Puerto Vallarta’s Malecón

Puerto Vallarta’s Malecón

A romantic evening stroll on the Malecon is a must do for Puerto Vallarta visitors. Malecón is a Spanish word that more or less means “sea wall”; in Puerto Vallarta, it identifies the beachfront promenade that runs along the main drag in the city’s downtown area. It is a must-see any day of the week, but if you thrive on high energy, just wait until the weekend – the area is a happening place! Make your stroll down the promenade a casual one – you don’t want to miss a thing, and this is a scene of constant activity on Saturday and Sunday, when local residents join visitors to storm the beaches – in a good way!

See All From the Sea Wall

Bronze Sculptures – You cannot help but be drawn to the string of fascinating bronze sculptures that line the way. Artists from around the globe have contributed to the collection’s overall ecclectic appeal. Rotonda del Mar, by Alejandro Colunga, a grouping of bronze high-backed seats, each with its own unique top, is a favorite of many. Children love to climb and sit on these interactive sculptures. On Tuesday mornings part of the year Gary Thompson, owner of Galleria Pacifico, offers public sculpture tours along the Malecon.

Sand Sculptures – Down on the beach, sand sculptors work their magic to create finely detailed but impermanent pieces that rival the splendor of the more lasting bronzes. There is no set theme or genre here – you might encounter a fine reproduction of the Pieta, a Buddha in sand, or a fantastic scene drawn from mythology or nature. If you are curious, step down and take a look – these pieces will be gone after a few high tides!

Enjoy the Human Zoo

The Malecón is a perfect place to find a seat and people watch. The procession includes wandering vendors selling jewelry made of silver and shells; carts with balloons and kites; and kiosks that offer tempting bits and bites of local cuisine including fish, chocolate bananas, and corn on a stick as well as cotton candy. Artists frequently come to the Malecón to display their most recent work, and it is almost always for sale. “Human statues” perform for your enjoyment right in the midst of the Malecon. You can get your picture or caricature drawn there too.

Performances Galore

On the southern end of the Malecon, the four arches of Los Arcos artfully frame pieces of bay and sky. Nearby there is an open air amphitheater where in the evenings you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy the work of colorful folk dancers, musicians, clowns, puppeteers, and free Sunday night concerts while the vivid colors of sunset provide an incredibly theatrical backdrop.

Most evenings, you can walk on down to the seahorse statue around 8 and watch the Voladores de Papantla. The Voladores, in their brightly colored costumes, perform an aerial ritual suspended upside down from a 50 foot pole while a musician seated high atop the pole accompanies them on drum and flute. It is an exceptional experience.

Erika del Real (the sexiest violinist you’ll have seen in a while) and her brother Vick form the well known duet Arcano, and perform for people along the Malecon.

The Zocalo (the main City plaza across from the Malecon) has music and dancing on Thursday and Saturday evenings.

Why Did The _____ Cross The Road?

Granted, there is almost no end to the fun you can have on the beach side of the Malecón, but the Paseo Diaz Ordaz does have another side, and there is plenty to claim your attention there, as well.

Shops of all descriptions, from tiny holes in the wall selling trinkets and maps to high end galleries and boutiques, line the street. Pick up a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun under control, find a sexy little something to wear to dinner, or add to your collection of art.

This side of the street is also home to a host of bars and nightclubs like the Zoo and Hilo that really start hopping after 11 pm. Scattered among the establishments with an obvious “tourist” ambience are a number of great spots to get a cold beer or margarita and dinner. You might need to look a bit harder, as many of them inhabit the second and third floors of their buildings, ideal for watching the activity on the street and the sunset on the bay. Here are a few options:

La Bodeguita is a Cuban bar and restaurant with great Mojitos, salsa dancing, and a 2nd floor overlooking the Malecon.

Viejo Vallarta serves good Mexican food with a great view of the Malecon from the third floor. You can watch the Pampantla flyers perform from there.

La Chata has Mariachi music and a great view of the Malecon.

Don’t Miss The Sunsets

Last but not least, don’t miss the great sunsets from the Malecon – there’s nothing quite like them. Get a look at Vallarta’s famous green flash just as the sun sets on the horizon.


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