After a rather relaxing day flying into Puerto Vallarta, we were ready to explore! On Day 2 we went to Zona Romantica, a beautiful beach and hotel area, and Las Caletas, a secluded island an hour away.
We slept in blissfully until 10am, ate a simple breakfast and headed out. We took the local bus outside La Isla mall to Zona Romantica. It is a beautiful, long beach with many hotels. It is also home to the famous Los Muertos Pier. It was quite hot without any shade, but not too humid. There were a lot of people lounging on the beach already by the late morning.
We shopped around a few tour vendor booths until we came to a person who was informative and helpful. Jorge helped us book a Las Caletas Rhythms of the Night tour for that evening. We paid USD120 per person (you could bargain lower!) and it included the boat ride from Puerto Vallarta to Las Caletas, a show, buffet dinner on the beach and open bar.
We also booked a water taxi for the next day to Yalepa. Trips departing Zona Romantica to Yalepa were at 10am, 11am and 12pm. There was only one trip back per day at 4pm. For the water taxi, we paid a small deposit and went back the next day to pay the rest. Tickets cost 320 pesos per person.
Under the recommendation of Jorge, we went for lunch at a place called Salud. It was delicious! I loved my mango, pineapple, banana smoothie. The avocado, egg, cheese, mushroom wrap was filling and the Tuscan Bowl filled with meatballs, salad and quinoa was satisfying.
We walked around the area some more, looked at the market stalls and took the local bus back to our hotel to rest up a bit before going on the night tour.
The meeting place to get to Las Caletas was at Terminal Maritima (Marina Vallarta). There was a 25.5 pesos per person port tax to enter, which is not included in the tour price. Inside is a waiting area with shades, tables and some food and drink options.
At around 5:30pm we were able to board the boat. I think the boat had more than 50 people. The open bar began as soon as we got on! Drinks were passed around and we found a seat on the upper deck, admiring the colourful sky as the sunset was looming.
There was an emcee/host who welcomed us and switched expertly between Spanish and English the entire 60-minute ride. A photographer took pictures of everyone that was later printed and sold to us (USD36 for 2 photos.)
Las Caletas, we were told, is an island with no electricity. In the daytime, Vallarta Adventures tours went there for water activities and at nighttime it was the Rhythms of the Night dinner and performance. I’m pretty sure I heard that the company owns the island. The sun had completely set by the time we were close to the island. The emcee said that the island doesn’t have electricity. Instead, the dining area was lit by more than 3500 candles flickering in the night. All the staff stood along the shoreline in their white uniforms, waving and welcoming us. It felt like we were such VIPs!
After stepping on land, we walked along a pebbled trail and followed the candle light to our table. We were led deeper and deeper in until we were sat at our table with low wooden furniture on the sand facing the water. It was a very quiet and romantic setting. I highly recommend it for a special occasion!
Our server kept offering us beer, wine and more drinks. There wasn’t an option for hot water or tea, but you can get hot coffee brewed with cinnamon and other herbs. The food was buffet style and we lined up to get our dinner. It included salads, baked potato wedges, fish, shrimp, chicken, steak strips (really good!), chocolate cake, flan, cookies and more.
We ate happily, tested out the hammocks and enjoyed the view until about 8pm when we were ushered to the outdoor theatre to watch the show. That was when I realized that there was electricity on the island because the stage had professional lighting equipment! I don’t know why they kept us in the dark about that (haha.) The entertaining show was about 1-1.5 hours long with acrobats, fire performances, singing, and dancing.
We boarded the boat back to Puerto Vallarta around 10pm, thinking the entertainment was over for the night. But wait, there was more! Other than the captain and photographers, the entire boat crew took part in more singing and dancing for us. They created a fantastic atmosphere on the front deck “stage” with cheerful music, quick changes of costumes, lip syncing, and fun dancing. Everyone was laughing the whole way back.
I would not consider Rhythms of the Night a budget item, but it does offer a lot of value for the money. You get a romantic candlelit dinner on a secluded island beach, open bar on the boat and island, a show, and another fun show on the boat ride home. You’re pretty much guaranteed to have a good time.