Posted March 2, 2009 by Jamie Moore
In Puerto Vallartan paradise, great values on fun are waiting to be discovered everywhere from the streets of downtown to the Sierra Madre rainforest. Fly through the trees, ooh and aah at a fabulous flaming coffee, and play I Spy in a store with a gazillion beads.
Vallarta Adventures' Canopy Tour: A 45-minute ride takes you through rural communities and deep into the Sierra Madre tropical rainforest for this eco-tour. Far from resorts, it's the Mexico you've never seen before. This time your perspective is from a butterfly's-eye view. You fly via zip line from treetop to treetop among many colorful butterfly species. Fun guides keep you laughing along the exhilarating 2 1/2-mile route. They point out poinsettias and explain how each treetop platform is held up by tension, not nails. It's worth the $79, but save 10 percent when you book online.
River Cafe: This chic open-air restaurant along downtown's Isla Rio Cuale is a bit pricey for budget-minded travelers, but you'll find a fantastic flaming Spanish coffee at a reasonable rate. Come after dinner for a whole evening's worth of entertainment. You can grab a table that overlooks lush vegetation and the river that spills into the ocean a few blocks away. Candles glow on tables, local jazz musicians play, and Mexican art covers the walls. Best of all, though, is the skillful presentation of fire at your table.
Niuweme Gallery: One step into this colorful, cluttered gallery shop of beaded Huichol arts and you feel like you're in a festive Where's Waldo or I Spy scene. There's so much to look at—bracelets, animal figurines, masks, and more—you hardly know where to begin the fun journey. Other fancier downtown gallery shops sell similar pieces, but Niuweme Gallery has more variety and, unlike others, all proceeds go back to the Native artists. Watch artists in action and ask about the sacred religious significance of the designs.
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(Photo: Bruce Herman/Mexico Tourism)
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