Author Topic: A Long Weekend in Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta  (Read 3349 times)

Offline Mount Scopus

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Re: A Long Weekend in Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2018, 11:06:12 AM »
Our flight to Puerto Vallarta was scheduled to depart at 12:00 pm so we headed to the airport at around 09:00 am. We left early since Mexico City airport has a kosher café and we wanted to get something to eat, as well as check out some of the lounges. Mexico City has 2 terminals, and this post covers only lounges in terminal 1. Terminal 2 will be covered in a later post

We arrived at the airport and eventually found Lea’s café. The café is hidden away and not overly easy to find. I wrote a separate post on the Mexico City master thread which can be found here.

Please note: we do not endorse the kashrut of this establishment.

Lea’s have a large selection of food and beverages, including sandwiches, pastries, snacks and hot food. The prices are very reasonable; approximately $4.50 per sandwich. We got a selection of sandwiches, pastries and snacks to have for breakfast as well as last us throughout the day ahead.


Cafe


Cafe


Menu


Menu


Grilled Cheese Panini


French Fries

After our breakfast, we made our way through security and airside to explore the lounge options. Mexico City airport has a plethora of lounges including an American Express Centurion lounge as well a few solid Priority Pass options. One thing to note, the terminal was PACKED! Very little room to walk, and this was also true in the lounges which made it very difficult to take pictures, so please excuse the lack of pictures in this post.

We first went to the Centurion lounge which was very hot and beyond packed! There were no seats available and people were standing around waiting for some to open. We walked in and left after about 2 minutes to head to the Priority Pass lounge – Lounge 19 (located by gate 19). A later post will be covering our experience of the Centurion lounge in Terminal 2, which was vastly different. 

As soon as we entered we were greeted by a host who showed us to a couple of recliner seats in a room behind the main lounge. The service in lounge was incredible! Our host asked us what drinks and food we wanted and brought them over to us (iced coffee and fresh fruit). When our cups and/or plates were empty, she appeared out of nowhere and asked us if we wanted a refill! The one down side was the wifi… it was slow and kept disconnecting.

We originally had about an hour to kill in the lunge before our flight, however, due to a delay in our aircraft arriving from Guadalajara, we were in the lounge for extra 1 ½ hours. Volaris proactively gave us a 200 MXN - $10 USD voucher! (yay!)

Eventually our aircraft arrived and we made our way to the boarding gate. Boarding was perhaps the most hectic I have ever seen. There were 4 boarding groups, with 4 lanes, but no one seemed to know where they should be! Once boarding commenced everyone gravitated to the podium, but the staff were very good at enforcing the boarding groups so sent people back which just doubled the congestion.

Eventually we made our way on board. I was seated in the very last row next to the “window”. False advertising – there was no window there! Before long we were on our way. The flight was 100% full but very uneventful and after an hour and a quarter we were in Puerto Vallarta!

Thanks for reading, and any and all feedback is welcome!


It’s a long way back here!
"An elephant for a quarter, is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a quarter”

Offline Mount Scopus

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Re: A Long Weekend in Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2018, 02:42:46 PM »
Puerto Vallarta – Part 1

I originally wanted to have one post on Puerto Valarrta, but after writing half of it, I realized it was quite long. So, I am splitting it into 2 posts. The first will cover the Airbnb and Chabad, and the second will cover what we did. 

After we exited the airport we called an Uber to take us to our Airbnb. Interesting to note: Uber are not allowed to pick up directly from the airport so we had to meet our Uber around the corner. The weather was gorgeous (albeit a bit on the hotter side) and despite being part of mainland Mexico, it had a very “small island feel” (hot, humid, sea breeze etc…).
 
Accommodation:
For our 2 nights in Puerto Vallarta, we booked an ocean view Airbnb 1 block (30 second walk) away from the beach for $25/night. While not uncomfortable, it was not without issues. (When paying $25 a night, one can hardly expect the St. Regis!). We met our host, Luis, who gave us the keys and showed us around the property.

The apartment was self-contained, on the 3rd floor of the house and was fully furnished (minus shampoo which we had to buy). The apartment consisted of 3 rooms; a decent sized bedroom with 2 beds, a bathroom and very large main room that included the kitchen, living room and a dining table and couch. There was also access to the roof that had on it some deck chairs.



Living room and dining table


Dining table and kitchen


View from the apartment


View from the apartment


Bathroom


Bedroom


Staircase to the roof


View from the roof


Roof Deck
 
There were a few issues with the apartment when we arrived. However, to his credit, Luis resolved them promptly. First there was an issue with the lock on the front door, so a locksmith was called and it was somewhat fixed. It worked by time the locksmith had left but it was still a bit iffy. The second issue was the air conditioner. There was one a/c and that was in the bedroom. At first it didn’t work at all so Luis did a bit of tinkering and it turned on… however, it also deposited a vast amount of water on the bed beneath it! Luis turned it back off and called a mechanic. It was fixed while we were out for Friday Night dinner, but when we arrived back it was fixed and working well.
 
