Best of the Bay of Banderas North

Best of 3

By Sue Gavin / Bucerias Magic


In December of 1997, I drove to Puerto Vallarta from Daytona Beach, Florida with my now Ex-husband, my Shit-Tzu puppy (who now is in Doggie Heaven after 16 happy years), and everything I owned all stuffed into my tiny 1994 two-seater, Honda Del Sol. I was on my way to Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo where I had a job lined up. Then after just one day, like so many people, I fell in love with Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas, and through many trials and tribulations, I am still here after all these years later and very happy to share my experiences.

After living in many areas of the Bay over the years I found my heart and home is right here in Bucerias. Even though this is still a small town, the expansion is rapid as many baby boomers choose this area as a perfect retirement destination. Located just 15 minutes north of the international airport and 30 minutes from Centro Puerto Vallarta this little gem of a town is a must to explore. Bucerias is bursting with activity in our high season which is November through April. The low season here is quiet but many restaurants, shops, galleries, and much more are still open for everyone's enjoyment. I am excited to share with you the Best of the Best that this once little fishing village has to offer.

One of my personal favorites here as well as so many locals is Karen's Place, located in the “Golden Zone” of Bucerias which is just south of downtown. Karen's Place is one of the best beachfront restaurants and bars on this stretch of beach. The owner, Karen, is a young entrepreneur from England who started her first venture here 20 some years ago. This now bustling restaurant was once a cozy coffee - tea house on the corner of Lazaro Cardenas and Benito Juarez when Bucerias was still a tiny village and not much was here. Over the years, just like Bucerias, Karen expanded, and her business is now in this beachfront location directly behind Costa Dorada's Suites condominium. Guests can choose to dine under the huge new palapa roof or one of the shady umbrellas on the beach where you can bury your feet in the sand. This is a delightful eatery as the food is consistently delicious and very moderately priced. My favorite dish is Karen's Taco Salad which I order topped with steamed shrimp. Another favorite is the mahi-mahi drenched in a lemon caper white wine sauce. The staff here is also very friendly and attentive. Karen's Place offers a Happy Hour from 3 to 5 every day where you can enjoy a frosty 2 for 1 margarita. Diners can relax and enjoy the sound of the surf or watch the spectacular evening Bay of Bander's sunsets.

I recently had the pleasure of being entertained by kite surfers literally, flying across the bay. Kite surfing season is from mid-March to mid-June in Bucerias with the entire skyline sprinkled with the colorful sails of giant kites and beautiful surfers, if you know what I mean ladies and guys. This is an extreme sport that uses wind power with a kite to skim the water and to jump into the air! The kite surfer rides on a bidirectional or a directional surfboard attached to the power kite by about 20 meters of lines to a control bar and harness. Kite surfing combines the aspects of many sports and is considered less expensive and more convenient than its sailing counterparts and really takes some strength and practice. I had the fortune to interview, Santiago Grimaldi, an 18-year-old Nuevo Vallarta local, who has been mastering this sport since he was 8 years old. I was told by his competitors that he is the Best on the Bay of Banderas! Santiago's goal is to be sponsored for a world-class competition next year in the RedBull Megaloop competition held in the Netherlands. Let us all send best wishes and prayers that he gets a sponsor so this ambitious and talented young man can represent our little town of Bucerias as a winner.

Should you be interested in trying this sport there are two schools along with rentals and other water sports available in Bucerias that can be found easily just by walking down the beach and talking to one of the guys.

Stay tuned for more articles, blogs, and videos from your reporter in the little paradise town of Bucerias and the very Best of Banderas Bay northside. I hope to see you in Bucerias soon!