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Why Go To Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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This is more than just a coastal resort getaway. Somehow Puerto Vallarta, also known as “Vallarta” or just “PV” – maintains a small-town atmosphere, while still boasting one of the most unique and sophisticated oceanfronts in Mexico. The dining options and the hotel choices reflect more of the same, you will find both elegance and efficiency mingled together within the hotel and restaurant areas.

Puerto Vallarta is made up of several zones all of which lie along or near the city’s waterfront, Banderas Bay. Residential areas sit in the eastern part of the city. The Hotel Zone and Marina Vallarta stand just a few miles from the city’s airport while the popular Playa Los Muertos is located on the city’s southern side. In between is El Centro, home to some of the city’s oldest architecture and streets, including the renowned Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, on Hidalgo Street. North and east of the city are popular pueblos, or towns that offer a less commercialized and more authentic glimpse of the Mexican lifestyle. Sign up for one of the best Puerto Vallarta tours for a better understanding of the areas outside of the hotel zone.

Most people associate this west coast town with its boundaries – the Banderas Bay that snakes along the coast or the palm tree-lined Sierra Madre mountains that stand tall in the east – but Puerto Vallarta is more than its scenery. Take some time to discover its other perks for yourself by sampling the delicious food, discovering a hidden boutique in the Zona Romantica, sipping a signature cocktail at a bar along the Malecón or dancing to a salsa beat in a Havana-style nightclub. When you want a little guidance exploring beyond your resort, sign up for one of the best Puerto Vallarta tours. And if you like to cruise, you’ll be delighted to know that deals can be found year-round to this destination.

Many world travel ornizations rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions. Read more about how they rank Puerto Vallarta as a destination.

What is the Riviera Nayarit, Nayarit, Mexico. + Videos https://promovisionpv.com/what-is-the-riviera-nayarit-nayarit-mexico-videos/

Puerto Vallarta is positioned as one of the 10 “Friendliest Cities in the World” 2023 https://promovisionpv.com/puerto-vallarta-is-positioned-as-one-of-the-10-friendliest-cities-in-the-world/

Puerto Vallarta four awards during the LGBTQ+ Travel Awards https://promovisionpv.com/puerto-vallarta-four-awards-during-the-lgbtq-travel-awards/

Puerto Vallarta named one of “The Best Small Cities in the World” by Conde Nast. https://promovisionpv.com/puerto-vallarta-named-one-of-the-best-small-cities-in-the-world-by-conde-nast/

Puerto Vallarta is awarded at the Travvy Awards https://promovisionpv.com/puerto-vallarta-is-awarded-at-the-travvy-awards/

Best Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta

PUERTO VALLARTA’S TOP ATTRACTIONS THINGS TO DO https://promovisionpv.com/puerto-vallartas-top-attractions-things-to-do/

YouTube Puerto Vallarta

Buy a map Taking the bus or a taxi around town is cheap in theory, but in practice, you could end up covering extra ground and paying unnecessary fares if you do not know where you are going.

Find your way around and Discover Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit. https://promovisionpv.com/how-you-can-go-around-and-discover-puerto-vallarta-and-riviera-nayarit/

Car Rentals in Puerto Vallarta – Riviera Nayarit. https://promovisionpv.com/car-rentals-in-puerto-vallarta-riviera-nayarit/

Just say no From the beach vendors that stroll along Banderas Bay to the timeshare representatives that stroll along just about everywhere, there are plenty of ways to let go of more money than you intended. Learn to say a firm but courteous, “No, gracias,” if you’re not interested in what they are selling.

What to Eat

Puerto Vallarta’s dining scene can be as narrow or expansive as you like, depending on how willing you are to venture off the grounds of your all-inclusive resort. From food carts to European fine dining establishments, PV’s cuisine runs the gamut. For a crash course in the bold regional flavors that define the city, consider signing up for a food tour – Vallarta Food Tours comes highly recommended for its variety of experiences and knowledgeable and engaging guides. One of its most popular is An Evening Taco Adventure, which explores the night street foods of Vallarta.

