What I love most about Vallarta

I arrived in Puerto Vallarta on January 2, 2015, with a backpack and my dog. My life was in need of a change, and Vallarta is the place I chose to make that change. It was time to make some lemonade from my lemons.

I took this photo on the first day I lived here, on a hike from Boca to Las Animas beach. I still remember how I felt that day: like I’d just applied a much needed salve to my soul. Like I was defrosting, literally and figuratively. Like life had just gotten a little softer, sweeter.

The beaches of Vallarta, as you can see, are stunning. If you look closely, you can see the city trailing off in the distance. In this photo, is everything I love the most about Vallarta.

The impossible beauty of it.

The lush jungle hills, the sunshine, the birds, the sea, the art, the iconic church of Guadalupe, the taco stands. The palm trees. And don’t forget the people. The families. The beauty of their togetherness, their love and caring for one another. You may not be able to see it all, but it’s all here in this shot.

In Vallarta, it’s all beautiful. Even the parts that aren’t “textbook” beautiful.

It’s slower, more deliberate here. It’s always warm, the sun is bright. Here, high art is showcased with as much pride as the street art. There are many white tablecloth establishments… and even more places where you can eat that taco right on the side of the road, sitting on an overturned bucket. There are homes which many of us will never be able to afford, and plenty of housing for the Average Joe too. There are thousands of people who have traveled the world in search of their home, and found it here. There are thousands more who were born here, and have no desire to ever leave.

There is a juxtaposition in Vallarta that I find beautiful, fascinating.

People are allowed to be who they are here, which might be even more lovely than all the pristine beaches and bucket tacos in the world. But it’s not just that you’re “allowed” to be who you are, you’re completely expected to be who you are. You are welcomed, with open arms, just as you are.

“Don’t change a thing”, Vallarta says, as it sidles up and steals a kiss from you. And you blush, you sigh, you rest your head on its shoulder and you fall in love a little more.

Yes, the thing I love the most about Vallarta, is the heart-stopping beauty of it all. Some of that beauty is skin-deep, sure… it’s hard to argue with a nice beach. But a lot of that beauty is in its soul, in the open arms of its people, in their art, the impromptu dancing, the Sundays, the togetherness. It’s all so rich, so humbling.

It’s all so completely beautiful.


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