Puerto Vallarta is a Mexican beach resort city situated on the Pacific Ocean's Bahia de Banderas in Jalisco State. It is known for its beaches, water sports, night life and diverse and friendly population.
(All photos in this post will enlarge, for easier viewing, if clicked on)
As our cruise ship, the Ruby Princess--see prior post-- approached Puerto Vallarta, the morning fog was just beginning to lift off the shoreline and Sierra Madre mountains in the distance. The weather was warm and comfortable in the high seventies to low eighties during our visit at the end of January.
Disembarkation from the Ruby Princess in the port was very easy and convenient. My husband and I then boarded an optional excursion bus trip for the day to see some of the highlights of the city.
We stopped along the beautiful beach front, to view "El Malecon," which is a long promenade along the beach that is lined with numerous sculptures, restaurants, and boats, which can be rented for paragliding trips over the bay.
Our tour bus then traveled into the "El Centro," the old town center, which is divided by a densely foliage banked river. The streets here were paved with cobblestones, palm trees and large bougainvillea shrubs that were in a large array of luscious colors.
A statue of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
It was easy to see why Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor fell in love with Puerto Vallarta when Richard Burton was here on location to film a lead role in the 1964 movie, "The Night of the Iguana." The interesting tale of their love affair during this period, and the times they returned to spend in a house they bought in town, where they could live without the pressure of celebrity, can be read on this link.
I loved the old town's picturesque flair, from its flowered balconies, colorful windows, ceramic plaque street signs and variety of silver, leather and ceramic craft shops.
On our tour we visited the very ornate "Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe --- Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church.
Note the unusual wrought iron crown, hoisted by angels, on top of the steeple. It is said to resemble the crown worn by Empress Carlota of Mexico.
The interior of the church was beautiful -- please click on the photo collage to enlarge it. More about the history of the church can be read on this link.
As part of the tour we were driven up a steep hill into a lush jungle to the Don Tadeo Tequila Distillery, where the process of making tequila from the blue agave plant root was described to our tour group. We were given small samples of all the flavors to try and a chance to purchase what we liked. We had a relaxing lunch in their restaurant patio afterward, where we were very entertained not only by the resident parrot, but also a number of tropical birds that flew around the canopy of palm trees above us.
I found it interesting to learn that Puerto Vallarta has become a popular retirement destination for both US and Canadian retirees. Rapid growth in tourist volume has also given rise to growth in condominium, hotel and rental apartment construction. This growth has spilled over from the city limits to Nuevo Vallarta in the neighboring state of Nayarit, and is becoming one of the fastest growing regions in the Americas.
In my next post I'll show you our visit to the next Mexican Riviera city of Mazatlan, Mexico an equally beautiful resort town where we saw cliff divers perform and visited an amazing indoor market.
To see more about the Ruby Princess Cruise Ship see this post.
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