Cuale River Island
The Isla Rio Cuale, reached by the stairs that lead down from either bridge over the river, is a beautiful and peaceful area that is rarely mentioned when speaking of “What to see and do in Puerto Vallarta.” The Rio Cuale river walk is a cool, refreshing place to spend an afternoon, and a great place to take pictures! As you wander along, you can take snapshots of tiny shops overflowing with all kinds of colorful Mexican crafts.
The Cuale River rushes down from the mountains and then gently glides through the southern end of Puerto Vallarta, dissecting downtown (‘el centro’) from Viejo Vallarta (‘old Vallarta’). An island in the river, the Isla Cuale, is home to a lush park, a cultural center, several relaxing restaurants, and a tourist craft market.
The swinging pedestrian bridges are still there, as well as two road bridges, and a new pedestrian bridge at the west end of the island where the river meets the sea. You can access the island on foot from any of these bridges on your way to or from Viejo Vallarta, and it’s worth a stroll and a stop for a cocktail or meal, away from the crowds of downtown. The East end of the island is a well maintained and forested park, whose benches are often utilized by young courting couples and locals and tourists simply looking for a quiet place to relax.
One of seven mountain streams emptying into beautiful Banderas Bay, the Cuale river divides Puerto Vallarta’s Romantic Zone, from downtown Puerto Vallarta.
A few steps away from the lively and colorful Puerto Vallarta downtown area, the anonymous and beautiful Cuale 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.
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