Summer is coming to Puerto Vallarta

Do you call Puerto Vallarta home? Does it stay near and dear to your heart even when you aren’t there? Do you brag about your Januarys on the sandy beach, sipping mai tais and nibbling marzipan? That’s really wonderful, but might I propose the following: Vallarta will fully become your home when you check off the items on this very handy list:

  • Your hair becomes a curly, rebellious nest around your head for about 12 hours a day. The other 12 it is doing its best to dry from your shower.
  • Your eyelids sweat.
  • You tell someone, “Turn off the air conditioning; you can catch a cold.”
  • You eat soup mid-July. Without turning on the air conditioning.
  • You drink electrolytes like you used to drink soda.
  • You wear jeans at least once in June.

Yep, it’s that time of year again, when you try to live a normal life while feeling like you’re walking around in a swamp.

I always wonder what it was like for the conquistadors, all dolled up in their colonial uniforms, swatting away the dengue mosquito and sitting in their own sweat. I already know what this weather does to me, and I don’t have to wear a floor-length gown or an ascot.

And yet, once you have been here for a few summers (twenty-four and counting), you become almost numb and eat the foods you crave (like soup). You make excuses for turning off the expensive A/C, even when it’s plus 33 (feels like 45) degrees Celsius.

Somehow, even as your ankles sweat, you begin to grow fond of this place in summer, enjoying your dewy skin and the flavor of green tea-lime-flavored Pedialyte that helps you keep a set of functioning kidneys. 

Well, that’s the theory anyway. I am going to say that, in reality, the word “fond” used to describe how I feel about this weather might be a little bit of a stretch. But I can pass on a few tips on how I survive (and maybe even thrive a little) in this weather, aka steam bath.

  1. Learn to be a morning person. Before moving to Puerto Vallarta, I was in my twenties, which means, by definition, I was not a morning person. But when I discovered that my morning coffee was best enjoyed at only a light perspiration at 5:45 am on a school morning and 7:30 am on a weekend, I converted pretty quickly. The beach? Best enjoyed before 10 am.
  2. Get close to bodies of water. If you sit in a pool or tread water in the ocean, it actually feels pretty nice. I know the water isn’t very cool. I know that. But, when the humidity is 90%, you can almost think clearly when you are neck-deep in water.
  3. Avoid restaurant patios if they have A/C. Just always ask for a table inside. Enjoy the feeling of normalcy when your body can regulate its own temperature. 
  4. Shade is your friend. Don’t go anywhere where there’s no shade if you can help it. The temperature between sunny and shady spaces is immense. Also, sunburn in Vallarta in August happens as fast as frostbite in Winnipeg in January.
  5. As much as you can, embrace your life now. If you don’t have a way to get to San Sebastian del Oeste for three weeks at a time, this is how you are going to live for awhile. And that’s ok because you still have the beach (at 8 am). 
  6. On second thought, get to San Sebastian. It’s close, it’s quiet, it’s beautiful, and the temperature is currently 11 degrees (Celsius) cooler than Puerto Vallarta. 

Author

  • Leza Warkentin

    I have been living and teaching in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, since the turn of the century. I am a Canadian with a musician-Mexican husband and two Mexican-Canadian patas saladas who are growing up way too fast.

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