Isla Río Cuale – The Soul of Downtown Puerto Vallarta

Isla Río Cuale - The Soul of Downtown Puerto Vallarta Isla Río Cuale
Once you have walked the well known Malecon of Puerto Vallarta, it is a must that you take a stroll to the Rio Cuale Island which is located in the middle of Zona Centro and the colonia Emiliano Zapata, it is the perfect escape for those who love the serenity and excellent food since it’s a place away from the traffic buzz of downtown and the noise from the city, it offers a refugee where time seems to slowdown.

The Rio Cuale island was formed by a huge flood caused by a tornado in October of 1926 now in days it measures a little more than 2 acres, within you will find colorful pedestrian streets surrounded by authentic artisan shops and beautiful restaurants with a magnificent view of the river. The Archeological Cuale Museum inaugurated December 20th of 2004 has minimum samples of occidental cultures and in Centro Cultural Cuale inaugurated March 27th of 2003 music, painting, theater, sculpture, dance, singing and acting workshops are held.

For all those with an adventurous spirit, crossing through the hanging bridges will be of the most fun being a distinctive land mark of the zone and a direct route to the biggest artisan flea market of the city. While you walk the area you can appreciate the wild fauna such as parrots, squirrels, herons and a great variety of birds and most importantly the iguanas which are a protected species by the local municipal authorities. Being a place where kids can play and adults can enjoy a pleasant walk, where the island shows our culture and its entire splendor, no wonder why it has become a heritage of Puerto Vallarta.

Christmas Shopping on the Beach

by Judith St. Gaudens

Christmas Shopping on the BeachDo you think it’s too early to start Christmas shopping? I don’t. I enjoy shopping with the beach vendors. I park myself at a restaurant/bar and let the merchandise come to me. Perhaps I’ll eat a taco or two; I’ll consume a few beers or maybe a Margarita. If you sit there, they will come.

Summer is a good time of year to get a few bargains. Business is slow. I don’t like to dicker too much because I understand the tough times, but a little dickering is expected. Earrings, necklaces, rosaries, t-shirts, sport shirts, loose fitting pants, dresses, sarong-type scarves, hand-crafted items and silver jewelry are among the diverse and varied offerings. Oh, and let’s not forget the fun little toys in the shape of fish, crabs, birds and other animals. They are magnetic, colorful and the moving parts boggle around. And so inexpensive. I don’t recommend purchasing Cuban cigars from the beach vendors. Better prices can be obtained at the cigar factories and outlets.

Children playing on the beachBetween purchases, it’s fun to watch the children playing in and near the water. Boogie boards abound. Oh. Have I mentioned the banana boats? I swear I don’t know how folks stay on them, the way they bounce over the tow-boat’s wake. I think I’d spend most of my time in the water, thereby spoiling it for the other banana-boaters. So, I’ll just stay on the beach and shop while the youngsters have their fun.

After a hard day of shopping, a relaxing massage can be had very reasonably right where you sit. The masseuses stroll the beach looking for customers. I’ve been the recipient of foot and leg massages to die for. And, I deserve it. I’ve spent the day shopping!

By the way, about the only service missing on the beach is gift wrapping. Well, maybe one day.

Putting in Some Beach Time

by Judith St. Gaudens

Putting in Some Beach TimeThe sun is blazing through the clouds now, burning off the moisture. Looks like it’s going to be a hot one. Well, perhaps. But, don’t forget the balmy breezes that blow off the bay and cool our damp skin.

Finding a place to sit on the beach is never a problem. If one strolls at the surf-line long enough, one will spot the perfect restaurant or beach bar. The beach goes on, and the beach goes on. Umbrellas of different colors distinguish each establishment from its neighbor. I try to find a place with the least expensive beer. Sea Monkey is one such place. Located a block or two north of what used to be Los Muertos Pier, you’ll find palapa style umbrellas placed along the beach. Take a chair, slather on some sun block (because no umbrella can filter out the reflection from the sand and water), order a $10 peso cerveza, (about $1 US), sit back, and watch the show. Or, read a book. Or, take a siesta.

You might see a surf fisherman teasing the pelicans with his baited hook. The pelicans chase the bait as the fisherman reels in his line. You will see the eight remaining pilons of the Los Muertos Pier…gone but not forgotten and soon to be rebuilt.

Putting in Some Beach TimeThe other day, eight net-fishers parked their gear in front of where I sat. They just stood around, eating, drinking, texting. Of the eight, as it turned out, only one actually had a net. The others were line fishing…without poles. The net-fisherman spent a lot of time untangling and arranging his gear. Then, he waited for the surf to cooperate. It must be just right. Finally, satisfied with the conditions, the young man waded into the surf and cast his net upon the waters of the bay no more than 10 feet in front of where the waves crashed into him. He never lost his balance and almost immediately, he pulled the net toward him, empty. Then he tossed it again and again with the same result. The line fishermen weren’t having any better luck. Perhaps later.

A Short Morning Stroll

by Judith St. Gaudens

A Short Morning StrollMorning has broken in Puerto Vallarta. Earlier, you were awakened by a very loud thunderstorm. The beginning of your first day in the tropics seems marred by the now gently falling rain. You’ve come to work on your tan, for heaven’s sake.

Well, mi amigo, rain, heat, humidity, beautiful sunsets…this is summer in Puerto Vallarta. Rainy weather in paradise cannot be considered grim. The rain cools the air (for awhile) and cleanses our beautiful jungle. So, put on your walking shorts over your bathing attire, grab your sunscreen and get thee to the out-of-doors.

A Short Morning StrollYou’ll notice that the streets are a-bustle with small business owners opening their shops for business. Restaurants are putting out their sidewalk tables and chairs for those who wish to dine al fresco. Sidewalks are swept; displays of colorful wares are put out to tempt you. But, first,…coffee or a latte and perhaps a delicious piece of pastry are in order.

Let’s head to the new Page in the Sun located on Lazaro Cardenas just north of the Cardenas  Park and Garage. Look for the blue awnings. While waiting for your order, search the stacks of used books for the perfect beach read for later. The rain won’t last forever. The sun will come out…this afternoon!