Puerto Vallarta Holiday
Christel Donia-Beauveser © 2001

Christel Donia-Beauveser, of the Netherlands, explores the many delights of this south of the border resort.

I am Christel from the Netherlands and I am 35 years old. For the record, I am also disabled and use a wheelchair.

I want to share my three-week visit to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 1999. We booked our trip through a travel agency, and it was all-inclusive flight and hotel for $1100 per person. We flew with Martinair Airlines, and they treated my wheelchair well. 

We stayed in Las Palmas Beach Hotel, 2.5 Blvd, Francisco Medina Ascensio, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico 
Tel (3) 22 4-06-50/91(800) 3-28-76. 
Fax:(3) 22 4-05-43).
e-mail is palmaspv@pvnet.com.mx 

They have special rooms for wheelchair users, and you can do all things by yourself. After the bathroom door is removed, a wheelchair user has an extra 5 or 6 cm. You can use the wheelchair in the bathroom, and you can also ride into the shower without any problems. I used a chair from outside to sit under the shower. There is a one-piece iron handle, which goes all around the room, and this comes in handy for holding yourself. You can't move your wheelchair next to the toilet because the toilet is between two walls, which stand so close to the toilet that you never can fall down. There is still enough room, though, and there is even also an iron handle to hold yourself, so you can easily use the toilet without standing next to it.

From the Hotel Las Palmas Beach, you can walk to Puerto Vallarta city, which takes about 20 minutes. When you come into the city (the new part), you can choose either the part by the stores or the part near the sea.
By the promenade near the sea, you just can go up a street especially made for wheelchairs. You can ride/walk the whole way untill you arrive in the old city. When you choose to visit the stores, you will need help because there are high curbs about every eight stores. They made them high for the rainy season when the water comes down from the mountains into the village. In every store, they will make room for you if you want. They donít do it because they feel sorry for you; they just do it.

In the old city, there are many places where you can eat and drink. Please go one or two blocks away from the main street, and you will find the nicest restaurants, which are also very cheap. Two people can eat there for $4, (including the tip), and you can have all you want. On the main street, they can ask higher prices because people donít wanted to leave the main street. Most of the time we took a cab back to the hotel. The first time I wanted to go kayaking with my husband, the hotel was concerned with the liability, because they didnít know how well I could swim, but after we explained our insurance to the manager he was OK. So the management stands open for new things!

Excursions from Puerto Vallarta

We also took a trip to see the Huichol Indians. We had to use a boat, and then they arranged a donkey that I could use to go up a hill. It was interesting to see the Hutchiol Indians and the way they live. We saw a peyote ceremony, and it was very impressive. The day started with a Huichol Indian greeting the sun. Then he went with us to his village. We could not take any pictures of the people because they believe that they will lose their spirits if their photos are taken.

Huichol Indians make beautiful art, and in Puerto Vallarta they have a shop, which is located where you go on the promenade at the seaside. At the end of the promenade, there is a little†curve to the right, and when you look to the other side of the street, you will see the shop. They make beautiful animals with wax and little beads and also sell shirts with special symbols.

We also took a jeep safari. I sat in the front of the car and could see much of the country.

Another nice experience was swimming with the dolphins. We chose the one with five people together. You are the same time in the water with the dolphin as the people who swim alone with them. Only they pay twice what we did. You are with one dolphin and can touch it and kiss him or her. In the big pool you have to get lucky if the dolphins will come to you or not. One thing when you are handicapped, they feel it and they will come sooner to you. Thatís the lucky part of the handicap. They pick it up with their sonar.

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