Like most of the folks here, we did the day tour. Joel, the best tour guide ever, picked us up in a comfortable van across the street from our hotel. Much to our surprise, we were the only people going on the tour. This made for a totally personalized and fun experience. Even though Joel has been giving tours for La Hacienda for something like eight years, he was totally enthusiastic, talkative and exceedingly friendly. On the way to the ranch, he provided running commentary on places, plants and animals we passed, as well as some Mexican history. We made several stops, including a little pull-off overlooking the ocean and a small town with a pretty church. Joel was chock-full of information the entire way.
At the ranch, the staff was incredibly kind and accommodating. The focal point of the grounds was the beautiful main structure, that housed a restaurant and some adjoining accommodations for overnight guests. The restaurant was modern-rustic, open-air, with an expansive patio and romantic furnishings and fixtures. The villas were equally romantic and beautiful. I recommend abstaining from breakfast before embarking on this tour. When we arrived at the ranch, the restaurant was our first stop, and the food was delicious and plentiful. We learned about cheese- and raicilla (a type of tequila)-making and sampled both, followed by a horseback ride through a lovely portion of the 300-acre grounds, which was enhanced by Joel serenading us, pointing out interesting birds and plants and treating us to a few more samples of raicilla ;)
Back at the ranch: more delicious food and, even better, unlimited raicilla margaritas. We had some great conversation--the staff treated us like family.
Overall, it was a jam-packed full day. We departed downtown Puerto Vallarta around 8:30, didn't return until after 6, and there was never a dull moment. I highly recommend La Hacienda--especially the day tour.
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