Whales in PV!

It’s that wonderful time of the year again. The whales are back in Puerto Vallarta!

Every year from December to April, is the official Humpback Whale season. These magical creatures make the long haul down from their northern homes in the. The humpbacks travel south and have chosen the Bay of Banderas as the perfect spot to mate and birth their offspring.

Humpback whales are the species most frequently seen during the Puerto Vallarta Whale watching season. These Humpbacks are members of the North Eastern Pacific Population. This population has been estimated to now be over 18,000 whales and their annual growth rate estimated between 6-7%. The population is still considered vulnerable to extinction and is threatened by entanglement, ship strike, marine environment degradation, sound pollution, pollution and more.

Please enjoy this information found at www.whalewatchvallarta.com

“Puerto Vallarta’s Bay of Banderas has seen both growth and depression of the population of Humpback Whales migrating to the bay since this population was first studied. Most recently the number of Whales in the Bay has been growing. From 2005 to 2009 the average number of Humpback whales sighted was 550 per year. Between 2010 and 2014 that number has grown to an average of 680 Humpback Whales sighted in the bay each season!

Puerto Vallarta Humpback Whale Migration

whale migration map puerto vallarta mexicoHumpback Whales are found in all oceans of the world and are a highly migratory species, the longest migration route measuring almost 7000 kilometers! The Humpbacks we see migrate in spring to their summer feeding grounds which are spread between California and British Columbia. In the winter these same Humpbacks return to Puerto Vallarta for mating and calving.

The migration route of this population typically follows coastal features. It can take as few as 40 days for a Humpback to migrate, typically transiting at about 6 to 8 kilometers per hour. In the summer feeding grounds Humpback Whales will focus their days on feeding. They feed mostly on krill and small fish, consuming up to 1400kg in a day!

During the summer the Humpback must eat so much food to create blubber which it will use to migrate and sustain itself during the winter in Puerto Vallarta. The Whales do not feed here in the bay. That is hard on the males, but imaging the demands on a female with a 600kg baby who will grow up to 3cm a day! Don’t forget the mother and baby Humpback will have to migrate north from Puerto Vallarta before Mom can start feeding again.

Humpback Whale Mating | Calving

puerto vallarta humpback whales mapThe Humpback Whale population in the Bay of Banderas reaches its peak in late December through January. During these weeks we often see the most mating activity. The Humpback Whale engages in what is called a Heat Run. When a female becomes receptive males start to follow her, soon forming a group of aggressive males who physically compete for the preferred position of Escort/pack leader. Once the female has successfully mated she will usually leave the area, migrating north to begin feeding in anticipation of the pregnancy.

Puerto Vallarta sits on the Bay of Banderas. The bay has a unique topographical profile, the shallow protected areas of the bay are used by pregnant females for calving and for nursing. Most births occur in early January, the later weeks of the season are dominated by mother and baby pairs.

Baby Humpback whales typically weigh 500-600kg and are 3-4 meters in length. The baby Humpbacks in Puerto Vallarta are born a very light gray color and quickly darken up from exposure to the sun. The pectorals can be all white but will darken on top over the first year. The baby Humpback will feed exclusively from the mothers milk, growing up to 45kg a day!

Humpback Whale Classification

The humpback whale is renowned for being one of the most energetic of the large whales with its spectacular breaching, lobtailing and flipper-slapping. Its scientific name Megaptera novaeangliae means ‘big winged New Englander’ because of its long flippers that look like wings when it breaches and because it was first described in New England. The species’ worldwide popularity on whale watch tours has helped to ensure that they are the focus of many conservation efforts. These measures have an umbrella effect and protect not only humpbacks but also many other species found in their protected areas, including species that experience the same risks.


The humpback whale can be distinguished by its large size, knobbly head and 5m long flippers. Individuals found in the Atlantic Ocean have mainly white flippers, but those found in the Pacific Ocean have a darker colouration on the upper surface of their flippers. Humpbacks in the southern hemisphere are generally more lightly coloured on the flanks. The bumps found on the head are called tubercles, and each one contains a single hair follicle, which may be used in a sensory capacity, much like a cat’s whiskers. The flukes are distinctive compared with any other whale species; the black and white markings and scalloped edges are as unique as a human fingerprint, allowing experts to name thousands of individuals around the world. The wavy edged flukes are raised during dives, enabling researchers to keep track of individual whales from year to year.


