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|The Cuale River or Rio
Cuale has its sources high in the Sierra Madre Mountains to the east of
Puerto Vallarta and is one of the seven streams that empties into Banderas
Bay. As it approaches the Bay the river divides to city into two unequal
parts. Directly on the north side of the river is downtown and the Malecon
boardwalk and to the south is what we now refer to as the Romantic Zone-South
Side and Conchas Chinas areas, with their lovely expanses of sandy beaches
which stretch for several miles. The Cuale river itself divides into two,
forming an island in the middle and this bit of land is about a mile long
long and varied enough to make for a pleasant stroll, shaded by large trees
and verdant tropical vegetation mixed with the bright and colorful Mexican
handcrafts, silver, arts, souvenirs, ceramics and trinkets on display and
for sale there.
Along the central walkway there is a museum at the west end, the Cuale Cultural Central at the east end, and several well-known restaurants such as Oscar's and The River Cafe and a number of shops and boutiques with interesting clothes and crafts in between. The island can be reached by the stairs that lead down from either the Insurgentes street or the Igancio Vallarta street bridges, from several swinging bridges along the banks, or else from the new pedestrian bridge at the west end that goes over the river and connects the Los Muertos beach area to the downtown Malecon. Here are some photos I took walking through the area recently.
Starting at the west end, by the ocean and the pedestrian bridge, on the walking tour and heading east.
Oscar's restaurant and the central walkway
Alongside Oscar's gay-friendly dining place on the Cuale River Island
"Solar framework" a sculpture project by Antonio Nava done in July 1987
Cuale River Museum on the Rio Cuale Island at the West end.
Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-2pm and 3pm-6pm. Telephone: 222-1007
This small museum traces the pre-Hispanic cultural history and art of this part
of western Mexico from as far back as 5000 B.C. and showcases
some of the pottery and other objects found at the Ixtapa Archeological Zone along the Ameca River.
Check out Eduardo Rincon-Gallardo's article on the Puerto Vallarta Museum del Cuale.
These skeletons seem to come right out of the Day of the Dead celebrations that
take place annually in Mexico on November 1-2.
Making and selling Huichol/Cora beaded and yarn art outside popular gay-managed The River Cafe restaurant
At the foot of the stairway that heads up to the bridge over Ignacio Vallarta street,
one of the main ways to get onto the Rio Cuale island.
One of the swinging pedestrian bridges over the Río Cuale, & this one
heads over to the old Gutierrez Rizo supermarket area
Some info on the pre-Columbian period in Banderas Bay
Some of the old and tranquil natural beauty of Puerto Vallarta remains in this part of the city
We spotted a large iguana that lives on the island near this huge strangler fig tree
Everyone was taking photos as it's a rather rare sight to be able to get so close
and it was not frightened by the small crowd or the attention.
Iguanas have been a protected species in Mexico for years.
FYI: In March 2010 at the Doha, Qatar
meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), 3 species of iguanas native to central and south-eastern Mexico,
the Yucatan Peninsula and Central America were added to the endangered species
trade list overseen by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Iguanas are in demand in an international exotic pet trade, destined mostly for the U.S. and Europe.
Governments can now regulate their trade.
some public street art on the Artesania store on the Cuale Island
at Insurgentes street next door to Le Bistro jazz cafe
Koko Boutique with some unique items and women's clothing
The unique and rather extravagant foyer into the old Le Bistro restaurant
Idyllic and brightly colored student painting on a Cuale Cultural Center wall on the Island
Spray graffiti image of Frida Kahlo on one of the walls at the
Cuale Cultural Center. They quote her as saying "Painting completes my life."
The seagull thinks it is an act of kindness to give the fish a lift in the air. - Mexican proverb
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