Street Pictures around Old Town and El Centro

The streets around Old Town and El Centro are mostly cobblestone and I love the rustic vibe these areas carry with them. The light casts wonderful shadows on the buildings and I carry my iPhone to capture these beautiful street views. Most of my pictures now are from my iPhone as it’s handy to carry rather than a big camera around my neck or shoulder.

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Always carry your camera or smart phone, you never know when a picture perfect moment may arise.

Afternoon of Paradise at Playa Las Gemalas South of Puerto Vallarta

Play Las Gemalas, a small beach located 15 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta by bus, is a slice of heaven. With soft light-colored sand and silky clear water, this public beach is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.

I found this beach by accident when google searching snorkelling in Mismaloya. I followed a few threads on trip advisor with then led me to Playa Las Gemalas, describing how beautiful it was and that it was about number 17 on the top list of things to do in Puerto Vallarta.

Getting there is easy with a few options. You can take a taxi or catch a bus like we did, for 8 pesos per person. The bus stop in Old Town is located on the corner of Basillo Badillo and Constitution street, right next to the OXXO. The bus is orange and white and will say Mismaloya on the windshield. This bus passes the beach as it heads to Mismaloya. Tell the bus driver you are going to Playa Las Gemalas and he will drop you off at the Best Western Plus. It’s about a 15 minute bus ride.

Busses going south, Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlan, start from the South Terminal at Constitución and Basilio Badillo. For 80 pesos, you can't beat it.

Busses going south, Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlan, start from the South Terminal at Constitución and Basilio Badillo. For 80 pesos, you can’t beat it.

I recommend picking up some snacks and water before your trip as the beach has very few vendors. Also, pack some towels, sunscreen and maybe a book if you like.

What you will need for an afternoon at Playa Las Gemalas: towels, sunscreen, book or iPod, sunglasses, snacks, water, cerveza and food if you are staying a long time as there are no vendors.

After the bus drops you off at Best Western Plus, walk back to Condominiums Playa Gemala and you will see a hidden staircase to the beach. The staircase is long and uneven so be careful. We counted, there are 110 steps but the prize at the end is worth it.

The bus drops you off at Best Western. Walk back to this condo complex.

The bus drops you off at Best Western. Walk back to this condo complex.


The sign to the entrance of the staircase to Playa Las Gemalas.

The sign to the entrance of the staircase to Playa Las Gemalas.


Staircase to heaven

Staircase to heaven


110 uneven steps to the Playa.

110 uneven steps to the Playa.

Once you get to the beach, find a shade spot under the tree to lay your towel down and head to the water.

Grab a spot under the tree for shade.

Grab a spot under the tree for shade.


Soft clean sand and silky clear water

Soft clean sand and silky clear water

Finding this beach was a wonderful surprise for us. I have never been to the Caribbean but I was told it was almost the same. We swam out quite far and were diving down, eyes open, and touching the bottom. The water is crystal clear and we could see nothing but light sand, even some sea shells. We also just floated on our backs, legs and arms spread like a starfish, letting the sun warm our face.

Cross the road to catch the bus back to Puerto Vallarta. It comes frequently.

Cross the road to catch the bus back to Puerto Vallarta. It comes frequently.

Venture outside of the tourist zone and head to Playa Las Gemalas. This little beach really is a great surprise and quite different from Los Muertos or other beaches right in Puerto Vallarta.

El Patio de mi Casa for Live Music and Good Eats

For something off the beaten track and a few blocks from the malecon, head over to El Patio de mi Casa for a wood fired pizza and cocktail while listening to live music or cool jazzy vibes. This outdoor lounge is cool and hip, a nice escape from the touristy bars that line the malecon.

El Patio is located at Guerrero 311. We come from Emilano Zapata, so we walk across the second bridge over River Cuale, hit the HSBC bank and continue till you reach a deadend. Turn left and you will come up to the entrance. You will see some cute blue cartoon graffiti along with a small sign over the door. As you walk through the hallway into the courtyard, you feel as if you are walking into someones house and, well, patio.

Have a seat at the bar and order up a cocktail. The bartenders can mix up a great drink or two.

Have a seat at the bar and order up a cocktail. The bartenders can mix up a great drink or two.

We walked over on Tuesday night to watch the open jam sessions and had a wonderful time. Two jazz groups jammed on the stage and also a singer came up to sing a few songs as well.

Band jamming on stage.

Band jamming on stage.

To accompany our music treat, we ordered some cocktails along with humus, fried cheese, a salad, pepperoni pizza and for dessert; crostini with melted dark chocolate with sea salt and olive oil. What a great meal! The dessert was incredible, I will have to make that at home.

Negroni time!

Negroni time!

Hummus and fried cheese.

Hummus and fried cheese.

Wood fired pepperoni pizza.

Wood fired pepperoni pizza.

Great music, great food and a great venue. What more could you ask for?