Male humpbacks sing the longest, most complex songs in the animal kingdom. Songs consist of a complex series of whistles, squeals and deep sonorous calls divided into ‘verses’ and sung in a specific order, which may last for as long as half an hour. Males in the same area of the breeding grounds sing the same songs, which change gradually over time. Humpback whales have unusual feeding behaviour – they sometimes herd their prey or create a kind of fishing net by exhaling air in a spiral of bubbles. Fish cluster tightly inside these ‘bubble nets’ allowing the whale to swim through with its mouth open and eat them. Humpbacks are capable of travelling at 25 km/h or more, however during migration they move more slowly, resting and socialising along the way. Humpback whales make long journeys. Each population of humpbacks has its own migration route; generally they spend the winter in warm, low latitudes or tropical waters breeding and giving birth, and the spring, summer and autumn feeding in cooler, high latitude polar waters. The humpbacks which feed in Antarctic waters and travel north to breed off Colombia and Panama make the longest confirmed migration of any mammal.


More than 250,000 humpbacks were killed in past whaling operations yet they are currently recovering in many places and were recently reclassified as Least Concern (IUCN 2008), although certain populations retain an IUCN Endangered status. There is also concern about the apparently discrete, small populations of humpback whales in various oceans for which status information is lacking. The main humpback populations are found in the North Atlantic, the North Pacific and the Indian Ocean and there is some mixing between different populations. Threats to humpback whale numbers worldwide include: habitat loss; chemical and noise pollution; entanglement in fishing nets and lack of food.”

Have you ever seen whales in Puerto Vallarta? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! -Christina

Visit my website www.vallartaluxurylifestyels.com to see properties for sale in beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

Grocery Stores in PV

Grocery shopping is a real delight in Puerto Vallarta. Many snowbirds fawn over the variety of fresh produce available throughout the year. With a variety of tropical and temperate fruits and a fantastic imported goods selection, shopping is PV is easy and enjoyable.

There are a variety of grocery shopping options for all types of shoppers. If you live downtown in the Romantic Zone, Emiliano Zapata, or 5 de Diciembre neighborhoods, you are within walking distance to a large number of open-air “mom and pop” grocers. Odds are your corner store (or tienda) has the basics for tonight’s dinner like tortillas, meat, fresh vegetables, butter, and even a bottle of wine. For a local one-stop-shopping experience in the downtown area, check out the Emiliano Zapata market in Old Town or the 5 de Diciembre Fish Market area. Both of these large outdoor markets are home to produce vendors, butchers, creameries, tortillerías, and more! Support your local vendors and shop like a local!

Emiliano Zapata grocery market Puerto Vallarta

Grocery Shopping “al aire fresco” in Old Town Puerto Vallarta 

If you’re looking for a wider variety of products in a more modern environment, then you may need to shop at one of Puerto Vallarta’s large super markets. There are a few options for you to explore:

  • Ley in downtown Puerto Vallarta (great produce and homewares selection at low prices).
  • Mega in the Hotel Zone of PV. Located next to the Sheraton Hotel. Wide selection of groceries, home goods, clothing, electronics, and gardening supplies.
  • Soriana in Plaza Caracol. Convenient shopping location for when you need to go to the Telmex office.
  • La Comer in Fluvial. La Comer is the most upscale grocery store in PV. With a wide variety of imported goods, fine wines and cheeses, and quality home wares, you will enjoy your posh stroll through La Comer.
  • Costco is a popular choice for many PV residents. There are some great deals to be found on items that sell for double the price and in smaller quantities in other grocers.
  • Walmart is another popular option for shopping with a full grocery section and everything else that the mega retailer is famous for.

No matter what your style is, I am sure you will find shopping an enjoyable experience here in Puerto Vallarta!

Where is your favorite place to grocery shop in Puerto Vallarta? I would love to hear from you in the comments below! -Christina

Looking to make the move to beautiful PV? Visit my website www.vallartaluxurylifestyles.com for more information.

PV Malecon Update

Puerto Vallarta’s malecon boardwalk has undergone a few changes since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. For the first three months, the malecon was completely closed to all visitors and residents. This extreme measure helped PV stay on lock down as it deterred tourists from coming to town. As time passed, the malecon was partially re-opened and remains that way today. The western side of the boardwalk is taped off to discourage visitors from sitting along the oceanside and hanging out. However, the bike lane and rest of the malecon remain open for use.

