Whether you live in Puerto Vallarta year-round or, like me this year, return to Vallarta after taking some months away, it is exciting to return to the International Friendship Club (IFC) to see old friends and make new ones. The Club’s 2023-24 season opens with live music (featuring Xochiquetzal, an eclectic duo with a Latin soul) and cocktails at Arte VallARTa Museo, on Sunday, December 3, from 5-7:00 PM. The venue is one of my favorites in Vallarta. Where else can one have cocktails among friends and new acquaintances in a gorgeous outdoor courtyard, with live music, while browsing an art collection that features works by such local favorites as Javier Niño as well as other renowned artists from around Mexico and other countries? This year, IFC is partnering with Toys for Tots and encourages attendees to bring a new, unwrapped toy in its original packaging. Tickets to the event are $425 pesos and can be purchased online only, at the IFC’s website, ifcvallarta.org.
Several Friendship Club programs have already started. I will be taking the IFC Home Tour at least a couple times this season. They are so well run, by enthusiastic volunteers, enabling proceeds to be distributed directly to the almost 20 local charities supported by the IFC and its members and friends. Home Tours will set out on Tuesday mornings, November 21 and 28, and December 5, 12 and 19, and then pick up after the holidays on both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. If you have not been on a tour yet, you are in for a treat. Generous owners of spectacular villas and homes donate the use of their architecturally significant homes, filled with design ideas. When the tours ran last season, Trip Advisor ranked the IFC Home Tours in the top 10 out of 419 tours in Vallarta. IFC provides clean, air-conditioned buses, which depart promptly at 10:15 AM from the Sea Monkey Restaurant on the Malecon, just south of Rio Cuale, on Calle Aquiles Serdan. Bring a friend! As with all IFC activities, tickets (which cost $800 Mexican pesos) must be purchased on-line at the IFC website, ifcvallarta.org.
The breadth and scope of IFC activities is impressive. There is something for everyone.
- SPANISH CLASSES every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
- HATHA YOGA and CHAIR YOGA, Wednesdays
- MINDFUL MEDITATION and YOGA, Saturdays
- HISTORY LECTURES with Dan Grippo, Ph.D., Fridays, starting January 5
- TAI CHI (NEW THIS SEASON), Mondays, starting January 8
- SKETCHING & PAINTING WORKSHOP, Tuesdays, starting January 16.
- BRIDGE LESSONS, Mondays, starting November 20 at 9:00 AM.
- SOCIAL BRIDGE, Fridays, starting January 5, at 2:00 PM.
- COCKTAIL MEET & GREETS at fave venues around town.
- FRIDAY COCKTAIL HOURS at the Clubhouse.
Specifics about these and other IFC programs can be found in the Calendar section of the IFC website, ifcvallarta.org.
Personally, I am especially looking forward to Spanish classes and to Dan Grippo’s history classes, as well as to the dine arounds and meet & greets. The Spanish and history classes help deepen my relationship with Puerto Vallarta and Mexico. The Dine-Arounds and Meet & Greets are just plain fun. I’d be interested to learn what are your favorites. I hope to see you, with a toy, at the season opening reception if not before, and you can tell me then. Or drop me an email at email@example.com.