Puerto Vallarta
Visiting the City
Bus Ride to The City

We spent one day visiting the city of Vallarta. We caught a city bus on the highway just outside the Dreams resort. There was no sign for a bus stop; one wasn't needed. The resort staff told us where to stand and when a bus appeared a few minutes later, it stopped to pick us up. It was a few miles to town and shortly after we got to town, the bus stopped at a corner near the downtown area. Not only did it stop, the driver shut off the engine and left the bus parked in a line of several other busses that were parked with their engines shut off. This was the end of the line for this service.

We had a tourist map of the downtown area and started walking toward the ocean and the Malecon which is a several block long 'boardwalk' along the ocean. The Malecon has quite a few large statues and other artwork that we took a lot of pictures of. The non-ocean side of the Malecon was crowded with storefronts, restaurants, bars, dance clubs, tequila shops, jewelry stores, junk stores, a flea market and tiny places for tourists to book excursions to ride ziplines, swim with dolphins, etc. Walking on that side was at your own risk because the merchants were pretty bold and relentless in trying to get you to spend time at their store or booth.

We saw some people building elaborate sand sculptures. Each one had a box for tips in front of it. It seemed like the building would take days or weeks because while most of them looked to be done or almost done, there was one that was at the very beginning of construction. It had a frame of boards about 10 feet tall that was built like concrete forms and was packed full of sand except for the very top couple of feet which revealed the very top of whatever sculpture it would eventually be.

We also saw a few 'street mimes' dressed in various unusual and ingenious costumes. Each had the ubiquitous box for tips nearby. Near the Malecon is the very old Our Lady of Guadalupe church. We visited it for a few minutes before heading for the big flea market area on an island which is in the river that goes through the city. You can get to the island by stairways from the streets or by walking over a rickety suspension bridge. Guess which way we went?

There are a couple of places to eat and drink on the island and we stopped for lunch at the River Cafe after visiting a number of flea market booths. The restaurant was open to the weather and views of the river and very elegant with its linen tablecloths and napkins; the food was also very tasty. We wandered around a little longer after lunch and eventually decided to head for the bus area to head home. We stopped along the way to have a beer at a little bar in town called La Sirenita. We were told it was named for a song by a famous Mexican singer about a male mermaid. After the beer we got to the bus stop and waited a few minutes for a driver to get on and start up the engine. We told him to take us to Dreams and he seemed to know what we were saying. Other riders got off the bus at various unmarked stops and when he got to Dreams he stopped to let us off. No excitement there. Then, back to the daily routine of sitting under a beach umbrella in our swimsuits while waitstaff delivered rounds of frozen drinks. Ahhh, what a life!