I had the pleasure of going for a sunrise walk on the Malecon this morning. I had not been down to the PV landmark for almost 6 months (since the onset of the pandemic). It was amazing to stroll the waterfront and see other residents enjoying the boardwalk as well. I had my facemask on and so did many of the other people out exercising. There are colorful banners urging the public to wear facemasks and reminding them that all businesses require the use of them to enter.

I walked from the beginning of the downtown at the Hotel Buenaventura to the Los Muertos Pier and back. It was a great outing and left me reminiscing about all the fantastic memories my family has made in this most magical city full of beauty. The full moon was shining on the sea as the sky turned pink and the sun rose up from behind the Sierra Madres. The municipal plaza was aglow with neon lit decorations for the upcoming Mexican Independence Day (September 16). Mornings like today are the perfect reminder to slow down and enjoy the incredible city I live in!

Have you been to the Malecon lately? I would love to hear from you in the comments below! -Christina

Looking to find your dream home in Puerto Vallarta? Visit my website www.vallartaluxurylifestyles.com to begin your journey today!


Santa Maria Del Oro: Summertime Lake Destination

Santa Maria Del Oro is a beautiful and magical place. It is a volcanic crater lake that is located just outside of the town of Santa Maria del Oro in the state of Nayarit. From Puerto Vallarta, it is a 3.5 hour drive to this most beautiful place. In the summertime, you can find cooler temperatures and a mountainesque aesthetic that provides the perfect juxtaposition to Vallarta’s tropical clime.

santa maria del oro

The water is unlike any water I have ever felt, it is the perfect temperature and very soft!! I loved going for a morning swim. We stayed at a very cute, yet rustic, complex called Bungalows Koala. They offer a mix of houses, single rooms, and camping options for visitors to stay at. They have a fantastic little lakefront restaurant which serves the specialty “chicharrones de pescado” or fried fish morsels. It was delicious! The hotel also had kayaks for rent which is an amazing way to explore the medium sized lake.

In the area, you can also explore numerous waterfalls, go horseback riding, and partake in an array of watersports. Visiting Santa Maria del Oro is a “must” for any PV resident. I would recommend a visit in the summer when the temps are perfect and the foliage is bright green from the all the rains. It is truly a beautiful place, perfect for relaxing and disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of the city! My family and I will definitely be back next summer!

Have you ever been to Santa Maria del Oro? I would love to hear from you in the comments below! -Christina

Looking for your dream home in Puerto Vallarta? Stop by my website www.vallartaluxurylifestyles.com to begin your journey to homeownership in Mexico!


Adventure in San Sebastian!

Last weekend, my family and I enjoyed a great little adventure into the mountains. With summer, comes high temps and humidity. Puerto Vallarta continues to be a tropical paradise with lots of beauty, but sometimes you just have to escape the heat for a few days. San Sebastian del Oeste is the perfect day trip (or weekender!) to get out of town and enjoy mild temperatures and some pine trees up in the mountains.

Located just 90 minutes from downtown PV, you can quickly climb the scenic mountain road and be in a totally different environment. San Sebastian is an old mining town that has kept its sleepy charm and colonial aesthetic. It has been designated by the federal government as a “Pueblo Magico” and therefore will be protected as a cultural and heritage site.

My family loves to head up for some relaxation. We like to sit in the plaza and people watch, drive up to La Bufa (the top most point of the mountain which sits at 8000 ft.), and enjoy warm beverages in our favorite cafe El Fortin. If you’re looking for a little more adventure, there are ATVs to rent, horses to ride, and hikes to discover.

Last weekend, we discovered a new spot which included a cave and a cenote full of quartz crystals, it was absolutely magical!

Puerto Vallarta itself is an incredible place to live, you could spend a lifetime exploring all that the city has to offer. But what makes it special, is its proximity to various other towns that offer distinct cultural experiences and a ton of adventure as well!

What’s your favorite day trip when you’re looking for a little adventure? I would love to hear from you in the comments below! -Christina

Thinking of moving to Mexico permanently? Visit my website www.vallartaluxurylifestyles.com to start your journey!

Yelapa: the Perfect Tropical Escape!

Yelapa is a beautiful little fishing village situated on the very southern end of the Bay of Banderas. Visiting this tiny seaside town is like stepping back into simpler times. If you’re up for the adventure of getting to a remote village, you will love the experience of visiting Yelapa.

