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.
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.
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!
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.