January is a great time to take a geology course in Mexico, especially if you live in an area with low temps and lots of snow. Midwest GeoSciences Group was invited to teach a course in Puerto Vallarta through the Universidad of Mexico, Mexico City. Ken Bradbury and I with our good friend, Dr. Luis Marin from the Universidad of Mexico, conducted a two-day course dedicated to characterizing geologic conditions, understanding ground water movement and the do the don't of ground water modeling in fractured rock. Luis incorporated many of Mexico's unique elements about doing field work, collecting and storing all types of data, and future trends where work may be expected during the next 10 years.
Participants attended from the US and Mexico and everybody stayed a few extra days to enjoy the hotel resort and town. The classroom portion of the course was conducted at the InterContinental Hotel located about 15 km south of downtown Puerto Vallarta. In this area south of town, the rainforest-covered mountains seem to come jetting straight up out of the Pacific Ocean. A few secluded and perfect beaches exist between Puerto Vallarta and Mismaloya, one of which is located at the InterContinental Hotel and Resort. If you are considering a visit to Puerto Vallarta, this is my recommendation (thank you to the IC crew for your generous hospitality). I've stayed at several hotels in Puerto Vallarta over the years, but once I stayed at the InterContinental, that is where I remained. There is no need to rent a car - taxis are plentiful and economical coupled with the safest choice considering the local driving habits.
The 2-day course included a field trip to a gigantic vertical rock exposure, a public drinking water supply wellfield and a new housing development where a fresh rock wall was excavated and rock bolts were being installed to secure the vertical rock face. Dr. Luis Marin told the geology story and Ken Bradbury used the field stops to illustrate the principles taught earlier in the classroom.
Despite the appearance, it was all business.