Open Hearts and Open Homes

What sort of person is it that would open their heart and their home to a group of total strangers to visit for an hour or so a few times a season? The homeowners who support the Home Tours run by the International Friendship Club (IFC) are all very kind, charitable and supportive of the less fortunate people who live in Puerto Vallarta.

They all realize how lucky they are to live here in beautiful homes and so have decided to give back to the citizens of Puerto Vallarta. They know that all of the profits from the Home Tours are used by IFC to support medical, educational, social services and cultural organizations in town. Every Tuesday and Wednesday mornings comfortable, air-conditioned buses, with knowledgeable docents aboard, take visitors to four different homes around town each one of which is unique in its architectural style, furnishings and setting. It’s a great way to visit secluded parts of town and get a taste of life in the tropics.

Sam Leonard, the owner of the amazing Hacienda Mosaica, recently told me that she has been opening her home to the IFC Home Tours for about ten years. Not only does she want to give back to this wonderful city but also she gets a gets a rush from all the compliments she receives from the visitors. They are all in wonder at her beautiful property, pool, fountains and gardens. She enjoys meeting new people and helping IFC.

Jean-Daniel Kermelly told me “The reason why I open Villa Bahia to the International Friendship Club is because I believe it is important for everyone to give back to the community. We are very fortunate to call Puerto Vallarta home. Many people and organizations need our help so I like to help different charitable causes. The Home Tours have been very popular for many years. People like to discover different types of architecture and interior décor. Villa Bahia provides a Mexican contemporary architecture with a transitional décor to accentuate the Mexican artworks through out the villa. Every year I open my doors to IFC. I’m very happy to help the community through them.”

Lionel Cunningham and Garin Bakel own two homes in Puerto Vallarta (Casa Owaissa and Casa de la Hoja). Not only do these gentlemen open their homes to the tours but when the medical team come to PV to operate on our cleft palate kids, the homes are used as accommodation by the surgeons and nurses. What a great contribution they make to the life of others!

Pat Bendix mentioned that she and her husband first started opening their two-bedroom home to the Home Tours in 1998 and have always appreciated all that IFC does in this community. Pat considers that she is a goodwill ambassador for Mexico and loves answering the many questions that people have about living here. During their travels around Mexico Pat and her husband bought many items of Mexican folk-art such as woodcarvings, textiles, ceramics and masks and she enjoys discus- sing these with visitors.

Although IFC has wonderful support from our Homeowners, we are always appreciative of any new homes that can be added to our inventory. If you, or someone you know, is willing to open your home to the IFC Home Tour for just an hour or two once a month please contact Ann Boughn at

What is an IFC Home Tour?

Time is running out. Holy Week, or Semana Santa, is looming over the calendar and the last of the IFC Home Tours will take place on Wednesday the 21st March. That means that you have only three weeks to take one of these fabulous tours that have been awarded Trip Advisor’s Certi- ficate of Excellence for five years in a row, is rated by their reviewers as “Excellent” or “Very Good” 98 times out of 100 and has been operating in Puerto Vallarta for 33 years. It’s not something you should miss.

What? – We take you to three or four spectacular, secluded homes no one else sees.

When? – Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:30. But get your tickets EARLY.

Where? – Starts from Sea Monkey Restaurant on Aquiles Serdan at the beach.

Why? – All the income from the tours is used to support free cleft palate surgeries for Mexican kids and other charities in PV.

How much? – Almost free… a mere $600 pesos.

How long? – About 3 hours.

Transport? – Luxury, air conditioned buses.

Guides? – Amazingly helpful, caring and a wealth of local knowledge.

Zip line? – This is not a zip line tour but you will need to walk on cobblestones and to climb stairs.

All info and picture gallery at

John Warren on Email
John Warren
John Warren is in charge of Publicity for the International Friendship Club (IFC). His articles describe the programs and charities that IFC supports, the sources of income of IFC and the social experiences, lectures and classes that members can enjoy.