The English-speaking world usually translates malecon as boardwalk. But there are no boards. A malecon is actually an esplanade or promenade. The definition of esplanade is a long open level area, typically beside the sea where people may walk for pleasure. The malecon in Puerto Vallarta is a one mile long paved walkway along the Bay of Banderas and is main attraction in Puerto Vallarta. You can shop, eat, stroll, exercise, get a tan, people watch, swim, look at the ocean, or study the artworks along the malecon. I’m sure there is more to do but it’s the perfect place to perk up your day under almost always sunny skies.
Puerto Vallarta’s malecon has attracted a huge artist colony and probably the most visible are the hard at work sand sculptors. Once a piece has been completed, they spray it with a stabilizer, leave it up for a time, and then demolish it. The process of sculpting and demolishing is ongoing throughout the high season that lasts seven months.
These sand statues are alive. The one sitting remained deathly still while we watched the other tossing sand onto every inch of his body and even his face. I don’t know what he was coated with to make it stick, maybe oil or perhaps his sweat because he would be quite hot. The one standing is already covered in sand. I cannot imagine going through this each day as they are working for just tips.
My mother treated us to a wonderful lunch on the malecon and then we walked over to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. The church dominates the downtown skyline and is one of the favorite landmarks in the city.
As far as churches go, this one is very young. The foundations were started in 1903 but construction did not really start until the early 1920’s. It has had several crowns, one fell off during an earthquake in 1995, and the current one was made by a famous artist since then.
The flags are called paper picado, perforated paper, and have been cut from tissue paper into elaborate designs. They are displayed for mostly religious occasions such as Easter, Christmas, The Day of the Dead and for baptisms and weddings.