We arrived at the port in Puerto Vallarta early in the morning, close to sunrise. It was an interesting port, maybe one of the few in the world where you can see super yachts, with a helicopter no less, parked across the street from a Walmart. We didn't go to the Walmart or the more upscale shopping mall next to it, but it did seem to be a very popular place for many of the passengers and crew.
We took a taxi from the port to what we expected to be the base of The Hill of the Cross Viewpoint. Be careful. They charge $5 per person and after the taxi driver agreed to take us there he picked up three more passengers during the walk to the cab. Those three were going to the Malecon, which is a walk along the ocean. The driver then stopped at what he said was in between the two points, but in actuality was only a block from the Malecon and ⅓ mile and, even worse, halfway down the hill from The Hill of the Cross Viewpoint. The taxi driver didn't want to have to spend a few more minutes driving up some of the smaller residential streets to drop us off, instead preferring to stay on the main road and get back to the port for another fare. Oh well… At least we got a good workout, though it was a climb of almost twice as high as we had expected.
At the top of the steep walk up the hill and then up a series of steps was a mural on the side of a cafe. We later heard that it doesn't keep regular hours, instead being open when the owner feels like it and otherwise closed.
The beautiful view from the top of the hill is well worth it! Check out the Puerto Vallarta photo album for more photos including a couple of panoramas.
Even the elevated platform itself seems to be a work of art. After the long climb up the hill, the steps to the top of the platform seemed easy.
The final portion of the walk up the hill is a series of steps. There's a funicular there, but it seems to have been out of service for most of the last few years. The website previously linked to shows a working funicular and a set of paths on both sides of the funicular, but the steps on one side of the funicular no longer seem to be used and are now overgrown with vegetation, as shown in the picture below.
We took a different path down the hill, one that was pedestrian only and led us to a restaurant, Si Senor, where we met David, a gentleman feeding pistachios to the parrot Nola. David has spent four months a year for the last 20 years visiting from Canada during the winter months. The mural of Nola shown in the picture below is quite amazing. When you view it with the naked eye it appears to be an abstract pattern. But if you take a picture of it, the mural is transformed into an image of the parrot Nola, as shown in the picture below. David also introduced us to the artist and the artist's girlfriend, who are also shown in the picture below.
For a number of years David had volunteered in the construction of the tile murals at Tile Park. It's a bit of a walk from the restaurant where he met us, but he offered to take us there since he was heading that way in any case to try to find his wife. There are a few more pictures of tile park in the Puerto Vallarta photo album but they don't really do it justice given the limited time we had to photograph it. But the preceding link to Tile Park provides a number of pictures and even a youtube interview with the artist.
According to David, the work on the park is now on hold due to possible local politics and perhaps lack of monetary donations to the right people. During our walk to the park David provided a running commentary on local restaurants and shops, including a number of places being renovated. The work shutdown due to local politics seemed to be a common issue.
After a tour of Tile Park, David took us to the Jim Demetro Galeria where he introduced us to Jim Demetro himself. Jim has done a number of the bronze statues along the Puerto Vallarta Malecon. The picture below is just one of his many statues.
Below are a number of other links related to Jim and his artworks.
- Demetro Galeria google maps
- Demetro works wikipedia
- Demetro Galeria Mexico website
- Puerto Vallarta Dancers on Malecon
So despite the rude taxi driver for the taxi from the port, and thanks in large part to the friendly Canadian David, we ended up have a wonderful day in Puerto Vallarta!