Last Tuesday and Wednesday the Home Tours, run by the International Friendship Club (IFC), started operating for the new season and already are attracting many more customers than this time last year. That’s not surprising considering the “Excellent” ratings they get from Trip Advisor reviewers.
The tours run every Tuesday and Wednesday (except for the last two weeks of December) until 16th March.
Here are some FAQ’s about this wonderful experience:
1. What will I experience when I take a tour?
Tours start at Sea Monkey restaurant, on the beach at Aquiles Serdan in Col. Emiliano Zapata. Our team of volunteers start greeting our customers at 9:00am, so there is plenty of time to have a leisurely breakfast or cup of coffee in the restaurant before the comfortable, air-conditioned buses leave the Sea Monkey at 10:30 and return to the downtown area around 1:00pm.
Each tour visits four architecturally unique homes in the vicinity of Puerto Vallarta. The homes are located as far north as the Marina and as far south as Mismaloya and each has a special charm. Some have stunning views of the Bay of Banderas with infinity pools perched on rocky ledges, others have waterfalls inside the property and many have art and sculptures that reflect the diverse tastes of the owners. Our docents, who accompany each tour, explain the unique features of the properties and are available to answer all of your questions, whether they are about the houses you are seeing, life in Puerto Vallarta or the humpback whales that you could glimpse in the ocean just offshore.
Because Puerto Vallarta is located on a narrow strip of land between the ocean and the mountains many of the houses we show you are built on steep hillsides. This means that our customers need to be able to walk on cobbled streets and climb stairs. But the gains far outweigh the pains!
2. How do you arrange to show these beautiful houses?
The owners of these houses have a strong commitment to giving back to the community. They know that by opening their house to IFC Home Tours for a little over an hour enables the IFC to attract customers to the Home Tours. The money raised is used by IFC to support our cleft palate program and many other charities.
Some of the houses that we show are occupied by the owners and you might have a chance to say hello to them. Some houses are available for long or short-term rent and others might be for sale. IFC appreciates every owner’s decision to open their homes to us and we are constantly searching for new homes so that our inventory stays new and fresh.
3. How much does a tour cost?
IFC charges only $500 peso per person for the Home Tour. That’s about $35USD. It’s a great deal for an excellent tour!
4. Where can I buy tickets?
There are three options. Our volunteers will be happy to sell you your tickets at the Sea Monkey on the day of the tour, you can buy them online or you can buy them at the IFC office a day or two beforehand. See below for our address.
5. How does IFC use the money?
First, we have to pay for the buses and the drivers. (The drivers are very professional and talented. Wait till you see how they get into and out of the parking spots on mountainous, cobbled streets. It’s magic!)
All of the people involved in the tours are dedicated volunteers of IFC and so all the profits go to IFC.
The greatest gift IFC gives to the people of Puerto Vallarta is providing free surgery and ongoing care to children born in this area with cleft palates. We also support the Biblioteca Los Mangos (local library), the Vallarta Youth Orchestra, the Corazón de Niños Orphanage and CANICA – Aiding Children With Cancer and many other programs and charities.
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By taking an IFC Home Tour you will see some outstanding homes in Puerto Vallarta, meet other interesting travellers and support the people who need help the most in this beautiful city. Here’s the link to buy your tickets……http://www.toursforvallarta.com .