Puerto Vallarta is so much more than just a beach

Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta view [Image by skeeze from Pixabay]

View surreal and eerie sculptures, an abandoned Hollywood hotel with a history and a hidden beach in and near Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta is a popular seaside resort destination in the Jalisco state of Mexico. The city lies on the Pacific Coast and is famous for its glorious beaches, exciting water sports and a buzzing nightlife scene. Among its attractions is El Malecón, a beach promenade displaying contemporary sculptures. The promenade comes to live at night with its many restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

In the city center, a selection of boutique shops, restaurants and bars can be found, along with the beautiful Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe church. While the beaches and activities on offer are great, the city also offers a selection of less usual locations to visit on a trip to Puerto Vallarta.

1. La Rotonda del Mar (The Rotunda By The Sea)

As mentioned above, El Malecón is home to many contemporary sculptures. Some of these are what you might call “normal” sculptures, while others, including La Rotonda del Mar, are less usual. This collection of surreal bronze statues looks like something from an eerie nightmare or from an alien planet.

La Rotonda del Mar
La Rotonda del Mar, Puerto Vallarta [Image by Ernest McGray, Jr. on Flickr]
The installation, with its sinister look, was created by sculptor Alejandro Colunga. Unveiled in 1996, the installation consists of eight bronze thrones or chairs. They stand close to the water’s edge and are topped with strange sea creatures including a seahorse and octopus. Lovecraftian in appearance, the chairs invite visitors to sit on them and it can clearly be seen from various worn patches that many have done just that.

2. Playa Hermosa Hotel, San Blas

As noted by travel website Goats on the Road, Puerto Vallarta has many other attractions on hand. However, there are also some unusual and fascinating destinations to visit further along the coastline.

Playa Hermosa Hotel
Playa Hermosa Hotel, San Blas [Image by Ladybug on Flickr]
Entrance to the Playa Hermosa Hotel
Entrance to the Playa Hermosa Hotel [Image by Ladybug on Flickr]
The Playa Hermosa (beautiful beach) Hotel became popular with Hollywood celebrities on the 1950s and with famous rock stars during the 20 years following this.

For 20 years, this former luxury hotel was known for the steamy love affairs and heaving drinking of the various celebrities, including Lee Marvin, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. One of its most notorious guests was Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors. Allegedly, this is where Morrison wrote the lyrics to “L.A. Woman,” during an alcohol and drug-fueled stay in 1969.

The hotel was also notorious for the many swarms of mosquitoes in the area. Whether caused by this or not, after two decades in operation, the popularity of the hotel gradually faded.  In the 70s and 80s, the hotel became a housing residence for expats and eventually was left to crumble away.

3. Hidden Beach, Islas Marietas

Romantic couples looking to get away from the crowds to a quieter beach will appreciate this secluded curve of sand. The beach is tucked away in the Parque Nacional Islas Marietas, some 22 nautical miles from Puerto Vallarta.

Hidden Beach, Islas Marietas
Hidden Beach, Islas Marietas [Image by Christian Frausto Bernal on Flickr]
Known locally as Playa del Amor, the beach is hidden on one of the islands at the mouth of Banderas Bay. It can be accessed through a sandy cavern, and appears to be almost underground.

Rumors say the hole and cave were formed by weapons testing by the Mexican military during the 1900s, which is said to have created many other rock formations and caves. Whatever the cause, this is the perfect place to hide away with your better half!

Have fun on your vacation in Puerto Vallarta and remember to visit some of the less usual sports in the coastal resort and its surrounds.