Nestled against the Pacific Ocean, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is a world-renown, top-rated vacation destination. A true melting pot of the old world and the new, this resort town offers authentic Mexican culture and cuisine alongside all-inclusive luxury villas and hotels, spectacular water sports and a vibrant nightlife. The golden sand beaches and cerulean-blue waters of the Bahia de Banderas provide a scenic backdrop for exploring the lush jungles, strolling along the cobblestone streets or browsing the high-end boutiques and small handmade-craft shops.
As the fifth-largest city in the Mexican state of Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta is comprised of several neighborhoods, or colonias. Almost anywhere you go, original Pueblo architecture mingles with modern luxury resorts. The Hotel Zone runs north to south along Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascencio, and also hosts a variety of restaurants, bars and shops. The wealth of natural beauty is what draws most visitors -- specifically the Bahia de Banderas (Banderas Bay) which spills out into the Pacific Ocean to the west. Some of the world’s best diving, snorkeling and fishing can be found in these waters.
Colonias Centro is the central downtown area, as well as the oldest section of the city. The oceanfront boardwalk, El Malecon, is a scenic stroll that gives way to the heart of old Vallarta. The narrow, cobblestone streets of downtown are saturated with a bohemian arts scene and abundant nightlife, as well as several city landmarks including the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe. To the east, the Mexican Outback is home to the jungle-clad Sierra Madre Mountains. Besides the dramatic views, attractions such as the Vallarta Botanical Gardens and mountaintop restaurants like Hacienda de Oro are popular draws for both visitors and locals.
Puerto Vallarta’s rich culture lives on through the many live concerts, art exhibitions and festivals that can be attended daily. The native Huichol artwork is always on display in galleries or for sale at roadside craft stands, with each piece giving a small glimpse into Puerto Vallarta’s deep history. The main shopping district is found in El Centro, and between beach vendors, flea markets, artisan shops, department stores and traditional Mexican shops, the options are limitless.
The cuisine of this region is largely influenced by its rich cultural diversity. For an international meal with a view, check out El Palomar de los Gonzales. This palatial mountainside restaurant overlooks downtown Puerto Vallarta and the bay. Epoca, in the Zona Romantica section of Old Vallarta, is an open-air beach restaurant that serves sustainable and fresh Mexican ingredients. Try the tortilla soup or a hand-crafted margarita at the beach bar. For a beautiful French-inspired restaurant in the heart of downtown, check out Café des Artistes. This unique spot has ocean view, garden and indoor areas and serves fusion dishes like Vera Cruz red snapper and roasted ginger duck.
When visiting Puerto Vallarta, most travelers with arrive by way of Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR), just north of the city. The airport is served by nearly all major U.S. carriers, as well as Aeromexico. Prearranging private transportation from the airport to your hotel is common, though there are less-expensive ways, such as the local buses or white federal and yellow taxis. Taxis are also good for navigating short distances throughout the city; though walking around the different sections of town is the best way to experience it.
Puerto Vallarta enjoys a tropical climate with near constant warm temperatures (and high humidity) year-round. The average high temperature in the late summer months (August and September) hovers around 90° F and the average low for the winter can drop down to around 62° F. This region has an annual rainy season which shows up from June to mid-October, yet has virtually no more precipitation the rest of the year. Tours, excursions and beach days are not usually affected by the weather, as rain typically only lasts for short amounts of time and often only at night.
