After spending each summer in Puerto Vallarta since high school, I’ve always had fond memories of the ‘old’ Los Muertos pier. Whether it was listening to live music at its entrance or just watching the local fishermen cast their lines, the pier always held a special place in my heart. I just happened to be in Vallarta the day of the grand opening of the new pier in January 2013. It was bitter-sweet.
The history of this Puerto Vallarta landmark is captured in the latest mini-documentary by 420estudio, a local production company.
The first Los Muertos pier was built in the early 1960s and was constructed as a launch point for the cast and crew from the film, Night of the Iguana, which was directed by John Huston and featured Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, and Deborah Kerr. A wooden pier was built to make transportation of the cinematography equipment easier. The movie was shot in Mismaloya just south of Puerto Vallarta.
After almost 30 years a concrete pier was built, with the help of many local residents and was government-funded. This updated structure served its purpose but was not a tourist attraction.
Recently the pier’s architect, José de Jesus Torres Vega, won the state award “Bienal de Arquitectura” (Architecture Exhibition) and is now entered in the national competition for design. It took about three years to build and cost around $6.5 million usd.
Architect Vega’s pier design resembles a large sail with sweeping line extensions. There is more than 2,000 square feet of space that extends 320 feet into the ocean. It includes pedestrian pathways, seating, a waterfront promenade, colorful lighting and a landing dock that can berth up to six medium size boats. These include water taxis, fishing charters and private vessels, which cruise to many private beaches around Banderas Bay. It has already provided the stage for several events including a Mardi Gras Party and Gala Vallarta.
The city continues to fund renovations and improvement projects, along with financial support from federal and state funds. Recently the well-known Malecón walkway was rebuilt and extended, an additional tunnel on the city’s bypass was added, sidewalks have been expanded and a new foot bridge was built over the Rio Cuale.
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