Mexican Food & Gastronomy Puerto Vallarta https://promovisionpv.com/mexican-food-gastronomy-puerto-vallarta/

Of course, no visit to Mexico would be complete without a sunset dinner on the beach. For that, travelers and experts recommend La Palapa Restaurant. Sitting pretty on Playa Los Muertos, this family-run eatery serves what it calls “tropical Mexican cuisine” that combines combines Mexican, Asian and French flavors. If you are on the hunt for an upscale setting with a sophisticated menu to match, Barcelona Tapas, La Leche and the award-winning Café Des Artistes both come highly recommended.

Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta are positioned among the best 50 in Mexico. https://promovisionpv.com/restaurants-in-puerto-vallarta-are-positioned-among-the-best-50-in-mexico/

Versalles The NEW “IN” neighborhood, restaurant list, Puerto Vallarta https://promovisionpv.com/versalles-the-new-in-neighborhood-restaurant-list-puerto-vallarta/

The best way to get around Puerto Vallarta is by bus – there are plenty of stops and the fares are cheap. If you are looking for a less bumpy ride you can also take a taxi or an Uber. The bus is also the best means of getting from PV’s Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR) to the hotel zones. Renting a car is also an option. To really get a feel for Puerto Vallarta’s neighborhoods, you will want to rely on your own two feet, especially in areas like the Zona Romantica.

Car

Rental cars offer easy access to all of the main attractions throughout Puerto Vallarta, but rates can be expensive and driving through the city’s steep, bumpy streets can be more trouble than it’s worth. If you’re going to rent a car, book online before your arrival. And remember to always lock your valuables in the trunk out of plain sight or just leave them behind at your accommodations. Mexico recognizes U.S. driver’s licenses, so travelers won’t need an international driving permit unless they plan on driving more than 300 miles into Mexico during their stay.

Car Rentals in Puerto Vallarta – Riviera Nayarit. https://promovisionpv.com/car-rentals-in-puerto-vallarta-riviera-nayarit/

Taxi

Taxis are an excellent, inexpensive way to get around the city, you just need some street smarts. Fares are charged by zone, not meter, so ask the driver for a rate sheet to keep track and consult it before starting your ride. Purchase a map and consult it yourself so that you can ensure you are getting where you need to go quickly and cheaply. And keep in mind that tipping is not necessary unless the driver helps with your bags. The ride-hailing app Uber also operates in Puerto Vallarta.

Bus

PV buses service the downtown area, as well as the Hotel Zone, El Malecon, Zona Romantica and Marina Vallarta, and they are the cheapest option for getting around. Hold on tight to your ticket, literally. An inspector might come by at any time to check, not to mention that drivers tend to zip and race through the streets. When boarding the bus, make sure you have correct change for the driver. One-way bus fares start at 10 pesos (about 50 cents, 2023).

Find your way around and Discover Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit. https://promovisionpv.com/how-you-can-go-around-and-discover-puerto-vallarta-and-riviera-nayarit/

Marina Vallarta

Many of the area’s most luxurious and expensive resorts lie along Marina Vallarta, less than 2 miles south of the city’s airport. The area also contains the Marina Vallarta Golf Club, an 18-hole golf course. The area is rounded out by a handful of cafes, restaurants and boutiques lined up along its boardwalk. Also located on the marina is the landmark lighthouse, El Faro, which offers breathtaking views of Banderas Bay.

Just north of Marina Vallarta in Nayarit state sits Nuevo Nayarit, a resort community with more top hotels, golf courses, spas and Nuevo Nayarit beach.

What is the Riviera Nayarit, Nayarit, Mexico. + Videos https://promovisionpv.com/what-is-the-riviera-nayarit-nayarit-mexico-videos/

Hotel Zone

Just south of Marina Vallarta along Av. Francisco Medina Ascencio is the crowded Hotel Zone. As the name suggests, this area houses hotels aplenty, but it’s also central to shopping centers, attractions, restaurants and public transportation. Unfortunately, it can also prove too congested for travelers seeking peace and quiet. Traffic along the avenue has become increasingly busy and parking can be scarce.

