The Spectacular Rebirth of Puerto Vallarta's Lazaro Cardenas Park

Alex Gomez -
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November 3, 2012

Lazaro Cardenas Park (Photo Source:

When my sisters were forced to move their bookstore/café from the corner of Olas Altas and Manuel M. Dieguez to the other side of Lazaro Cardenas Park, under and next to the Hotel Eloisa, I thought all was lost.

First of all, the new location was huge and had virtually no foot traffic, as opposed to the original two blocks away, where you could sit with your coffee and dessert and watch the endless parade of freaks go by for your own exciting and free entertainment.

Instead of the freak parade, the new location offered a half-dead park, which apparently was on the verge of becoming a desert, and through which people were too afraid to walk at night, because of the scarcity of lighting.

In fact, I had heard many people complaining about the bad lighting of the Romantic Zone at night, over the years and what has been done about it? Nothing. Obviously just complaining about something does nothing to improve the situation.  So take a cue from the sister owners of A Page in the Sun.

They realized that what was in front of their business was not so much a park, but a desert. Immediately they spread out and went to introduce themselves to their new neighbours and investigated why the park was the way it was and what anyone was doing about it.

It turned out that the park was no longer the property of the city, but it that it now belonged, instead, to the little-used underground car park which some fool of an engineer had placed almost under the ocean's shore at Los Muertos Beach. It was the responsibility of the owner(s) of the car park to light and water it. As it was generating very few funds, due to its uncomfortable location, the park was dying, slowly but surely.

My sisters then called the park services office of City Hall, told them about the sorry state of the park and insisted something be done to revive it.

They then called their new neighbors and asked them to do the same. Due to a lucky happenstance, the Puerto Vallarta Garden Club, an organization of volunteer gardeners whose aim it was to make Puerto Vallarta more beautiful, with such things as the giant planters on Calle Basilio Badillo. The Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens had been alerted and were working on the problem of Parque Lazaro Cardenas as well.

A date was established for the volunteers to begin planting in the Park. Charlotte Semple from Xocodiva took it upon herself to wrangle food and beverages for the many volunteers expected to participate in rescuing the park, from the various eateries in the Romantic Zone. A Page in the Sun donated coffee and homemade muffins.

The next time I walked through the park to the bookstore/café, I could barely believe my eyes. For starters, there was a man with a hose watering the thousands of new plants, flowers and small trees. I saw Copa de Oro, bougainvillea, ferns and other leafy tropical plants and dozens more of other brightly colored flowers all over the gardens of the park.

Immediately, two Zumba classes began in Parque Lazaro Cardenas, one at 8:00 am and the other at 8:00 pm. The park had been revived and SEAPAL had, on the orders of the local government, re-established the full flow of water to the park once more.

The park not only had hundreds of new living flowers and plants, but it also had hundreds of new visitors and passers-by, at all hours.

So you see, instead of complaining to each other and of their government, a handful of neighboring businesses and their owners, managers, employees and clients came together in order to resolve a problem that affected them collectively. And Puerto Vallarta now has another beautiful, reincarnated park on its premises.

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