“We are all connected,” explains my friend Paola, “through our hearts. The meaning of love is a heart, and we are love in different sizes, shapes, colors, and situations.”
Since Valentine’s Day is soon approaching, I thought I would look at where we can find hearts in Puerto Vallarta. Not just the ones you find in stores or for sale from beach vendors, but where are the true hearts in Vallarta?
For me, the people here are where we can find true hearts. When I moved here 17 years ago, I was alone, trying to find my way in a new country. Every day, I experienced kindness, help, and laughter from the locals. I soon felt at home, and so enjoyed meeting new friends.
One of these friends is Paola, whom I met one day as I passed by her shop, Corazon Vallarta.
Walking inside, I was drawn to the beautiful hearts of wood, glass, metal, and paper displayed there. Never had I seen so many hearts of different shapes, sizes, and colors in one place!
Pao, as she is affectionately called, always loved to draw. As a teenager, she worked in her brother’s factory in Aguascalientes, making painted picture frames from recycled cardboard.
She brought these to Vallarta in 2003, hoping to start a small business. As she was walking on the beach one day, she discovered a large stone shaped like a heart. This gave her the idea to start making hearts, which she used to decorate her cardboard frames.
She soon fell in love with our friendly town and began incorporating hearts into all her work, especially her wooden boxes, which she designs herself. In 2004, Pao set up a booth on the Malecon where she sold her hearts. In 2014, she finally realized her dream and opened her workshop and store near the Rio Cuale…on Valentine’s Day, of course!
This February 14, she celebrates her 20th year in business and 10th year of opening her store at Calle Agustine Rodriguez #253. Stop by this month to buy your Valentine’s gifts, and be sure to see the huge stone heart she found on the beach that fateful day.