Downtown & Romantic Zone

South of the Hotel Zone, El Centro is another very active area in Vallarta. The area has eclectic and abundant cuisine offerings, as well as a vibrant art scene and its seaside malecón. The area’s narrow cobblestone streets and famous Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe also offer tourists a glimpse into an older, less commercial Vallarta. A little farther south is the Zona Romantica, or Romantic Zone, home to one of the popular Playa Los Muertos. The south side is also the center for the city’s thriving LGBT scene. A fairly recently constructed Malecón seaside walkway offers spectacular views of the bay and easy access to the beach.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico offers an endless number of activities and adventures for travelers of all ages, and all in an environment that’s unceasingly inclusive. With incredible fine dining restaurants serving up fresh seafood favorites, cute…

PUERTO VALLARTA’S TOP ATTRACTIONS THINGS TO DO https://promovisionpv.com/puerto-vallartas-top-attractions-things-to-do/

Stretching approximately 12 city blocks along Bahía de Banderas (Banderas Bay), El Malecón is a great place to stroll any time of day, but especially in the evenings. Along the way, visitors will see everything from sand sculptures and bronze sculptures to the iconic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. El Malecón is also home to the open-air Los Arcos Amphitheater, another iconic symbol of Puerto Vallarta that plays hosts to free performances, featuring live musicians and traditional Mexican dance troupes, just about every night.

This charming south side neighborhood is like a detached, unpretentious beach village that serves PV’s more laid-back and less resort-conscious tourists. It’s also the center of the city’s thriving gay scene and has a bevy of gay beaches, bars and restaurants lining Olas Atlas. Travelers should keep in mind that this area is also known as Old Vallarta or Old Town.

Most agree that Zona Romantica is a must-see. The area contains a number of the city’s best restaurants, excellent cultural opportunities and the most popular beach in the city: Los Muertos Beach. It’s also home to a pier built in 2013 that offers seating for pedestrians and illuminates each evening with a kaleidoscope of colors. From the pier, travelers can board water taxis to some of the area’s more secluded beaches. Recent travelers said you’ll find a bunch of smaller grocery stores, restaurants and cafes away from the beach, as well as fewer peddlers selling souvenirs. Lázaro Cardenas Park (also known as Tile Park) is another popular stop here thanks to the colorful mosaics adorning the benches, columns and planters.

A great place to experience the joys of a resort town without the tourist-palooza that is Puerto Vallarta, the small fishing village of Bucerías is steadily becoming a popular day trip for PV vacationers. If you have the time to spare, take a bus to this beach hideaway up the coastline for an afternoon of fishing or swimming.

Recent visitors recommend spending Thursday evenings (November to April) doing the Bucerías Art Walk, a self-guided tour of more than a dozen galleries and arts boutiques. The Bucerias Bike and Food Tour is also highly rated because it visits several local eateries with a local guide leading the way. Beachside dining at places like Mar y Sol also comes highly recommended. If you’re looking for a place off the tourist track, Bucerias is your secluded oasis.

The most popular shoreline in Puerto Vallarta, Playa de los Muertos in the Zona Romantica, offers opportunities to Jet Ski, windsurf and even parasail, as well as an assortment of excellent restaurants and bars. Try out some of the land sports as well, such as beach volleyball, which can be equally fun but cheaper than the water sports.

Travelers generally say that Playa de los Muertos is a nice area with plenty of space and a great spot for people-watching. Visitors also note that, unlike elsewhere in the Zona Romantica, beachside peddlers can be particularly aggressive when selling small items to tourists. A simple “no, gracias” should allow you to avoid any haggling. Because of the high concentration of gay-friendly accommodations along the southern shore, Playa de los Muertos is also considered a party haven for PV’s LGBTQ travelers. A few travelers warned of the beach’s strong current, advising parents with children to take extra precautions when swimming.

