We are in PV for the month of December, and let me tell you – it is HOT here, everyday. I am not complaining, as I know that I will encounter Canadian weather again too soon, but it really is a relentless, humid heat.
As many of you know, I have an Aunt and Uncle who spend 5 months in Puerto Vallarta – so it was great to see them. In honor of Grant’s 28th birthday – we took a road trip up in the mountains to the little town of San Sebastian. It was actually much cooler up there.
I did a bit of reconnaissance before heading out, and learned that the drive is not for anyone who may experience motion sickness. The road is pretty narrow and winding.
San Sebastian was established in 1605 as a gold & silver mining town. During it’s boom, there were 40,000 people living there. The mines have closed, and population has dropped to around 600 people.
The first thing we noticed when we got close to the town was all the streets are cobbled. You know I have a tendency towards tripping – so I expected the day to be a challenge, but alas – no twisted ankles or scraped knees for me.
The town had a tranquil feel about it – there weren’t a lot of tourists. The local people were extremely friendly.
One gentleman – who we nicknamed Des Moines (because he continually kept telling us that his son lived in Des Moines, Iowa), took us to his property. He showed us the house that he was building, and the fruit trees on the property. We left there with a bag full of oranges and lemons.
As we continued to tour, another fellow called to us out his window, asking if we would like to see his coffee trees. He and his wife lived with their 3 young children in the small home – and three days a week, he travelled over an hour back to Puerto Vallarta to work on a tour boat. His English was very good. In his back yard, he showed us how the coffee beans grow on the trees. He explained that once they turned red and softened, they were hand-picked and then peeled. Once they had dried, they are a pale green colour and they were ready to be roasted – he took his beans to a local coffee shop for roasting. Interestingly, the coffee beans don’t have an aroma until they are roasted.
He gave us a few avocados that were growing on the property. It was very interesting to find out about the area from these people, but also a testament to the kind of people they are – they don’t have much, but they were willing to take the time to talk and share with us.
The buildings in town were older, but well maintained. It was easy to see that people take pride in their community. We purchased hand-made souvenirs. Restaurants were small but clean, and the businesses were appreciative of the tourism.
A great day trip to take if you are in Puerto Vallarta. San Sebastian is almost like a step back in time, and there is plenty of amazing scenery along the way.