The Cerro de la Cruz Lookout (Lookout on The Cross Hill), is, as the name states in Spanish, a lookout on the top of the La Cruz hill (Cerro de La Cruz) that towers on the East side over downtown Puerto Vallarta. It faces and views the sea silently, one of the most beautiful locations and bays of the Mexican Pacific, the Bay of Banderas and PV.
The locals know it's both a place for recreation, relaxation, and meditation, from this vantage point you can see the Mexican Pacific all the way from Los Arcos (The Arches) on the south side, downtown Puerto Vallarta and on clear days all the way to Punta Mita on the far north side of the Bay. Needless to say, it's a great place for photography enthusiasts and for those who just enjoy panoramic views, majestic sunsets and what nature has to offer.
Getting to the top requires a considerable physical effort, although it is completely worth it, there are several ways to get to the La Cruz Lookout, one is by following Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez Street, a straight uphill route with a gradual slope that increases as you approach the top.
Another route, for many the best, is following Abasolo Street, it's a bit more direct and starts from the Malecón, uphill toward the peak.
You will see the communications antenna in the distance guiding you along.
Crossing Guadalupe Sanchez street you'll get to the corner of Miramar street, here you start to go up the rustic stairs that end when you reach the intersection with Emilio Carranza street.
From there you follow the path along Abasolo flanked by houses and gardens this path is exclusively for those on foot, bikes or donkeys (which are seen from time to time).
Continue climbing straight along the path until you reach the bottom station of the funicular (cable-car), it runs during high season between 6 AM and 10 PM, from what I found out, they do not charge much for the service, in my case the man in charge told me that I could just give him a tip, so I guess it's actually free, correct me if it's not. I decided to go up the stairs, not because I'm a masochist, but because I wanted to take photos and videos while I was going up and I also wanted to see if my fitness training had actually made a difference (it did).
When you get to the top, you'll be treated to an incredible view of Puerto Vallarta and the coast, as well as other areas of the bay.
The lookout offers different angles of the surrounding area, even away from the sea inland, including the monument with the cross. There is also an elevated platform toward the sea where you will get a wider view without obstacles for better and more complete panoramic shots.
The distance from the Malecon to the lookout on both routes is 1600 feet (500 yards), although the route through Abasolo is more direct, with a more gradual slope, a bonus is that it also is a more varied walk, with better views and a bit more nature along the way, which It makes it more enjoyable, that's the one I recommend.
The climb takes between 15 to 40 minutes, depending on whether you are an athlete or a normal person, and if you take it easy or go up without stopping along the way. You can leave before sunset (about 40 minutes before), you'll then have time to rest along the way and enjoy the show that the famous sunsets of Puerto Vallarta will offer you.
In the old days there wasn't really a lookout as such, it was just a path and space around the cross and its base, the new lookout construction has stairs, concrete, hydraulic railing and benches, they mentioned the possibility of a cafe in the future, we'll see if it becomes a reality.
I recommend taking it easy, walking at a steady pace with regular breaks, on very sunny days, carry sunscreen and a good bottle of water. Going up running or jogging is an option for athletes, there are also those who've done the route on a mountain bike, but it's not a competition, best to take it easy and enjoy it, that's my opinion at least.
A trip to the La Cruz Hill Lookout can also be enjoyed with family and friends, just make sure that the kids and seniors have the strength to walk uphill. If at least one of the parents is in good condition, you can bring smaller kids along in a stroller, but bear in mind that there is a part with a steep slope, you may have to carry the child in your arms and fold the stroller instead.
We do not recommend going with those that have mobility issues and require a wheelchair. Despite the work the government has done to improve the access, people with disabilities, or elderly, will have problems, as the path is steep, with stairs and no alternative access routes. The last part is a long series of steps that can be bypassed using the funicular, but does not have an easy wheelchair access, you have to climb about 20 steps to reach the cable car access ramp and there is no way to get there by car, that includes the Cerro de La Cruz Lookout itself too.
The monument of Cerro de la Cruz is seen from different parts of the city, unfortunately, its radiance and beauty are somewhat diminished by the buildings and towers that surround it.
Even so, it is the best lookout in Puerto Vallarta, from there you can watch the already famous sunsets splashing warm colors over the beautiful cityscape.
Splendid panoramic views of Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas, without a doubt a place to bask in the beauty of the Mexican Pacific. Do not miss the Cerro Las Cruz Lookout if you are in town and are in shape to get there, it will really be worth the effort to get there.