Just realized we never posted a report on our first impressions of Puerto Vallarta and CI, we loved this trip and will return to Casa Isabel again.
Casa Isabel -
Arrived Casa Isabel around 7PM and settled in and enjoyed dinner and cocktails. Arturo and Aldo greeted us and took care of us the first couple of days, and then Alecio (spelling) and Manual were our main babysitters the remainder of our stay. We met Carol who was very friendly and became fast friends with Mick (more on Mick later). Michael is managing CI for Isabel and was also very helpful with any questions we asked ort anything that we needed.
We stayed in room 313 which is just steps from the main pool and the larger infinity edge pool and affords a beautiful view of town and the ocean (as most rooms do). The extra 1/2 bath was very convenient and I would opt for this room next visit if available. Our friends stayed in room 402 one floor up, and they were just steps from the smaller infinity edge pool just 1 flight of stairs up from them. Their room was very similar to 313 except there is one bathroom and it is a little smaller. But both rooms would be very comfortable for a couple.
A wedding party booked the remaining rooms at CI at the last minute (a real surprise for us!). But every day the four of us and a very nice Scottish newlywed couple had the entire property to ourselves and it was very quiet and relaxing. The wedding party had a late night party on Fri and invited all of us (they were a very nice group from Houston), but my wife was not feeling great and so I just sat out at the other end of the pool and enjoyed a nice Cuban cigar and while listening to the band the wedding party had hired. The band was excellent and played a Beatles medley, which got me thinking about what pvjenny had said earlier about the Los Bandidos. I quickly lost that train of thought as I continued to enjoy their music and next morning I asked the bride-to-be who the band was and you guessed it – Los Bandidos! So I did get a chance to really enjoy them after I thought I had missed that opportunity... Strange how things work out...
We were sorry to have missed Isabel as she sounds like an amazing lady. We walked up the hill a couple of times and taxied back from town other nights, apparently she walks the hill regularly for exercise! But Casa Isabel is a very nice boutique hotel overlooking PV and Banderas bay and we would not hesitate staying there again.
Dining & sightseeing -
We enjoyed dinner at CI a few nights, and their restaurant week special was very good. I’ve seen recent reviews of CI that were less than positive, and although we can’t compare our experience to earlier visits we were very pleased with the cuisine and the service at CI. We also enjoyed lunching at a few spots in Old Town, although we didn’t make it to many of the places on our list. The standout of all of the restaurants we did try was Tony’s Please. We met JR at Pour Favor for the Tuesday M&G and asked what he would recommend for 4 people with different appetites. He led us down the street to Tony’s and sat with us until we decided to order and then made his way to Que Pasa. Each of us ordered a different item from the menu and we all loved our choices. I have to say that the pepper steak was absolutely right on the money. JR I want to buy you the crepes at Tony’s next visit.
We actually very much enjoyed Pour Favor and returned there twice while exploring town. Wayne actually knows our hometown because he went to college nearby. Great guy and a great place to meet other folks! I also enjoyed some great cigars I bought around the corner from Rogelio, very knowledgeable fellow.
We walked the Malecon of course and we were just a little disappointed when we found it was lined mostly with the trinket shops until we got to the condos, not sure what I was expecting really but we stayed closer to the water to avoid the less aggressive hawkers. Beautiful statues and we did see 3 groups of dolphins just off shore one day. Old Town or the romantic zone was definitely our favorite area of PV, great little shops and restaurants and a nice vibe.
We chose 2 excursions with Vallarta Adventures, we actually booked through email@example.com with Kim Phillips for the best price. She’s an independent agency and is not affiliated with Vallarta Adventures, but she works very closely with them and can answer any questions in a timely manner. Kim is very easy to work with and I would highly recommend booking with her for any of the VA excursions – same experience for 30% less and you can change your times/dates up to the last minute which you cannot do booking through VA.
We took the Rhythms of the Night excursion last Wed evening, there is a little confusion on the times offered because VA makes changes as they receive more bookings. So what was a 7PM departure from the marine terminal with dinner followed by the show became a show followed by a late dinner because an earlier 6PM departure was added. Finally after several phone calls to get clarification on exactly what the options were we changed to the 6PM departure. We arrived 7PM and enjoyed dinner and cocktails, and I have to say this was one of the best dining experiences we enjoyed during our 2 weeks in PV! It was a buffet-style dinner and the food was excellent with many choices. Wine, tequila, and other beverages were free-flowing until we were summoned by a sound to the show. As night fell we were directed to an ampi-theater and a very interesting and well choreographed presentation. I don’t want to give away too much but I will say that this excursion is a must-do in our opinion. We met others who have enjoyed this 3 and 5 times already and return to treat friends and family to the experience. Just an excellent evening that you would be happy you booked. There are private restrooms along the paths with candlelight, be careful as my wife inadvertently burned her purse strap! But a very romantic setting and wonderful experience. The boat ride there and back is nice, and the crew does an excellent job in entertaining you and keeping a drink in your hand.
We also took the Majahuitas and Yalapa excursion on a Fri, this includes a photo stop at Los Arcos followed by a snorkel stop at Majahuitas then on to Yalapa. We stopped at an alternate location for snorkeling due to large numbers of jellyfish reported at Majahuitas. We saw many fish from the boat and from the water. Yalapa was an experience, we may have enjoyed it more on our own and considered taking a bus to Boca and a water taxi over to Yalapa instead of the excursion. But the excursion worked well, we walked the town and the steps to the falls and then went to the beach. The beach is very rough sand and you sink quite a bit as you walk along the beach. We did see the other Casa Isabel which is home to the infamous “Poop Buckets”.
We did not make it to Mismaloya or Bucerias unfortunately, and that simply means we must return – oh well!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Luxury accommodations at affordable prices. Stay with us and see why our guests return year after year. We offer twelve different units in a variety of styles and budgets, from a hotel room, spectacular romantic suites, studios and one bedroom suites, most have full kitchens, plus our fabulous two bedroom two bath casita. Incredible views of the mountains and ocean, fireworks and sunsets, plus enjoy two Jacuzzis and a pretty pool with a B.Y.O.B Palapa Bar and professional grills. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Casa Isabel Hotel Puerto Vallarta