Sunday, February 10, 2013

Nuevo Vallarta...Paradise Village Marina & Resort

The crocodile slide at
Paradise Village Marina.
Even since we purchased Shawn and Heather’s Pacific Mexico: A Cruiser’s Guidebook, I have been dreaming about the crocodile slides at Paradise Village Marina.  The short motor over from La Cruz to Nuevo Vallarta brought me that much closer to realizing this dream.  Sure, on the way we saw mama humpback whales with their babies swimming around Banderas Bay, but to me they were just obstacles that stood between me and the croc slides (not really, the humpbacks are always amazing and the babies were very cool to see learning how to be whales from their patient mothers).  Once in the marina, Richard and I grabbed our towels and headed to the pool and the crocodile slides.  As we made our way through the resort and found the pools, we were greeted by Benjamin and Emma of Letitgo.  They had arrived a bit before us and had already found their way to the crocodile slides.  Their parents arrived shortly and the six of us had a blast swimming in the pool (there are even underwater “caves” built into the pool), sliding down the crocodile slides and hanging out.

Richard at the pool at
Paradise Village Marina.
As the afternoon passed, an announcement was made that there would be a game of music trivia.  The game entailed a short segment of a television or movie soundtrack being played and teams vying to be the first to be able to identify the song.  In order to be called to respond, a team member had to yell “Piñata Party!” and the host would call on that team to answer.  The combined crews of Osprey and Letitgo proved to be unbeatable in this contest and easily won the game and a bottle of tequila!  With tequila in hand, we walked back to our boats and decided to celebrate our victory with margaritas on Letitgo.  Laurent (from Letigo) certainly was no stranger to mixing up the margaritas and we all had a great time enjoying the spoils of our victory.

A big crocodile in the estuary at
Nuevo Vallarta.
The next day, we joined forces with Letitgo and ventured up the estuary in our dinghies.  Our objective was to see crocodiles (the real deal!) and see what other creatures could be seen in the forested areas surrounding the estuary.  We were not disappointed and soon spotted a monster of a crocodile sitting on the banks of the river.  Our outboards obviously alerted him to our presence and he slid into the water…kind of eerie considering (1) now we didn’t know where he was and (2) we were riding down the estuary in inflatable dinghies.  I immediately unhooked one of the oars, just in case I needed to fend off a croc from the dinghy.

Iguana in the trees in the estuary at
Nuevo Vallarta.
We continued down the estuary and saw numerous species of birds (which I checked off in my bird book once I identified all of them) and lots of iguanas in the trees overhanging the water.  When we got to a place where the banks started closing in, we turned around and floated for a bit on the outgoing tide.  The peacefulness was amazing; the six of us in two dinghies quietly floating down the estuary with no sounds from the outside world to break the idyllic scene.  Small red crabs scurried on the banks and on trees that had fallen into the water; kiskadees and kingfishers swooped down over the water looking for little fish to nab; butterflies flitted overhead.  When a couple of us nearly got our eyes poked out by overhanging branches, we decided to crank up the outboards and zip back to our boats (well, not so much zip back to the boats as carefully motored along the deeper parts of the already shallow estuary).

Osprey at Paradise Village Marina and Resort.
In all we spent four days in Paradise Village Marina and have already made our reservation to return for the first two weeks of March.  We will be heading a bit south from here over the month of February and returning to Banderas Bay for the month of March in order to get ready for “the jump” (our Pacific Ocean crossing to French Polynesia).  It’s both amazing and scary how close that is and each time I turn the page on the calendar I am reminded of what it is we set out to do on this journey.

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