There are hundreds of things to do while you are in Puerto Vallarta but an almost certain way to enjoy yourself is to take a Home Tour run by the IFC – the International Friendship Club- and the good news is that the tours will start the new season on Tuesday 4th December.
IFC has been running these tours for a generation or more: they were started in 1985 to raise money to pay for surgery for children in this area who suffered from cleft palates and cleft lips and some of the money raised in 2018/19 will continue to fund this free medical program. The rest of the money will be donated to other programs of IFC and to over twenty charities in Puerto Vallarta.
According to the 544 reviews on Trip Advisor 94% of the customers of the Home Tours rated them as “Excellent” and 4% as “Very Good”. Luxury, air-conditioned buses leave the Sea Monkey Restaurant at 10:30 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, starting on the 4th. Two or three trained volunteers accompany each bus to make sure your visit is safe and enjoyable and are able to answer questions about the homes you will visit and life in Puerto Vallarta.
IFC Home Tours visit 3-4 unique homes each week ranging from small traditional Vallarta style casas to multi-million dollar beachfront condos and villas. Many of them are beautifully furnished, have extraordinary art on the walls, sculptures, infinity pools overlooking the ocean or are in secluded parts of the town. If you are interested in architecture, beauty and seeing how other people live this is a great way to spend three hours.
Tours depart from the Sea Monkey Restaurant (just south of the Rio Cuale and Molino de Agua condos on the beach at Aquiles Serdan). Tickets cost $700 pesos. You can pay with a credit or debit card thru Paypal. Seating is limited so purchasing advance tickets is suggested to ensure availability. Tickets are available online at www.ifctoursforvallarta.com, in person at the IFC office which is above the HSBC bank at the corner of Insurgentes and Libertad in el Centro between 9:00 and 1:00 on Mondays to Fridays or, on the day of the tour, at the Sea Monkey, starting at 9:00am. A great way to start your day would be to arrive at the Sea Monkey at 9:00, relax with a cup of coffee and sumptuous breakfast on the beach, enjoy the sound of the waves and to people watch to your heart’s content.
Not only will you enjoy your IFC Home Tour but the money from ticket sales is always given back to the community of Puerto Vallarta, so you can feel good by doing good. IFC not only provides free surgery and medical care to children with cleft palates. The club has a free dental program at Boca De Tomatlan, supports indigenous Huichol students who are pursuing a post secondary education, and has a monthly Rice and Beans program aiding various community centres that provide daycare, meals, and remedial instruction in impoverished areas, as well as providing some emergency funds to families in extreme need. IFC also offers monthly financial support to a growing list of local charities, including orphanages Corazon de Nina and Casa Hogar Maximo Cornejo, humanitarian and service organizations Vida Reavivida (Women’s Shelter), Dives in Miseracordia, Arroyos de Esperanza, CANICA, SETAC, Clinica Santa Barbara de Rehabilitacion, Pasitos de Luz, and The Salvation Army food kitchen.
The financial engine that enables IFC to help the community is, undoubtedly, the Home Tours. They would not be possible if it were not for the dozens of volunteers who provide thousands of hours each year to the club and for the magnificently generous owners of homes who are so supportive of IFC efforts.
The owners, very generously, open their homes to the visitors from the tours because they support what the club does and the way that it does it. They know that IFC respects their home and that the club’s docents make sure that all visitors do the same thing. There would be no International Friendship Club, no cleft palate program and no support to the community without the generous help of the homeowners.
A 98% approval rating is something the IFC is very proud of and the club hopes that you enjoy the 2018/19 tours too.