The Magical Sunsets of Mexico’s Puerto Vallarta

I sat lotus style in the warm sand, enveloped in a dome of rose tinted light. The magical glow transformed and penetrated everything in sight. The waves crashed against the steeply sloping beach with just enough ferocity to claim my audible universe. As I gazed straight ahead — my eyes transfixed on the dimming yellow orb that was sinking below the multicolored horizon — my conscious mind unequivocally proclaimed “This is the greatest show on Earth!”

The sky over Puerto Vallarta’s Banderas Bay was an ever changing tapestry of light and color. The dark clouds in the foreground of this shot are in dramatic contrast to the brilliant colored clouds behind. Photo: Henry Lewis.

Pink, rose, violet, lavender, orange, yellow–I never tire of contemplating the ever-changing colors of a gorgeous sunset. It’s a time to savor one of nature’s most stunning displays of magic.

On this particular day, the waters of Puerto Vallarta’s Banderas Bay — and the sky above — were bathed in a violet/rose tinted light, a masterpiece of form and color. Photo: Henry Lewis.

As photographers know, it’s all about light, and the brief periods just before sunrise and just after sunset are to be prized and maximized. When I worked in the movie industry, the vernacular used to describe the last exterior scene of the day was ‘the magic hour shot.’ Film directors know that everything must be set in advance for such scenes because the light is fleeting.

This was a particularly spectacular sunset that I’ll never forget. As the sun was setting, these wispy cirrus clouds evolved into the form of a golden angel which flew directly onto shore over Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romantica. Photo: Henry Lewis.

And perhaps that’s the most magical part of a sunset — its impermanence. The colors build to a crescendo and then begin to dim, sometimes making a reprise, and at other times all too soon, fading to black. Nature’s ever-changing skies guarantee a completely new and different show each night.

Looking south from the pier in Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romantica at a thunder storm making it’s way onto shore. The mountainous landscape south of the city shelters many beautiful, secluded white-sand beaches. Photo: Henry Lewis.

While I’ve gleaned hours of inspiration observing sunsets at locations all across our planet, some of the most beautiful I’ve experienced were during my 6-month stay in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico in 2016-17. There’s something just right about that area’s crescent shaped bay, the latitude’s quality of light and the broken clouds that dance on the trade winds from the Pacific.


Don’t ever give up on a sunset due to clouds. This stunner appeared to be nothing spectacular until the clouds cleared just on the horizon, allowing the sun’s fading light to color the clouds a brilliant red and turn the water below into a sea of blood. Photo: Henry Lewis.

Even when the skies over Puerto Vallarta’s Banderas Bay lacked clouds for dramatic effect, the sun often created an interesting brilliant halo phenomenon as it dipped behind the sea on the horizon with the peninsula of Cabo Corrientes on the left. Photo: Henry Lewis.

The boats bobbing in the bay and the seabirds flying above added additional dramatic effects to Puerto Vallarta’s sunsets. Photo: Henry Lewis.

While Puerto Vallarta and its gorgeous Bay of Banderas proved to be too packed with tourists for my long-term tastes — not to mention my one foot out the door syndrome — by early 2017, it was time for me to head further south.

Enjoy the sunsets wherever you are. Just let nature be your guide.


Categories: Nature, TravelTags: , , , , ,


  1. Some stunning sunsets indeed. Nice work, Henry.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Indeed Henry, the greatest show on earth! What dazzling beauty! And beauty not only in the sunsets and the colours but the language too. Thank you for all the beauty.

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  3. Wow, fantastic sunsets. Great shots! Thanks for the distraction from other recent spectacles!

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  4. Nice shots. There’s nothing like watching a sunset to finish off the day.

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  5. Superb photographs. We have been there but only on a cruise and did not get to enjoy from the land as the ship left before sunset.

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  6. You know there are sunsets then there are your sunsets that you captured beautifully, Henry! Magnificent! These photos bought back to memory our times on Banderas Bay on our sailboat in 2001 -2002. It is a strikingly beautiful bay and we tossed around living there. It was a magical place. But as you, it was time to head further south.

    Beautiful post!

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  7. Thank you for this timely meditation to remind us of one of the miracles of our world

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  8. Stunning photos, Henry, of one of Earth’s glorious aerial wonders!

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  9. Absolutely beautiful. Love Puerto Vallarta. The photographs are stunning. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Although I live here in Puerto Villarta now, I’ve never seen quite so brilliant red sunsets or rises as your photos. They are exquisitely magical indeed. Should you find yourself in PV again, please do allow me to buy you dinner after a lovely sunset so we can catch up. I’m also eager to hear about Colombia although I believe I’m heading for Panama in the fall. So much of our lives are now dictated by COVID, so it’s difficult to say for sure where the winds will blow. Take care and thank you so very much for the lovely photos,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Judith. Thanks for your comments. Many expats are leaving Panama and settling in Colombia. Personally, Im heading back to the States for now after 3 years in Colombia. Next up? Im not sure either. Enjoy PV!


  11. Henry, these were stunning, just stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Stunningly beautiful 💖😊


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