The steep, villa-dotted hillside above the island’s upper end is called Gringo Gulch for the colony of rich norteamericanos who own big homes there. It’s an interesting place for a stroll.
Gringo Gulch is on the east-side hill above and behind the town church. Get there most directly either by following the stone pathway uphill (past the HSBC bank) north of the upstream Río Cuale bridge, or by walking east along Calle Zaragoza, the street that runs along the main downtown plaza’s south side.
In each case, follow the steep staircases that will bring you to the corner of Zaragoza and Miramar, where you are at the gateway to Gringo Gulch. Wander the winding lanes and enjoy the picturesque scenes that appear around each rickety-chic corner.
During your meanderings, don’t miss the Gringo Gulch centerpiece mansion at Zaragoza 446, once owned by Elizabeth Taylor. (You’ll scarcely be able to miss it, for it has a pink passageway arching over the street.) The house was a gift to Taylor from Richard Burton. After they were married, they also bought the house on the other side of Zaragoza, renovated it, and built a pool; thus the passageway became necessary.
The house across the street, no. 445, has been the Casa Kimberley Museum and Bed & Breakfast (although at this writing, the museum has been closed, they are still taking reservations the bed-and-breakfast on their website www.casakimberley.com).
The Club Internacional de la Amistad (International Friendship Club, tel. 322/222-5466) conducts very popular weekly seasonal tours of some of Puerto Vallarta’s showplace homes, seasonally between Thanksgiving and Easter. The club asks for about $30 per person as a contribution for its charitable activities.
Another worthwhile Puerto Vallarta guided stroll is the regular Art Walk tour of noted local galleries. For more information, contact Barbara Peters, personable owner of Galería Vallarta (tel. 322/222-0290, www.galeriavallarta.com, webart [at] galeriavallarta [dot] com).
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition