Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Tue October 27 2015

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | October 27, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    Strolling Puerto Vallarta's Malecon

    Strolling Puerto Vallarta's Malecon

    Photos by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

    Set along Mexico's Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta is small town with lots of charm and beauty, both natural and manufactured. Nature lovers are pulled in by the pearly sand beaches and panoramic Sierra Madre Mountains, which surround this former fishing village. But my favorite spot was el malecon, or boardwalk. This beachside promenade is the perfect spot for ocean views and salty air strolls but for me the best part is the collection of artwork that lines the 12-block path. Embraced by serene vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and covered with coral-colored cobblestones, el malecon provides lovely perspectives everywhere you look.

    Stretching through the entire downtown area, el malecon is a popular hangout for locals and travelers alike. Starting from the north, the bronze statues and monuments unfold like an outdoor art gallery. The Friendship Fountain features three frolicking dolphins by sculptor James Bottoms and is usually surrounded by kids playing. A little ways down from the fountain, the iconic statue of “The Boy on the Seahorse” has evolved into the symbol for Puerto Vallarta. Created by Rafael Zamarripa, the seahorse represents the community's reverence and connection with the ocean.

    One of the most striking pieces for me was the sculpture called “Rotunda of the Sea” by Alejandro Colunga, featuring abstract bronze figures. They looked like characters from a Dr. Seuss book, but these metal marvels actually serve a purpose. They're chairs! They sizzled from the sun beating down on them but it was still fun to lounge on these practical art pieces.

    Another highlight is the “Puerto Vallarta Dancers” sculpture. Modeled after a local folkloric dance company, the artwork seems to be frozen in the swish and turns of dance moves.  I also liked the sculpture of Neptune and the Nereid by Carlos Espino, which looked right at home with the backdrop of lapping waves.

    Apart from the sculptures, lots of restaurants and cafes are clustered near el malecon for culinary exploration.  Check out Mi Querencia and Mi Chata for generous portions of Mexican food or try the Cuban dishes at La Bodeguita del Medio.

    If you're craving lighter fare, a host of street food vendors roam el malecon. One of the most popular offerings is esquites, cups of toasted corn served with cheese, lime and chiles.

    Look for vendors carrying large poles over their shoulders with a big gourd at the end and you'll be able to sample tuba, a drink made from coconut milk, palm sap and mixed with slivers of apples and nuts. It tastes better than it sounds.

    El Malecon is also popular for nightlife so top off your day with live music or a dance performance right on the boardwalk.


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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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