Vallarta: Following in the Romantic Footsteps of Taylor and Burton
By Paris Permenter & John Bigley,
Editors of Lovetripper.com
Just the names Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton spell romance. Although
the couple traveled the world, perhaps no other destination is as closely
associated with these lovers as the location where their romance first
blossomed: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
It has been over four decades since Elizabeth Taylor came to this seaside
getaway while Richard Burton was filming The Night of the Iguana. Time,
however, hasn't diminished the interest travelers have in these famous
lovers--or the city's interest in showing off these locations to romantic
A two-hour, direct flight from Houston to Puerto Vallarta took us to this
Pacific getaway. Tucked between the Sierra Madre mountains and the Bay
of Banderas (Mexico's largest natural bay), it was easy to see why these
Hollywood giants fell in love with this beachside destination. Then just
a small village, today the city has blossomed into a full-grown tourist
resort with over 250,000 residents. Off the busy Malecon and away from
the tourist track, however, we discovered the Puerto Vallarta that Taylor
and Burton once knew.
& Taylor's Love Nest
Tucked up in the hills lies Casa Kimberly, a hacienda built in 1957 which
Richard Burton rented, later buying the massive home as a present for
Elizabeth Taylor's 32nd birthday. Even by Hollywood standards, the home
ranks as a giant, spanning 22,900 square feet with three gardens, 10 bedrooms,
and a dozen bathrooms.
Now operating as both a bed and breakfast and a museum, with tours available
for a small fee, Casa Kimberly may be built to a movie star scale but,
surprisingly, it shows a couple that lived laid-back lifestyle. Built
without air-conditioning but positioned to take advantage of sea breezes,
the house was definitely a home. The room which functions as today's game
room was a school room during Burton and Taylor's days in the home, which
spanned from 1963 to 1974.
of the famous duo are found throughout the home, which Elizabeth Taylor
left fully furnishing, taking only a painting of herself that Diego Rivera
had created. The couple's bedroom is filled with photos of happier days;
it's a room that's requested by many honeymooners and anniversary couples.
For all the romance-filled photos found in the home, visitors see what
might be a clue to the couple's eventual breakup: literally his and her
haciendas. The main house functioned as Liz's home but across the street
stand another hacienda which served as Burton's hideaway. Connected to
the main house by a pink bridge (a replica of Venice's Rialto Bridge),
Burton's "bachelor" pad had its own kitchen, pool, and even
a getaway route. To avoid the ever-present paparazzi, the couple could
sneak out a door which connected to the neighboring hacienda, allowing
them to take their children off to the beach unobserved.
Burton's Former Hacienda
a block from Casa Kimberly stands another hacienda with a later Burton
connection: this was the home of Richard Burton in his post-Liz days.
San Angel, a romantic member of Mexico Boutique Hotels, is a luxurious
sanctuary for travelers looking for a central location but with a definite
Mexican atmosphere. Today the inn encompasses three haciendas spanning
nine suites. Guests can opt for the Celestial Suite, which served as Burton's
second floor bedroom, or the Crown View Suite, lit by small candles in
wall niches. The location here is perfect for a walk down cobblestone
streets to downtown churches, shops, and restaurants. The inn is filled
with one-of-a-kind Mexican antiques and artwork collected from around
The Night of the Iguana
But to truly walk in Burton
and Taylor's footsteps, you need to head out of town, off to the place
where their romance began: Mismaloya. This beach, located south of the
city, was home to the sets built for The Night of the Iguana and home
to the spectacular Mismaloya Beach.
out of Puerto Vallarta, winding our way along a seaside road which even
today boasts stellar connections, including a home owned by Kevin Costner.
Soon we were at the set, now an open-air restaurant which overlooks the
famous beach. In the evenings, the restaurant, with both indoor and outdoor
seating, serves as a romantic eatery. During the day, the set can be rented
for weddings and receptions, tucked beneath tall tropical foliage but
with unbeatable beach views.
Standing at the rail, looking down at the beach, it was easy to see how
this stellar romance had flourished in this tropical setting. Even decades
later, this beach destination makes any traveler feel like a true star.
For More Information
For more information on Puerto
Vallarta, call 888-384-6822 or see www.visitpuertovallarta.com.
to Make You Feel Like a Movie Star in Puerto Vallarta