During our stay in Vallarta over Christmas, on my list of things to do was to take a walk up the Isla Rio Cuale to see the new pedestrian bridge that connects the island to Gringo Gulch. The bridge was built as part of Puerto Vallarta’s downtown revitalization project, bringing two important areas of downtown while offering more life into the cultural section of the Isla Rio Cuale.
Path on Isla Rio Cuale
I have to say, in all my times in Puerto Vallarta I have never walked that far up the island. I usually make it to the swinging bridges then skittle across either to El Centro or Old Town. Who knew by walking further we would reach a cultural section of the island, a peaceful and lovely path with old buildings, an open square area for something or other, sculptures and also benches to sit and enjoy the scenery. And the extra bonus, no little shops with peddlers saying “check it out” or “almost free today”. How wonderful.
Sculpture along the Isla Rio Cuale Path
Finally the day came to take our walk. We woke, had our oatmeal and coffee, put on our running shoes and out the door we went, ready for a long walk in areas unknown. Armed with my trusty little camera and a bottle of water, we walked down the malecon till we reached the stairs down onto the island. Here you will see the restaurant Oscars, a beautiful spot right on the river. Although we didn’t stop for lunch, we did stop to look through the gallery located on the second floor which was neat.
Cultural square on Isla Rio Cuale
Continuing along you will pass through the multitude of tent stores, where local shop keepers are selling everything from T-shirts to hammocks. It’s a perfect place to pick up a souvenir for yourself or loved one. Making your way along, the crowds thin out and you’ll find yourself starting to notice the huge trees, sculptures, and elderly resting on benches. The park becomes a park, go figure! And then…behold: the pedestrian bridge in all it’s glory! White, brightly colored steps and a somewhat gentle up-slope to Gringo Gulch.
The bridge! The bridge!
We made it, the final destination of the new bridge. Well we have to walk up now that we are here so away we went. The view is incredible once you get to the other side. You can see the entire valley of Old Town which is spectacular. Also, on the Gringo Gulch side of the bridge Victor showed us Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor’s villas, joined by a little pink bridge which is now falling apart. I’ll post about these two dilapidated yet famous villas another time.
Gringo Gulch to Isla Rio Cuale
The bridge really is spectacular and has to be seen to be appreciated. Truthfully, I was expecting it to be smaller and not such a formidable structure. Boy was I wrong. It’s impressive, colorful and very large. And to top it off, we discovered a part of the island that we never knew existed. Another great find in the city we love, Puerto Vallarta.
Us on the bridge