Matamoros Lookout, downtown Puerto Vallarta
View from La Cruz del Cerro Lookout, downtown Puerto Vallarta
There are many great lookouts in Puerto Vallarta, some up in the hills, some closer to sea level, here’s my list of recommended public lookouts:
- La Cruz Hill Lookout
- Matamoros Lighthouse lookout
- Aguacate Walkway
- Los Arcos de Mismaloya Lookout
- Cuahtemoc Street Iguana Bridge
- Cuale River Pedestrian Bridge Lookout
- Los Muertos Pier Lookout
- El Púlpito (The Pulpit)
- Conchas Chinas Lookout
- Mismaloya Beach Lookout
- Boca de Tomatlan Lookout
Lookouts, downtown Puerto Vallarta
Public Access Lookouts
Here we’ll include the lookouts and places with great views and that offer public access too. We’ll be adding others as soon as we discover them on our trips around town and the surrounding sightseeing attractions.
La Cruz del Cerro Lookout (The Cross on the Hill Lookout)
Hiking to La Cruz Lookout is a fun and exciting adventure that will have your adrenaline pumping the whole way. A great way to see some amazing views of Puerto Vallarta, start at Malecon along Abasolo Street away from the sea then follow available signs up the hill along the streets and sidewalks towards the east side in the downtown area for an awe-inspiring lookout point!
After going up a couple of blocks, turn left on Emilio Carranza street and then take the first right onto Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez. Along the way, several hand-painted signs will show you the way to the lookout. At the end of the street, you’ll reach a long set of white stairs going up to the lookout and certainly the best view of downtown Puerto Vallarta that you can find.
Take your time, catch your breath and get some photos along the way and as you climb the stairs. Take a bit of water along and wear good shoes. The hike takes no more than 15 to 25 minutes depending on your rhythm so large amounts of food and drink are not really necessary.
Stretching to the horizon, it is hard not to be overwhelmed by this beautiful view of Puerto Vallarta. A 360-degree panorama from atop Mirador de la Cruz showcases everything you could want in a vacation destination: endless beaches with clear water and white sand, mountains with lush jungles, and a beautiful bay.
The La Cruz Lookout is a great place to go when you want an amazing view in downtown Puerto Vallarta, also consider going there either for sunrise or before the sunset.
Matamoros Street Lighthouse lookout (Faro de la Calle Matamoros)
The Lighthouse Lookout is remodeled lighthouse (actually, a beacon) in downtown Puerto Vallarta, offers a great view of downtown Puerto Vallarta and the bay.
The lighthouse itself was built and inaugurated on August 15th, 1932 by Harbor Captain Roberto Alcazar. It served the city and guided ships along with the beacon on Galeana Street, until June 1978 when it stopped being used.
In 2006 it was remodeled, restored and public street access was made easier, including stairs, a lookout terrace was also added.
The place is great for photography or just enjoying the panoramic view of the town.
Start off from the malecón, on the corner of Galeana and Morelos, on the Malecon, you’ll find a smaller lighthouse there. Walk up Galeana, towards the hills, pass Juárez and Hidalgo streets, there you’ll start up the stairs to Matamoros, turn right, some 80-100 ft on your left are the stairs up to the lighthouse.
During the month of March 2017, Grupo HEVA officially inaugurated the Aguacate stairway and Lookout, the staircase from Aguacate street that connects with Colonia Altavista in Puerto Vallarta’s Romantic Zone – https://www.puertovallarta.net
At the top of Aguacate street beside El Palomar de Los González Restaurant, there is a pretty good lookout over Old Vallarta (Romantic Zone) with a view of Puerto Vallarta’s downtown area and the Banderas Bay looking north.
Previously, this stairway did not receive any attention. There were no lights, no adequate access, the place was overrun by weeds. Both residents and foreigners who live in this part of Vallarta use these stairs to get to their jobs, schools, or other places daily.
The Aguacate Lookout and Stairway is now a safe place that people can use without problems. In addition, it is well lit at night, and the construction is very beautiful and complements both neighborhoods and respects the local Serrano and Puerto Vallarta styles.
Cuauhtémoc Street/Iguana Bridge
La Iguana Bridge was built as part of Puerto Vallarta’s downtown revitalization project, it brought two important parts of the town together and injected a bit more life into the cultural end of the Isla Rio Cuale (the eastern side). In the past there was no easy access between these two colorful parts of town, this bridge has changed that.
