Playa Las Tortugas, Mexico
LOCATION: Villa Reyes is located in an enclave of about 15 homes located 70 miles north of the Puerta Vallata airport. All of these homes are part of the Playa Las Tortugas Homeowner's Association. The development was undertaken by a group of American investors who picked the locality after searching by air. All houses are located on large lots and sited to maximize the ocean views and access to the adjoining 1,100 acre salt water estuary. Since there are no other houses on the 7 mile access road, guest's privacy and tranquility is insured.
Renters who plan to drive in Mexico will be given detailed written instructions for traveling to Tortugas. The first 52 miles of the 70 mile trip will be following Highway 200. Highway 200 is the simple two lane highway that runs north/south from the Puerto Vallarta airport, passing through numerous small villages and modest mountain passes. At Las Varas, guests will turn left and proceed west until they reach the beach at Playa Las Tortugas. The last seven miles is a pebble road that PLT residents share with farmers who work the mango orchards, truck farms, cattle pastures, and coconut palms.
The highway to Villa Reyes will pass the better known and "more touristy" areas: Bucerias, Cruz de Huanacaxtle (Litibu), Sayulita, Lo de Marcos, Guayabitos, La Penita, and Chacala.
TRANSPORTATION: There are 3 transportation options.
Option #1 is to rent a car. Most major car rental companies operate from the Puerto Vallarta airport. Our favorite, Gecko Car Rental, is located off the airport premises - but they will pick you up when your flight arrives and return you when your departure is scheduled. Their website is www.GeckoRentCar.com . Although this Company is not affilliated with Villa Reyes, we have had excellent results using Gecko for the last ten years. They speak English and they will explain small differences to expect when driving in Mexico - primarilly left turns and frequent speed bumps. Gecko is distinguished from othe rental companies because Gecko includes insurance in the prices they quote (a real savings). If renting during the summer (July - Sept), you may prefer a vehicle with a higher under- carriage ... for example small SUV's like Toyota RAV4 ... because they cope better with rain on the roads..
For 4 to 6 passengers. the #2 option is to have the Playa Las Tortugas van meet your flight. The driver will stop at a supermarket on the trip to Tortugas so that any supplies or groceries you need can be purchased. The driver will return you to the airport when your visit is complete. For less than 4 guests, we can arrange transportation via air conditioned taxi. The taxi service will also include a one hour stop at the Mega supermarket.
Option #3 is to travel by bus from Puerto Vallarta to Las Varas and then take a taxi from Las Varas to Playa Las Tortugas. Some guests also elect to use this bus/taxi option for shopping excursions to Puerto Vallarta and other communities.
FUN TRANSPORTATION - While staying at Villa Reyes, many guests enjoy taking kayaks or canoes across the estuary to reach the half dozen sand-floored restaurants in Platinitos.
BELOW: Brown Pelicans / blue sky are the norm for the Villa Reyes beach
SECURITY: Travelers who are considering vacationing in Mexico for the first time may be concerned about news stories they have heard or seen regarding drug violence in the Country. Travel experts on both sides of the border have studied the issue and have provided helpful perspectives.
An article written by Douglas Anthony Cooper and published in The Huffington Post on 1/26/2012 looks beyond the headlines and analyses the hard statiscal facts. He compares large cities in the US with the same in Mexico. He finds that visitors to the Lincoln Memorial are 10 times more likely to be victimized by drug violence than visitors to Mexico's capital (Mexico City). The rate for major crimes in Orlando is 41% higher than Mexico City. New Orlean's has a major crime rate that is 6 times that of Mexico City.
The Hunington Post article also found that less than 5% of Mexico has been touched by the drug war. That 5% is identified (from articles in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post) as primarily areas along the U.S. border with Mexico (south to the State of Guerrero), the State of Veracruz, Mazatlan, and Acapulco.
Author Douglas Cooper also reminds us that the following countries are significantly more violent than Mexico: Saint Kitts, Jamaica, Belize, Guatemala, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil and more.
Anne Banas (executive editor of “Smart Travel”) adds that “Mexico is a really large country. Just because there might be border violence in one area, it’s like saying that there’s crime in New York so don’t go to L.A. It just doesn’t make sense. Most of the tourist areas are perfectly safe.”
Thomas Dale and Associates ( a leading international security firm whose clients include CNN, Walt Disney Co, NBC Universal, and Cisco Systems), recently conducted a study and declared Puerto Vallarto and the Riviera Nayarit (where Playa Las Tortugas is located) among the safest tourist destinations in the world. Laura Bly, USA Today, confirms that the new State Department warning dated 02/08/2012 does not apply to Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit.
In December of 2011, a record number of foreign visitors - more than 1 million - visited Mexico. This is an increase of 13% from the previous December. Jayne Clark, USA Today 02/02/2012, reports that about half of those visitors to Mexico are from North American. European travelers frequently visit Mexico
The beach at Villa Reyes and the communities encountered when traveling to and from the airport in Puerto Vallarta are rural farming communities. The consensus is that this area is largely "old Mexico" and not a part of the drug trafficking. The enclave of American homes at Playa Las Tortugas is probably the most tranquil and natural environment that you will ever experience. The grounds keepers and housekeepers are long time and trusted employees of Playa Las Tortugas. For added security, a night watchment patrols the entire compound every night and the property manager/house keepers/gardeners are present during the day.