How to get there…

Yelapa is not accessible by car, although there are small roads in the town that ATVs use. The vast majority of residents and visitors come in and out of the village by boat. You can also arrive mountain biking via El Tuito. The most common way to get there is by taking a bus/car to Boca de Tomatlan (25 minutes south of PV), then jumping into a taxi boat for another 35 minutes. It is definitely part of the adventure!

yelapa panga boat

What to do in Yelapa…

Relax is the number one “thing to do” on most people’s list when visiting this sleepy, tropical oasis. There isn’t a lot to do here. Lounge by the beach, meander through the colorful town, walk to the waterfall! If you are staying in Yelapa for a longer period of time, then you may want to explore neighboring communities like Chimo and Pizota for a taste of even smaller town life. Fishing is a fantastic way to spend a day as well. And for those adrenaline junkies out there, there is hang gliding and parasailing as well! But most people are happy to laze the day away at a beachfront restaurant and taking in some Vitamin Sea.

yelapa waterfall

Have you ever been to Yelapa? What do you enjoy most about this magical place? I would love to hear from you in the comments below! -Christina

Looking for you own tropical vacation or retirement home? Please visit my website www.vallartaluxurylifestyles.com to begin your journey.


Palo Maria Waterfall

After having lived in Puerto Vallarta for more than a decade, you still find yourself discovering new, ,amazing places. This was the case for me last Sunday when I finally got to check out the incredible Palo Maria river south of PV. This is a truly beautiful place with gigantic, ancient trees that provide a shady hiking experience throughout the day. There are waterfalls and beautiful small pools all along the way. Reason number 4,593 that I love living in this beautiful city!

How to get there

From Puerto Vallarta’s Romantic Zone, head south on Highway 200. You will drive past Amapas, Conchas Chinas, and Playa Punta Negra. Soon you will approach the Garza Blanca hotel zone. Park under the big trees on the side of the road. There is a little bridge which the river passes under. This is where you will begin your hike!

What to expect

This hike starts off mellow, but can be considered advanced/expert depending on how far you climb up river. The vast majority of visitors to Palo Maria finish their hike at the first waterfall. This section is flat, but does require scrambling over rocks as you walk through the river bed. You will also cross the river various times. Depending on the time of year, you will or won’t get your shoes wet. I went this last Sunday on July 5th and was able to reach the waterfall without getting my sneakers wet, meaning the river was not big at all!

Swimming and Waterfalls

There are great little pools right from the start of this hike. If you only wanted to walk a few minutes, you could pick one of the first pools to hang out at, and be very happy! However, for the more adventurous types, there is a series of waterfalls to be explored. The first waterfall is deep and great for cliff jumping. Many visitors are surprised to see black hoses hanging from the falls. These hoses are piping water to homes down river. To continue to the next waterfall, you must scale a very steep rock face. There are cables to hold on to, but it is definitely not for the faint of heart. Proceed with caution , this is definitely advanced/expert territory after the first waterfall. Also, please be warned that mornings are typically safer times to enjoy the rivers in Puerto Vallarta, especially in the Summer. Afternoon rainstorms can create flash floods. Be safe and have fun!!!

Have you ever been to Palo Maria? I would love to hear from you in the comments below! -Christina

Looking for your dream home in beautiful Puerto Vallarta? Visit my website www.vallartaluxurylifestyles.com to start your journey.

Southshore Beaches that You Must See

The Bay of Banderas is home to some beautiful natural scenery. One of my favorite areas of exceptional beauty has to be the southshore beaches. From Puerto Vallarta which is located in the middle of the bay, to the southern tip of the bay are some spectacular beaches! The southern part of the bay is known for it’s mountainous landscape. “Where the Jungle Meets the Sea” is the perfect tagline for these southshore beaches. Small coves with unique rock formations make for amazing snorkelling or photoshoots. So grab your suit and towel and check out one of these unique beaches on your next trip to PV.

Playa Las Gemelas

southshore beaches puerto vallarta playa las gemelas

I absoutely love this little beach! Located 15 minutes south of PV (by car). Playa Las Gemelas has clear, clean water perfect for swimming or snorkeling. Here you will see a variety of fish swimming about in the calm waters. There is an amazing old tree that gives shade all day. Pro Tip: get there early to get a spot in the shade, but be aware that the shade under the tree gets crowded. You will need to walk down (and up!) a set of fairly steep stairs to access this gem.

