South of Puerto Vallarta is a mystical magical place called Mismaloya. Highway 200 to this end of the Banderas Bay is a curvy two lane, mostly well maintained, route that takes approximately 25 minutes to transverse. In rainy weather you must drive slower because the water puddles might just be covering up tire bursting pot holes. There is public transit available.
Mismaloya is said to have been the garden to the Aztec Kings who resided in the capital which is now known as Mexico City. Fully grown over the ancient long path is undiscernible except for the raging river that passes through this coastal haven. Hike up the river and feel history of a thousand years ago.
Mismaloya is most famous as the site where the 1963 film The Night of the Iguana was filmed. The film, its director, John Houston, star, Ricard Burton and his paramour, Elizabeth Taylor put Puerto Vallarta on the map.
It is reported that Mismaloya has the highest variety of butterflies in all of Mexico. Walking and horseback tours reveal the many beautiful butterflies traveling through the hills.
Mismaloya is home to Zoologico de Vallarta AC which is more like an animal preserve with many hectares of open grazing land.
North of Mismaloya is the Vallarta Botanical Gardens with 8 hectares of lush tropical gardens.
South of Mismaloya is the Nogalito adventure park with canopy rides.
Two hotels reside in Mismaloya at the mouth of the river with a beach full of restaurants, fishermen and more. Hotel Barceló is an all-inclusive resort with multiple pools, pristine beach and nightly entertainment. You may not want to venture out. Casa Iguana Hotel All Suites is a smaller resort, more affordable and has a fine restaurant.
Stately villas look out on the small cove of Mismaloya, the Banderas Bay and Pacific Ocean beyond. Visible from Mismaloya is the Los Arcos National Marine Park rock outcroppings, an ideal location to snorkel, and scuba dive.
From here you can ride a ponga to Yelapa where you will find further peace and tranquility with no cars and plenty of food. Don’t miss the Yelapa Pie Lady.
A vacation in Puerto Vallarta is a lifetime achievement. To include Mismaloya is to have been lucky to have seen so much!