When travelling, we try to go to a show that depicts the history and culture of the people where we are visiting. They can be a little bit hokey at times, but they are also pretty informative. When we were in Puerto Vallarta a few years ago, we had two different experiences, but they were both a lot of fun. First we took a tour on a pirate ship that combined some pirate swashbuckling with a show about their Incan ancestors. Then later in the trip, we took a cruise to a remote location south of Puerto Vallarta for dinner and a show. Most cultures are extremely proud of their heritage, so they put a lot of effort into shows such as these.
On the pirate ship, they started by doing some interactive activities to get people to loosen up and relax. As is always the case whenever there is something interactive that we attend, Dona is selected to participate. First they threatened to toss her overboard before pulling her up to the “stage”. Then they had her sing La Cucaracha with ice in her mouth and, if that wasn’t enough, they gave her a poncho and had her do a mock-striptease. There is nothing to do except to take it in all in with a smile, it is all in good fun.
After the ice-breakers, we enjoyed some drinks and looked around at the splendid views from the ship. As the sun started going down, the pirate show began. It was a lot of tongue-and-cheek humor and leaping around waving swords. Probably more fun for the kids than it was for the adults, but it was interesting enough. It was certainly more about entertainment than culture or education.
After the pirate show, the highlight of the night started with an Incan performance. There was a lot of fire, drums, and chanting. It was quite entertaining, culminating in a fireworks show.
When we went to the dinner, it was quite a different experience. This show really centered on the history of the Incan ancestors and their mystical beliefs. We didn’t get too many pictures of that show, but it was quite fascinating. It was very elaborate with dancers all over the stage telling the story of their gods, complete with a pulley system swinging actors above the audience. After the show, we ate dinner on the beach and watched the sun set before heading back to Puerto Vallarta.
These cultural shows provide an opportunity for visitors to get a glimpse at traditions, folkdance, folklore, and the culture in general. It isn’t a substitute for reading about a culture in advance of visiting or taking the time to go to the museums that might be in a city, but it can be an entertaining way to reinforce what you’ve already read and learned. Worse case, it might just be a fun evening with drinks and a show.