named after the foreigners who built homes in a deep ravine leading back into the mountains away from the beach. Many of the Gringos arrived in the 1950s and 60s when Puerto Vallarta was a small fishing town. The houses are generally Mexican-style with red-tile roofs and include some of the more expensive homes in town. They are moulded into the hillside along narrow cobblestone streets and bedecked with vivid bougainvillea and other flowering plants. This area is definitely worth a stroll.
Casa Kimberley in Gringo Gulch as a 34th birthday gift for Taylor during their affair. Taylor held onto the romantic hideaway for many years, until long after her second divorce from Burton. However, after he died, she could never bring herself to stay in it again.
Rio Cuale, one of seven rivers that empty into Bahia de Banderas, used to be the southern boundary of Puerto Vallarta. Then, some local businessmen decided to build a restaurant further south on the beach. In time, two swinging pedestrian bridges and two solid bridges (one of which can be seen in the upper right of the photo) were built to connect the growing "Romantic Zone" with El Centro north of the river. This became particularly important when the beautifully quiet stream would occasionally turn into a raging torrent. The land along the left bank of the river seen above is actually the south shore of Isla Cuala, a long island occupying the center of the river. The island contains several restaurants, a pre-hispanic museum, an open market for artisans, and several other attractions.
Romantic Zone possesses the rather chilling name Playa de los Muertos (Beach of the Dead). There are a couple of legends about this. One holds that after a battle between indigenous people and gold smugglers, the beach was covered with the dead. Another is that the area was once a burial ground for the pre-hispanic people. Today, it is just a beautiful beach, lined with hotels and restaurants. For a map of the Romantic Zone, click here.
Oscar's sits near the tip of Isla Cuale, where the two channels of the river join just before they pass under the Malecon footbridge and into the Pacific. What attracted my photographer's eye was the unusual way that the branches of this plant have been trained to grow together into a pattern that resembles a fisherman's net.
Huston was a director with a long list of famous films to his credit. Many of them were classics, including The Maltese Falcon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Asphalt Jungle, The African Queen, and The Man Who Would Be King. If any man could be said to have "made" Puerto Vallarta, it was Huston. After he visited the area and fell in love with it, he persuaded his studio to allow him to film Night of the Iguana here. Until that point, the town was little more than a sleepy fishing village with one road, no international airport, and spotty electricity. In addition to the film itself, the famous Burton-Taylor romance attracted swarms of paparrazi who produced voluminous publicity about the Puerto Vallarta area. Tourists began flocking in and the resort-developer gold rush was on.
advanced protection programs in the world. Puerto Vallarta's program, begun in 1993, has very shrewdly taken advantage of eco-tourism to solicit support from both tourists and local businesses. As part of the program, tourists can attend the release of newly-hatched baby turtles. Each tourist is given his own hatchling and allowed to release it on the sand so it can race to the water's edge for its first swim in the ocean. Mexico's programs have been extremely important to the survival of sea turtles because 6 of the 7 species in the world nest along its beaches.
places where you might want to shop.
Señor Frog's bar is a major attraction for those interested in Puerto Vallarta's nightlife. As a non-drinker, I didn't avail myself of the opportunity, but I liked the sign. According to those who have gone, you can pay $30 (USD) upfront to cover all your drinks for the evening. When you walk in the door, they give you a "yard" (tall cup) to drink out of all night, which you can then keep as a souvenir when you leave. Bottoms up!