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Gringo Gulch

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Gringo Gulch is known for its ocean views, its Spanish Colonial architecture, and its colorful history. Join us on this walking tour as you hear described the evolution of Vallarta from sleepy fishing village to bustling shipping center for the Montgomery Fruit Company banana plantations and from the wild silver mining boom in the Sierra Madre Mountains during the late 1800’s to the tourist destination it is today. Hear how a lone man, Guadalupe Sanchez, started a salt business at the mouth of the Rio Cuale to support the mine’s silver extraction process.

The name Gringo Gulch originated in the 1950’s and 60’s when many northerners came to live on the only accessible hill in Vallarta at the time. Many of these folks were from Hollywood having come here during the Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton era begun with the filming of the movie “Night of the Iguana” in 1965. Charming homes and villas rose up then, examples of typical Mexican style, designed and built by Wulff, Flavela, and Romero, characters and competitors with many stories following in their wake.

Walking along the cobblestone streets, you will see many plain doors beyond which lay beautiful homes with tile floors, lush courtyards, reflecting pools, and breathtaking views of Banderas Bay. Homes like Casa Farro under the light signal that guided ships into the rocky harbor below before 1970 when the port was moved further north; Casa Chimenea, former bakery named for its chimneys; Casa Barbara for Barbara Hutton, Woolworth heir; Casa Tabachine, home of a famous Texas classical guitarist; Casa Leonardo, now home of professional photographer and godson of Elizabeth Taylor; and of course the famous Casa Kimberly, home of Taylor and Burton during their tumultuous relationship.

And finally, get a taste of some local products as we finish our walk at the famous Cigar Factory and Cantina, known for its chocolates created from locally roasted cacao beans; organic coffee roasted in-house with beans from towns like Oaxaca, Veracruz, San Sebastian; aged Mexican tequila distilled from the agave grown east of Vallarta; local vanilla; and, as its name implies, hand-rolled cigars of Mexican and Cuban tobacco.