Cuale River Island, a Hidden Peaceful Paradise in Puerto Vallarta

Paula Camera


rio cuale

A few steps away from the lively and colorful Puerto Vallarta downtown area, the anonymous and beautifulCuale River Island lies tranquil. It runs through the city, weaving past downtown and the Romantic Zone. The most adventurous arrive at by crossing a little wooden bridge that, in a few minutes, takes you from the city hustle and bustle to a getaway where time goes slow, children play on the river and you can stroll around picturesque pedestrian streets crowded with authentic handicrafts and a spectacular view of the Cuale River.

cuale market

The most beautiful place in Puerto Vallarta, as local people call it, doesn't appear in any tourist guide but it is worth visiting. It has the largest flea market in the city and it is possible to find lovely pieces of silver, typical hats, Talavera and all kinds of souvenirs. Something that attracts tourists are the iguanas, unusually large, "glued" to the trees and the most wanted for a photo.

cuale river


Along the river, you can find rustic brick constructions with small balconies, giving a special and colorful touch. An array of restaurants, cafes, bars and an artistic colony are part of the Cuale River Island geography, where you can breathe in an absolutely peaceful atmosphere. People are friendly and always happy to help a tourist brush up on their Spanish.


cuale bridge

A curious and glamorous anecdote that gives a special color to this place is that in the golden years of Hollywood, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton starred the most controversial romance at the time. John Houston's "The Night of the Iguana" was shot here and during shooting, Burton flew down to visit his lover. From that moment on, they fell in love with the place and they bought a property there that made Puerto Vallarta a favorite destination for American stars.


cuale streets


One of Cuale River Island's main attractions is its charming brick-paved streets surrounded by picturesque villas where the local business people live. Its outstanding pedestrian path is crowded with assorted handicraft stores where it is possible to breathe fresh air coming off the river that runs along both sides.


cualeAt the end of the day, after admiring an enchanting sunset, you can walk back to the city via the sidewalk or by crossing the suspension bridge that connects with the island. This is a great spot for spending a day far away from the noisy downtown area and taking a stroll through some of the variety that Puerto Vallarta has to offer. A place for admiring a beautiful and tranquil river, enjoying delicious food on a lovely balcony, the smell of the fresh breeze coming from the ocean and the sweet blossom aroma that grows on the shores of the Cuale River.