Los Muertos Pier

File:Muelle Puerto Vallarta.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

If you had recently discovered the paradise spot named Puerto Vallarta, and venture in sunny walks through its cozy streets, I am certain you came across Los Muertos Pier. 

A sail looking structure that stands out in what is also known as Los Muertos beach. It looks impressive during the day and even more charming at night with its changing colors.

Let me tell you that the pier did not always look that way, this splendid new pier has been there only since 2013. However, the life of Los Muertos dates way back in time and its significance for the citizens of Puerto Vallarta. 

A “star” Is Born 

The first Los Muertos Pier was built as a way to transport from Puerto Vallarta to Mismaloya, the cast and crew that was filming “the Night of the Iguana” in 1964, the famous movie that place Puerto Vallarta on the map. Starting Elizabeth Taylor and her then-husband Richard Burton, directed by John Huston. The pier was far from glamorous, made out of wood, but it fulfills its mission, to safely transport the movie team and equipment. 

Patrick Comerford: Re-reading 'The Night of the Iguana' by Tennessee  Williams

Eventually, in the 90s, a concrete pier was built to replace the wooden one.  It was called “Muelle de La Solidaridad Vallartense” (The Vallarta Solidarity Dock), it was not attractive, but it was practical. Its construction was finance by residents, businessmen, and officials from Puerto Vallarta. In those years,  Puerto Vallarta, together with Boca the Tomatlan were key ports, communicating the southern beach towns which were not reachable by car. 

Up to this day, you can still observe people who live down south transporting all sorts of essential things such as a washer, a refrigerator, or a Mariachi for the Quinceañera party (Sweet fifteen) in the small pangas (small open skiffs).

A Well Deserved Makeover 

In 2010, when the pier was not looking its best, the piles were old and rotten, the local government announced its proposal of giving a needed makeover to the Vallarta centric area. 

The project had the objective to bring new life into the area as a way to increase tourist traffic by creating attractive spots for everyone’s enjoyment. Therefore, the creation of a new attractive pier was vital for this Puerto Vallarta enhancement project.  

The project was designed by architect José de Jesús Torres Vega, winner of the Biennial of Architecture that year, and it took three years to be completed. 

Home Español

On January 4th, 2013, the new pier was inaugurated. A cheerful celebration with fireworks, music, skydivers, and much more. With its impressive 21,000 square foot sail, its design was not only functional but good-looking too. The current Los Muertos Pier features more than 300 feet walking area with benches, and changing color lights. Making it an ideal place to observe the always breathtaking Vallarta sunsets, read your favorite book, or just take in all the natural beauty that surrounds the splendid Bahia de Banderas Bay. If you feeling adventurous, jump in a panga headed to the exotic and less crowded southern beaches like Las Animas, Quimixto, Mismaloya, Yelapa. Depending on the season you may be able to spot a whale or two. 

Why the Name of Los Muertos Beach?

As many stories that passed along from generation to generation, part folk tale, part history. The origin of the name Los Muertos (the dead) for the Vallarta pier has three known versions.

Legend Number One 

According to local folklore, in the times that pirates cruised the seven seas, they regularly came to this port to steal and terrorized its inhabitants. One time, the battle was fierce and many locals, as well as pirates, die on the beach. Hence the name.

Legend Number Two  

It’s said that long ago, the Puerto Vallarta cemetery covered that part of the beach. However, when the city started to grow and got more populated, the government saw the need of moving the cemetery further from there. Even so, locals kept referring to the area as Los Muertos beach. Some affirm that when the area was being developed and many were constructing houses or businesses, bodies from the former burial grounds were found. Quite a surprise!

Fuerteventura, misterios y dulces en la isla majorera | El Viajero | EL PAÍS

Legend Number Three

Probably the most fantastical of the three. A long time ago, pirates seemed to have chosen Puerto Vallarta as their hideout spot for their stolen treasures. A captain arrived at the Vallarta’s shore on a full moon night, in search of his precious treasure that he had hidden few moons before. Though, he was not able to remember the exact location. Frustrated and tired, he gave up and sent out his pirate crew to search for the bounty. 

One lucky pirate found the treasure and decided it was too good for sharing. This resulted in a ferocious battle among pirates. The story tells that it was so bloody that no one made it out alive. The next day the locals found the beach full of dead bodies and gave it the famous name Los Muertos. 

Either way, fantastic legend or not, taking a stroll along Los Muertos Pier is a wonderful experience. Whether is daytime or nighttime, I can assure you you will find yourself immersed in the vibrant atmosphere that characterized all things Puerto Vallarta has. So, stop reading and start walking.

Blessing of the fleet

Nuestra Señora de la Paz

You may have seen the christening of a boat. People gathering around the vessel, some words are said and a bottle of champagne gets broken against the boat’s bow. If by chance the bottle does not break is considered a bad omen. 

