This post was last updated on August 18th, 2014
Talk to any established travel writer and they’ll all tell you the same thing:
Never, ever use clichés.
Like breathtaking. Or heart stopping. Or mind blowing. Unless you’re actually recounting an event where your brains exploded from the skeleton around it, find a new description. I know I’m guilty of using clichés far too often. I’m working on it.
With that advice in mind, I’m going to say it anyway: Rhythms of the Night is a jaw-dropping dinner and theater event.
But as our catamaran approached Caletas Island, the steady beat of drums echoing across the water and thousands of candles and torches flickering through the night sky, I’m pretty certain my jaw did actually drop.
We learned of Rhythms of the Night on good authority from our Puerto Vallarta Couchsurfing host. It was described to us as Cirque du Soleil meets indigenous dances on a secluded island with fantastic buffet dinner and open bar. A bit more research led us to Vallarta Adventure’s website, which states: “stories of an ancient civilization are told through live music and modern dance as one of Mexico’s most innovative contemporary dance troupes transport you on a magical and mystical journey through time”.
Naturally we were intrigued. We made some calls and signed up for one of the few nights we had available before moving to San Pancho. We were not disappointed.
The evening began with a catamaran ride at sunset. The staff wasted no time getting the open bar going, generously pouring margaritas and rum punches along with beer and wine. Between the alcohol, the food, and the lively atmosphere, the journey to Caletas Island passed almost too quickly.
When our boat docked at Caletas Island (once the private home of filmmaker John Houston), we were ushered to the outdoor theatre pavilion to find seats for the big show. Set against a stone pyramid, surrounded by jungle and beneath a star-lit sky, the venue was spectacularly romantic.
Then the show began. In one word, it was hypnotic. The music from the live ensemble intensified. Fire flashed. Dancers twirled at dizzying speeds in intricate costumes and body paint. Though a very different experience, I immediately understood the Cirque du Soleil comparison. The dancers of Rhythms of the Night exercised the same high-caliber in their dance and acrobatic skills, leaving the audience to gasp at their flips and contortions. As it turns out, the choreographer actually trained at the Cirque du Soleil academy.
The performance does not have a chronological story line. Rather, it’s filled with illustrations of the myths and legends of pre-Hispanic civilizations. One dance number depicts the ceremony of two hearts melting into man and woman. Another takes the audience through a deer-hunting scene, representing male energy and wisdom. Mesoamerican flutes and tribal drums fully transport you to the past.
Our only complaint about the show was that it was too quick. But all good things must come to an end, and luckily we had another good thing waiting for us around the corner—the dinner!
Recounting our favorite moments of the show, we sat down to an all-you-can-eat-buffet. Rows of tables lined the edge of the island, the candles competing with the stars for who could outshine the other. I’m quite certain we had the best table in the house, tucked away in a private corner but still oceanfront. Steak, seafood, BBQ chicken, all the guacamole you could possibly need, along with countless other dishes were available. Typically I don’t really enjoy buffets, but the food here was exceptional. There’s also unlimited red wine to accompany your dinner, an extra romantic touch.
Just when you think your pants are about to burst, it’s back to the boat. Although admittedly not as talented, the staff then puts on an entertaining show of rock and roll and air guitars to keep you entertained for the ride home. Rhythms of the Night has left no detail unaccounted for.
A final note must be made for the service during the evening. Each and every person who makes Rhythms of the Night possible wears a smiling face, and is eager to insure you have a remarkable time. For example, as I was walking to the bathroom, one of my sandals broke. I absolutely couldn’t wear it. But before I had time to pick it up, a staff member was at my side. He took the broken sandal from me, saying he would be back in a few moments. He later found me at our dinner table to return to me a very wearable shoe! I’m not sure which staff member has a history of shoe repair, but I’m actually still wearing the shoes now! Broken shoe aside, I was astonished at the thoughtfulness shown to me, without my even having to ask for assistance.
We admittedly didn’t ‘do’ much during our short time in Puerto Vallarta, but Rhythms of the Night was certainly the highlight. If you’re in the area, we confidently say that it is a must-see. We would not hesitate to return again.
Nuevo Vallarta at Vallarta Adventures’ Center; Maritime Terminal
Approximately 5 hours. Meeting time is 6:00pm
Seems to vary. Book ahead for discounted tickets. Website price is $115.00, which includes open bar, cruise, candlelit buffet dinner, and dance show.
Phone Number: 1-888-526-2238
Website: Vallarta Adventures
Do you enjoy going to dinner and a show? What’s the best show you’ve ever seen?
A massive thank you to Vallarta Adventure for hosting us. We were not asked to write a positive review and, as always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.