It offers some very nice views of the Island and Old Vallarta to the south, the river is also in full display as well as the houses that line the edges of the Cuale River, many of them the original homes that established themselves in the Gringo Gulch.
This bridge, known as La Iguana Bridge, is a large white structure, something that makes this bridge stand out are some steps that appear more than halfway up, they bulge out of the rough concrete-sand stairs and are covered in green and yellow colored tiles, a nice touch that makes this Gringo Gulch bridge unique.
La Iguana Bridge (Puente de la Iguana) connects the eastern side of Cuale Island to Cuauhtémoc street in the Gringo Gulch, from there it’s a 250 ft walk and you’ll be by the houses Liz Taylor and Richard Burton lived in while in Puerto Vallarta.
Cuale River Pedestrian Bridge Lookout
At the same time the Los Muertos Pier and the Iguana Bridge were built, this Pedestrian Bridge over the Cuale River was also inaugurated. It provides a comfortable path over from the northern side (downtown Puerto Vallarta) over the Cuale River, with staircases down to the Cuale River Island and over to the south side (Romantic Zone).
When the bridge goes over the Olas Altas part of the beach there is an extension that overlooks the edge both north and south, this is the Cuale River Bridge Lookout. It offers a more than 180° view of Olas Altas Beach and Los Muertos Beach to the south. You’ll also see the Cuale River mouth and the Malecon II to the north.
Los Muertos Pier/Lookout
The pier is a wonderful addition to Puerto Vallarta’s beachfront area. It was designed by the Mexican Biannual Architecture prize-winning architect, José de Jesús Torres Vega, who also happens to be one of Mexico City’s most famous architects for his work on locations like Yankee Stadium in New York City or The University Of California Los Angeles campus among others.
The brightly lit, four-story sail pier is the centerpiece of an ambitious renewal program with an extensive series of important projects in and around the historic Puerto Vallarta downtown area that has added sparkle to popular attractions for both local visitors as well international tourists alike!
The Los Muertos Pier/Lookout is strategically placed in the middle of Old Town Puerto Vallarta and has become an important attraction for Francisca Rodríguez street and the surrounding streets where pedestrian access has been considerably improved.
The lookout not only looks stunning, but it also offers great views of Los Muertos Beach, Olas Altas Beach, the Romantic Zone, and the hills behind it, plus the rest of the bay area. A must for any amateur or professional photographer.
El Púlpito (The Pulpit)
El Púlpito (The Pulpit) is a small 60-foot tall headland, a natural rock outcropping that is actually the southern limit of Los Muertos Beach. The Pulpit and the Small baptismal fonts (Las Pilitas) are two separate rock formations.
It is 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. In older photographs, it’s clear why they called it that way.
At the time Puerto Vallarta was (and still is) a very catholic town, so it is understandable that these geological formations would be baptized with a religious reference (see, I did it again ;-)).
If you walk south along Los Muertos Beach, you’ll pass by the pier and when you are at Las Pilitas (where the original Seahorse statue stands), you’ll start seeing more details of The Pulpit. There is a path and stairs going up the hill. You can walk all the way up to the big boulder that is the summit of this little hill (The Pulpit). Here you’ll have a great view to the south, Las Amapas, and in the distance the South Zone and Los Arcos.
Conchas Chinas Lookout
This lookout is on the southern end of Conchas Chinas Beach, it has a good view of the beach looking north and a semi-unobstructed view of the South Zone.
Los Arcos de Mismaloya Lookout
When you are traveling south to Los Arcos, Mismaloya, Boca de Tomatlán, and further south, you’ll drive by this lookout. You’ll know you’re there because there will be a number of small makeshift stands selling drinks, souvenirs, and other beach accessories. You don’t need to buy anything there, just find a good spot looking toward the arches and shoot away.
Mismaloya Beach Lookout (by La Jolla de Mismaloya)
This lookout offers a great bird-eye view of Mismaloya Beach from the east side. It’s found right after La Jolla de Mismaloya Condominiums and is a common stopping spot for those going south or to the beach for a short photo session.
Boca de Tomatlan Lookout
You’ll find this lookout with a great view of Boca de Tomatlan and the bay just before leaving the Boca bay and taking the trail over the hills to Colomitos Beach and the other southern beaches (if hiking is your thing).
Map with the Puerto Vallarta Lookouts
That’s this list of lookouts in and around Puerto Vallarta for now, there’ll be others we’ll find and others you maybe will suggest we add (please do!).
Personally, the one I most enjoy is La Cruz del Cerro Lookout, but you may have your own.