Walking the Hidden Streets of Puerto Vallarta - Part 1

Puerto Vallarta - One part about travel that I enjoy so much is hiking around my travel destination and seeing the ‘real’ location. This means stepping off the beaten track and exploring the ‘hidden streets’. When I researched hiking around PV, I found ‘Power Walk The Hidden Streets Of Vallarta’ with Tours de Jour Power Walking Tours. After seeing photos of their previous hikes, I knew this was something I wanted to do - get a super work-out and also get an excellent opportunity to take great photos of the area.

We met Sylvie Scopazzo, our tour guide, at the outdoor amphitheater Los Arcos (the Arches) along the Malecon to start our hike. From that point, Sylvie pointed out our destination (the cross) high on the high above El Centro.PV Hills_IMG_9676.jpg

PV Cross_IMG_9676.jpgWe start weaving through the streets passing by The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and head north along Hidalgo. Sylvie points out interesting buildings or sights along the way and gives enough time for ‘shutterbugs’ like myself to take photos as we go.

The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe_C05751.jpgRamiz Barquet sculpture “La Rinconada del Juglar” (“The Corner of the Minstrel”) as seen on Calle Hildago where Galeana Street meets. Puerto Vallarta has numerous sculptures throughout, many of which are displayed along the Malecon - a wide esplanade (boardwalk) along the water’s edge. Some are tucked along side gardens and walkways in the neighbourhoods such as this one.PV_Hildago_IMG_9686.jpg

PV_Ramiz Barquet_IMG_9685.jpgSylvie explains that the mural on this wall on Hildago Street changes from time to time, sometimes yearly.PV_Hildago Mural.jpgWe pass by Florio’s on Hildago Street. The menu posted outdoors looked like it would be a great place to eat.Florios on Hildago_IMG_9687.jpg

Florios on Hildago_IMG_9688.jpgWe walk to the end of Hildago Street, take a right onto Aldama, and then a quick left onto Guadalupe Sanchez where we check out the gorgeous door of this beautiful villa, Casa De La Torre Villa. On some tours, the group is able to stop in and check this place out. We’re not able to do so today but we’re told we’ll have an opportunity to check out a different home later on in the tour this afternoon.

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Further along on Guadalupe Sanchez 740, we pass by Cafe des Artistes. What a colourful exterior! Another restaurant to add to our growing list of restaurants to try while visiting PV.Cafe des Artistes_IMG_9700.jpgJust a few steps further and we pass by Pipi’s at Guadalupe Sanchez #804. I loved all the colourful flags overhead. Such a festive feel!Pipi's PV_IMG_9703.jpg

Pipi's PV_IMG_9706.jpgSylvie chats with many of the locals along the way and makes a point of stopping by some of the street vendors like this man selling corn out of the back of his truck. Nothing from the corn is wasted here - there is a specific use for every part of the corn cob. I couldn’t help but notice that he cut a hole in the truck box which allows him to stand when serving his customers or preparing his corn for sale.                     Corn Vendor PV_IMG_9708.jpg

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The hike continues and with each street we walk and each turn we take, we continue to climb in elevation. When we reach Allende, we take a right and and pass by Tacos de Birria Alex on Matamoros. It’s 10:30 in the morning and there’s a line-up at this Tacos stand. We didn’t stop for a bite to eat - we’ve got a hill to climb!Tacos de Birria Alex PV_IMG_9714.jpg

