Our spring break cruise stopped in three Mexican cities during our one week holiday. By far, Puerto Vallarta, was our favorite port of call. It had been over 25 years since my last visit to what was then a sleepier seaside town. Today, Puerto Vallarta is a bustling and busy tourist center that regularly tops ‘Best or Most Romantic or Favorite Beach Destination’ lists from Conde Nast, About.com and Trip Advisor.
The charming resort town of Puerto Vallarta is located in the state of Jalisco on Mexico’s Pacific coast. The majestic Sierra Madre mountains frame the historic town. The French organization, “The Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club” and UNESCO consider Banderas Bay to be ‘one of the most beautiful bays in the world’.
Things to do in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is a tropical lover’s dream destination. From fabulous food to golden sand beaches and a wide variety of active adventures, this sunny hot spot on Mexico’s Pacific coast offers something for everyone. Which makes Puerto Vallarta an ideal destination for a multigenerational family vacation.
Puerto Vallarta has 40 km of golden beaches along the Mexican Pacific, as well as the enticing Malecón (beachside walkway) adding to its charm. Puerto Vallarta’s renowned Malecón runs from the Romantic Zone to the start of the Hotel Zone. You’ll find a great collection of bronze sculptures here, including the town’s iconic Seahorse as well as being able to catch the Voladores de Papantla (Flying Ritual) every night.
The city’s charming Old Town is characterized by its impressive colonial architecture and narrow, cobblestone streets framed by shops, cafes and restaurants. It’s highly walkable and in close distance to the Malecón.
Puerto Vallarta also provides the latest in ecotourism and extreme adventures. The lush jungles and sparkling waterfalls offer many opportunities for the adventurous. Visitors can enjoy zip lining on Mexico’s longest line, or take to the off-roads on an ATV. Swimming with the dolphins or releasing turtles is extremely popular, as are boat trips in search of elusive big fish, horseback rides, diving trips and day trips to the interior.
Take a Food Tour
Mexico has some of the best food in the world, and Puerto Vallarta is no exception. For something really adventurous, take a food tour with Vallarta Food Tours. Your guide will take you on a 2-3 hour walking and eating tour of Vallarta’s taco stands, fine dining restaurants, chocolate and sweet shops. It is a wonderful way to see – and taste – the city. You’ll enjoy incredible local food delicacies, such as fish and steak tacos, mole and delicious Mexican sweets as well.
Go to the beach
Because of its great diversity and almost perfect climate, Puerto Vallarta has become a popular winter destination. Its location and geography make it the ideal place to enjoy an unforgettable beach vacation. With near constant temperatures, Puerto Vallarta usually experiences 322 days of sunshine a year and average temperatures between 20° C and 30° C.
Puerto Vallarta has gorgeous sand beaches, perfect for sun worship, relaxation and swimming fun. Here are some of our favorites.
Playa Los Muertos (Beach of the Dead) – The city’s largest public beach.
Playa Mismayola – The 1964 movie The Night of the Iguana in Mismaloya, directed by John Huston was filmed at Playa Mismayola. Just 20 min from the Puerto Vallarta town center, at the mouth of the Mismaloya River. The main set was located on hillside to the south of the beach. There are a number of restaurants to choose from at the beach.
Islas Maristas – Great place to snorkel, dive and swim in an aquatic wonderland. You are surrounded by volcanic formations and lush tropical jungle. Get a chance to visit Hidden Beach.
Playa Las Caletas – A secluded beach that is now a wildlife preserve; there is a living natural reef close to shore, which makes the beach a popular destination for snorkelers. It was once the private retreat of film director John Huston.
Disclosure:The writer is participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board and received compensation for this post. As always, the love of sunny beaches and Mexican food are honest and her own.