However, I bet you had never seen a fleet of boats being christened. Well, this year, if you head to Bucerias, you will be a lucky spectator of the  Blessing of the fleet, also known as the blessing of the boats. 

Bucerias 

The neighboring state of Nayarit, also part of the magnificent Banderas Bay, has its share of enchanting beach towns in an area referred to as Riviera Nayarit. One of these charming towns is Bucerias, located between La Cruz de Huanacastle and Nuevo Vallarta. It counts with 18 miles of uninterrupted beach, ideal for surfing, snorkeling, kitesurfing, or just soak in the sun.

Bucerias, which means “place of divers”,  got its name because most of its inhabitants were divers. These divers caught oysters that were abundant in the region. The oysters were mainly sold in Puerto Vallarta or consumed locally. 

Even though it had a small population living in the area, it was only until 1937 that the town of Bucerias was officially registered as an Ejido (land farmed communally under a system supported by the state) by the government. Before this, the town was called Santa Julia de las Tablas because it had a wide variety of wood, that was exported to places like Brasil and Europe. 

Back in those days, the only way to reach Bucerias was by boat from Puerto Vallarta. It only had few dirt roads that were traveled by mule or on foot, crossing mountains, creeks, and hills. These paths were used to get to other towns such as Sayulita, Lo de Marcos, or Compostela. The trip usually took hours and on some occasions even days.  

Our Lady of Peace

Bucerias’ first church, built with adobe and dried palm leaves, at the end of the 1930s stood in the same place where the newer one is today. In the last 60 years, the church is been the place to honor Our Lady of Peace, the patron saint, and protector of the city of Bucerias.

This charming but straightforward church bears detailed ironwork, a large altar with a striking painted backdrop, wooden pews, and kneeling benches. Inside the serene atmosphere creates an ideal space for reflection and contemplation. Worth visiting.

Bucerias January Festivities

Every month of January From the 16th to the 24th, the festivities honoring Our Lady of Peace take place. 

For nine days the town of Bucerias displays a wide arrange of colorful festivities in the name of its patron saint. During the celebration days, every morning at 6:00 am the traditional “Mananitas” (birthday song) is performed by a mariachi. Also, every day, from 8:pm a cultural music festival takes place at the main plaza. 

Throughout these nine celebratory days, a series of religious services, sports activities, art demonstrations, and more cultural events occurred. Everyday picturesque floats cruise the streets of the town, and pilgrimage happens.

The Big Day

On the last day of the celebrations, January 24th the biggest pilgrimage takes place. However, this is no ordinary peregrination. A float of pangas (boats) with local fishermen and their families depart the port located in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. They will carry the Antorcha de la Paz (torch of peace) to Bucerias. Upon arrival, they will take the torch to the Our Lady of Peace church. Then at the church fishermen, divers, merchants, locals, and foreigners gather together to celebrate a mass go ask Our Lady of Peace for a fruitful year with plenty of health and prosperity.   

Every passing year more tourists come to see and participate in this important celebration in the town of Bucerias. However, Bucerias still keeps its essence of an authentic Mexican village attracting Boho souls and art lovers. It is a peaceful escape from the hectic life in big crowded cities. An oasis with so much nature to offer and plenty of tradition to discover.

Don’t wait any longer, travel to Bucerias, and immerse yourself in a pleasant journey. Uncover all that the Bahia de Banderas has to offer.

Where to Get Your U.S. Taxes Done in Puerto Vallarta

It’s tax season again, and you may be wondering if you need to fly back to the U.S. to have your taxes done. Thankfully, the answer is no!

Puerto Vallarta is lucky to have a U.S. tax and accounting firm right here! Not only that, but they actually specialize in U.S. taxes for Americans living abroad, so they are familiar with issues that temporary and permanent residents of Puerto Vallarta have, such as owning property or businesses in Mexico.

BNC Tax & Accounting is a family-owned firm that was started in 2002 in California. The team has grown over the years to include a highly specialized roster of Enrolled Agents and CPAs licensed to practice before the IRS.

In 2009, two of the founding partners of BNC Tax moved to Puerto Vallarta and started serving the local community of Americans living here.

With their specialized knowledge of tax preparation and accounting for expats, BNC Tax is ready to become your trusted advisor and tackle any international challenges that you may have.

BNC Tax


Learn more about BNC Tax on their website at www.bnctax.com

Book an appointment for a free consultation or paid professional advice at www.bnctax.com/appointment

Where to Get a COVID-19 Test in Puerto Vallarta

You can get a COVID-19 test at private hospitals and laboratories in Puerto Vallarta. Prices seem to be changing frequently, so it’s best to call and ask before you go. 

