Downtown Puerto Vallarta attractions & sightseeing
In downtown PV, overhead wires are now underground, though the mess was at a time considered a "traditional" part of the old town, photographers and tourists now enjoy a much better and unobstructed view of the town, sights, architecture and the various attractions.
Now the white walls are interrupted only by flowerpots bursting with colorful bougainvillea, geranium, hibiscus, copa de oro and splendid ferns.
The city streets have always been cobblestone, but now, these rounded river rocks are set in concrete, creating a much smoother and durable surface, while still maintaining part of the original city charm and the temperature regulating properties of the cobblestone.
Downtown Puerto Vallarta by Google Earth (click for labels & landmarks)
The Malecon (Seaside Promenade)
Since last century (1930's), the malecon has been on of the city's main and most enjoyable attractions.
First off it's free, secondly, it has recently been completely remodelled and offers a wide, beautiful promenade between the sea and the stores and restaurants. Cars, taxis and other vehicles no longer stuff the area, so it's safe, clean and fun.
Get a glimpse of what living in Vallarta really is like on any afternoon, just by strolling down the Malecon. Families with their kids come for a walk, an icecream and a bit of entertainment, street artists abound, either at the amphitheater or elsewhere along the seaside walkway.
You'll also enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, the beautiful view of the bay, the warm and impressive sunsets, the sculptures and the Papantla birdmen, the list goes on and on.
Visit and buy at many of the stores, have a drink at a bar or enjoy a delicious meal at many of the top restaurants that line the boardwalk. At night things really take off, for those that enjoy bar hopping, discos and clubs this is the obvious starting point.
The Malecon extends for about a mile, from Hotel Rosita on the north side all the way to the Cuale River and the Romantic Zone on the south end.
One of the city's symbols, a bronze Triton with a Mexican sombrero riding on a Seahorse. Don't forget to take your picture with this beautiful sculpture.
Since the 80's the malecon has become a long promenade with a sculpture almost every block. You'll find soft welcoming ones, strange surreal examples too, walk up to them, touch them, sit on some of them, they may even be designed for that.
called, Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe,
on calle Hidalgo, one block from the Zócalo (main
square). A beautiful church that more than any element in the city symbolizes Puerto Vallarta. A beautiful crown tops the tower since 1965.
and eat an ice-cream on the main plaza in Pto. Vallarta,
watch people stroll by on the malecón or feed
the pigeons that live in large amounts around the square.
Rest on the benches or take your photo with the green
"Kiosko" in the middle of the square, which
is normally used for Sunday music.
On Thurdays and Sundays from 6PM on the Municipal Band plays songs from near and far at the Kiosk, they are the ones you can see in the picture above.
The main square is right in the middle of it all. Town hall is to one side, the Parish on the other half a block away, the malecon, the amphitheater and arches on the seaside.
As always in Mexican towns, the plaza is the heart of it all.
Zaragoza 445, Puerto Vallarta. Casa Kimberley is famous because it was bought by Richard Burton for Elizabeth
Taylor on her 32nd birthday. Richard Burton lived across the street and they built a bridge so they could visit each other without crossing the street below.
from the United States and elsewhere settled here in the area during the 1950s and 60's,
and the name 'Gringo Gulch' soon took hold.
was a bed and breakfast for some time and now it's being remodeled.
Art galleries show all kinds of Mexican and
international art. From avant-garde to indigenous art
to fine pottery, each gallery specializes in different
genre. If you happen to visit during the art season, from November to April, you'll even be able
to attend cocktail parties at the galleries to meet
the artists. Vallarta's art community has existed more
than 40 years.
Comprising a complete city block along the north side of the banks of the Cuale River is the Mercado Municipal (Rio Cuale City Market), also known as the Mercado de Artesanias. It's an indoor market with 2 stories of vendors, suppliers, and everything from pottery to jewellery, embroidered clothing and souvenirs. If you like to bargain, this is a good place to do it, especially if you're looking for crafts at affordable prices. On the second floor you'll find the food stands. Read more on things to do.
Cuale River & Island
stroll along the river walkway under the bridges that
separate the downtown area.
Isla Cuale is a natural island on the Cuale River. The island has some restaurants, a museum, an art gallery, a statue of John Huston, and a beautiful fountain... but most people know it for its shops and stands.
The Cuale River Island was also famous for its cat population. The island itself was a lower class development until the residents were forced to move during a hurricane in 1971. After that the island was used for restaurants, shops and a cultural center.
beach that starts off south of Villa Premiere and ends just north of Hotel Rosita and the Malecon. The northern part is quite popular, you can get to the beach on any side street, the further south you get is gets smaller and rockier. The southernmost part is mostly recommended for those that enjoy fishing. It's also one of the cleanest beaches in the bay.