Allende in Centro PV_IMG_9722.jpgFurther up Allende #344 we hike by El Arrayan, a brightly coloured restaurant which is on my list of restaurants to try while here. I loved the details of the door knob on this beautiful wood door.
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Calle Miramar PV_IMG_9724.jpgUp until this point, the hike has been easy. Then we step off the cobblestone streets and uneven sidewalks to a set of steep stairs on Calle Miramar. Steps and steps and then, a few more steps!Puerto Vallarta_IMG_9728.jpgAlong the way I spot this very interesting door. 
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We stop for a breather as Sylvie points out a large jackfruit tree laden with fruit as well as other plants along the path.
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Flower_Puerto Vallarta IMG_9738.jpgWe climb this set of stairs and pass the point where the road for vehicle traffic ends and one must park their vehicle if they intend to go to homes further up. Anything above this point needs to be hauled in by foot, ATV or perhaps a mule. I just loved how the bougainvillea flower petals gently rest on the corners of these steps.Puerto Vallarta Stairs_IMG_9740.jpg
Here we get a quick glimpse of Banderas Bay and the Malecon as we pass by Calle Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez on our way up the hill.
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The climb continues, up and down a dirt and rocky path, around a few corners where we meet up with some locals with their horse and mule loaded up with supplies for construction here in hills above Puerto Vallarta. Another ‘catch your breath’ minute!Puerto Vallarta IMG_9747.jpg

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Puerto Vallarta IMG_9744.jpgAfter a short dirt path, a cement pathway appears and the elevation increases as we wind our way around homes high in these hills. Sometimes it feels like you’re walking through someone’s yard but it’s actually just the neighbourhood path.
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My spanish isn’t good but I think a rough translation of this sign would be  ‘Don’t throw your trash in El Cerro. Don’t be pigs’.Puerto Vallarta_IMG_9759.jpgAgain Sylvie waves hello to the locals and chats for a moment as we’re trying to catch our breath! A few more well-timed stops (to grab a drink of water and such) and we finally round the corner to make our final ascent to the top. As we walk around the base of a large power tower we finally catch a glimpse of the cross on the hill.
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A few more steps up the rocky path and we reach the top.  What a magnificent view it is! The steep climb up is all but a faint memory!
Puerto Vallarta Panorama.jpgSylvie treats us to some fresh fruit she’s brought along and allows us the opportunity to take photos – spectacular vistas in every direction! Sylvie points out various landmarks from this vantage point. Puerto Vallarta_IMG_9780.jpg
Looking north to El Centro with the Hotel zone and Bay of Banderas in the background.Puerto Vallarta_IMG_9779.jpgA closer look at the cross atop the hill overlooking El Centro. I don’t know the history of this cross but many towns and cities have crosses perched on the hills overlooking them.
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Puerto Vallarta_IMG_9788.jpgHere is the view looking east of the cross on the hill to the Sierra Madre mountains and the colonias in the valleys around Puerto Vallarta. I’ll be hiking around the colonias while visiting PV - so picturesque! Can’t wait to check them out as well.Puerto Vallarta_IMG_9771.jpgThe tour group begins the descent, this time heading south, down into Gringo Gulch. Steep and narrow steps in some areas, but again fantastic views. A photographer’s dream – narrow streets, colourful painted homes, aged yet stunning doorways and balconies, many filled with hanging plants full in bloom.

This series of photos was taken after stopping and looking back at where we had just hiked down from. I was concentrating so hard while coming down to snap any photos. I certainly didn’t want to trip, sprain an ankle or worse. 
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There were points along the way that I was sure we were in someone’s yard but alas, it’s just the neighbourhood path leading down the hill which eventually joins up with some streets below!
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I absolutely loved walking along these narrow streets. There was something interesting to see at every turn.
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Sylvie continues down as I try to capture a few last photos of this very interesting narrow street.Puerto Vallarta_IMG_9831.jpg

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Stopping for another breather and looking back at where we just hiked from. A fantastic tiny street!Puerto Vallarta_IMG_9839.jpg

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We descend further and reach the streets where vehicles begin to appear once again. I suspect one needs some good driving skills - especially reversing down this narrow street!Puerto Vallarta_IMG_9841.jpg

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We’ve been touring around the hidden streets of Puerto Vallarta for nearly two hours but this hike is far from over.

Walking the Hidden Streets of Puerto Vallarta” to be continued……

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Welcome to my travel photo blog. Photography has been a part of my life for a long time – back in the day the Pentax Super Program was always near at hand. But it wasn’t until I started travelling around the world that photography became a vehicle for me to show others about the absolutely amazing and complex world we live in. My hope is to share with you glimpses of what I’ve seen. Enjoy!

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