Hospital Joya

(formerly San Javier)
Location: Marina
Address: Blvd Francisco Medina Ascencio 2760 Zona Hotelera Nte. 48333
Phone number for appointments: +52 (322) 226-1010
Website: http://hospitaljoya.com/ 
Approx. price: $2,500 pesos to $227 USD 
Mobile service at hotel: No 
Estimated result delivery time: 24 hours 
Result delivery method: Email

CMQ Premiere

Address: Av. Francisco Villa 1749 Vallarta Villas 48300 
Phone number for appointments: +52 (322) 226-6500 
Website: https://hospitalcmq.com/hospital/cmq-premiere/ 
Approx. price: $197 USD
Mobile service at hotel: No 
Estimated result delivery time: 24 hours 
Result delivery method: Email or physical copy

SanMare Health Group

Address: Blvd Francisco Medina Ascencio 2735-9 Zona Hotelera Nte. 48333 
Phone number for appointments: +52 (322) 107-7007 
Website: http://sanmare.mx/ 
Approx. price: $3,100 pesos to $194 USD 
Mobile service at hotel: No 
Estimated result delivery time: 24 hours 
Result delivery method: Email

Salud Digna Puerto Vallarta

Address: Av. Francisco Villa 1284 Colonia Las Aralias
Phone number for appointments: not provided on their website 
Website: https://salud-digna.org/puerto-vallarta/
Approx. price: $48 USD
Mobile service at hotel: No 
Estimated result delivery time: 48-72 hours 
Result delivery method: WhatsApp or Email

Santo Domingo Laboratorio

Address: Av. Francisco Villa (next to Cafe Kubli)
Phone number for appointments: +52 (322) 688-1497
Website: http://www.labosd.com/
Approx. price: $2,799 pesos for RT-qPCR or $990 pesos for Antibody IgG and IgM
Mobile service at hotel: No 
Estimated result delivery time: 24-48 hours 
Result delivery method: information not given on their website 

Punta Mita Hospital

Address: Acceso a numero 1, 63734 Punta de Mita
Phone number for appointments: +52 (329) 688-0059
Website: https://puntamitahospital.com/
Approx. price: $186 USD
Mobile service at hotel: No
Estimated result delivery time: Same day – 24 hours
Result delivery method: Email or physical copy

Additionally, most of the large hotels, resorts and timeshares will have third party medical professionals on-site who can administer PCR and/or Antigen tests and provide the necessary medical certification for your trip home. If you are staying at a resort or timeshare, ask the front desk if testing is available on-site.

If you have any corrections to this list, please leave a comment or send us a message through the Contact page.

History of the Term Pata Salada

I have heard stories from locals about what it was like to grow up in Puerto Vallarta in the 1950s. 

Once, a taxi driver told me this story: 

In the 1950s, it was common that children in Puerto Vallarta didn’t wear shoes until they were about 10 years old. This is why now people born in Puerto Vallarta are called pata salada. The term means “salty paws,” which is a reference to children going everywhere barefoot. The children, of course, loved this lifestyle. 

At that time, the school in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood had no wooden doors or glass windows, only openings in the building where they would go. Anyone who lives full time in Vallarta can tell you that during the hot, humid summer months it’s better to have an open air design, and this is why some of the older buildings and homes in Vallarta do not have doors or windows. Now that air conditionings are becoming ubiquitous, this is changing, but in the 1950s it was common to have openings to let the air pass in and out. 

Many people know the Hollywood history of Puerto Vallarta: In 1963, filmmaker John Huston arrived with cast and crew to film the movie Night of the Iguana, starring Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr, and Sue Lyon. Burton brought his then girlfriend, soon-to-be wife, Elizabeth Taylor to the set. They were both stars and both married to other people at the time, so their illicit romance drew paparazzis around the world after them, including to Puerto Vallarta.

The movie put this small Mexican fishing village on the map, and Burton and Taylor’s romance became legend. An airstrip had been built for the film crew, and started servicing wealthy people. More Hollywood movie stars started to come to Vallarta for vacation and touring the city.

One particular group of movie stars (the taxi driver didn’t know who) visited the school in Colonia Emiliano Zapata, and they found children with no shoes and a school building with no doors or windows. They automatically assumed this was due to poverty, as opposed to logical reasons and choices. Maybe it was, but from a child’s perspective, everything was normal. 

So the stars returned with glass and wood, and they installed doors and windows on the school building. They returned again with shoes for all of the children. They came back again, built a basketball court at the school, and hired a teacher to teach the kids how to play basketball. 

The taxi driver told me as kids they were grateful for the basketball court, but they didn’t understand why they had to wear shoes! 

To this day, people from Puerto Vallarta are called pata salada.

The Best Tamales in Puerto Vallarta

If you got the baby Jesus in your slice of rosca de reyes yesterday, Mexican tradition states that you are in charge of hosting a party and either making or bringing tamales on February 2nd, which is Día de la Candelaria.

But if you’re not planning to make your own tamales from scratch, where can you buy them?

