Sculptures in Puerto Vallarta a story of culture, history and art

The art, the statues bring life to a city and this was so true at Puerto Vallarta. It was a Scavenger Hunt that brought a group of travel writers to Puerto Vallarta’s Los Muertos Pier. The lovely structure at the end reminds me of a sailboat. The sculpture has lights and changes colors at night. The pier was designed by architect José de Jesús Torres Vega, and was three years in the making.

The pier was part of a seven year urban renewal plan. I was in Puerto Vallarta attending the NATJA convention and we took a downtown tour where we saw the pier that while was quite beautiful to us, our guide said that the locals liked the old walkway better. Tradition and tourism doesn’t always go hand in hand.
A reference to tradition is “The Washer Woman”, a bronze statue created by artist Jim Demetro. The statue depicts a woman scrubbing her clothes on a rock, as was traditional in the Cuale River. This is something we witnessed later in the week traveling to Canyon River for dinner and entertainment. We passed along the winding river and saw children floating, women washing and men just sitting and soaking. The statue is so lifelike that Demetro even has water dripping from the “molino de agua”, water wheel.

Demetro also brought his talents to the amazing statue that of a Mexican couple in the traditional Tapatio dance. This statue is titled, “Xiutla folkloric dancers” and imbibes the culture of this beautiful city and makes me want to dress up and twirl in a swirling skirt.

Another beautiful bronze by Ramiz Barquet is the statue of Saint Paschal Baylon, the patron saint of cooks. Statues varied from fine art, to more craft art, like the burro outside of Burro’s Restaurant and Bar.
Along the ocean it makes sense to spy statues relating to a maritime theme like the Friendship Fountain or Dancing Dolphins Fountain which is located to the side of the Naval Historical Museum. This fountain was created in honor of Puerto Vallarta’s sister city Santa Barbara. James “Bud” Bottoms is the artist that created the sculpture and Octavio González Gutiérrez was in charge of the sculpting work.

The most fascinating sculpture story I heard is of the “The Boy on the Seahorse” created by Rafael Zamarripa Castaneda. The original was lost in a storm, a new one created, then the other was found, lost in a hurricane and found again!

Tying into the sea is the sculpture “In Search of Reason” by Guadalajara artist Sergio Bustamant which offers has two pillow-head figures ascending their ladder to the sky. While their interpretation is different I think the figures appear to be waving at ships in the bay. This is a favorite place to climb and have your picture taken.

Although not a sculpture per se, another great photo op is at the large outdoor amphitheater Los Arcos (the Arches). This is where entertainment and many outdoor attractions occur but for us it was a place to stand beneath the arches and have a group picture.

This is only a small section of the statues and art to be seen in downtown Puerto Vallatra. These statues share the culture, history and vibe of this truly vibrant city. Check out for more information.

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