Puerto Vallarta: Beaches and Art

We made it to Puerto Vallarta on Tuesday without any trouble (other than the hours of waiting around at the airports) and were sitting on the balcony of our condo in the Old Town, cervesas in hand, by 7 pm. This place, a nicely decorated one bedroom in the Brisas del Mar complex one block off Los Muertos beach in the south end of PV, is beautiful and perfect for us, much more comfortable than the colonial house in Guanajuato.

The weather has been spectacular since we got here, high 20s and sunny, and we’ve walked the Malecon, hit the beach, and visited the Hacienda Mosaico, an artist’s retreat and B&B near the Hotel Zone in the north of town.

Puerto Vallarta is one of the favoured destinations for west coast Canadian and American tourists, often for a short week-long fun in the sun vacation; however, I’ve never been here before. I didn’t really have any particular image in mind but I didn’t realise that the city would be so large or so built up. Apparently, the population is around 350,000 and the beaches along Banderas Bay are chockablock full of hotels, restaurants, condos, stores (big box and all), and high rises. The Old Town where we’re staying is sometimes referred to as the Zona Romantica (I’ve got no idea why) or the South End and is a lively area with an eclectic mixture of people and entertainment options.

The sculpture and other public art along the one mile long malecon (or oceanfront boardwalk) is great – lots of gigantic bronze statues with which everyone enjoys interacting. And of course Ty had to climb to the top of one of them and throw his arms and legs out as I was yelling at him to get down …

A temporary exhibit of painted wooden boats is also installed here.

Local people have various ingenious ways to express themselves creatively and garner tips – sand sculpture, imitation statues with which one can take pictures, and, most impressively, acrobatics by a group of local Indians who descend (wihtout harnesses) flying from a pole while their colleague plays the flute.

There are also many sea birds here, including lots of pelicans, one of which gave me the hairy eyeball.

The two weeks before and after Easter are traditionally PV’s busiest time and the city is packed with vacationers from around Mexico, the States, and Canada. Yesterday we spent the day at the Lido Beach Club near our place; after a quiet morning, by noon the entire beach was full of people frolicing in the large, and sometimes enormous, waves pounding the shoreline – fabulous!

This morning we took the bus north, past the Sheraton, to visit Sam, the artist owner of Hacienda Mosaico, an artists’ retreat and B&B that also hosts various artmaking workshops during the tourist (winter) season.

She had just finished hosting her last group for the year and was kind enough to show us around the place. The Hacienda is lovely, full of art of all kinds (mosaic, glass, painting, sculpture, jewellery), and has seven double rooms for guests, both indoor and outdoor workshop areas, lovely gardens, and a beautiful pool. It would certainly be a fabulous place to be creative!

For more info on Hacienda Mosaico, click here.

For more info on PV’s Malecon sculpture, click here.

For more pictures, click here and here.