I had read about an urban hike up to the cross above the hills in Puerto Vallarta and four of us decided to attempt it. After all, it could not possibly be as onerous as our first trip out to Las Animas, on which we bushwacked up the side of a mountain. It was a bit difficult to find the route, but after a bit of searching, I was able to find a map that showed the way up.
The best place to begin the hike is at the foot bridge to Gringo Gultch from the Isla Cuale. Passing by the buildings on the island, you can see all the murals painted by local artists on the walls of now-disused former retail shops.
We met a fellow out walking his dog there who told us that the city was planning to turn this island into a casino – I really hope that’s not the case! Although the island seems to be pretty depressed, in that there’s not much commercial activity there anymore, it is such a lovely green space in a city that doesn’t really have much of that downtown. And casinos have zero interest for me.
On the trees are quite a few signs warning people not to dump their animals here; however, there are still lots of cats roaming around from illegal dumping – people here do feed them, though. They are all pretty fat and sassy.
Once up and over the footbridge, we made a left turn and walked up past Casa Kimberley, now the Iguana Restaurant,
and then a right onto Calle Miramar past Hacienda San Angel, pausing to admire the angel statuary on the facade.
Past the Hacienda our route took us right for one black on Iturbide, then left along Emiliano Carranza to a steep narrow unnamed lane one block past Corona.
There are quite a few barking dogs and friendly cats here. We walked probably the equivalent of four or so blocks up this small street before the pavement, such as it was, petered out into scrub forest. Luckily, an old man just happened to poke his head out his door so I asked him about the best way to get to the cross. He told us to take the set of stairs just in front of his building, good thing because otherwise we would likely have missed the correct route.
The stairs took us up past several local houses, and a lovely friendly pup, as they wound up the hill.
The last bit of the route is steep, but recently paved.
At the top of this path is the electrical tower and it’s not at all obvious how to get to the cross from there. Around the tower is a metal fence and inside is a pit bull …
… but I saw a young man digging in the sand and he directed us across his work area to the new observation platform and cross.
This area is still a construction site and one of the older workers took a moment to wipe the sweat off Janet’s feet as she walked past. Update from Janet: “The sandal cleaning was much more than sweat. I had stepped into a pile of the workers’ mixed, wet cement. Deep enough to feel it between my toes. Smile. The younger workers just laughed. The older man came over and tried to clean off the drying cement. Chivalry is not dead.”
From the platform we had a panoramic view out over Banderas Bay and a gentle cooling breeze.
After hanging out on top for a while, we made our descent down the newly constructed cement stairs, watching as the workers continued to build a second set of very steep stairs.
Possibly once this project is completed there will be sign posts to the cross. At the moment, without a map it’s a bit tricky to get here. Since the path is so narrow, we were wondering how all the construction materials found their way up here. That question was answered when we saw the burro train passing by.
Although the path back down is paved, it was a bit slippery with dry soil and dust.
Back down on Calle Carranza, we saw one of the burros being loaded for a return trip up the hill. Poor beasts, I wonder how well they are treated.
See more pics here.