Written by: Stan Gabruk
In Puerto Vallarta high season is “high season” because of our perfect summer climate. The days are normally clear, sunny and while a bit humid at times, very comfortable. Some feel it’s still a very warm in winter, especially if you’re from someplace like Canada where extreme high temperatures normally don’t exist. Yes Puerto Vallarta is perfect in winter. It’s for that reason locally we’ll have in the neighborhood of eight million visitors a year. Between Octobers to the end of April, Puerto Vallarta is very pleasant and considered one of the top destinations for vacation travelers worldwide. That’s a no brainer.
Summer now is a completely different animal. Temperatures will be in the 32 to 36 Celsius range or about 90 degrees or above daily. I frankly never look to see how hot it is. To me hot is hot and that’s good enough for me. When you know it’s this or that temperature, then you feel even hotter. I think it’s psychological. The humidity is insane. I’ve seen 100% humidity and you’d think it would be raining, but you’d be wrong amigo. So at this point you’re probably shaking your head and asking yourself why anybody would hang around for this sort of torture?
The simple fact is I own a Sportfishing company and frankly the warmer the weather, the “hotter” the fishing. So I’m kinda “stuck”. In reality I like the summer, but that’s another story. You don’t see the wandering tourist walking Marina Vallarta. But you do get the “Die Hards” looking to boat a Marlin. If they come from a cold weather part of the world, they feel like they’re in a steam bath and frankly they are.
I remember when I first moved to Puerto Vallarta, it was in February, beautiful days and you know the rest. But then came May. May first was warm, but not impossible hot. That didn’t come until the end of the month and I’ll tell you I felt like a “steamed wonton”. To give you an idea how humid it is in PV in summer your towels and clothes won’t dry! Have you ever been in a place where you can’t hang your clothes out to dry because the air is as humid as those wet towels? Hopefully you’re “feeling” my article by now. I noticed after a while I felt like a beer bottle that just came out of a cold fridge and put on a hot table. Condensations is automatic. But what happens when you’re the “bottle” and the condensation is on you? It didn’t take long before it started feeling like my liver and other internal organs were doing strange things. Going into air conditioned homes, business, cars and then back into the heat of the day. I physically feel something strange going on. It was weird.
So I talked to one of my captains about this situation and he was very familiar with this sort of thing. He continued to tell me that you can’t live like this and I had to become “acclimated”. The thought of having to live without A/C, especially if trying to sleep in a pool of sweat wasn’t appealing to me on any level. But I also knew I didn’t like the alternative so the conversation continued. As I asked him how he “handled the heat”, what he told me was shocking.
My captain continued and began telling me about the “Mexican Acclamation” process. Before I continue, let me say after I heard his comments, I thought it was just pure B.S.! But I’m getting ahead of myself. He continued that for one thing, electricity is too expensive in Mexico and it’s the biggest motivation to acclimate. Secondly, most of the people I worked with are living in the daily heat on a fishing boat, sin air conditioning. After all that he finally stated to lay things out. At the end of May things in PV can be pretty miserable. What the Mexicans do is not take a bath for a week, a full seven days. During that time you have to suffer through it and just bite the bullet. After a week, you take a bath and Walla, you’re acclimated!
My first reaction to this was: “Ya Right”. I thought this was just another joke on the Gringo. So I asked a few different people who I figure would tell me the truth. So I led these guys into another conversation, where I would say “so and so” is acclimating and stinks like a dog. They’d laugh, then tell me they’re going to be doing the same thing after the relatives leave. I was shocked, this was real information I was receiving and at that point, there was a decision to make.
So, I thought I’d give it a try, I mean after all, what’s the worst thing that could happen, right? So I took my last shower for a while. I got through the first day, not too bad. The second day was super-hot and humid. After a day of doing what I could to avoid the sun, my clothes were sticking to me. The third day was the same as the day before. After that my hair was plastered to my head, so I was wearing a hat and frankly when you can smell yourself, you know you stink. I couldn’t take it and I broke down and at the end of the third day, I took a shower. Now to say I took a shower in this situation is like describing a thirsty man in the middle of the Sahara Desert looking for water and finally finding it. When those water drops hit my body, it was little drops of heaven. Mentally I pictured three layers of sweat, dirt and grime just melting off my body. Washed my hair and I was “human” again. Frankly I didn’t feel any different. I looked the same. I thought this was a three day self-torture deal and won’t those guys think it was funny.
The next day I walked out of my hot house and you guessed it, it was hot, just like the day before. Then I noticed midday that I was still warm, but I wasn’t sweating. I had to walk about six blocks to the boat yard under the intense sun and when I got there, my shirt wasn’t soaking wet. In fact, there wasn’t a sweat spot on it. Yes it was very warm, but my body was handling it better. In fact, the heat had lost its bite. It worked!! Who Hoo! I went through the whole summer and it was “bearable”. So now my blood is thinner and the intense summer heat doesn’t bite me like it used to. Thank goodness.
Now there was a downside. When you’re here in Puerto Vallarta during the winter, it’s perfect for the visitors. But when things get below seventy degrees, I’m now one of those people that you look and laugh at as “crazy” because now I too am wearing a parka! Chattering teeth and all. Yes folks I’m acclimated, my blood is as thin as water and the downside is now I can’t handle the cold.
Now you can do this anywhere. You can stop showering for a week, and save some serious dinero on your electric bill. On the other hand, you’re probably sitting there reading this shaking your head and saying “this guy’s nuts”. And you wouldn’t be far off.
So there you go, the next time you’re in PV in early summer and some guy walks past you with a hat on, that stinks, don’t make fun of him, it could be me!