Jewish Services:
Our Airbnb was approximately 1.7 miles away and the walk took about half an hour. Being that it was quite hot, we stopped by the Sheraton to cool off and take a break.
 
There is one Shliach in the city who hosts weekly Friday Night dinners as well as services. The Shluchim, Rabbi Shneur and Mushkie Hecht, are wonderful people who do amazing work for the small community, and while there is no kosher restaurant, they do have a small kosher store in their Chabad House. They host a very large Friday Night meal for the whole community and you can RSVP from their website (ChabadVallarta.com). They do not charge to come, but you are encouraged to give a donation.
 
Friday Night dinner was phenomenal! The food was top-notch and in abundance. We met some interesting characters, including Tzvi, an ex-Israeli Air force pilot who then flew for 20 years as captain for Singapore Airlines on the 747! You can bet we had a very long and interesting conversation with him! He is retired now and only flies recreationally.
 
After shacharis on Shabbos day there was a small Kiddush and lunch. Again, the food and company was amazing.

Stay tuned for part 2 which covers what we did in Puerto Vallarta.
"An elephant for a quarter, is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a quarter”

Offline ludmila

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Re: A Long Weekend in Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2018, 12:53:53 AM »
Thanks.
I was the Best,still the Best, and will always be the Best.
Pele Good,Maradona Better, George Best.

Offline Mount Scopus

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Re: A Long Weekend in Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2018, 09:22:27 PM »
Puerto Vallarta - Part 2
 
Things to do:
Puerto Vallarta is beach resort, so you’d find all the standard beach activities such as snorkeling and ziplining. However, we didn’t do much of that.
Due to our flight delay, we only had a few hours from when we arrived until we had to leave to go to the Chabad House for Shabbos. We had enough time to walk around the town for a bit and visit the supermarket to get fruit, veg and snacks to last us our visit.

 

Snacks

The main boardwalk (called the Malecón) is where all the night activities are. As we saw on our Friday Night walk back, this place comes alive at night with street performers, bars, clubs etc… While, we aren’t “party animals” we were looking forward to checking it out on Saturday Night.
But that didn’t happen. I must’ve eaten or drank something funky as about an hour after getting back form lunch I got a fever and headache etc… without going into too many gory details, I was out cold and was sick in bed for about 12 hours. This put a damper on my vacation and ruined our Motzoai Shabbos plans. However, by time Sunday morning rolled around I was feeling fit and well.
 
Mirador de La Cruz
There are many free things to do in Puerto Vallarta and most include walking, and we started the day by taking a small “hike” up to the top of the hill called Mirador de La Cruz which is behind the city. It wasn’t so much a hike as it was a strenuous walk up a steep road and then a about 1,000 steps. However, the view from the top is breathtaking! Despite it being a bit hazy, we were still able to capture some beautiful pictures. We stayed up there for a bit before making our way back down.

 

View


Views
 

View
 

View
 

Blocked view
 

View
 

View
 

“Hiking trail”
 

Broken cable car with stairs


ChocoMuseo
We then went back to our Airbnb, ate breakfast, packed up and checked out. When looking for things to do we saw that a chocolate museum/factory was rated by TripAdvisor as the #1 thing in Puerto Vallarta (under museums). So we went there.
 
The museum is in a chocolate shop and is split into 2 levels; the 1st level is the chocolate shop, the 2nd is the museum and factory and the 3rd is a cafe. The museum part is self-guided, which basically means reading some wall posters of the history of chocolate and how it’s made etc… You can also pay to take part in actual chocolate making (or watch for free), however, on this Sunday morning, they weren’t making any chocolate.
 
After the museum, we went downstairs and the shop assistant was showing us raw cacao beans and the process how they go from bean to chocolate.

 

Chocolate shop
 

View from chocolate shop
 
Malecón and beach
After the chocolate shop, we headed to Isla Cuale which has a local market, which was about half a mile walk. Since it was very hot, we decided to walk there slowly via the Malecón (boardwalk) and beach. The beach was gorgeous with white sand and crisp clear water. We took our time and before long we arrived at the Isla Cuale.
 


Beach
 

Beach
 

Beach
 

Beach
 

Boardwalk
 

PVR sign
 

Boardwalk Beach
 

Boardwalk
 

Boardwalk
 

Boardwalk
 

Boardwalk
 

Sand art
 
Isla Cuale
The Isla Cuale is an island located on the south side of Puerto Vallarta and there are several suspension bridges to get on/off the island. The entire island is basically one big market with some bars. The feel on the island is very different than the rest of the city. Due to the humidity, and many trees and greenery, it felt like we were in the middle of a rain forest. Like any market, we were harassed by every stall.
 
