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Saturday December 16 2017
What Makes Puerto Vallarta Quaint?

Jim Scherrer

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Quaint, as defined by Webster and others, means unusual or old fashioned in a pleasing way, with a charming old fashioned quality, or oddly picturesque.

Some will say that Puerto Vallarta is a quaint or picturesque city due to the thousands of whitewashed villas, condos, and other buildings nestled among flora and fauna of the Sierra Madre hillsides surrounding Banderas Bay along the Pacific Ocean coastline. Others might attribute the quaintness of Vallarta to the many nearby inlets and coves where the old fishing pangas are docked with their resident pelicans waiting for dinner or perhaps to the beach vendors selling their colorful blankets, sculptures, and artwork.»

Viewing the crafts of local artisans while strolling along the seafront promenade, referred to as the malecon, or visiting the hundreds of curio and souvenir shops gives many tourists the feeling of being in a quaint little Mexican fishing village. For others, the feeling of being in a quaint little Mexican village or relaxing in Paradise is derived from sipping margaritas or cervezas in one of the many beachfront cantinas or restaurants while watching the magnificent sunsets.

With the above being said, some of us tend to find the quaintness of Vallarta to be most closely associated with granite - yes, granite! The entire region of central Mexico, including Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay, is laden with granite. In addition to huge granite boulders, there are millions of smaller granite rocks in the area, many of which lie at the bottom of the ocean, bay, and in river beds. As these smaller underwater granite rocks are tossed and turned by wave action over long periods of time, they are reduced in size, their edges are smoothly rounded off, and they become cobblestones. These 3" to 10" granite cobblestones have a myriad of usages including the construction of buildings, walls, and fences, and most importantly, the paving of roads.

The hard cobblestone paved roads provide flexibility to traffic and earth movement, are permeable to water, and are simple to repair. Residents of Vallarta are accustomed to the uneven road surfaces but as a fair warning to first time visitors, please use caution when strolling through the city. It's relatively easy to sprain an ankle if you're not paying attention to where you're walking on the cobblestone streets.

Perhaps more significantly than the benefits listed above, cobblestone roads preserve the quaintness of Vallarta. With more than 90% of the local streets and roads paved with cobblestones, it is probably the first thing that most locals as well as tourists think of when considering the qualities that make Vallarta one of the most beautiful resort destinations in the world.

With all the conveniences of modern day life available in Vallarta, including satellite TV, high speed internet service, and internet based telecommunications, we still hear the familiar sound of horses' hooves clip clopping on the cobblestone street in front of our mountainside villa as the ranchers from high on the mountain carry their goods to town on a daily basis. Peering over the poolside terrace, we see the cobblestone streets below winding between whitewashed and pastel colored villas – it is a glorious site.

In summarizing, among the many unique characteristics that Vallarta has to offer, its picturesque cobblestone streets have to be at or near the top of everyone's list. Perhaps Vallarta is no longer a sleepy little Mexican fishing village, but due to its abundance of granite cobblestone streets, it does retain its status as being one of the most beautifully quaint resort destinations in the world.


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