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Exploring Puerto Vallarta's Romantic Zone On Our Own
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
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
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,
had a great view of the port area with downtown Puerto Vallarta in the distance.
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
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
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,
the three of us, we had five drinks - 4 beers and one margarita. Scott and I were amazed at the prices - our total check
all three of us was $23.39 (excluding tip)!
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
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
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
city was 13 years ago (we spent the majority of our time inland on a zip lining adventure), so our stroll along the
was an excellent way to spend our afternoon. The paved pedestrian only walkway along the water was the perfect place
walk as we could take in the sights along the way and catch up with Gabe - all without having to worry about watching
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.
In addition to a rock miraculously balanced atop an even larger rock near the pedestrian walkway, there was a grouping
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.
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
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
We continued a short distance north, and just past Los Arcos (the arches) was another of my favorites and one
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
sculpted and positioned on the Malecon, however the letters spelling out "Puerto Vallarta" have not always surrounded
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.)
Although most had some sort of damage, the sand art which sat alongside the Malecon was truly amazing. It was hard
believe that the sand could be sculpted with such intricate detail and furthermore could withstand wind, rain and of
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
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
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
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
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
tequila tasting) to $79.00 (for lunch, a tour and entertainment at a hacienda followed by a visit to the Malecon and
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
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
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
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.
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!
If you were to make a recommendation to someone who was traveling by cruise ship and only had one day to spend
docked in Puerto Vallarta, how would you recommend that they spend their day?
Total FitBit steps today: 12,646
Created On 06/26/2018 21:57:57
Updated On 10/14/2018 23:27:25
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