We browsed the stalls a bit, bought souvenirs and popped into a bar for a drink. By the time we were finished it was late in the day and we had been “homeless” for quite a few hours, and were wiped out. Very few bars had air conditioning so we ended up in a nicely chilled Starbucks for an hour to cool off and relax.
 
After we were sufficiently relaxed, it was time to make our way to the airport for out flight to Mexico City.

 
PSA:
If you’re paying ~$25 a night for an Airbnb, and have a late-night flight, book an extra night and thank me later! We were beyond exhausted from schlepping our heavy backpacks.

 

Market on Isla Cuela
 

Market on Isla Cuela
 

Isla Cuale
 

Market on Isla Cuela
 

Bar on Isla Cuela
 

Isla Cuela
 

Isla Cuela
 

Isla Cuela
 

Foliage
 

Beach view
 

Beach
 
Have you been to Puerto Vallarta? If yes, what did you do and how did your experience differ?
"An elephant for a quarter, is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a quarter”

Offline Mount Scopus

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Re: A Long Weekend in Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2018, 09:52:44 AM »
PVR airport and Voalris PVR-MEX
Overnight in MEX/Lounge hopping
AeroMexico 787 MEX-JFK


After a very nice time in Puerto Vallarta, it was time to leave. Our flight was departing at 9:30 pm and we had just enough time to check out the Priority Pass lounge. There is one lounge in PVR and that is the VIP Lounge. It was closing as we got there, but they let us in and we ended up staying for about an hour and a half! The lounge itself is small with basic snacks and drinks. There are big windows overlooking the tarmac and we even saw an Interjet Sukhoi Superjet 100!


Lounge


Interjet Sukhoi Superjet 100

After getting kicked out the lounge we made our way to the gate where the Volaris staff were setting up for boarding. Boarding was less chaotic than in MEX and we were soon on board. For this flight we each had 3 seats to ourselves! The flight was quick and smooth and before long we were in MEX. During landing we were treated to spectacular views of downtown Mexico City.

We arrived at 11:00 pm and our flight to JFK wasn't until 7 am so we had a looooong night in MEX! Fortunately, the lounges are open 24 hours a day and we first went to The Grand Lounge which is located in terminal 1. The lounge is used by most of the internal airlines departing from terminal 1. When we arrived it was filled with mainly Japanese passengers who were on the ANA flight to Tokyo.



The Grand Lounge entrance

Once that flight took off, the lounge emptied and we had the lounge to ourselves. The lounge a decent size and very comfortable! There is tons of seating in many different varieties. As far as food and drinks. There is a well stocked self-service bar as well as an espresso bar. There were some kosher prepackaged snacks as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. There is also a shower which we took advantage of.

The service in the lounge started off very good, but after a half an hour or so they ignored us!  Every once in a while a lunge attendant would come over to us and offer to get us something. We stayed there until about 2:30 am at which point we headed to Lea’s Cafe for some real food and then headed to Terminal 2 to check out the AeroMexico lounge.



The Grand Lounge


The Grand Lounge


The Grand Lounge shower amenities


The Grand Lounge shower slippers and towels

For some reason terminal 2 stank as if a sewage pipe had burst! The smell was less in the AeroMexico lounge, but still tarnished our time there. The AeroMexico lounge is split into a few rooms as well as small private “rooms” off the main lounge. These rooms had 4 seats and 2 small drinks tables. Perfect for relaxing. We spent about half an hour in this long before heading to the American Express lounge.


AeroMexico Lounge


AeroMexico Lounge


AeroMexico Lounge Beverages


AeroMexico Lounge

This lounge was gorgeous and very comfortable! Most of the food and beverages cost, however, being that we had just come from the AeroMexico lounge we were neither hungry nor thirsty. The lounge is split over a few floors and on the upper level is the “Zen Room”. The Zen Room is a long room with soothing music and relaxing scent. There were daybeds as well as comfortable seats. I was quite exhausted at this point and slept on one of the day beds for about an hour until it was time to board.


American Express Lounge


American Express Lounge


American Express Lounge


American Express Lounge


American Express Lounge


American Express Zen Room


American Express Zen Room

We made our way to the gate where boarding was about to begin. Within a few minutes we were on board. The flight back to New York was more-or-less identical to our flight from JFK with the exception of the meal. The meal was disgusting - to the point of being inedible!! Anyway, after 4.5 hours we were descending into JFK which brought our weekend break to an end!


AeroMexico 737


Take off from Mexico City


Kosher meal


Vile and disgusting meal


Approach info JFK


Landing

Hope you enjoyed reading this Trip Report!
"An elephant for a quarter, is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a quarter”

Offline ludmila

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Re: A Long Weekend in Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2018, 07:25:40 PM »
Definitely enjoyed it!! :)
I was the Best,still the Best, and will always be the Best.
Pele Good,Maradona Better, George Best.