Punta Negra

southshore beaches punta negra

Punta Negra has been my family’s long time go to beach for Sundays. It is slightly closer that Playa Las Gemelas and access is easier. The beach is longer and fits more people. Depending on ocean conditions, swimming can be really nice here. There is a center section of the beach where the rocks create a breakwater where the waves are more mellow. They have built a really nice restuarant here as well which makes for a full service option. There are stand up paddle boards and kayaks for rent as well.

What are some of your favorite southshore beaches in Puerto Vallarta? I would love to hear from you in the comments below! -Christina

Looking for a beachfront property in PV? check out my website www.vallartaluxurylifestyles.com for complete listings in the Bay.

Hiking to The Cross Puerto Vallarta

Looking for a great way to spend a morning in beautiful PV? I highly recommend a hike to The Cross Puerto Vallarta. This destination is an actual cross that sits high upon the hills above the downtown neighborhood, El Cerro. The hike is sometimes referred to as “El Mirador de la Cruz” or simply “El Mirador” (the viewpoint) as well.

The cross itself has long been a visual landmark in Puerto Vallarta. In Mexico, it is quite common to find a large cross on a hilltop overlooking a town. The cross Puerto Vallarta used to be a simple structure on top of an overgrown hilltop. Today, it is a full fledged tourist destination. The lookout point now boasts plenty of stairs with direct access, covered shade areas, and a separate tower for even better and higher 360 degree views.

cross puerto vallarta hike

The platform for extra amazing views

Getting to the Cross is not exactly easy. I would say it is for those who are in moderate physical shape. It is definitely not a long hike in distance, but it is a steep ascent from sea level. Part of what makes PV so beautiful are its dramatic mountains that seem to rise straight up from the sea. Climbing the staircases up to the top of El Mirador is definitely worth it when you the incredible, jaw dropping 360 degree views. Nothing better than that unobstructed vista and the fresh ocean air! The unique part of the viewpoint is the backside where you get just as fantastic views towards the mountains. The Cuale River Valley is absolutely beautiful and worth a few pictures as well!

cross puerto vallarta

Mountain Views!! 

Have you hiked yet to The Cross Puerto Vallarta? What did you think? I would love to hear from you in the comments below! – Christina

Looking to own your own little piece of heaven in Mexico? Check out homes for sale in Puerto Vallarta in www.vallartaluxurylifestyles.com

Best Remote Beaches PV!

Puerto Vallarta is famous for its fun, beachy atmosphere. Downtown PV offers plenty of options if you’re looking to casually walk up to a beachfront restaurant with 20 of your closest friends and spend your day in the comfort of a chaise lounge under an umbrella. But what about those looking for a more off- the-beaten-path experience? The best remote beaches PV has to offer are not widely known, and today I’d love to give you a little insider’s information.  I hope you get the chance to visit one of these amazing beaches on your next trip to Puerto Vallarta!


best remote beaches pv

This is an incredibly beautiful little beach to the south of Puerto Vallarta. Located in between Boca de Tomatlan and Las Animas, Colomitos is only accessible by foot or boat. It is mostly frequented by hikers that are en route to the Las Animas. It’s the perfect spot to stop and catch your breath and go for a refeshing dip in the sea. Tour boats do stop in this tiny cove as well. It is common to see passengers dive off yachts or catamarans to snorkel in the cristalline emerald waters this beach is famous for.  There is a famous restaurant called Ocean Grill that is perched on the rocks adjacent to Colomitos Beach. It is absolutely delicious and the views are out of this world! I highly recommend spending the day in this tiny nook of beauty.

Palito Verde

best remote beaches pv

Palito Verde is definitely one of the Best Remote Beaches PV has to offer. Located North of Puerto Vallarta in between La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and Punta de  Mita, this lovely beach is hard to find! Parking is along the side of the old highway to Punta de Mita. You then hike down about 5 minutes on a dirt road to a beautiful secluded cove with shady trees. The water is calm and clear and you have a beautiful view out across the Bay towards Valalrta.

What are some of the Best Remote Beaches PV has to offer in your opinion? I would love to hear from you in the comments below! – Christina

Looking for your dream property on the beach? check out my website www.vallartaluxurylifestyles.com for the latest listings in the bay.