Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a special tourist destination.  Unlike prefab destinations like Cancun or Los Cabos, this is one that grew organically ,from being a small fisherman town on the west coast of the State of Jalisco, into a full-fledged world-class tourist destination. This development was part luck, lots of local effort and promotion and, finally, and most importantly, the place is just naturally beautiful with jungle, clear sandy beaches, spectacular sunsets, clear emerald-blue waters, and so many other natural and cultural delights.

Though Hollywood discovered the place in the early 1960’s, and even though John Houston brought Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner and the jet set along with him, and they all fell in love with the picturesque town, in the 1950’s the little town had already caught the attention of Mexican city dwellers, little by little evolving into a very welcoming and modern city with lots to do, innumerable gourmet restaurants, top resorts and hotels in Puerto Vallarta. It’s also very well connected with direct flights to Puerto Vallarta from many countries via the International Diaz Ordaz Puerto Vallarta Airport and by sea with cruise ships that travel the Mexican Riviera.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

“Vallarta” or “PV” – as it is known to locals – is a typical Mexican “pueblo” named in honor of the well-respected lawyer Ignacio Vallarta. Recent growth has modernized certain areas of the city (even spawned All-inclusive Hotel / Resort filled Riviera Nayarit to the north, including Nuevo Vallarta, Punta Mita, and others), but it remains faithful to the cherished Mexican traditions and heritage, including parades in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe or bands that play at the town plaza kiosk, where locals and tourists alike dance to Latin rhythms enjoyed throughout the generations.

The city’s downtown area is a place where nature and art coexist, now a protected cultural heritage of Jalisco, more than ever, a place to dive into what Mexico really is all about. Strolling along El Malecon you’ll enjoy dozens of open-air sculptures created by famous local and international artists. There are art galleries on just about every corner, and events and shows abound year-round with artists from around the block or from around the world.

There are an abundance of activities to do in PV, and you’ll notice that most of them are free.  A power walk to the lookout on La Cruz Hill overlooking the downtown area, a trip to Mismaloya or the southern beaches like Colomitos or Yelapa in the south shore, a visit to Marina Vallarta and the lighthouse bar, a visit to a cafe in Old Town (or El Centro), a romantic stroll down Olas Altas to Los Muertos Beach and the photogenic pier in the “Zona Romantica.”   You can do it all and save up money for a relaxing sunset cruise and dinner by Los Arcos in the bay or a world-class gourmet cuisine at one of the hundreds of restaurants around town.

There are 55 miles of beautiful Banderas Bay beaches to swim in and/or marvel over the underwater abundance.  You’ll find it teeming with life.  There are dolphins, manta rays, sea turtles, and between November and March even Humpback whales.

Enjoy the surrounding nature of the Sierra Madre Mountains or bask on the golden beaches in the warm, sunny weather.  Take trips north to the smaller towns (Bucerías, San Pancho, La Cruz) or up in the mountains to real colonial-style towns like San Sebastian del Oeste, Mascota or Talpa de Allende, where time stood still. You can even take a day trip to Charro and Mariachi-Land Tequila or southward to beautiful tranquil hideaway beaches that will remind you of a tropical island in the South Pacific. This is also birdwatching heaven, with more than 315 species of birds, including the Blue-Footed Booby on the Marietas Islands.

Old Town Bridge

Tours, excursions and activities abound for a family vacation.   For those into extreme sports there is parasailing, the zip line canopy or ATV tours.  You can swim with dolphins,  go whale watching, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing or  horseback riding.  There are family water parks, a unique zoo, or you can visit the award-winning Vallarta Botanical Gardens.  There is truly something for every taste and interest.

Puerto Vallarta is actually a place where ultramodern, five-star Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive hotels coexist with cobblestone streets; Michelin Guide restaurants blend with street-side taco food stands that offer simple, but fresh, seafood or typical Mexican dishes.  When you mix all of this together and add a dash of characters that are unique to our city, such as artists and expats from around the globe who find inspiration here and a tourist industry committed to excellence and first-class service, this magical recipe will grab you in its spell.  The final magical touch is provided by the open, friendly personality of each and every citizen in PV, a welcoming spirit that has earned this fair city the title of the “World’s Most Friendly City” by Condé Nast Travel magazine.