After two decades of visiting Puerto Vallarta, I finally moved to the Bay of Banderas in 2002, settling in the steep green hills and jungle above Mismaloya Cove. I fell in love with living in Puerto Vallarta, so writing this month’s featured article, “Puerto Vallarta Is having a Big Birthday Party,” was a very special joy.
My German Shepherd and I rose early each morning before sunrise and the heat of the day to follow carretera doscientos to a rise that looked down on Los Arcos, the national marine park that attracts swarms of snorkelers each day. Watching the sun bathe the bay in dawn’s early light is just one of my Vallarta memories that never fades.
Just before I left Vallarta in 2009 I wrote and published “Boomers in Paradise: Living in Puerto Vallarta,” a look at the lives of over a dozen Baby Boomers who had joined the expat community over the last thirty years. Somehow I missed the two that are featured in this month’s article. Each had wonderful tales to tell about living in Puerto Vallarta.
Jack Cawood is 92 and has been retired for many years. He was one of the founding fathers of the expat community in Vallarta, moving to the city by the bay in the 1950s. He built the iconic Playa del Oro hotel, one of the very first in the Hotel Zone. A man of the sea, Jack lived for sailing on the bay and still does. He left PV for a number of years but returned from Europe to live in the Marina. Vallarta just gets in your blood and you can’t shake it loose.
Jeri Grant saw Vallarta for the first time in 1980 from a yacht she was delivering to a customer. The smear of red tile roofs on a jumble of shimmering white blocks that spread from the center of the bay took her breath away. After a few more years of sailing between Newport Beach, California and Puerto Vallarta she bought a small home in Colonia Aramara, which she says means goddess of the sea. Jeri, now 63, worked for John Youden at Vallarta Lifestyle for many years but now sells real estate for Tropicasa Realty.
Felice and I return to Vallarta as often as we can to see old friends and visit old haunts. The pull is strong because it is difficult to leave an old lover.
For you lucky few that call Vallarta home, I hope you take time on Thursday, May 31st for birthday cake on the Malecón and the celebration of the city’s centennial. Wish we were there.