is changing, but in the 1950s it was common to have openings to let the air pass in and out. 

Many people know the Hollywood history of Puerto Vallarta: In 1963, filmmaker John Huston arrived with cast and crew to film the movie Night of the Iguana, starring Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr, and Sue Lyon. Burton brought his then girlfriend, soon-to-be wife, Elizabeth Taylor to the set. They were both stars and both married to other people at the time, so their illicit romance drew paparazzis around the world after them, including to Puerto Vallarta.

The movie put this small Mexican fishing village on the map, and Burton and Taylor’s romance became legend. An airstrip had been built for the film crew, and started servicing wealthy people. More Hollywood movie stars started to come to Vallarta for vacation and touring the city.

One particular group of movie stars (the taxi driver didn’t know who) visited the school in Colonia Emiliano Zapata, and they found children with no shoes and a school building with no doors or windows. They automatically assumed this was due to poverty, as opposed to logical reasons and choices. Maybe it was, but from a child’s perspective, everything was normal. 

So the stars returned with glass and wood, and they installed doors and windows on the school building. They returned again with shoes for all of the children. They came back again, built a basketball court at the school, and hired a teacher to teach the kids how to play basketball. 

The taxi driver told me as kids they were grateful for the basketball court, but they didn’t understand why they had to wear shoes! 

To this day, people from Puerto Vallarta are called pata salada.

The Best Tamales in Puerto Vallarta

If you got the baby Jesus in your slice of rosca de reyes yesterday, Mexican tradition states that you are in charge of hosting a party and either making or bringing tamales on February 2nd, which is Día de la Candelaria.

But if you’re not planning to make your own tamales from scratch, where can you buy them?

There are many different kinds of tamales in Puerto Vallarta, and everyone has their own opinion about which are the best. My personal favorites are the ones sold by a guy out of his big black truck in the parking lot of Farmacia Guadalajara in Fluvial.

This vendor makes tamales oaxaqueños (Oaxacan-style tamales) which are wrapped in green leaves, as opposed to corn husks.

You can find him there every evening except Mondays.

Here is a list of some of the flavors he offers:

  • tamales de rajas – slices of poblano peppers and cheese
  • tamales de costillas – barbecued pork ribs
  • tamales de pollo verde – chicken with green sauce
  • tamales de pollo rojo – chicken with red sauce

Three Kings Day in Puerto Vallarta

Rosca de Reyes

In most places, the holiday season seems to be over. Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year came and went. However, Mexico has one more celebration happening on January 6th, and a tasty one, I must add. The Rosca de Reyes happens on a day known as “Three Kings Day” or “Day of the Three Wise Men” or Epiphany. 

Epiphany Day Origins 

This lesser known tradition in the United States is widespread in all Latin American countries and some European nations. According to Western Christianity, the Epiphany, which means revelation, refers to the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. Celebrated 12 days after Christmas, on January 6th, when the Three Wise Men visited the Christ Child by following the stars. Traditionally, the Three Kings symbolized Europe, Asia, and Africa, and they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh representing those regions. 

The Epiphany celebration comes with a few customs, such as church services, blessing of one’s home, Epiphany singing, winter swimming, and the tastiest one of all, Three Kings Cake or Rosca de Reyes.

First King Cake 

Also known as Three Kings Cake or Twelve Night Cake, this traditional King Cake dates back to 14th century France. It was dry french bread with some sugar on top and a bean inside. The person that got the bean would be treated like a king for the rest of the day. 

Eaten uncommonly, it was a ritual on its own. Customarily, the first slice of cake was for a stranger or a poor individual. In the second place, was the people from the King’s army, and lastly, the rest of the guests got their slice of cake. After a while, this tradition took root in other European countries like Spain, Germany, Portugal, Greece, and later on, in Latin America.

Today, the Rosca de Reyes is made out of sweet dough with dried or candied fruit pieces. You can even find them filled with chocolate or custard. 

Rosca de Reyes Symbolism  

Every element of the Rosca de Reyes or Roscon de Reyes has its meaning. 

The round shape of the Rosca de Reyes represents a crown, like the one worn by the Three Kings Melchoir, Gaspar, and Balthazar when visiting baby Jesus. Others, see the crown shaped cake as an association with the eternal love of God that has no beginning or end.

The candied fruit implies the jewels from the Three Kings’ crowns. To others, it means the obstacles the Three Wise Men endure on their way to meet Christ Child.

The hidden figurines in the cake symbolized when the Virgin Mary and Joseph hid baby Jesus to save him from being killed by King Herodes. 

Mexican Tradition 

Like many other traditions, the Three Kings Day and the Rosca de Reyes arrived in Mexico when the Viceroyalty of New Spain was established in the XVI century by Catholic missionaries.

Presently, Mexican families and friends gather on January 6th to share a delicious piece of Rosca de Reyes with a traditional Mesoamerican beverage, called Atole, a hot drink made out of corn and masa.  

Atole is not only yummy, but it has also been attributed to have nutritional benefits like boosting your immune system, as well as providing nurturing for those experiencing illness or disease.  

The Rosca de Reyes can also be paired with a Champurrado (chocolate flavor Atole) or hot cocoa. 

Additionally, on the night of January 5th, kids leave their shoes next to the Christmas tree waiting for the Three Wise Men to give them presents by dawn, on January 6th. 

The Rosca de Reyes can have anywhere from 4 to 12 little figures of baby Jesus, depending on the size and portions of it. The person who gets a baby Jesus will be in charge of organizing a party and getting the tamales and atole for Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemass) on February 2nd. 

Dia de la Candelaria 

This holiday is an interesting mix between Prehispanic Mexican traditions and the ones brought up from the Spanish conquistadors. 

At the beginning of February, the Mexican Rain God, Tlaloc, was honored, marking the beginning of the agricultural cycle. 

From all crops, corn is considered sacred in the Mexica culture as is the base of the Mexican civilization. Therefore, any offers made out of corn were considered higher than any other. This is why on this day the celebration’s main dish is tamales: corn meal deliciousness in a package.   

When the Spanish conquistadors arrived, they matched this Mexican traditional celebration with the presentation of Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem, also known as Candlemass. They linked this celebration to the Rosca de Reyes on Epiphany day. 

These days, in some indigenous communities in Mexico, people will take their seeds to the temples to be blessed on Dia de la Candelaria.

Classically, Christmas decorations will stay in the homes up until February 2nd, so no holiday cleaning yet.

An Independent Online Magazine In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico