The Rio Cuale sits in the heart of Puerto Vallarta. It’s a delightful place with a long island in the middle (Isla Cuale) that includes good restaurants, fun shops, and some very interesting art. The island got its start in the 1960s as an airstrip for rich Hollywood types such as Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and John Huston.
My favorite thing about the Rio Cuale, however, is the rich wildlife it supports including a variety of water birds and giant iguanas. Bird life includes pelicans, cormorants, herons, egrets and more. On my recent visit I was particularly taken by the young fellow featured above and a snowy egret.
The River Cafe is a short way up the Isla Cuale from where we found the pelican and the snowy egret. We like it for its tasty, well-presented food. But we also like it because you can almost always find iguanas hanging out in the trees and on the ground next to the river. This year we spotted a very green one…
We’ve had numerous encounters with iguanas over the years in Puerto Vallarta. But none matched the time when one came to visit us in our villa. I did a post on our welcome visitor, but just for fun, I decided to put up a few photos on him again.
27 thoughts on “A Wonderful, Whacky Pelican… Puerto Vallarta”
Your pelican was taking a bath, Curt. It’s always a surprise when some of these birds start bathing; I got a photo last summer of a great blue heron sitting in the water, having a bath, and it was the funniest thing in the world. The head against the back stretch is part of the preening process. One of the great side benefits of my work is that I’m often surrounded by pelicans all day long: fishing, bathing, preening, and just hanging out, so I’ve learned some of their habits. That last pelican photo’s a bath technique, too.
What I’ve never been close to is one of those iguanas — not that close, anyway. They’re fascinating creatures. Apparently they’re pretty common in Florida, but I can’t remember ever hearing about one here, except as a pet.
Thank you for the info, Linda. Your expertise is appreciated. Now that you mention it, I can see the resemblance to the birds in our bird bath! Just on a grander scale.
I never saw an iguana until I travelled south of the border. Peggy said they were common when she lived in Panama. Occasionally they fell out of trees. One almost landed on her baby! –Curt
Thanks for sharing the iguana that came for a visit again! The photos are wonderful.
Thank you, AC. The iguana was a photo-op for sure. Peggy and I were totally entranced and amused, but we did keep our feet off the floor. 🙂 –Curt
The face of that Iguana is one ONLY a mother could love – then again we are talking about mother iguanas, not an affectionate lot I suspect.
A feisty lot for sure. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right, Craig? 🙂 –Curt
Good pictures as always and I enjoyed the iguana. But the pelicans reminded me of 1973 before the brown pelican population recovered. I took so many photos of them in the Virgin Islands, we began to refer to any excess photography binge as “pelican pictures.”
That brings a chuckle, Ray. The same description could be applied to me. 🙂 I have lots of pelican photos! –Curt
Great pictures Curt, they are indeed a curious looking bird. The Iguana is rather cute!
My thoughts about the iguana, exactly, Andrew, although I am not sure everyone would agree with us. 🙂 –Curt
Hope it wasn’t too much trouble to get him back out!
He went on his own, G. 🙂 –Curt
Those iguana are really big Curt. Great photo essay. Wonder just how big they can get. You really got some very good captures with your camera. Thank you. All my best to you and Peggy.
I should have measured it JoHanna.:) I’ve read that they are among the best pets found among the reptiles and can actually be affectionate and learn how to be bathroom trained. Thanks. –Curt
Oh Curt. The things that people will get up to! Bathroom trained iguanas. Run Lizards Run! A good day to you.
Not quite my idea of a pet. Imagine snuggling up with one on your bed, JoHanna. Still… 🙂 –Curt
Thank you Coral! –Curt
This post is making me long for warm weather and wildlife. We have snow. And mud. I’d much rather be in Puerto Vallarta!
Laughing. Easy to understand! –Curt
I truly loved your Pelican photos. I could perhaps do without the Iguana though. It’s an overgrown lizard after all. I’m thinking we should just stop them at the border. They’d likely eat all the little ones we have around here. 😀
Laughing. Actually they are vegetarians, Gunta, eating mainly leaves. –Curt
That iguana is so beautiful. It reminded me of the years living in Eureka, CA when I had Bud the Iguana as a pet. He had been rescued from an owner who neglected him to the point of abuse, otherwise I wouldn’t have held my hand up to adopt the creature. I learned to love Bud, who grew from 4 1/2 feet long to 5 1/2 feet long in only two years. They are wonderful climbers, and Bud would clamber up the back of my wingback chair, then leap to the top of the entertainment center, often sending a pile of CDs crashing to the floor with that massive tail. His attempts to climb furniture remain etched into my life even today. Literally etched – I mean, LOOK at those claws. Bud loved long baths. I’d open his cage then go to the bathroom and run a hot bath for him. When he heard the water stop, he would leave the bedroom, walk down the hall and climb into the tub and lounge until the water got cold. Then he’d come out into the living room, hoping the sliding glass door to the backyard would be open. Out there he would eat the grass and nap in the sun for a couple hours, till he was ready to come back into the house and make his way back to his cage where he’d climb up to the ceramic heater and get warm again. One spectacular day in January we went through this ritual – a real treat in the middle of winter. He apparently thought the grass might be greener on the other side of the fence: the deep scratches up the side of the six-foot fence indicate as much. He went on walkabout in January- not a good choice for a cold-blooded animal. Within a couple of days the temp had dropped below freezing and I knew we had lost him. I’m glad he got a couple of good years before he died.
A wonderful story, Crystal, and a great addition to my post. I love how your iguana would take advantage of its warm bath and climb up on furniture. Sorry about his ending, but I think you are right. He had a great two years. Thanks so much. –Curt
Pelicans and iguanas are fascinating — and you’ve captured them in action quite well. No easy feat!!!
Two of my favorite creatures, Rusha. 🙂