The Malecon is the Heart Jewel of the town, the historic center, and its main man-made tourist draw, a one mile long seawall promenade or boardwalk that stretches the length of downtown Vallarta from the Cuale River at the south end to the Hotel Rosita in the north, some 15-16 city blocks. Near the south end of this waterfront boulevard is the large outdoor amphitheater Los Arcos (the Arches) where entertainment and many outdoor attractions occur such as the Xiutla folkloric dancers, live music, cultural events and the ever popular clown shows in the evening. Strolling north, one passes numerous Puerto Vallarta landmarks, attractions and statues including one of this beach town's most beloved pieces, the Friendship Fountain, with its three dolphins by sculptor James Bottoms which was donated to PV by Santa Barbara in 1987 (notice the boy in the traditional Huichol/Cora Indian clothes on the left in the Fountain photo, below right). Then there's the famous nine-foot high statue of the youth riding The Sea Horse, a Puerto Vallarta symbol. Sculpted by Rafael Zamarripa, this beauty has stood for over 35 years in the central part of the malecon since 1976.
So there is quite a collection of beautiful public artwork along this boardwalk walkway, untouched by spray paint, as you can see in the photos below. In fact, the amount of top-notch art on public display makes the town outstanding among tourist destinations in Mexico. During the day and into the early evening one can also find local artists painting and displaying their watercolors for sale. There are also a good number of restaurants (Mariscos Tino's, Cerveceria Union, La Chata, La Dolce Vita, Paradise Burger, Senor Frogs, and Mi Querencia, a relatively new downtown restaurant, to name a few), eateries and taquerias in the malecon El Centro area, hundreds of stores, gift shops and boutiques, as well as many first-rate Vallarta art galleries.
One of the more popular additions to the Puerto Vallarta malecon, the sculpture In Search of Reason by Guadalajara artist Sergio Bustamante, has two pillow-head figures ascending their ladder to the sky. People love to climb this one and have their picture taken. Then there's the recently placed group of strange abstract bronze figures by Alejandro Colunga entitled The Rotunda of the Sea with its half human, half alien sea or space creatures. One must see, then sit on them as they are half in the shape of chairs and tables, to experience their odd effect on the senses.
Tapatio Adrian Reynoso's unique blend of bronze and polymer resins, Nature As Mother, a spiraling wave on a snail appears next on the walk north. At last we come to the bronze sculpture of the hetero couple in love immortalized in La Nostalgia, a Puerto Vallarta landmark since 1984 by Ramiz Barquet, which I adore. Barquet (1920-2010) has more public art on display in this beach town than any other Puerto Vallarta artist.
At the north end of El Malecon in Puerto Vallarta is the local fishermen's open market, where fresh fish caught the night before can be bought at a good price. Just past that end of the boardwalk and down the short half block to the beach by the Hotel Rosita is the 2001 sculpture The Millenniums by Mathis Lidice. See the two photos of this beautiful and moving work below.