Puerto Vallarta features a vast collection of public sculptures, most of them installed along the city's scenic Malecón or boardwalk. Many of the sculptures have been created by local artists. A natural draw for visitors and locals, the sculptures can be enjoyed on your own. However, a guided sculpture tour will provided you with interesting historical and artistic insight on Puerto Vallarta in general, and the works themselves, in particular.
Galeria Pacifico owner Gary Thompson's Tuesday morning Public Sculpture Tours are a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours discovering one of our city's most cherished treasures. Thompson really knows his stuff, having been integral to the Puerto Vallarta art scene since the 1980s. His knowledge of each of the works gracing the oceanfront promenade and environs means you'll get the inside scoop, not only about the pieces, but the artists themselves.
Aside from Gary's expertise, visitors have also been regularly enjoying the company of sculptor Mathis Lidice, who created "Millennium," the sculpture by the Hotel Rosita that serves as a point of departure for the tour, and local Huichol expert Kevin Simpson, who has further enhanced the experience by preparing a detailed explanation of the intricate symbols that have been created with river rock all along the Malecon's pavement.
The tours begin every Tuesday at 9:30 am, usually from November to April, starting at "Millennium" by the Hotel Rosita. After the tour, refreshments are served and printed information handed out at Galería Pacífico. For more information call (322) 221-1982 or visit Galeria Pacifico
Here is a list of current Malecón sculptures, by location, beginning with "Millennium," next to the Hotel Rosita, and continuing past the Isla Río Cuale pedestrian bridge.
- "Millenium" by Mathis Lidice, 2001
- "Origen y Destino" by Pedro Tello, 2011
- “Nostalgia” by Ramiz Barquet, 1984
- "El Sutil Comepiedras" by Jonas Gutiérrez, 2006
- "El Unicornio de la Buena Fortuna" by Anibal Riebeling, 2011
- “Triton y Sirena” by Carlos Espino, 1990
- “La Rotonda del Mar” by Alejandro Colunga, 1997
- “In Search of Reason” by Sergio Bustamante, 1999
- “Caballero del Mar” (“The Seahorse”) by Rafael Zamarripa, 1976
- “La Fuente de la Amistad” by James “Bud” Bottoms, 1987
- “Los Bailarines de Puerto Vallarta” by Jim Demetro, 2006
- “Erizados” by Blu (Maritza Vázquez), 2007
- “San Pascual Bailón” by Ramiz Barquet, 2008
- "Lorena Ochoa" by Octavio González Gutiérrez, 2012
- “The Washer Woman” by Jim Demetro, 2008
View Esculturas Malecón in a larger map
The Huichol Symbols on the Malecón
As you walk the Malecón, you will notice the intriguing pebble symbols in the pavement. These symbols come from the Huichol, a native people from this region of Mexico. The symbols have been used for thousands of years to express their complex pre-Colombian beliefs, which revolve around the shamans, or medicine men, who consume peyote cactus and, through its hallucinogenic properties, speak with their gods, who, in turn, tell them where to hunt for deer and plant their corn. Today, the Huichol are best known for their colorful bead art and yarn paintings.
The following brief explanation, provided by local Huichol expert, Kevin Simpson, will give you an introduction to their belief system.
- Corn - the lifeblood of the Huichol, a gift from the gods
- Peyote - a sacred cactus, the doorway to the spirit world
- Deer or Deer Tail - deer are gods that give their lives so the tribe can eat
- Prayer Arrow - the point of contact between god and man, left in sanctuaries to ask favors of the gods
- Drum - used by the shaman during the corn harvest ceremony
- Fire - light, warmth, the power to cook, considered one of the oldest and most important deities
- Peyote Sun - with prayer arrows as rays, it represents the male energy that makes corn grow
- Shaman - spirit guides and medicine men who communicate with the gods and perform rituals
- Pilgrim - Huichols who go on arduous journeys, leaving offerings in the sanctuaries they encounter
- Eagle - a female deity, married to the Sun
- Feather - used by the shamans on their staffs to communicate with their gods
- Butterfly - a symbol of good luck, something the Huichol strive to transform into as it gracefully floats from flower to flower
- Wolf - the Huichol believe that their ancestors were wolves, and that powerful shamans can shape-shift from human to animal form
- Snake - sacred messengers, they take the messages from the shamans to the gods and come back in the form of Rain
- Rattle Snake - the tongue of Great-grandfather Fire, or Tatewari, who teaches the shamans how to heal
- Scorpion - feared and respected, they are employed by the gods to protect the peyote where it grows in the desert
- Salamanders - amphibians responsible for bringing the rain-abundant clouds
- Gila Monsters - reptiles with magical healing powers, used by the shamans to cure the sick
- Fish - special offerings used in ceremonies to feed the gods
- Spiders - employed by the gods to ensure that ceremonies and traditions are carried out properly
- Bees – creators of the wax the Huichol need to make candles, pollinate fruit trees and provide honey