The Puerto Vallarta Malecón, or the boardwalk for its English translation, is a wide walkway that extends 1.5 kilometers along the Bay of Banderas and has become the main meeting point for locals and tourists.
Virtually anything you are looking for in Puerto Vallarta can be found on the Malecón, or in its vicinity, from shops and restaurants to nightclubs and an outdoor theatre where you will always find free evening entertainment. A great place to witness the famous Puerto Vallarta sunsets.
One of the best ways to know the city is to walk the complete boardwalk from Centro to the Romantic Zone of Puerto Vallarta.
On your walk along the Malecón, you will see Los Arcos, where you will find the outdoor theatre. The structure of 4 stone arches that mark the most emblematic point of the boardwalk were brought from a hacienda in Guadalajara.
At Los Arcos, there is Plaza de Armas, which is another tourist attraction in Puerto Vallarta, in whose esplanade some Mexican artists and artisans display their works. You will also find the weekly free concert by the Puerto Vallarta Band.
At Plaza de Armas, you will see Our Lady of Guadalupe. The first two weeks of December are for celebration in Puerto Vallarta for the festivities of the Virgin most beloved by Mexicans. This church is an architectural jewel built more than 90 years ago and inside there are works of art such as the frescoes of the dome and some magnificent pieces made of fine woods, such as the pulpit and the confessionals.
The Malecón is also an open-air art gallery where works by several renowned artists are on display in the form of sculptures. Almost all are Mexican. For example, El Caballito, a bronze sculpture by Rafael Zamarripa of Guadalajara, Búsqueda de la Razón (Search for Reason), figures created by Sergio Bustamante and La Rotonda del Mar by Alejandro Colunga, also from Guadalajara.
You can admire the statue, La Fuente de la Amistad (two dolphin figures playing), by American James “Bud” Bottoms. The work was a donation from the artist from Santa Bárbara, California, a Sister City of Puerto Vallarta.
Perhaps the most striking part of your walk will be the Voladores de Papantla. There are 5 Voladores that climb a 15-meter pole, dressed in ancestral costumes. One of the performers remains at the top playing an autochthonous flute, while his 4 companions begin a colorful and risky dance of descent hanging by the ankles.
If you like to feel the sand between your toes, you can walk along the seashore following the path of the Malecón. This way you can get a closer look that the sand sculptures by artists along the boardwalk and witness the rock balancing.
You can also peddle your way down the Malecón with a bike rental, and even city tours by bike.
At the southern end of the boardwalk, you will reach Playa Los Muertos, the main reference of the city, just south of Olas Altas, which is not really a place of intense waves as the Spanish name indicates. You also won’t find zombies or ghosts at Playa Los Muertos, the beach of the dead; on the contrary, it is a place full of life.
Here you can practice your favorite sports and beach entertainment, such as surfing, boogie boarding, parachute rides, banana boats, and other recreational activities.
The beaches in this area have their own deckchairs and umbrellas in which to settle to sunbathe, see the beautiful scenery and enjoy a cocktail or a snack. Similarly, there are street vendors offering food, crafts, hats, and other products. At night, a candlelight dinner with the sound of the ocean as background music becomes an incomparable evening.
The Malecón in Puerto Vallarta ends at Playa Los Muertos in the Romantic Zone neighborhood.