For the past twenty or so winters, we have been visiting Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Initially for only a week or two while we were working; now for two months since we retired. Over the years we have hosted family and friends and now would like to share our experiences with you in a brief multimedia presentation.
First, we’ll start with a bird’s eye overview of our venue in the heart of PV along the River Cuale which separates downtown into Old Town and the Romantic Zone. After some exploration, we picked this area for its proximity to shopping, restaurants, and open air markets. The Romantic Zone is noted for its “left bank” cultural attractions; we’ll take a peek in there also.
PV is about the same size and population as Madison, but without that white stuff! It started as a seaport and commercial center for the inland mining and agricultural interests, now largely dormant. Tourism is its lifeblood now, but on an evening walk along the Malecón, (a pedestrian ocean front seawall), one sees mostly younger Mexican couples, or families pushing strollers, chasing run-abouts or feeding their little mouths from the ubiquitous food stalls. We’ll mention similarities and charming differences as we encounter them.
No visit would be complete without an excursion into the surrounding country side. Despite the rugged mountainous terrain falling abruptly onto a relatively narrow coastal plain, PV gives access to a surprising variety of attractions: colonial towns (including Guadalahara, now nearly the size of Chicago), restored ruins (with quality interpretive centers and guides), one of the best botanical gardens in Mexico, birding and more. We will show as many of these as possible.