It's very sad when you get back home and find out you missed one of the landmarks or main attractions in the city you were just visiting, this was more common in pre-Internet days, but it can still happen.
So, rest assured that if you visit and stroll down the Malecon (at a leisurely pace, smiling back at everyone), you've been to the heart and soul of Puerto Vallarta, this is the Alpha and Omega of Vallartan spirit and once you are here you'll know why.
First section from the Aquiles Serdan Park (Los Arcos, where the amphitheater is) to the Customs Office (that no longer exists, close to the lighthouse on Galeana, right on the curve) was started in 1935 and finished in 1936.
Initially known as Paseo de la Revolución then as Paseo Díaz Ordaz, now normally just called "el malecón".
The Malecon in 1932 (calle Paseo Revolución at that time)
The Puerto Vallarta malecon (officially known as Paseo Diaz Ordaz), is colorful and fun walkway/promenade that is the edge of downtown Pto. Vallarta bordering the Pacific Ocean for almost a mile and a half, with even more more fun and colors awaiting you now after the final touches were laid down in late 2011.
The Malecon in 2010
Though it officially starts by Hotel Rosita on the north side (the millennium Statue), you can continue a bit more along the edge of the sea for some blocks north, on the south side it ends officially by the amphitheater, but you can now continue along what is known as "Malecon II" all the way to the Cuale river and further south to Old Vallarta and Los Muertos Beach, crossing a pedestrian bridge over the Cuale River.
If we concentrate on the traditional Malecon, first thing you’ll immediately notice: no more cars, buses and taxis, so the walkway is more relaxing than ever, you stroll, you stop, you enjoy the whole space for yourself, no more dodging crazy Mexican taxi drivers (well, not as crazy as in bigger cities...).
There are now, also more palm trees and decorative plants than before (some palm trees on the beach too, nice move, if they survive...). Spaces have been designed with pedestrians in mind, both for your stroll, as for resting and enjoying the view along the way.
The wider “boardwalk” makes space for more in every sense, now even the sidewalk you stroll upon gives way to art, not only will you wonder over the impressive and beautiful statues that you find every one or two blocks along the promenade, now there are intricate designs with Huichol motifs on the malecon itself that will catch your attention too. These artistic touches were provided by Fidencio Benítez, whose artwork can be found around town in different art galleries, so in Pto. Vallarta not only will you see and enjoy art, you’ll walk all over it too! How’s that for a change!
In the morning you’ll enjoy the warm sun appearing over the jungle hills and town, seabirds, the soft waves, fresh coffee smells and people starting off their day, either running as sport or to their jobs... During the afternoon and night, both locals and visitor, arrive to enjoy the activities and promenade along the edge of the sea, there’s lots to do, see and enjoy. Lots of vendors offering art, souvenirs, balloons, toys, drinks and food, you name it, most are available.
So enjoy a Tejuino (I don’t, but you maybe like it), grilled corn on the cob, an ice-cream or maybe a fresh delicious coconut. Along the way you’ll be amazed by the sand sculptures and the experts in balancing stones… how do they do it? Ah, and don’t miss the Papantla Birdmen that circle around 100 feet off the ground, some few blocks south of Hotel Rosita.
The malecon now also offers free Wi-Fi, so you’ll be able to share your beautiful PV sunset photographs in real-time and get innumerable “likes” from your envious Facebook friends! Just imagine that! ;-)
Various views of the Malecon (click to enlarge)
Anyway, for those not caught up in the FB frenzy, we are still quite sure most of your best photos and memories will be obtained here.
If you get hungry or want to shop a bit, the options are amazing, from hamburgers to shrimp, street-side to home-style to gourmet, cafes, restaurants or bars, souvenirs, trendy or art, you’ll find it all here on the malecon. At night, you’ll find many fun and exciting options, Bebotero, La Bodeguita, Zoo and many other night clubs and discos open up and stay open till 3AM or even longer.
Colors on the Malecon
Once you’ve arrived at the amphitheater, enjoy shows, music, clowns or theater, walk over to the main plaza and take a seat with your ice-cream or feed the pigeons, then walk over to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, the variety of options and things you can see is amazing and all are a welcome opportunity for you to escape from your normal routine and enjoy something new or discover a new favorite meal from the many PV options.
So don’t visit Puerto Vallarta without experiencing the malecon, we are sure you’ll come back again if you do.
Walking Art Tour of the Malecon
Puerto Vallarta's art gallery Galeria Pacifico sponsors a public Sculpture Walking Tour starting at 9:30 AM every Tuesday from November to April each year, starting off at the Millennium sculpture near the Hotel Rosita on the north end of the walkway.
You can meet some of the sculptors of the statues and hear them explain their work along the mile-long malecon. Pacifico Gallery owner Gary Thompson often participates as guide and ican fill you in on the current local art scene and Vallarta’s many artists. The Walking Art Tour every Tuesday Nov to April, exact dates vary. The tour is free and you need no reservation. Information call Galeria Pacífico Tel: 222-1982. http://www.galeriapacifico.com/