Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mexico! Olah! (64)

Puerto Vallarta 2006

Puerto Vallarta is a Mexican resort city situated on the Pacific Ocean's Bahía de Banderas. The 2005 census reported Puerto Vallarta's population as 177,830 making it the fifth-largest city in the state of Jalisco. The City of Puerto Vallarta is the government seat of the Municipality of Puerto Vallarta which comprises the city as well as population centers outside of the city extending from Boca de Tomatlán to the Nayarit border (the Ameca River). The municipality's population in the 2005 census was 220,368.

We took the tour of the town, of course. The large church is the central feature of the town and can be seen from virtually every point. It's the Parish Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Cathedral of Our Lady of GuadalupeCalle Hidalgo, (One block east of Zocalo), Puerto Vallarta, La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe is the heart of Puerto Vallarta religious life, and is the focal point of an elaborate 12-day festival each December. The structure itself was built during a 12-year period beginning in 1929. The interior is filled with hand-carved columns, decorative moldings and other rich detailing. An earthquake damaged the ornate crown that originally adorned the church. It was replaced, but the repair still creates controversy. The original crown is said to have been modeled after a tiara worn by the mistress of the Emperor Maximilian. [http://www.mytravelguide.com/attractions/profile-79720805-Mexico_Puerto_Vallarta_Cathedral_of_Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe.html]

Parish Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Here is the town square - pigeons and street performers.

The promenade along the water features a series of sculptures.

Guess who?

While others went shopping, we went walking around the town with one of our tour guides who noticed we weren't particularly interested in looking at more stores. He was very good and even took our pix a few times.

PV's claim to fame is the fact that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton once owned homes here. They are across the street from each other and connected with the little "plus 15" bridge - probably really about plus 9 or 10 - but oh well.
Richard Burton first came to Puerto Vallarta in 1963 as part of the cast of the movie "Night of the Iguana."
He played a boozy defrocked minister trying to hang on to a shred of self-respect. It was here that he and Elizabeth Taylor's love affair first came to light. After the pair married, they bought houses in Gringo Gulch and stayed for several years.
Elizabeth Taylor is possibly the most famous of all celebrities to live in Puerto Vallarta. Vallarta was put on the world scene when she accompanied her lover Richard Burton, while still married to Eddie Fisher, to a small fishing village on the coast of Mexico where he was filming "Night of the Iguana."
Their subsequent decades long torrid romance still echoes through the narrow alleys of Gringo Gulch where they bought houses across the street from one another and linked them with a pink bridge. Casa Kimberly still exists and is now open to tours. [http://www.virtualvallarta.com/vallarta/information/definitions/burtontaylor.html]

We were told the last time either of them set foot in PV was in 1963 - even I was a very young child at that time!

Iguana in tree.

Outside of town, we stopped at this location to have lunch - this is the restaurant. It was near a zip line so we saw people "zipping" through the forest.

Finally, we stopped at a place where tequila is made and got the whole show and tell. Let's put it this way - good thing the alchol content is quite high or it may not be safe to drink!
Tequila (Spanish pronunciation: [teˈkila]) is an agave-based spirit made primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 65 kilometres (40 mi) northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the western Mexican state of Jalisco. The volcanic soil in the region surrounding Tequila is particularly well suited to the growing of the blue agave, and more than 300 million of the plants are harvested there each year. Mexican laws state that tequila can be produced only in the state of Jalisco and limited regions in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. Tequila is most often made at a 38–40% alcohol content (76–80 proof), but there are also several varieties of tequila produced with 43–50% alcohol content (86–100 proof). [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tequila]

So that's what I can show you of Puerto Vallarta. It's a nice place.