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Villa La Estancia
The Villa La Estancia is located near championship golf courses and sits on the beautiful Flamingos Beach. This is a private property offering guests a place to come relax and be surrounded by pure luxury. Treat yourself to a massage, body wrap or facial at the on-site European style spa. Let your private villa at Villa La Estancia be your home away from home. A pre-arrival shopping service is available where staff members will do your grocery shopping for you and make sure your villa is fully stocked with everything you need before you arrive. The friendly concierge will arrange any activity for you and for those who need to conduct business an on-site business center is available for use.(more)
Located right in the heart of downtown Puerto Vallarta, the Rosita Hotel is just steps away from the ocean-side boardwalk, the Malecon, which leads to all the major shopping areas and restaurants in the city. The 115 spacious rooms all come with their own personal balconies, and look out over an ocean-view or downtown. Other amenities include a colonial restaurant, bar, swimming pool and laundry service. This no-thrills, yet attractive hotel was one of the first built in the area, and allows guests to step out of the lobby and be immediately immersed in the charm and beauty of Puerto Vallarta.(more)
Velas Vallarta’s beautiful grounds occupy ten acres of coastline on the Bay of Banderas. Only 2.5 miles from Puerto Vallarta’s International Airport, and 3 miles from downtown, this resort has a prime location that is near it all, including El Malecon, a popular oceanfront boardwalk, sandy beaches and chic shops and boutiques. The hotel boasts 339 luxury suites with contemporary furnishing and tropical-themed décor. The rooms range from 1 bedroom to ocean-view master suites that were completely remodeled in 2005. Also within Velas Vallarta, there are several restaurants, an on-site spa, children’s activities, and a professional 18-hole golf course.(more)
Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Spa
Just minutes from downtown Puerto Vallarta, this beachfront resort has the best of both worlds, with its relaxing natural tropical surroundings and city bustling with shops, restaurants and nightclubs. The hotel has 236 newly renovated rooms and suites, as well as a luxury spa, where guests receive a complimentary scalp and hand massage upon arrival. The extensive spa menu features the best of massages, facials, body treatments and scrubs. The Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Spa also offers several unique restaurants and bars, where an all-inclusive plan is available.(more)
Barceló La Jolla de Mismaloya
Barceló La Jolla de Mismaloya, a five-star all-suite hotel in Puerto Vallarta, is an elegant, all-inclusive Mexican-style resort. It offers 316 completely renovated and comfortable suites with excellent service, leisure, history, beautiful scenery, exuberant flora and privacy.
Relax in the hotel spa, catch some rays at one of the hotel pools or take time out to practice your favorite water sport.
Barceló La Jolla de Mismaloya Hotel was awarded the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award in 2009.(more)
Los Cuatros Vientos
This charming smaller hotel is the longest and continuously operated hotel and restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. Chez Elena is a favorite of tourists and locals alike, and prides itself on delicious food at great prices. Perfect for a wedding, honeymoon or couples retreat, Los Cuantros Vientos has romance at every corner. The guest rooms are each individually decorated with local handmade crafts and tile-work to compliment the hacienda-style furniture. There is a balance of authentic Mexican culture, mixed with an all-inclusive relaxing environment. A favorite amenity of the hotel is the rooftop terrace bar, El Nido, where guests can enjoy a world-famous margarita while taking in the breathtaking views.(more)
Vallarta Adventures offers a wide variety of thrilling wildlife experiences to travelers of all ages. Choose between snorkeling with sea lions, zip-lining through jungles, swimming with dolphins, taking a jeep safari ride through the Mexican Outback or several other exciting tours and excursions. These adventures are planned out to the finest detail and are guaranteed to provide safe and exhilarating fun for the entire family.(more)
Galleria Dante is a world renowned art gallery located in the heart of downtown Puerto Vallarta. The American-Canadian run gallery displays sculptures, paintings and various mediums of artwork from Mexico and around the world. The largest gallery in the city, Galleria Dante is also home to a beautiful sculpture garden. Art lovers from all over will appreciate this true gem, many of them even tempted to buy a piece.(more)
Vista Vallarta is a true golf-lovers paradise. The golf club, which shares land with premium hotels, spas and restaurants, is made up of two state of the art golf courses that divide 478 acres. Both championship greens are 18 hole par 72 courses, one of which was designed by golf legend, Jack Nicklaus. This world class golf course looks out over the Bahia de Banderas and is a must for any golf enthusiast looking to play on a truly remarkable course.(more)
Las Animas Adventure Park and Tour
This brand new attraction is sure to please the vacationer who’s looking to combine a perfect ocean and adventure experience. Guests will sail out to the pristine beaches of Las Animas and enjoy a day filled with snorkeling, boating, visiting a protected marine preserve and making their way through the Adventure Park. The park has an array of thrilling activities like flying down zip lines, crossing hanging bridges, climbing challenging rock walls and more.
Yelapa is a small island just off the coast of Puerto Vallarta. A short boat ride will bring visitors who are looking for a simple, laid back day of sun, relaxation and local culture and cuisine. Hiking by the magnificent village waterfall, horseback riding, as well as snorkeling and parasailing are popular activities on the island. Be sure to sample some of the freshest seafood at one of the many oceanfront restaurants and check out the handmade rosewood artisan crafts as well.(more)