Saturday, March 21, 2015

Puerto Vallarta (Day 4) - Botanical Gardens and Ocean Grill

Saturday morning dawned bright and gloriously sunny.  I went for a nice long run along the waterfront -- the first half with Justin, then by myself to tackle some hills.  When I got back, I discovered a condo full of people and terrific spread of delicious breakfast!  It's hard to beat fresh fruit and an omelet on a deck with views like this.

After breakfast, Justin and I left the rest of the group lounging on the roof and hopped in a taxi to visit the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens.  They were about 30 minutes south of town, straddling a jungly ravine with streams at the bottom.  We bought our tickets and set out to explore -- and by "explore", I mean "take close-up pictures with our fancy cameras."

There were enough free range air plants
to blow a Portland hipster's mind.
I loved these delicate little irises. I hadn't expected to see them.
Wings looking a little worse for wear, but still kind of cool.
Anyone know what kind of plant this is?  These
weirdly alien flowers dangled from a thick vine.
Purple pompoms everywhere!
Unfortunately, we didn't have time to make it all the way through the gardens before we needed to regroup with our driver and head to the beach.  We had reservations, you see, for a late afternoon dinner at Ocean Grill, a secluded restaurant perched on a cliff at the mouth of a private cove with a lovely white sand beach.  It's accessible only by boat, and there are only three departure times per day.  We wanted to be on the midday boat so that we could enjoy the private beach before dinner.

Water taxis and a strangely empty beach at the Boca de Tomatlan
The taxi took the folks with the early dinner reservations first, then came back to pick us up.
Too windy on the boat to wear hats!
I had kind of hoped that the boat trip would be longer, but in about 10 minutes we'd been ushered onto a narrow platform and out to the beach.  We set up camp and began some serious beach lounging.

Wait a minute -- SINCE WHEN HAVE I HAD ABS?!
We selfishly wished the yacht hadn't invaded -- we could have had the beach all to ourselves.
Three o'clock rolled around all to quickly -- we reluctantly struck camp and clambered gingerly over hot rocks to the restaurant.


Once seated under the shady thatched roof, we placed our orders and sat back to enjoy the views. 

Virgian pina colada
Grilled octopus with olive tapenade, paprika potatoes and mango salsa
Key lime pie.  Seemed appropriate for the location.
We initially draped our towels to dry on the railing. Our scandalized server immediately
whisked them off out of sight.  Probably the right call.
Justin, Jon, Todd, Jed, Randall,
Vince (the third Seattleite, who arrived late the night before), and then moi
The food was good, though not as good as the views.  And once we'd finished our meal, we moved to the casual seating area to take in those views from a more recumbent position until the boat came to take us back to the car.


We got back to town a little before sunset, so we went straight upstairs to our infinity pool to talk and watch the sunset until it got dark and was time for bed.  It was a quiet, simple evening, but also really great.  After three full days together, we'd gotten to know each other and a fun group dynamic was starting to emerge.  People were more relaxed and easy with each other -- that lovely moment when acquaintance shifts to friendship.

1 comment:

Lady said...

I noticed your ads in a few previous pics and thought, "nice work!".