Best Free Things in Puerto Vallarta: Hike to Mirador de La Cruz
We were mesmerized. Enthralled. Amazed. The views from atop this hill are nothing short of absolutely breathtaking (or was my breath just taken from the hike to the top? One will never know.) Either way, this is a must do! Let me start with this: We both agree that this is one of the most underrated things to do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The hike to the small white cross, known as the Mirador de La Cruz is only about a 15 minute hike from the water, and well worth the effort.
⇒How to get there
Starting near the middle of the Malecon, turn away from the water on Abasolo Street, directly alongside the night club Mandala. Follow Abasolo street for about 260 meters or .16 of a mile. You will see stairs marked “Mirador de La Cruz” with arrows drawn on them: follow these stairs. Turn left on Calle Emilio Carranza and follow for a short 60 meters or .03 miles. Turn right (away from the water) on Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez and follow for 140 meters or .08 miles. Alas, you have reached the white staircase! Follow these stairs to see the best views in town. Don’t rush this part-take time to turn around and check out the views on the way up (and to catch an extra breath!) Point ‘B’ on the map below is the beginning of the staircases to the top. Note: We did not research any route before taking off to find this slice of heaven. It is fairly easy to navigate!
The level of difficulty of the actual hike itself is moderate. There are a few steep hills (with no handrails) followed by several sets of staircases. It took us about 10 minutes from ocean level to reach the peak, but we were going fairly fast (we just wanted to get there!) If walking at a normal pace, with a few breaks, we estimate it would take 15-20 minutes from the water’s edge. We passed several children playing, a really pretty horse, and the actual hike was fun to see an entirely different piece of town. In our opinion, the descent seemed a bit more difficult. The stairs are plentiful, to say the least. And the series of a few hills directly following the stairs on the way down are leg burners. The hills had dirt and leaves covering the way, which made it a bit slippery. We used caution and took our time with no problems, but we recommend using extreme caution if you have any knee problems or mobility issues. Otherwise: totally worth it and an awesome built in workout!
Because of the way this peak is situated-somewhat alone and away from other peaks, there are 360 degree views of the bay and mountains and everything in between. Our pictures certainly do not do the views any justice. The bay seemed small from this bird’s eye view, and we had so much fun pointing out different areas of the bay we have visited. In my opinion, one of the coolest views was back into the mountains. They are incredible. From the water, it is hard to tell just how huge they are, but from high on the peak, we could see back into the mountains for miles and the way the evening sun was shining on them and brightening them up was so beautiful.
Wear comfortable shoes, bring a bottle of water, absolutely bring a camera and binoculars. A fellow hiker had a drone and we stared and drooled over the footage they were getting. Nedless to say, don’t leave the drone at home for this one 🙂 Finally, we would recommend bringing along a backpack or small bag to carry all of your things. Since there are so many stairs, it was nice to have our hands completely free for both the ascent and descent. Enjoy!