Puerto Vallarta - one of the most popular activities of visitors to PV is to walk the Malecón, the seawall promenade that stretches along the edge of El Centro and Zona Romantica. Along this expansive boardwalk are numerous sculptures. Although I didn’t take in the free sculpture tour that’s offered (and seems quite popular) while visiting, I did walk the Malecón often and tried to capture the beauty of these sculptures in my photos as I saw them. So this post is not so much about the history, meaning or symbolism behind all these sculptures but merely seeing them through my eyes (and camera lens).
The sculptures are situated along the Malecón starting at the north end near Hotel Rosita ending on the South Side just over the Rio Cuale pedestrian bridge on the Malecón. When the Malecón was renovated in 2011, more sculptures were added and some that once were there are no longer. I’m curious though - have the latter been erected elsewhere in PV or put into storage?
Here is a look at the fifteen sculptures currently along the Malecón starting from the northernmost side. Many sculptures along the way beg the viewer to touch, and in some cases, climb or sit on the sculpture.
The Milleniums by Mathis Lídice
This bronze statue curls up to the sky above - filled with great detail, imagery and so much symbolism showing the various milleniums ending with imagery of the current millenium.
Carved at the base are waves of the sea and a strand of DNA depicting a link to the evolution of life.Great detail is shown in the warrior Charlemagne (Charles the Great) emphasizing the tumultuous times of the first millenium.
Further up the sculpture, the second millenium is represented by Nezahualcóyotl, a ruler in pre-Columbian Mexico, a warrior, and philosopher known for his poetry. Universal wisdom is depicted here - a closer look shows a Lithium atom in Nezahualcóyotl’s right hand and his left hand points to a sphere of the world - perhaps suggesting the many discoveries in the world during that time. Yes, that’s the moon in the sky!
The final and current millenium at the topmost section of the statue is shown as a woman reaching to catch a dove - perhaps, symbolizing the continuous searching and reaching out for peace for all mankind (and for the birds of PV, a resting spot with a great view of Banderas Bay!).
Origin and Destiny by Pedro Tello
A five-piece display (although I somehow managed to miss photographing one of the pieces - the wheel). Pictured here are four pieces of man’s connection to the following: chimera (unity with marine animals, reptiles and birds), obelisk complete with hour glass (spirituality), whale (emerging into new millenium), and boat (searching for new horizons).
La Nostalgia (Nostalgia) by Ramiz Barquet
One of my favourites - a gorgeous portrayal of a couple in love and looking lovingly towards the city and the mountains and jungles beyond. It’s not hard to fall in love with PV!
El Sutil Comepiedras (The Subtle Rock-Eater) by Jonas Gutiérrez
A clown-like figure eating rocks? For me, I look at the iridescent obsidian belly and, upon closer observation, it reflects back to me the world around me. What is one to make of this? Perhaps it’s about all that I place and hold inside myself is then outwardly reflected to others around me. Am I demonstrating positivity, kindness and understanding or negativity, selfishness and intolerance in my life? Time for reflection.
The Good Fortune Unicorn by Aníbal Riebeling
It’s always great to have a good luck charm such as this unicorn to bring good fortune to you. It definitely was my good fortune to have the opportunity to visit PV for a wonderful six weeks. I will be returning.
Triton and the Nereid by Carlos Espino
Powerful images of greek mythology - Triton, the merman looks longingly at Nereid, a sea nymph. Or is it about two fit bodies ready for the beaches? Nah, probably not!
La Rotunda del Mar (The Rotunda of the Sea) by Alejandro Colunga
What a quirky and surreal collection of sculptures which beg you to touch, climb on or take a seat. Wow, a talented artist with a very vivid imagination! So many details to discover. Plenty of places to sit and interact.
In Search of Reason by Sergio Bustamante
Are the young ones on the ladder being called to come back down or being asked what they can see from their vantage point? Another interactive piece on the Malecón which visitors love climbing on.
Caballero del Mar (The Seahorse) by Rafael Zamarripa
Possibly the most popular sculpture along the Malecón. It’s also become the symbol of Puerto Vallarta. Hardly a tourist goes by without getting their photo taken in front of the boy and the seahorse.
I read that this sculpture has a fascinating history with this particular sculpture on the Malecón being the ‘second’ one. The original was ripped from its base during a storm and thrown into the Bay. The artist then made this one to replace the popular original one. Then the original was found, recovered and placed on the south end of Los Muertos Beach. The original one was once again torn from its base during another storm and guess what, it was recovered again and now rests back at its home on Los Muertos Beach as shown here!
The second sculpture, larger than the first, is located here near the Arches on the Malecón in El Centro. The boy’s outstretched arm seems to invite everyone to explore and discover everything that PV has to offer!
La Fuente de la Amistad (The Friendship Fountain) created by James ‘Bud’ Bottoms
A popular sculpture where people walking the Malecón gather around on all sides to pose for photos and the only sculpture that has a water feature as part of it. California native Bottoms created this sculpture and Octavio González Gutiérrez sculpted it aka Dancing Dolphins, one of many sculptures he’s done in the PV region. This sculpture reminds me of the many dolphins we saw dancing in the waters of Banderas Bay while visiting PV.
Bailarines de Vallarta (Vallarta Dancers) by Jim Demetro
Sculptor Demetro has been living in PV for over a decade and has been greatly inspired by Mexico. He currently has two sculptures along the Malecón, the Vallarta Dancers and further down, the Washer Woman. It is said that the inspiration for this colourful sculpture is the youthful energy, flowing movement and the brightly colourful costumes of the very talented Xiutla dancers dramatic performance of Ravel’s Bolero. These dancers look like they could come to life with the mere addition of music.
Eriza-Dos (Standing on End) by Blu (Maritza Vasquez)
These two sea urchins watch over Banderas Bay just feet away. I love how the iron sculptures stand out against the bluest of blue skies in PV.
On another day while walking the Malecón, the beautiful blue sky adds a gorgeous background to the rusting urchins. I love the different hues in the rust in the close-up.
San Pascual Bailón (Saint Paschal Baylon) by Ramiz Barquet
This bronze statue is of Saint Paschal Baylon, the patron saint of cooks. This sculpture honours the many chefs of PV that feed the many tourists and locals - and having eaten many wonderful meals in PV during our six week visit, there are many talented chefs and cooks in PV and region. I did go on a food tour of PV and got a small taste of some of the tasty food prepared by these dedicated cooks.
LPGA champ Lorena Ochoa Reyes by artist Octavio Gonzalez Gutierrez.
Lorena is from the Jalisco state and, although retired now, was once the top-ranked female golfer in the world. You will notice that she is currently missing her golf club. That’s rather unfortunate. Perhaps someone borrowed it in hopes of improving their golf game….NOT.
The Washer Woman by Jim Demetro
Demetro honours a local indigenous woman who washes her family’s laundry in the Rio Cuale. He also honours the many people who, living further up the river, still continue this tradition of scrubbing their laundry on the rocks in the Rio Cuale. This back breaking work is captured in Demetro’s work.
Having captured these sculptures, as I saw them, has encouraged me to take the free tour to learn more about the talented sculptors and the meaning behind their incredible works of art.