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Puerto Vallarta Las Caletas Beach Hideaway: Tour Review

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Puerto Vallarta Las Caletas Beach Hideaway: Tour Review

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I joined the fun nature and water sports-oriented Las Caletas Beach Hideaway Tour run by Vallarta Adventures in Puerto Vallarta, which is marketed especially to active families. It turned out to be ideally suited for nearly everyone.

Here, you will find out what to expect on a Las Caletas tour, and learn about a caution you should be aware of on this trip.

Back to nature, Las Caletas Beach Hideaway Tour, Puerto Vallarta

The Las Caletas Beach Hideaway Tour offers a bunch of choices.

First, you sail to the isolated Las Caletas beach and nature reserve, where you experience this coast as it was before development. You can

  • Hike a variety of beautiful nature trails,
  • Enjoy water sports and a beautiful beach,
  • Explore the estate of director John Huston,
  • Participate in various staff-led activities, or
  • Do nothing other than relax in paradise.

Back to nature in a tropical paradise

Nature trail, Las Caletas Beach Hideaway, Puerto Vallarta

Back to nature, Las Caletas Beach Hideaway, Puerto Vallarta

I had planned a restful day, but couldn’t keep off the nature trails. This property is large enough that you should never feel crowded.

A beach at Las Caletas Beach Hideaway, Puerto Vallarta

I also couldn’t keep out of the water. The water’s great for swimming, but usually too calm for body or board surfing.

Ready for parrot show at Nature trail, Las Caletas Beach, Puerto Vallarta

Las Caletas includes a “parrot encounter” in your price, but most of these birds are allowed to roam free in the natural setting of the property, a nice experience.

Las Caletas Beach Hideaway tour, Puerto Vallarta

Although you probably should bring protection just in case, I neither encountered insects during the warm rainy season nor the smell of insecticides.

Los Arcos near Las Caletas Beach, Puerto Vallarta


An arch in Los Arcos near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The majesty of nature begins even before you reach Las Caletas.

We saw dolphins near Los Arcos (“The Arches”) above. On a similar trip last January, I enjoyed watching a whale and her calf repeatedly surface in this area.

You access the property solely by Vallarta Adventures boat. That keeps incessant beach vendors away.

Nonstop fun

In the water, Las Caletas Beach Hideaway, Puerto Vallarta

Most people come on this tour to have fun, and they are not disapointed.

For the tour price, you get an incredibly enthusiastic staff.

You’ll also find nearly everything else included. That includes a jungle canopy ride and other activities for children, snorkeling and kayaking equipment, cooking and yoga lessons, guided nature walks, and more. You will also have a continental breakfast on the boat, a full international buffet lunch onshore, and an open bar throughout.

Although it promises that it cleans the used ones daily, if you prefer, Vallarta Adventures sells a new snorkeling tube for U.S. $4.00.

Otherwise, only a few truly optional items like facials, massages, and other spa treatments, scuba equipment and lessons, and gift shop items cost extra. My only extra expenses were tipping the boat crew and putting some money in a box for the on-site staff.

Learning new skills, Las Caletas Beach Hideaway tour


Lessons can be fun, Las Caletas Beach Hideaway, Puerto Vallarta

Onshore, your crew joins the on-site staff to lead activities.

Above, I enjoyed watching the boat’s bartender patiently train this boy first in snorkeling and then in using a stand-up paddleboard (not easy to learn). The kid quickly became quite proficient at both.

Posing with seat, Port of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The fun begins before leaving the dock in Puerto Vallarta.

On the way to Las Caletas Beach Hideaway, Puerto Vallarta

Lonely Planet says Vallarta Adventures does it all with "humor, enthusiasm and professionalism,” and the guidebook could not be more right. This is a wonderful tour.

Teens having fun, Las Caletas Beach Hideaway, Puerto Vallarta

¡Escándalo!

Relax and rejuvenate

Hammock bliss, Las Caletas Beach Hideaway Tour

You really don’t have to do anything here to get your money’s worth. Besides these hammocks, there are actual outdoor beds to relax on.

Hammock bliss, Las Caletas Beach Hideaway, Puerto Vallarta

That’s me hard at work above planning this post, of course.

Experience Hollywood history

John Huston

Actor, director, and writer John Huston (1906-1987) lived at Las Caletas many years, but his few buildings are not intrusive. In fact, they seem ideally suited for the setting.

Huston’s parties are legendary in Puerto Vallarta. He hosted the greats of Hollywood at this home.

John Huston, who won two Oscars, was nominated 15 times for directing and often screenwriting such iconic films as

  • The African Queen,
  • Key Largo,
  • The Maltese Falcon,
  • The Man Who Would Be King,
  • Prizzi's Honor, and
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Huston’s 1964 “The Night of the Iquana” put the then small village of Puerto Vallarta on the map. He also acted in such films as Chinatown.

Above: Note the open sides of Huston’s main living space. He loved the outdoors. He disliked places like Beverly Hills.

John Huston

Toilet at John Huston estate, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I used John Huston’s washroom.

Tour basics

Concern for environment, Vallarta Adventures, Puerto Vallarta

At the current exchange rate, the all-day Vallarta Adventures Las Caletas Beach Hideaway tour costs $85.01 for adults and $69.99 for children and can often be booked online at a discount. I went for an offseason 3 tours for the price of 2 special.

Boats leave from both Nuevo Vallarta and the Puerto Vallarta Maritime Terminal (Port of Puerto Vallarta). Be sure to bring 20 pesos per person for the port entry fee. Normally, this tour does not pick up at hotels.

Wear swim gear and take along a change of clothing, sun protection, sunglasses, a sun hat, and towels. In winter, bring a light jacket for the boat ride. Any items you take into port will be thoroughly inspected.

Above: On its boats and on land, Vallarta Adventures shows its concern for the environment in many ways.

A caution about lunch

Buffet lunch, Las Caletas Beach Hideaway Tour, Puerto Vallarta

For lunches on its boats, Vallarta Adventures brings out items from coolers and then puts the perishable ones away once guests are served.

Onshore at Las Caletas during my visit however, buffet lunch items were allowed to sit out in very warm weather until after we left later in the afternoon, without in my opinion adequate facilities to keep perishable items safe. For example, salads and some perishable desserts were displayed without any way to keep them cold. 

Until Vallarta Adventures remedies this situation, show up at the start of lunch and avoid foods that spoil easily. In fairness though, I haven’t heard of any problems with food at Las Caletas.

Other than the caution about some lunch items, I enthusiastically recommend this tour. You will have fun!

Comments

jenna@webjet
February 1, 2013

The image of paddle boarding was what caught my attention but I kept reading because of all the great activities mentioned through out the post! We will be keeping Puerto Vallarta for our upcoming trips. From the pictures to the description it looks like the perfect hideaway trip!

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Don Nadeau
February 4, 2013

Thanks, Jenna. I love this place.

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Rori Howard
June 5, 2013

Will be visiting in February 2014.  Can’t wait.  It looks inviting, relaxing and amazing.

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Don Nadeau
June 8, 2013

You could not pick a better time to visit than February!

Also, be sure to enjoy the day trip to Yelapa described elsewhere in the blog. It is a very special Yelapa experience too.

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