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Local Profiles 

Puerto Vallarta Cultural Insider Sandra Cesca
tour guide, cultural photographer, author



Cultural Insider, Sandra Cesca

Sandra Cesca has traveled the world, but found herself returning to Mexico more and more. She moved to Puerto Vallarta in 2008 and never looked back. With her love of adventure and immersion in the countries she had visited, she decided to take her experiences and educational M.Ed. background and use them to help visitors learn more about Vallarta and the Mexican culture. Thus was born Puerto Vallarta Walking Tours.

Beginning in 2009, Sandra began offering walking tours to share her excitement and love of this culture with tourists who came to learn more. She mapped out routes, met local artisans, vendors, business owners, and long-standing residents of Vallarta to create her walking tours.

She currently offers eight different walks which include history, architecture, culture, artisanal crafts and ecology. She will also create custom and private walks for those wanting a more personal experience. Two of her walks are wheelchair friendly.

Sandra has become an ambassador for Vallarta as she often spends extra time with visitors answering questions about living and working here, making recommendations for services, restaurants, and activities and inspiring clients as they discover the beauty, charm and friendliness of the people who live and work here.

With her love of photography, she soon began to capture with her camera the rich colors, images and feelings she encountered both during her walking tours and her travels. These photos she uses on her website and social media to help market herself and her businesses. Sandra has also found outlets for her work in the guidebooks she has written, the photo cards she sells, and the Fine Art canvases she is starting to create.

Sandra Cesca has lived in Puerto Vallarta for 11 years. She is a cultural tour guide with her own small business: Puerto Vallarta Walking Tours. She is also a cultural photographer and writer whose work can be found on Your Cultural Insider and Sandra Cesca Photography. Contact her: sandra.learn.vallarta(at)gmail.com.


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Ada Colorina: Painting the Simple Life of Mexico
Sandra Cesca

Ada Colorina has been a friend since I first met her at an outdoor art show on the Rio Cuale and was drawn to her colorful paintings. A native of Puerto Vallarta, she has gained artistic acclaim for capturing the essence of pueblo life that still simmers in the city today.

How to Enjoy Cultural Travels from Your Armchair
BanderasNews.com

Puerto Vallarta Walking Tours was closed until further notice on March 15 due to the Covid 19 virus and mandates from the mayor. Meanwhile, you can learn more about Vallarta and the Mexican culture online, thanks to Sandra Cesca - Your Cultural Insider.

Puerto Vallarta Photo eBooks on Sale at 50% Savings
BanderasNews.com

Although you cannot travel to Puerto Vallarta during this time of quarantine, you can virtually transport yourself from your comfy armchair to our beautiful paradise, thanks to Sandra Cesca's photo guidebooks. Two eBooks are on sale now at 50% savings.

Your Cultural Insider: Coconut History and Folklore
Sandra Cesca

Who hasn't had coconut in some form or another? Here in Puerto Vallarta, cold coconuts can be found on many street corners and at the beach, especially on a hot day. But they are not just for eating. Parts of the coconut palm are used for art and weaving various items such as hats and bags.

Puerto Vallarta Walking Tours: A Tortillaria in El Tuito
Sandra Cesca

Alex has been working in his family's 'tortillaria' in El Tuito since he was ten years old. He happily greets me every time I bring folks by to see the whole process of making tortillas. The next time you are visiting Puerto Vallarta, I will happily take you there.

Puerto Vallarta Walking Tours: Raicilla in El Tuito
Sandra Cesca

Known as 'Mexican Moonshine,' Raicilla, has a shadowy history of being illegally produced in remote backwoods areas. Production is now legal, and my friend Miguel has been producing his artisan raicilla for about seven years on his property in El Tuito.

Mexican Vanilla Extract: Pure or Imitation?
Sandra Cesca

Vanilla beans cultivated around the world originally came from Mexico. When Cortés came to conquer Mexico in 1519, he sent samples of the vanilla orchid back to Spain, where they eventually spread to other countries. But how can you tell if vanilla extract is pure or imitation?

The Era of 'Yucatan Green Gold' in Merida, Mexico
Sandra Cesca

Sotuta de Peón, once one of the largest hacienda plantations for the production of natural fiber rope, was established in the 1800s just outside of Merida, Mexico. Today, it is a living museum, having been restored from its abandoned state over 25 years ago.

Puerto Vallarta Walking Tours: A Palapa for your Pleasure
Sandra Cesca

Walking around Puerto Vallarta you will see many palapas, especially along the beach, where they serve as sun protection. So what is a palapa? It's an open-air thatched roof structure that is commonly constructed by local craftsmen using natural materials from the jungle.

Puerto Vallarta Walking Tours: Mexico's Nopal Cactus
Sandra Cesca

Dulce Maria Morales sits at our daily market removing the spines from nopal (prickly pear) cactus to prepare them for sale. When I first came to Mexico, I asked her what to do with these lovely green pads. Now, after many meals which have included various preparations, I love this food.

Meet the Mexican Willy Wonka in Puerto Vallarta
Sandra Cesca

The always smiling Jesus, whose nickname is 'Willy Wonka,' and I became friends at least 10 years ago when I started to bring people to one of his family's Puerto Vallarta 'dulcerias' to taste his many yummy products. Caramelized nuts, not chocolate, are his specialty.

El Tuito: A Satisfying Adventure into Rural Mexico
Sandra Cesca

I first met Marta several years ago, after hearing about her famous breads, cakes, and cookies in the small Mexican town of El Tuito. I have visited her many times since because her butter cookies are to die for. If you ever visit Puerto Vallarta, I will happily take you there.

Discover The Miracle of 'Milagros' in Puerto Vallarta
Sandra Cesca

I was walking by this shop in downtown Puerto Vallarta when I was attracted to the hundreds of wooden shapes hanging on the walls. Turns out they were 'milagros,' which means 'miracles' in Spanish, and they have been used for over 4000 years as a way to express gratitude.

Discovering Indigenous Art in Puerto Vallarta
Sandra Cesca

Mexico has long been known for its talented artists and craftsmen. Some techniques date back hundreds of years. Many shops and galleries in Puerto Vallarta carry these beautiful, handmade pieces, some examples of which can be seen on some of my walking tours.



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