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Exploring Puerto Vallarta's Romantic Zone On Our Own

Exploring Puerto Vallarta's Romantic Zone On Our Own


By avatar  Stacy
Posted On 07/27/2018 17:08:11
Trip Date 05/21/2018  

Destinations | Cruises | Panama Canal Cruise Port of Call | Mexico | DIY Sightseeing in Puerto Vallarta | Touring the Romantic Zone



A former colleague of mine retired just months earlier than I and relocated to Puerto Vallarta in late 2015. Since we had not seen each other in several years, we planned to meet for lunch on the day that we docked in his new home city. He suggested that we meet in the Romantic Zone and, following our lunch, Scott and I could explore the area on our own.

If your cruise ship docks in Puerto Vallarta, take a look at this post for an idea of what you can see and do in this tourist friendly area - all at bargain prices for do it yourself travelers. In addition to strolling through the Romantic Zone, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy a budget friendly lunch and spend time at the beach.


Transportation to the Romantic Zone

Since we weren't meeting for lunch until 11:30 AM, we stayed on the ship a while longer than usual. From our balcony, we had a great view of the port area with downtown Puerto Vallarta in the distance.


View from our Cabin Balcony

View from our Cabin Balcony

With the cruise terminal's location in Marina Vallarta, we needed transportation to the Romantic Zone. Although taxi drivers were permitted to meet passengers very near the terminal, private vehicles (including Uber) had to meet a little further away. We decided to get some exercise and save a little money by walking past the Mercado de Artesanias to the gas station on Avenida Francisco Medina Asencio. Our charge for a 20 minute Uber ride straight to the entrance of our planned meeting place was $4.63 US (compared to about $10.00 for a taxi).

Since we arrived almost 30 minutes before our date, we took the opportunity to see a bit of the area. Scott and I walked to the north past some of the many local shops along the Malecon toward Playa Olas Altas (Beach of High Waves) before returning to our lunch restaurant.


Playa Olas Altas

Playa Olas Altas

Lunch at Daiquiri Dicks

At the suggestion of my friend and former colleague Gabe, we met at Daiquiri Dicks - it was easy to find, was located right on the beach, and the food was predictable and good. We were seated at a table located on the outside covered patio with a view of the ocean and were quickly served chips and salsa. We all decided on breakfast entrees (served 'til noon) which were very filling and quite tasty. Additionally, between the three of us, we had five drinks - 4 beers and one margarita. Scott and I were amazed at the prices - our total check for all three of us was $23.39 (excluding tip)!


Lunch at Daiquiri Dicks

Lunch at Daiquiri Dicks


Walking Along the Beach in Puerto Vallarta

Following lunch, the three of us walked to the south along Playa Los Muertos (Beach of the Dead), Puerto Vallarta's most popular beach. It was great having a "local" with us to answer our many questions as we walked to Playa Los Muertos Pier. After spending some time talking and people watching on the pier, we reversed direction and headed north along the Malecon.


Playa Los Muertos

Playa Los Muertos

Strolling The Malecon

Although it was definitely hot and humid, we lucked out with a beautiful day to enjoy Puerto Vallarta. Our first visit to the city was 13 years ago (we spent the majority of our time inland on a zip lining adventure), so our stroll along the Malecon was an excellent way to spend our afternoon. The paved pedestrian only walkway along the water was the perfect place to walk as we could take in the sights along the way and catch up with Gabe - all without having to worry about watching out for cars. As we walked north, one of the first of many statues that we saw was done in bronze and depicted a barefoot woman scrubbing clothes on a rock.


Washing Clothes

Washing Clothes

In addition to a rock miraculously balanced atop an even larger rock near the pedestrian walkway, there was a grouping of even more balanced rocks of varying sizes nearer the water. It would have been fun to see the "artist" at work on these pieces of art.


Balanced Rocks

Balanced Rocks

About four blocks north of the Rio Cuale, we turned away from the water and walked into downtown Puerto Vallarta. Just a couple blocks inland, the landmark Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe) towered over the nearby buildings. The crown sitting on top of the church couldn't be missed, but it did surprise us that there were no local ordinances that prevented nearby buildings from blocking the view of the church building. Sadly, we couldn't find a place from which we could get an unobstructed photo of the church.


Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe

Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe

We said our goodbyes to Gabe, and Scott and I headed back to the Malecon to see some more of the really cool artwork. One of my favorites was Vallarta Dancers, a life-sized sculpture done in partial color of a man and woman performing a dance on stage.


Bailarines de Vallarta

Bailarines de Vallarta

We continued a short distance north, and just past Los Arcos (the arches) was another of my favorites and one that I learned has become iconic in Puerto Vallarta. El Nino Sobre el Caballo de Mar (The Boy on the Seahorse) has almost a 60 year history. The original smaller statue of a boy waving while riding a seahorse and wearing a cowboy hat which stood on Playa Los Muertos was unfortunately blown out to sea by a tropical storm. This larger replacement statue was sculpted and positioned on the Malecon, however the letters spelling out "Puerto Vallarta" have not always surrounded the statue. Amazingly the original was found - twice! (It was knocked down again during a hurricane over 15 years ago, and now stands near the original location, but further inland.)


The Seahorse

The Seahorse

Although most had some sort of damage, the sand art which sat alongside the Malecon was truly amazing. It was hard to believe that the sand could be sculpted with such intricate detail and furthermore could withstand wind, rain and of course human destruction. After all of the time and effort put into the art, it was understandable why collection boxes were located near most of the sand sculptures.


Welcome to Puerto Vallarta

Welcome to Puerto Vallarta


Return Transportation to the Port

We were dying of thirst after our walk in the hot sun and just across the street from the end of the Malecon we spied an "American Embassy" - McDonald's! The combination of cool soft drinks in a cool restaurant lowered our body temperatures and we decided we were ready to request an Uber back to port. As we had walked about a mile north from our morning drop off point, we were actually closer to the port for our return. Our 12 minute return ride only cost us $3.03 US, and the driver was able to drop us off right at the port entrance!

We spent just over $33.00 including transportation for 2 and lunch / drinks for 3 plus two McDonald's soft drinks. The three tours offered by NCL that were most comparable to the day we spent on our own had per person costs which ranged from $25.00 (including beverages and tequila tasting) to $79.00 (for lunch, a tour and entertainment at a hacienda followed by a visit to the Malecon and vicinity).

Tips for Visiting the Romantic Zone of Puerto Vallarta

Here's a few tips to help you enjoy your day exploring the Romantic Zone:
  • With so many cobblestone streets in Puerto Vallarta, make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • You'll definitely want your camera, and it's a good idea to bring some drinking water along for the day. The climate of Puerto Vallarta is tropical, so sun protection is a must - hat, sun screen, sun glasses and maybe even an umbrella. Don't forget your towel and swimsuit if you plan to take advantage of some time at either Playa Olas Altas or Playa Los Muertos.
  • Credit cards and US dollars are both widely accepted.
  • If you won't have a drink package on your cruise and think you will be longing for an adult beverage by this point in your trip, there are lots of great options in the Romantic Zone. There were signs all over advertising $1.00 margaritas and the like.
  • If you have some additional time (minimum of one hour) and want some exercise and a view, you can hike up to the hill with the large red and white antenna. Named Mirador Cerro de La Cruz, you can find a cross and a viewing platform on the hilltop.


Mazatlan, Mexico

If you enjoy touring port cities on your own and your cruise includes a port day in Mazatlan, take a look at our posts titled Exploring Old Mazatlan and Stone Island On Our Own and 4 Favorites for a Fabulous Port Day in Mazatlan for some ideas. When docked for a full day, you'll have plenty of time to see the city!

Puerto Vallarta

If you were to make a recommendation to someone who was traveling by cruise ship and only had one day to spend while docked in Puerto Vallarta, how would you recommend that they spend their day?




Total FitBit steps today: 12,646
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Exploring Puerto Vallarta's Romantic Zone On Our Own



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Created On 06/26/2018 21:57:57  
Updated On 07/28/2018 19:01:27
Scheduled On 07/27/2018 14:21:03
Posted On 07/27/2018 17:08:11
Last Editor Stacy
Location  Daiquiri Dick's, Puerto Vallarta, JAL, Mexico
LinkId  RomanticZonePuertoVallarta
StoryId  1530064677057









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