"El Púlpito" and "Las Pilitas" are natural rock formations in the southern part of Los Muertos beach. Some locals mistakenly pronounce it "pulpito" (small octopus). This landmark is not only a great little trip, it also has some an interesting history.
El Púlpito and Las Pilitas (Pulpit and the Small baptismal fonts) are two separate rock formations found, one of them, Las Pilitas, on the southern end of the Romantic zone's Los Muertos Beach, and the other, El Pulpito, is a rock outcropping that is actually the southern limit of Playa Los Muertos.
El Púlpito is a small 60-foot tall headland, mostly rock, now covered with a lot of local vegetation and trees so you can't see much of the rock itself that gave it its name.
El Púlpito from the Northside
The path up and over Púlpito starts off as some sandy concrete stairs at the end of the Los Muertos beach that turn into a sandy dirt path up to the top, off to the right and up, a few crumbling cement steps "help" you get to the summit.
If you look at the older photo from 1956 (below), you'll see that growing trees and vegetation have taken over the summit and you can't see that much from up there anymore, unless you get up on the crowning boulder (the pulpit itself)... I didn't because it's quite scary with the abrupt cliffs on all sides and no protection... and the wind... hmmm... time to go Mr. Coward!
If you continue south from "The Pulpit", the path that leads you up continues down the other side of the hill and it takes you to the small beaches along the rocky outline beyond Los Muertos, the first one you encounter is called Las Amapas Beach. If you are into hiking and jumping over rocks you can even get to Conchas Chinas beach following the edge of the sea.
As tradition has it, Don Guadalupe Sánchez Torres, the founder of the small town of Las Peñas (later renamed Puerto Vallarta), sat on top of El Púlpito and cried when he received the dismal news that the harbor had lost its status from an international port to a coastal trade port, something that might cut short its future development (little did he know).
Las Amapas and El Púlpito from the South
This happened on May 10th, 1924. Three days later the devastated 93-year-old man died. Read more about Vallarta's history.
Las Pilitas was the place where the original "The Boy on the Seahorse" ("El Niño Sobre el Caballo de Mar" - mostly known as "El Caballito de Mar", The Little Seahorse) by Rafael Zamarripa was first located.
After a strong storm swept it away into the sea, a larger replica was requested from the artist and this one was placed on the Malecon, the first statue of many different ones to later be part of the open-air exhibition along the seaside promenade.
The original statue was later recovered and once again placed at Las Pilitas (it was swept away again during Hurricane Kenna and recovered once again), you can see it there today, I can imagine the concrete block is extra reinforced now :-).
Las Pilitas themselves are just a series of rocks that lay between the sea and the beach, nothing sensational, but a good reference point (check the photo above and you'll see them in the foreground).
The Seahorse (original) at Las Pilitas
Two side streets from Olas Altas Street are also named after these natural landmarks. To get to them you can walk South along the malecon and then follow Los Muertos Beach past the pier, past Blue Chairs Resort, first you'll get to Las Pilitas and then at the end of the beach you'll find the path up El Púlpito (and Las Amapas if you continue South).