Art and Culture of Puerto Vallarta


The rich art and culture of Puerto Vallarta is due in great part to the large community of national and international artists, sculptors, musicians, and cultural enthusiasts that have made Puerto Vallarta their home. Throughout Puerto Vallarta, the arts scene vibrates with creativity and innovation, as the city retains its longstanding reputation as an important cultural center in Mexico for exhibiting and promoting the arts. Puerto Vallarta hosts many cultural festivals throughout the year, and is the destination for art lovers, art collectors and art patrons interested in immersing themselves in this vibrant and welcoming scene.

Art and culture of Puerto Vallarta
Huichol art, skeleton art pieces, Manuel Lepe mosaics, Natasha Moraga’s Mosayko mosaic art wall in Marina Vallarta.

As you walk along the oceanfront boardwalk downtown, take a few moments to stop and admire Rafael Zamarripa’s large sculpture The Seahorse (a symbol of the city), or other intriguing permanent pieces that line the Malecon.

At various times throughout the year, you may look over at the beach and spot an artist applying finishing touches to a massive sand sculpture. Gaze upon the work of gifted and talented painters selling their colorful pieces, displayed upon easels. Cross the street and enter an art gallery filled with amazing inspirational works, many of which are museum quality.

Art and Culture of Puerto Vallarta: Caballero del Mar, a sand sculpture, and art displayed oneEasels along the Main Square. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Caballero del Mar, a sand sculpture, and art displayed on easels along the Main Square across from the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Each year, Puerto Vallarta sponsors the Old Town Art Walk in its Historical City Center. This months-long event begins the last Wednesday of October and ends the final Wednesday in May. More than 14 galleries participate in exhibitions and cocktails, remaining open after hours from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. This is an excellent opportunity to view spectacular paintings, sculptures, fine ceramics, and other creative and diverse pieces of art while meeting some of the artists, engaging in lively conversation, and making new friends. Art Walk maps are available at most hotels and participating galleries in addition to the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Office in the old City Hall building across from the Malecon and the Main Plaza (see map).

In the spring of 2010, Puerto Vallarta opened a 912-seat state-of-the-art theater, Teatro Vallarta, in its city center. This theater hosts both national and international productions, and houses a modern art gallery. An offshoot of the Puerto Vallarta Theater will be the Fandango Foundation’s non-profit school for children which will promote art, dance, music, and culture. The theater is located directly across from Ley Supermarket, between Avenida Mexico and Peru Street. Tickets to productions can be purchased at the box office, which is open on Mondays and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Art and Culture of Puerto Vallarta: Los Arcos Amphitheater along the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Los Arcos Amphitheater along the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The 320-member Xiutla Folkloric Dance and Ballet Troupe travels and tours throughout the Americas, Brazil, U.S., Canada, China and Europe. The year 2014 marks 20 years of beautiful cultural performances for this internationally famous troupe.

Art and Culture of Puerto Vallarta: Folkloric Dance Performance in Lazaro Cardenas Park, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
The incredible Xiutla Folkloric Dance and Ballet Troupe performing at Lazaro Cardenas Park in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

You can experience the joy of seeing Xiutla in action every Friday from December through April at 7:30 p.m. (at 8 p.m. after the spring time change) at Lazaro Cardenas Park in Puerto Vallarta’s Romantic Zone, and on Sundays at 8 p.m. at the Los Arcos Amphitheater at the southern end of Puerto Vallarta’s famous Malecon boardwalk. Xiutla’s spectacular performances are approximately 90 minutes in length. No two events are the same as each has a completely different roster of dances. To secure prime seating it’s best to arrive early. Remember to bring your camera as well as a cool beverage. To help support this troupe’s travels, activities, and dance costumes, donations are collected at the end of each performance. The final event closing out their 2014 spring season marked 1,610 performances for this incredibly talented and prestigious folkloric dance troupe.