Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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The warmest of the 3 Mexican Riviera cruise destinations, Puerto Vallarta was my favorite, in terms of shopping, cleanliness and public art. As the southern most port, it had a different feel from Cabo and Mazatlan, and somehow seemed to have a brighter atmosphere. Now, don’t go asking me to clarify what I mean, because I’m not sure I can articulate why: it was just something I felt.

Right off the bat, I was impressed with the artwork along the Malecon (boardwalk), which was remodeled in 2011 to a pedestrian only outdoor gallery with larger than life sculptures. Not only do they make great photo ops, but they elevate the area from being just a tourist draw.

Placed on the Malecon in 1984 (one of the first), “Nostalgia” symbolizes the artist’s love for his wife as they gaze longingly at the sea.
Depicting a crashing wave with human features, this 1997 abstract polymer-resin-bronze sculpture is called “Nature As Mother.”
The Millennia, from 2001, represents the passage of time, from the origin of life and to hope for the future.
With my niece and business partner, Gia, sitting on the surrealistic bronze high-back chairs comprising The Rotunda of the Sea erected in 1996.

One of the first stores we stopped in was Tierra Huichol, which as you probably surmised, had an incredible selection of Huichol art, as well as many other traditional art forms.

Made by pressing tiny beads into bee’s wax, the patterns are created free hand.
There were several demonstrations going on, including this one for making glass birds.

I’ve always wondered how they do the beaded figures, and had a blast trying it! Even though I have been beading and making jewelry for years (starting from my days on the swim team with a permanent ankle bracelet that garnered a lot of attention from the right people, i.e. cute boys), this was completely different. In my mind (meaning “in my dreams”), I could be good at it with a lot of practice, but for now it is best left to the experts.

Showing me how its supposed to be done
Not terrible for my first attempt (though my nails kind of got in the way)!
It is very tedious work, and I have a new found respect for the artists who are so methodical!

Wandering around Puerto Vallarta was a joy! Pretty murals, colorful signs/flags/umbrellas/stairs, and stunning views of the ocean are everywhere.

I have a fantasy about painting my stairs…..

The Cuale Island Market was also a cool place to wander around – and when I say cool, I mean there were mature shade trees with graceful branches arching over the stalls and walkways, procuring a few extra degrees of comfort on a warm day. The stalls were mostly what you would expect, but it is a unique concept that a small island, formed by the river that runs through town, had been turned into an outdoor market.

The Cuale River
Bridge access on both sides
The trees were part of the attraction!
Under the bridge, Amado Cabrera has set up his mobile studio, where he paints with coffee beans!

If you are wondering about the beaches, I cannot speak to that, because we only had 1 day in town and spent it working on the Ms. World Traveler web series. But I can direct you where to go for fabulous swim wear: Aqua Adore! You can choose from what they have on display, or you can customize your own from the terrific selection of fabrics, and then add rhinestones and sequins (I’d be all over that!).

Owner/model Fadia Darden has a dream to make every woman feel comfortable and fabulous in her swimsuit!

Needing a little break from the heat, we decided to try homemade corn quesadillas, and I can attest that my niece, Gia, enjoyed every bite!

The sublime look of pure enjoyment!

It was hard to beat the quesadilla’s, but we gave it the ole’ college try, and succeeded when we met Miguel Orozco, the creator of the stained glass windows at Our Lady of Guadalupe church!

With the master himself: Miguel Orozco

All too soon it was time to head back to the ship, and just a 10 minute/$10 taxi ride later we said farewell to Puerto Vallarta, with the hope of returning in the future and staying longer.

Final stop at the port

It was hard to say “So long!”
Various traditional handicrafts are featured on this segment of Ms. World Traveler in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, including Kerry’s attempt to learn Huichol art beading.

An island dedicated to shopping and an artist who paints with coffee beans are featured on this segment of Ms. World Traveler in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Looking good at the beach is an art form at Aqua Adore in Puerto Vallarta, where Ms. World Traveler Kerry Damiano shows you how they make it easy.
Stained glass artist, Miguel Orozco, shares his insights and inspiration with Ms. World Traveler Kerry Damiano on this segment from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

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