Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Prefer Peace to Partying? Try Mismaloya instead of Puerto Vallarta!

Mismaloya is best known as the place where the 1963 film Night of the Iguana was filmed. If that information means little to you, consider that the stars of that film, Ava Gardener and Richard Burton - as well as his soon-to-be wife, Elizabeth Taylor, are today's equivalent of Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. 

But celebrity history is not what drew me to Mismaloya. During my three nights here, I wanted the relative peace that bustling Puerto Vallarta could not provide. I landed here by chance after a quick survey of good reviews on TripAdvisor and Priceline's tip that there is free wifi!

This is a beach I will explore tomorrow, less crowded than Playa Mismaloya. The rocks are known as Los Arcos and are a great place for snorkeling.

Mismaloya is a 45-minute taxi ride from Puerto Vallarta's main airport.
The sun set around 5:30 p.m. today.
During my taxi ride from Puerto Vallarta's airport, 7 miles south along the coast to Mismaloya, the driver was certain I would dislike Mismaloya. Juan gave me his card so he could drive me somewhere else with more action. 

It is muy tranquilo at my hotel, Casa Iguana. It's a clean and friendly spot with 50 2-bedroom suites with kitchenettes.
Though it's not on the waterfront, my hotel, Casa Iguana is a 5-minute walk to the Playa Mismaloya on Banderas Bay. The beachfront is dominated by the Barcelo empire (an exclusive, all-inclusive resort). I spent today at the beach, surprised by the number of tourists and peddlers hawking hats, jewelry, sunglasses, rugs, dresses, ceramics, sculpture, candy, peanuts and shrimp on a stick. A remote place this is not, but it is pretty.

I sat on the beach, enjoyed huevos rancheros and watched the tourist action: tons of sun tan lotion, miles of cellulite, a few sets of six pack-abs, and a heated family debate on whether to go to the zoo or take a boat for the afternoon. Tomorrow, I will go to the zoo!

Forget "Eat, Pray, Love!" For me, it's Eat, Eat, Eat at Serrano Restaurant. Here's a plate of fresh chile rellenos!
Here at Casa Iguana Hotel, I am especially charmed by the manager of Serrano Restaurant, which is on the property but owned separately from the hotel. A welcoming ambassador to the restaurant, Jorge Joya Castillon, has been the manager there for just two months, but is a veteran of the restaurant industry. One of my least favorite parts of traveling solo is dining alone and this gentleman made me feel like a superstar! Hopefully Jorge will serenade you, he has a fantastic voice!

Jorge, the manager at Serrano Restaurant at Casa Iguana, has a fantastic singing voice in addition to a warm, welcoming personality.
This is my fifth trip to Mexico - Copper Canyon, Yucatan Peninsula, Puerto Vallarta (P.V.)  and Zihuatenejo and now back to P.V.! I plan to visit Chiapas in October 2011.