If you are looking for a break from sunbathing and enjoying umbrella-garnished drinks on the beach, consider signing up for one of the best Puerto Vallarta food tours. While you can always head into town to try fresh local seafood, tacos and an array of Mexican desserts on your own, booking a tour with a company like Vallarta Food Tours, Vallarta Eats Food Tours or ChocoMuseo can make the experience more festive and fun while paving the way to even more adventurous culinary options.

All foodie tours in Puerto Vallarta are led by savvy locals eager to share their expertise with curious visitors, and you may be surprised at the delicacies you can try. For example, Vallarta Food Tours offers downtown PV tasting tours that let you nosh on regional dishes like tacos, birria (meat stew), seafood and mole, but they also offer specialized tours geared to vegans or seafood lovers. There are also spirit-focused tours that allow participants to sample several different types of local tequila, mezcal or craft beer.

Whale Watching

A tour for one of the first days of your trip. Whale watching tours in PV frequently get canceled due to choppy seas or lack of local whales.

Humpback Whale Watching Season in Puerto Vallarta https://promovisionpv.com/humpback-whale-watching-season-in-puerto-vallarta/

Spotting a humpback whale as it crests the surface of the ocean is an awe-inspiring sight, and Puerto Vallarta is one of the best places to do just that. Whale watching season runs from early December through March, when humpback whales congregate in the sheltered, warm waters of Puerto Vallarta’s Banderas Bay to have their babies. The peak of whale watching season is between January and February. And although you can bring your binoculars and look for whales from the shore.

Yelapa Beach

For a break from the tourist crowds of Puerto Vallarta, head about 20 miles south to Yelapa. Considered by travel experts to be one of Mexico’s few “undiscovered” beach towns, Yelapa is only reachable by boat, which is part of the reason why it sees relatively fewer travelers than other popular areas along Bahía de Banderas.

Many travelers come to Yelapa for its unspoiled beach, but if you are looking for a little more adventure, you won’t be disappointed. There is a waterfall not too far from town that you can reach via a paved walking path. Recent visitors suggested swimming in the pool beneath the waterfall, praising the clean, refreshing waters. Because of the paved path and short hike, many said it was suitable for children. However, a few visitors were disappointed with the unimpressive size of the falls due to the lack rain during the winter.

This beautiful beach just south of Puerto Vallarta makes for a lovely day trip, according to past visitors. Best accessed via water taxi, Playa Las Animas offers a stunning shoreline, calm waters and restaurants dishing out tasty food. Plus, recent visitors report that this stretch of sand is less crowded than other popular beaches like Playa de los Muertos as long as you arrive in the morning.

When you’re not sunbathing or enjoying a tropical drink, you can also rent a variety of water sports equipment, including kayaks, or sign up for a parasailing adventure or banana boat ride with one of the outfitters headquartered at the beach. This beach is also home to the Las Animas Beach Adventure Park, which offers zip lining, canopy tours and other adventure activities just steps from the ocean.

To explore beyond Puerto Vallarta, you might want to try the popular Jardín Botánico Vallarta (Vallarta Botanical Gardens). The gardens feature an assortment of wildflowers, including orchids, and insect life that provides a relaxing and romantic getaway from the day-to-day hustle of Vallarta’s downtown.

Some travelers expected to spend one or two hours walking around the gardens, but ended up staying the entire day since along with enjoying the magnificent plant life, you can also boulder the jungle’s rocks and swim a section of the river. Some reviewers only recommend these activities for fit travelers. Also, be sure to buy a meal or, at the very least, a drink at the on-site restaurant, which comes highly recommended by both travelers and experts. If you plan to hike, you’ll want to bring insect repellent (it’s also available to purchase on-site) and consider wearing long sleeves and pants.

Los Arcos Marine Park

Los Arcos National Marine Park is an iconic natural area that sits just 20 minutes south of the main square in downtown Puerto Vallarta. This park is protected from agricultural and developments and new construction, so it’s become a haven for a range of bird species as well as sea life, including tropical fish.

Visitors here can take advantage of a range of adventure activities in and out of the water, including diving, swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling and more. There are also guided tours you can book that include transportation and entry into the marine park, some of which include Jet Ski rides or snorkeling. Tickets for snorkeling tours start at about $50; Jet Ski tours start at about $145 per person.

