Paradise & Parenting: Rhythms of the Night

I have been living in my favorite city on Planet Earth for nearly eighteen years and had never been to one of its most famous tourist attractions, until last night. If you talk to anyone who has gone on the Rhythm of the Night tour, they will tell you to get down to the nearest Vallarta Adventure  office and sign yourself up, because it is better than an evening in a beach hammock with a cup of Kahlua and coffee (plus those particular things are available on the tour).

This is not a cheap tour. And, considering the amount of effort and attention to detail that’s required to do it right (it’s been said that at least 100 people are involved in putting this excursion together each day), it really shouldn’t be. But if you are a local, and you can prove it, Vallarta Adventure gives some great discounts. I do love a company that appreciates its faithful, local clientele and knows all about earning pesos as opposed to US dollars.

I turned forty-five this past weekend, so my husband and I decided to splurge on a once in a lifetime event. At least I hope it’s once in a lifetime because turning forty-five caused some inner reflection (also known as an anxiety attack). Also, I am pretty sure my knees suddenly started to hurt in response to the new digit. My husband, faithfully enduring his role as a helpmate to a middle-aged hypochondriac, suggested this tour to deflect my attention from any more self-examination.

Here are a few things to know about me:

  • I am, generally speaking, not “good” on boats. As in, I am very, very bad. I have the tendency to wish I were dead about fifteen minutes out on the bay unless I take Dramamine.
  • I do not like ice-breaker games. Ever. I think there should be two boats for every tour: The Game Boat, where everyone tries to steal everyone else’s sticker by forcing them to say the word “no”, and The Introvert Boat, where everyone sits in their own individual soundproof pods.

So the boat trip, for me, is not really what makes Rhythms of the Night a special tour. And that’s ok, because it’s not a really long trip. It’s roughly forty-five minutes to an hour, a totally doable amount of time for a landlubber like me. My husband and I refused alcoholic beverages, had our stickers taken away, and were left alone for the remainder of the trip so I could Keep It Together digestively.

But as we approached Las Caletas beach, the favorite getaway beach for director John Huston, we could hear jungle drums and see the flickering torches and candles that would lead us to our beach table for two. And suddenly I was actually hungry and really quite excited. The whole path is dotted with drummers, musicians, and costumed jaguars and pre-Hispanic characters.

Our table was on the beach with the sun just ready to set. We had a waiter who carried wine bottles wherever he went (obviously a professional) and a beautiful buffet of all sorts of deliciousness. I do not eat meat and I was more than satisfied. My husband does eat meat and he couldn’t stop smiling. There was also dessert, coffee with Kahlua, and hammocks, just like I said.

After dinner, we followed a candle-lit path which opened onto a huge amphitheater, with a pyramid forming the backdrop of the stage. The stage was set in a lush jungle, with vines and palms all around. Once it was dark, the show began and we were transported to pre-Hispanic Mexico, interpreted through dance, fire, and acrobatics.

If you see this show and wonder why it reminds you of the Cirque du Soleil, it’s because Savia: The Legend of the Five Sunis directed by Gilles Ste-Croix. Ste-Croix is a Canadian performing arts director and one of the founders of Cirque du Soleil. Pretty cool, right?

And cool doesn’t even begin to describe this show. All those words that writers are supposed to stay away from, like amazing, incredible, heart-stopping, etc, are inadequate anyway. This show needs to be seen and celebrated. It is a work of art in music, lights, dance, and acrobatics.

So you need to go on the Rhythms of the Night tour, even if you have to play a couple of boat games in order to get there. And if I’m telling you that ice-breaker activities are worth it, you can be assured that this tour really is something special.