In 1963 in the Bay of Banderas of Puerto Vallarta, “The Night of the Iguana” (1964), directed by John Huston and starring Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr and Sue Lyon began filming.
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But this destination also served as the setting for one of the most scandalous Hollywood romances.
“The Night of the Iguana” aroused the interest of the world press not by the movie plot or acting but because during filming, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who was not acting in the film, continued the affair that began on the set of “Cleopatra” ( 1963).
Burton was married to actress Sybil Christopher at the time, dubbing his relationship with Taylor as “the scandal of the century”. Even The Vatican expressed its opinion through a public letter in which it cataloged the relationship as an “erotic vagrancy”.
All the negative attention to the personal lives of Burton and Taylor had, however, a positive effect for Puerto Vallarta and Mismaloya, and placed the area on the international tourist radar.
Puerto Vallarta became the love nest of the couple, married from 1964 to 1974 and a second time from 1975 to 1976, and even bought a property, Casa Kimberly, which since December is a boutique hotel.
[divider style=”solid” top=”20″ bottom=”20″]Casa Kimberly, a Puerto Vallarta legacy restored[divider style=”solid” top=”20″ bottom=”20″]
At Mismaloya Beach there is no museum or plaque mentioning its role in “The Night of the Iguana”, but there is, at one end of the bay, a pole of 10 meters with a huge iguana in honor the film, where some moviegoers tourists taking pictures.
On the same rocky hill are the remains of the houses that were built for filming, but for years have been abandoned and don’t have public access.
However, simply talk to the vendors or waiters to hear some stories.
“My father worked in the production of the film and told me that in the afternoon, Taylor and Burton were swimming naked here,” says Fermin Guzman, better known as Chipol, diving instructor and Mismaloya native.
In the same bay, where visitors now row in kayaks, also hosted a pirate ship in the 1975 film “Le Corsaire Scarlet” (1976) starring Robert Shaw.
The locals tell that, by then, given the popularity of Puerto Vallarta, Mismaloya already had dirt road access for tourists.
Another feature of Mismaloya is the small river flowing from the center of the beach, also with cinematic references.
Two kilometers upstream is Eden, the location that served as the set of “Predator” (1987), starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In this place, with its natural pool, visitors can take pictures with a predator and the fuselage of the helicopter that was used in the film. In addition, one can feel like an action hero and fly through more than 3 kilometers of zip line.
At the end comes the refreshing reward: a cocktail called Eden, which is green in reference to the blood of the Predator.
Mismaloya is located 14 kilometers south of Puerto Vallarta and can be easily reached by car. A taxi from the center costs 150 pesos, approximately.