About Us

Local Architect Javier Esqueda who lived a few blocks away until his death in 1994 built Casa Dulce Vida in 1963. The Casa was built in the style of an Italian Villa for a Frenchman Jacques Derney.

Jacques Derney was living in Mexico City working with the National Museum of Anthropology when he first came to visit Puerto Vallarta. He fell in love with the charming fishing village & decided to build a home & move here. The intent behind the design of the property was that the largest suite was his private domain. When friends came to visit he could retain his privacy by having them stay in one of the other suites. Other unique design details of the casa are the high ceilings & system of airflow via the open arches above the doors and wind vents. The walls are very thick and in some areas double walled. This creates a natural cooling system.

Long time Vallarta residents talk of how the Casa was furnished in beautiful antiques & works of art. Jacques Derney was known for his lavish entertaining.

The second owner of Casa Dulce Vida was Count Jean Pierre Marc. He continued Jacques Derney’s legacy of lavish entertaining.

The Wark family purchased the Casa in 1986. They felt strongly that the architectural integrity of the Casa should be retained and throughout all renovations have respected this. The stairway from the garden to the rooftop patio was in keeping with the style of the Casa and the original architect Sr. Javier Esqueda was contracted to do this and other changes.

The swimming pool is tiled from imported Venetian red mosaic. The color was chosen to go with the red tile on the roof and to heat the water during colder months.

Salvador (Chava), the Casa houseman, worked for Richard Burton from 1978-1983.

The adjoining casa at # Aldama #277 was built for John Houston. He was the well-known director of the movie “The Night of the Iguana” which made Puerto Vallarta famous. He too fell in love with Vallarta when he came here but chose to live in remote Mahajuitas Beach (accessible only by boat). In his later years he built his home on Aldama & lived here with his nurse/companion, Marciela, until his death.

The casa at Aldama #269 belongs to Alejandro Calunga, a well known artist in Mexico, the USA & Europe. Alejandro is from Guadalajara but lives part time in Vallarta. In Jan. 1998 he donated the group of statutes on the Malecon at the bottom of Aldama street. The dedication reads that he hopes his gift brings as much happiness to the people of Puerto Vallarta as Puerto Vallarta has given to him.

Frequent visitors to Puerto Vallarta in the 50s & 60s would stay in the large villas. Edith Hoyt, an American artist, often stayed at Casa Dulce Vida. We found many of her painting at the casa and have these displayed in the Casas. She also did a study for the Mexican government on the shrines of Mexico and we have preserved the copy. There is a copy of this in our library.

The tree in the garden at the bottom of the long stairway to the roof is called COASTECOMATE. It is not indigenous to this part of Mexico but was planted for its interesting aesthetic qualities. The fruit it bears is like a gourd & is not edible. The tree was planted years before the casa was built.