Puerto Vallarta has a lot to offer in the way of sights, events and tours ranging from free to expensive and we have sampled quite a few in the past six weeks. Last night we experienced our favorite so far…Rhythms Of The Night with Vallarta Adventures.
If you’ve ever been to Mexico you will be very familiar with the phrase “Want to do a tour Amigo? I can give you the best deal!”. Most of the time we just respond with a “No, gracias” but on Thursday night we fell for the full spiel (possibly due to the $1 Margs at the Cheeky Monkey) and spent 30 minutes chatting and sampling tequila with “Kevin” who like every other salesman in PV supposedly used to live in the US.
As you may have read in our previous posts we had already gone on three excursions with the gang during our first week here but the Rhythms Of The Night was one that we still had on our list. The problem was that it is pretty expensive (about $100 USD per person) and we are now on a real life budget as opposed to a holiday budget. So when Kevin said that he could get us tickets to Rhythms for just $25 we were intrigued. Of course we knew the catch…we’d have to run a 90 minute (5 hours in actual Mexican time) gauntlet of sales people trying to convince us that we’d be fools to pass up this one day only special offer to purchase a time share.
Now due to our new travel life we obviously are in no position financially to purchase any such thing but we really wanted those tickets and to be honest we were both a bit curious about the whole time-share thing. We both have family who have bought into it and they use it often and love it. Plus as Kevin told us it’s all a big numbers game and he gets his bit of commission regardless of whether we buy…his job is merely to get us to agree to waste “90” minutes of our time. I’ll be posting about our time-share experience another day but this post is about Rhythms.
The Rhythms Of The Night is held at Las Caletas Beach Hideaway on a private island apparently owned by Vallarta Adventures and so part of the fun is the 45 min boat ride each way. The boats depart from the Maritime Marina (across from Walmart) at 6:30pm but plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early as there will be a couple hundred others arriving too and you will all have to pay a Port fee of 20 Pesos prior to entering the departure area. Port fees are paid at the window just before the turnstile.
The tickets to Rhythms Of The Night include dinner and open bar and upon boarding the boat we were greeted with our choice of beer, rum punch or margaritas (and I assume some no-alcoholic options) which kept flowing the whole way. There was an amazing sunset as we departed and everyone was clamoring to get the perfect romantic shot which turned into a great way to start the mingling process.
Once underway we found out pretty quickly that you would want to be seated or have an arm hooked firmly around a post as the seas were a bit choppy and you could barely stand without falling and forget about trying to walk a straight line to the banyo. Obviously the crew had experienced sea legs as they ran around nimbly with trays of drinks and even put on a bit of a show on the bow of the boat.
As we approached the island of Las Caletas they turned off the music and dimmed the lights so as to give the full effect of the glowing spectacle ahead. It was hard to believe at first that the brilliance in front of us was created only by open flames but as we drew closer we could indeed see that there were hundreds, possibly thousands, of torches and candles illuminating the shore and the paths leading along the beach and up into the jungle.
As we disembarked we were transported to another time and place where we were greeted by haunting flutes and pulsating drums played by pre-Columbian attired performers…who by the way were all very fit and beautiful. We were directed to follow various torch lit paths which crossed bridges, climbed stairs and hugged the edge of the jungle and the shore before opening up into pockets of tables scattered along the rocks and on the golden fire lit sand.
Happily we were seated at a table for two on the beach just a couple of feet from the sparkling white of the softly breaking waves and although we were surrounded by other tables they were situated in a way that you could easily forget there was anyone else there.
We were immediately greeted by Juan who offered us wine, cocktails and bottled water and told us that we could go and help ourselves to dinner form the buffet in the rocks behind us. There was a great assortment of beautifully displayed food including, steak, chicken, fish and shrimp plus plenty of salads, vegetables, pasta and rice and again it was of course all lit by just candlelight. We had a lovely leisurely meal while listening to the waves and watching the moon rise followed by an array of delicious deserts and coffee with Kahlua. As there was still 20 minutes before the show was to start we explored for a bit and took a rest in one of the hammocks lining the shore.
Soon a horn sounded which was the signal that the show was about to start so we followed a path up into the jungle where we found a glowing pyramid and a mystical looking amphitheater. The show began with a bit of comedy from a face painted witch doctor and then morphed into a spectacular show of music and dance highlighted by incredible acrobatics and fire dancing (which Nathan was dying to join in).
The performances displayed some of “Mexico’s rich cultural heritage through the stories and folklore of civilizations past and illustrated how ancient pre-Columbian religions and beliefs influenced the myths, legends and cultures of Mexico”. I have seen performances in many cities including Las Vegas, London and NY and I have to say that this show was as beautiful and entertaining as any I’ve seen. It really exceeded our expectations.
As ours was the last boat to leave (there were 3 in total), after the show we were able to spend another 20 minutes exploring the grounds or having drinks at one of the candlelit bars. Nathan and I were seriously tempted to get “lost” and spend the night on the island in one of the hammocks but we figured they probably did a head count before leaving so we’d likely be found out.
We think Vallarta Adventures should add an overnight adventure to their list of excursions! We begrudgingly boarded the boat and had a lively and fun ride back with music and stumble-dancing (it was still a bit rough on the waters) and of course more cocktails…they certainly don’t skimp on the open bar.
Heading home we talked about the experience and we both agreed that this evening would be hard to beat and will likely remain in our top 10 throughout all of our future travels. This is really high praise as we usually prefer blazing our own adventure trail as opposed to paying big bucks for an often tacky touristy event created for the masses. Granted we got a great deal at $25 but having now had the experience I can say that we would not hesitate to recommend Rhythms Of The Night even at full price. You really get a bit of everything needed for a perfect night out…sunset, boat ride, music, great food & drinks, good service, entertainment, candlelight, ocean view, even a nap in a hammock! I’d say that’s $100 well spent!!
Live, Dream, Discover rates The Rhythms Of The Night 10 out of 10.