Walking Tour of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
This adorable city on the Bay of Banderas, west of Guadalajara. was a fairly undiscovered destination until the filming of Night of the Iguana (1963). The movie starred Ava Gardner and Richard Burton, but the spotlight was on Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Although both were married to other spouses, they carried on a very visible love affair off the set. The result was that the world fell in love with Puerto Vallarta and it catapulted onto the tourist scene, a position it has never relinquished.
My walk begins at the northern end of El Malecon, the delightful beach promenade which ends near the center of Viejo Vallarta, its quaint Old Town. Views of the bay from the Malecon are spectacular, especially at sunset. As you walk south, pay special attention to tne many sculptures which adorn the boardwalk. Notice, in particular, the "Boy on a Seahorse," a symbol of the city.
From the promenade, turn right on Calle Morelos and then left into the Main Square (Plaza Principal). You will find the tourist office here and, next door, the City Hall, which displays a large mural inside.
From the square, walk east on Calle Independencia to the city’s landmark, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose distinctive, crown-topped steeple rises high above El Centro and is almost always visible. From the church, walk south on Calle Hidalgo and then turn left on Calle Libertad. Just before the bridge, you will find the Municipal Market which offers a variety of goods. After browsing in the market, continue onto the bridge which spans the Rio Cuale. Walk down from the bridge onto the island, Isla Rio Cuale, which houses numerous shops and artisans, as well as a botanical garden and a small museum.
Walk back up to the bridge and continue south on Calle Insugentas. Now turn right on Calle Lazaro Cardenas to its end at Calle Olas Altas. The beach ahead is one of the most popular in the region, although its name, Playa de los Muertos (Dead Men’s Beach) is a bit unnerving. When you are tired of the beach, retrace your steps on Lazaro Cardenas and Insurgentes to the bridge. Cross the bridge and turn right onto Calle Miramar which leads into a section of the city known as Gringo Gulch. When you reach the steps, on your right, climb the stairs to Calle Zaragoza. Look back as you climb for great views of the town below. Casa Kimberley, the place where Liz Taylor resided during her tryst with Richard Burton, is at Calle Zaragoza #445. The pink, arched bridge connects this house with Burton’s.
Now, walk back down Zaragoza and continue westward to the Main Square, then turn right on Calle Morelos and return to the Malecon where the walking tour began.