Mirador de La Cruz

Mirador de La Cruz is a lookout that offers spectacular views of the city of Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas. While frequently referred to as a “hike,” visitors can get to this lookout with a walk uphill and a set of stairs. There is also a funicular that travelers can ride when it’s working, but you may not want to plan on using it since it is often out of service (according to recent travelers). Either way, Mirador de La Cruz is popular among travelers in search of incredible views of the sunrise or the city’s overwater sunsets, as well as those who want to stay active during their PV vacation.

Travelers say the trek to the lookout is well worth the time and effort, but that people in poor shape may find the uphill climb and stairs fairly strenuous. They also recommend bringing water, and note that there are restrooms you can use at the top (for a fee), so make sure to bring cash.

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The silhouette of this church in downtown PV is one of the most defining images of the resort town and its chiming church bells are one of the most recognizable sounds. During the Feast of Guadalupe, held every year from Dec. 1 to Dec. 12, the church is a hub of activity. During the annual festival, there is plenty of music, dancing and street processionals.

Recent visitors suggest pausing during a Malecón stroll to admire the church’s Renaissance-style tower. Others recommended stopping inside to see the gorgeous interior or attending Mass (English services are held Saturdays at 5 p.m. – a bilingual service is held every Sunday at 10 a.m.).

Islas Marietas and Hidden Beach

The Marietas Islands are a collection of small, uninhabited islands off the coast of Riviera Nayarit. Punta Mita is the closest departure point for reaching the islands, but many Puerto Vallarta vacationers add the Marietas Islands to their itineraries given its close proximity (about an hour’s drive north). The islands are known for their incredible beaches, flora and fauna, and marine life, including sea turtles, tropical fish, dolphins and manta rays. However, the islands’ “Hidden Beach” is what really attracts tourists thanks to its Instagram-worthy views and location that’s tucked within the jungle on a remote island. When you search for photos of Hidden Beach, you can clearly see that it’s completely surrounded by land. The water is only accessible during low tide as well, and you can only get there by snorkeling with a mask (but no flippers) when the tide is low. The best way to reach this natural wonder is via an organized boat tour.

Isla Río Cuale

Isla Río Cuale is a mystery to many first-time Puerto Vallarta travelers. The fact that it’s often difficult to find only adds to the enigma. In fact, Isla Río Cuale is almost in the heart of the city and is actually an island set upon an inlet of the Banderas Bay. To see the island, simply walk south from El Malecón until you reach a bridge that spans the river, and you’ll discover the island, which is home to market stalls selling local wares.

Some visitors advised that there are the same trinkets on sale at Isla Rio Cuale as there are elsewhere in Puerto Vallarta, but they tend to be more expensive. Still, they admit that the locale has a great, car-free ambiance and is worth at least one visit during your time in PV. Isla Río Cuale is accessible free of charge.

Also know that Puerto Vallarta is considered one of the world’s most LGBT-friendly destinations.

You do not have to spend much to explore Puerto Vallarta’s best attractions. do:

Exploring out side towns of Puerto Vallarta

Sayulita is known for its prime surfing waves.

San Pancho offers a wide array of attractions and activities, from beaches to hiking.

Looking for a fun way to explore our city and go to many neighborhoods? Touring by van allows us to take you to 5 distinct downtown neighborhoods, and the nearby pueblo of Pitillal. This 4 hour van tour covers more ground than our walking tours and features our favorite restaurants, artisans, and street food vendors.

Private Tour Guide Puerto Vallarta Riviera Nayarit Travel Guide see details https://promovisionpv.com/private-tour-guide-puerto-vallarta-riviera-nayarit-travel-guide/

Join our passionate guides as you discover Puerto Vallarta’s hidden gems in our Award-Winning tours one delicious bite at a time since 2011! https://vallartafoodtours.com/

Explore other destinations and activities from all around the year.

Visit and Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Puerto Vallarta – Riviera Nayarit videos: https://www.youtube.com/@promovision/videos

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