There are many different kinds of tamales in Puerto Vallarta, and everyone has their own opinion about which are the best. My personal favorites are the ones sold by a guy out of his big black truck in the parking lot of Farmacia Guadalajara in Fluvial.

This vendor makes tamales oaxaqueños (Oaxacan-style tamales) which are wrapped in green leaves, as opposed to corn husks.

You can find him there every evening except Mondays.

Here is a list of some of the flavors he offers:

  • tamales de rajas – slices of poblano peppers and cheese
  • tamales de costillas – barbecued pork ribs
  • tamales de pollo verde – chicken with green sauce
  • tamales de pollo rojo – chicken with red sauce

Three Kings Day in Puerto Vallarta

Rosca de Reyes

In most places, the holiday season seems to be over. Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year came and went. However, Mexico has one more celebration happening on January 6th, and a tasty one, I must add. The Rosca de Reyes happens on a day known as “Three Kings Day” or “Day of the Three Wise Men” or Epiphany. 

Epiphany Day Origins 

This lesser known tradition in the United States is widespread in all Latin American countries and some European nations. According to Western Christianity, the Epiphany, which means revelation, refers to the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. Celebrated 12 days after Christmas, on January 6th, when the Three Wise Men visited the Christ Child by following the stars. Traditionally, the Three Kings symbolized Europe, Asia, and Africa, and they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh representing those regions. 

The Epiphany celebration comes with a few customs, such as church services, blessing of one’s home, Epiphany singing, winter swimming, and the tastiest one of all, Three Kings Cake or Rosca de Reyes.

First King Cake 

Also known as Three Kings Cake or Twelve Night Cake, this traditional King Cake dates back to 14th century France. It was dry french bread with some sugar on top and a bean inside. The person that got the bean would be treated like a king for the rest of the day. 

Eaten uncommonly, it was a ritual on its own. Customarily, the first slice of cake was for a stranger or a poor individual. In the second place, was the people from the King’s army, and lastly, the rest of the guests got their slice of cake. After a while, this tradition took root in other European countries like Spain, Germany, Portugal, Greece, and later on, in Latin America.

Today, the Rosca de Reyes is made out of sweet dough with dried or candied fruit pieces. You can even find them filled with chocolate or custard. 

Rosca de Reyes Symbolism  

Every element of the Rosca de Reyes or Roscon de Reyes has its meaning. 

The round shape of the Rosca de Reyes represents a crown, like the one worn by the Three Kings Melchoir, Gaspar, and Balthazar when visiting baby Jesus. Others, see the crown shaped cake as an association with the eternal love of God that has no beginning or end.

The candied fruit implies the jewels from the Three Kings’ crowns. To others, it means the obstacles the Three Wise Men endure on their way to meet Christ Child.

The hidden figurines in the cake symbolized when the Virgin Mary and Joseph hid baby Jesus to save him from being killed by King Herodes. 

Mexican Tradition 

Like many other traditions, the Three Kings Day and the Rosca de Reyes arrived in Mexico when the Viceroyalty of New Spain was established in the XVI century by Catholic missionaries.

Presently, Mexican families and friends gather on January 6th to share a delicious piece of Rosca de Reyes with a traditional Mesoamerican beverage, called Atole, a hot drink made out of corn and masa.  

Atole is not only yummy, but it has also been attributed to have nutritional benefits like boosting your immune system, as well as providing nurturing for those experiencing illness or disease.  

The Rosca de Reyes can also be paired with a Champurrado (chocolate flavor Atole) or hot cocoa. 

Additionally, on the night of January 5th, kids leave their shoes next to the Christmas tree waiting for the Three Wise Men to give them presents by dawn, on January 6th. 

The Rosca de Reyes can have anywhere from 4 to 12 little figures of baby Jesus, depending on the size and portions of it. The person who gets a baby Jesus will be in charge of organizing a party and getting the tamales and atole for Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemass) on February 2nd. 

Dia de la Candelaria 

This holiday is an interesting mix between Prehispanic Mexican traditions and the ones brought up from the Spanish conquistadors. 

At the beginning of February, the Mexican Rain God, Tlaloc, was honored, marking the beginning of the agricultural cycle. 

From all crops, corn is considered sacred in the Mexica culture as is the base of the Mexican civilization. Therefore, any offers made out of corn were considered higher than any other. This is why on this day the celebration’s main dish is tamales: corn meal deliciousness in a package.   

When the Spanish conquistadors arrived, they matched this Mexican traditional celebration with the presentation of Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem, also known as Candlemass. They linked this celebration to the Rosca de Reyes on Epiphany day. 

These days, in some indigenous communities in Mexico, people will take their seeds to the temples to be blessed on Dia de la Candelaria.

Classically, Christmas decorations will stay in the homes up until February 2nd, so no holiday cleaning yet.