Rivers in Vallarta

Now that the vacation period has finally arrived Puerto Vallarta is welcoming thousands of visitors during this couple of weeks, more than willing to enjoy all the beauties and benefits the city has to offer.  Of course, the first option is always the beaches, famous on their own right thanks to their natural beauty.  But there is another much demanded element when it comes to taking a refreshing splash: the also beautiful rivers of Puerto Vallarta.

In fact, Vallarta municipality is bordered North and South by two rivers: Ameca in the north signaling the border with the state of Nayarit and Tomatlán, bordering the namesake municipality. Here are some of the better known rivers in our town:

Ameca – the most abundant, still home to an important population of crocodiles now threatened by touristic complexes being built on both sides.

Mascota – affluent of Ameca, they become one very close to Las Juntas.

Pitillal – very popular among locals and visitors, especially in the Playa Grande area. Its volume diminishes considerably during the dry months.

Cuale – definitively the most famous and beloved by people form Vallarta. It has been captured in countless paints by Vallartan artists.  Legend used to have it that those who drank water from the Cuale would become a permanent dweller.  Today, it is enough to cross it by one of the hanging bridges.

Palo María – at the South of the city, it streams down the mountains in the rainy season. Between this one and downtown you will find the creeks Amapas, Las Estacas and EL Carrizo, which lose almost all their water during the dry months

Mismaloya, Los Horcones and Tomatlán – the water of these rivers is colder because they disembogue practicalle straight out of the mountains.  This is also why they are the ones with more exuberant vegetation in their mouth.

It doesn’t really matter if you choose salt or fresh water; fun is total if you follow basic safety measures.  And remember to keep the areas you visit clean!

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Vallarta-style Ceviche

The spring warmth is all upon us making us crave for something refreshing, tasty and filling.  Living on the coast, we have at our disposal one of the most delicious dishes we can find:  ceviche.  The first historical records of ceviche in America are in Peru, where it is considered the national dish.  In Mexico ceviche is enjoyed since memorial times on the Pacific coast as well as on the Gulf shores, with different variations in every region.

Thus, we have ceviche acapulqueño (from Acapulco), the Baja one, Veracruz-style and of course, Vallarta-style ceviche, with features making it special and different from others.

Basic ingredients to prepare it are: white grounded fish, chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, serrano pepper and cucumber, grated carrot, salt, pepper and grounded garlic and lime juice.  You can also add olive oil, soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce if you like.  The grounding of fish and the addition of carrots and cucumber give it the oh-so-enjoyable local touch.

You have to mix all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate at least2 hours, to allow the lime juice to cure the raw fish.  When serving, add sliced avocado and hot sauce.  In this zone, that would be the famous Salsa Huichol.

Now you know how to prepare ceviche as in the best eateries in Vallarta. Provecho!

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Fun and safe vacations!

Holy Week vacations are coming closer for children and youngsters in our country.  This is the right moment to get ready to enjoy the holidays, the family gathering and, of course, the long hours on the seaside or by the river.

Beside the bathing suit, there is something very important that you must not miss in your outings: sunscreen.  Although sun bathing helps us fix calcium in our bones and raises our spirits, prolonged and/or repeated exposure presents disadvantages and risks, as sun overexposure raises the probabilities of suffering skin burns and in the long run may even cause skin cancer.

Sun emits three types of rays. We perceive the visible rays responsible for light and the infrared ones responsible for the heat sensation.  However, there is a kind of rays we are not aware of until it is too late: the feared UV rays. That is why it is so important to know the ways to protect us.

As swimming with hat, long sleeves and pants in no fun at all, it is best to carry sunblock and to know how to use it.  A good sunblock contains sun filters with great absorption of UV radiation, water and sweat resistance and does not irritate skin.

A very important aspect to consider is the Solar Protection Factor (SPF), which is a measure that indicates the number of times a product allows the sun radiation we can receive without getting burn to multiply.  As it is practically impossible to calculate the solar energy you receive, it is more common to convert this figure in time.  This is, if your skin gets burned after 20 minutes of sun at midday, a sun block with an SPF of 10 will get you to burn after 200 minutes, or 3 hours and 20 minutes of sun exposure at the same intensity.

Of course there are factors you must take into account, as the sand that loosens the sunblock or water that dissolves it.  Here, the following tips become important:

Apply sunscreen before leaving home. Do not wait to be on the beach, by the river or in the field.

Reapply it every 2 hours, no matter the SPF you are using.

 Do not overexpose to the sun between 12 noon and 3 pm, as sun rays are more intense at these times.

If you are not getting in the water, wear a cap or hat while you sunbathe.

And remember, there is no such a thing as a healthy tanning!

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Friends, fiesta and chicken wings

Chicken wings are one of the most popular snacks in the United States and Canada, and their popularity in Mexico has enjoyed a steady growth for the last ten years.  But, where did this tasty dish come from? Wings’ original name is Buffalo Wings so, yes, the birthplace of wings is the city of Buffalo, NY.

 

There are several theories about the origin of this delicacy.  The most widely-accepted say Bellisimo family’s Anchor Bar was the first place to serve deep-fried chicken wings coated with a vinegar, butter and Cayenne pepper sauce at the late 1960’s.  In 1977, the city of Buffalo declared July 29 as the official Chicken Wing Day.  Today there exist a large variety of wings sauce flavors with different degrees of hot; there are sweet, sour or smoked ones, with cheese and with all the intensities you can imagine.

We can enjoy our wings with our home recipe, in some of the franchise restaurants that have sprung in Mexico or in our favorite bar; even some haute-cuisine chefs have been devoted to creating gourmet versions of this humble dish.  Actually, it does not really matter where we enjoy them, wings are always the perfect dish foa a friends’ reunion and a good time; good company is the important point!

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Flowers in spring

Spring is the season for renovation and rebirth.  It is in this season that life blossoms and noble and happy feelings arouse.   One of the most traditional ways to express these feelings in many cultures worldwide is through flowers.  Receiving flowers is something everybody appreciates.  It is a simple act, as costly as one can afford and always speaks well of that who gives them.

The simplicity of giving flowers is not exempt of the symbolism that man has imprinted on his acts.  With regards to flowers, things such as the number given and above all, the colors, possess a great meaning.  It is convenient to be aware and know these meanings to make sure that a kind gesture will not be misunderstood and that you will convey the intended message.  Here are some of the most common flower colors:

White flowers symbolize purity and innocence.  They are ideal for children and young people.  They are used in weddings to represent the purity of love in the new relationship.

Red is the color of vital force, of passion; red roses have traditionally been synonym of passionate love.  Red and white combined in a flower bouquet incarnate feelings going from purity and innocence of love through love and passional desire.

Pink is the feminine color by excellence. A bouquet of pink flowers is the perfect romantic present.  They also denote thankfulness, so it is very common to send pink flowers as a show of appreciation for a special favor.

Yellow flowers must be treated carefully.  In some cultures they mean contempt, while in some other they are indicative of a hidden feeling. In combination with red, it is a hint of willing to go from a friendly relationship to one further ahead.

Orange flowers denote happiness, success and strength.  They are ideal to congratulate people for met objectives and fulfilled goals.

Blue is a balancing and spiritual color, fresh and relaxing.  Blue flowers are appropriate for someone in need of some tranquility in life.

Violet or lavender flowers represent the spiritual force, transmuter of energies. They are ideal to signal new beginnings or challenges to come.

Now that you know these meanings, it will be easier to choose the adequate flowers for every special occasion.

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