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October 07, 2016
Discover the Historic Center of Puerto Vallarta. Two paths, two schedules, highly trained guides, an accessible meeting place, about two hours of walking through the most legendary places of the city; I'm talking about the Free Tourist Tours of Puerto Vallarta.
I recently had the opportunity to go on this free tour that the Municipal Tourism Office provides for all vacationers and locals who wish to do so.
Shortly before the trip I thought nothing could surprise me, because I thought I knew everything about Puerto Vallarta, but when the guide began to speak, I stayed attentive to every detail he revealed.
He told us that in the beginning, the port was called Las Peñas de Santa María de Guadalupe. The name was eventually reduced to Puerto Las Peñas. He also mentioned the whys of the name and its history. There were so many interesting things, from a totally different perspective.
The weather was quite agreeable, with temperatures that characterize the port, pleasant and sunny, perfect for a morning walk.
The parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the city's most photographed places, also has its rightful place on this tour, as its construction was explained in detail, including the meaning of each kind of material that was used, which makes this temple so special.
The walk is so nice and the pictures we take are unique because we are entering the streets that are not as crowded but are still very important to the history of this city.
As we continue, the guide shows us the different types of trees that dominate the region, such as the “Tabachin," the “African Tulip," the “Palm Bottle," and the 12-colored "Bougainvillea.”
However, one of the things that completely filled my curiosity was climbing the Matamoros Street Lighthouse, in the area known as "Gringo Gulch," which currently operates as a lookout. It positions you at a height facing the “crown” of the Guadalupe Church and, of course, gives you a panoramic view of the whole bay, a unique show, which I recommend every visitor should see.
Halfway through the tour we arrived at the streets where Elizabeth Taylor used to walk during the filming of “The Night of the Iguana," a U.S. film that was responsible for spreading the great attractions of the city around the world.
Filmed on location in the natural setting of the port in 1963, it was directed by John Huston, starring the internationally renowned Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr, and pulled Puerto Vallarta out of obscurity to be visited by the most important figures of the artistic and political world.
The tour passes through many historic sites and arrives at the Malecon, where you also get a detailed explanation of the sculpted works and the events that stand out in the port´s history.
In conclusion, this is an experience I recommend for the whole family. In about two hours you will come to understand the value and importance of every detail of this city for the locals and for those who want to know her well.
The schedule of these free tours is Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with a first departure at 9 a.m. and another at 12 p.m., as well as Saturdays at 9 a.m. The meeting point is downtown, at the Municipal Offices of Tourism.
For more information I recommend you call 222-0923 .
Most visitors to Puerto Vallarta and head north from the airport to the beautiful hotels and beaches of Marina Vallarta, the Hotel Zone, the Romantic Zone and the districts of Southern Puerto Vallarta like Conchas Chinas or Mismaloya. But located just fifty minutes to the south of the airport lies Las Juntas y Los Veranos: The other side of Puerto Vallarta. Read more