Puerto Vallarta City Guide
About Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is the second largest resort destination on the Pacific Coast of Mexico and is situated in Banderas Bay area, Bahia de Banderas.
People planning vacations to Puerto Vallarta can expect miles of sandy beaches surrounded by the varied topography of the Costa Vallarta that consists of areas of dense jungle vegetation, steep mountains and hills and dry arid flat lands littered with cactuses.
Puerto Vallarta offers an intriguing blend of the old and new worlds as it features a historic old town that offers a typical Mexican village ambience with its quaint cobblestone streets, which are lined with charming white adobe houses, flower-filled wrought-iron balconies and red tiled roofs. This old world town center complements the city hotel zone, which is laced with modern amenities. The hotel zone features luxury hotels, bars, restaurants and shopping malls.
Where to stay in Puerto Vallarta
Luxury hotels, spa hotels, resort hotels, boutique beach hotels, discount hotels and budget accommodation; Puerto Vallarta offers them all and more.
The city of Puerto Vallarta consists of few main areas namely the Hotel zone, which is located few miles to the south of the city’s airport, the Zona Romantica and the El Centro, which is heart and soul of the city and is located along the shore between these two areas.
The city also encompasses various residential areas like Bucerías, Conchas Chinas, Marina Vallarta, Mismaloya and the Nuevo Vallarta / Flamingos area.
Puerto Vallarta’s many diverse hotel properties are concentrated within its main hotel zone. This hotel zone extends along the white sandy coast that stretches south from Marina Vallarta to El Centro. Most visitors to Puerto Vallarta choose to stay within its Hotel Zone as it is considered to be relatively safe with a more or less international ambience as apart from large hotels and resorts it also offer familiar shopping options at large stores like Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.
We offer a whole host of tempting hotel deals for Puerto Vallarta hotels located within this zone, including spa and resort hotels as well as family-centric all inclusive hotel properties.
The Marina Area
The Marina area is also located within close proximity to Puerto Vallarta’s airport though it offers its own accommodation choices in the form of upscale hotels and many shopping and dining opportunities.
The Zona Romantica
The Zona Romantic is bordered by on the north by the Cuale River and on the west by Playa de Los Muertos, or Beach of the Dead and offers cobbled stone streets and quaint small hotels, which are favored by vacationing couples.
Places to see in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta with its many beaches and water bodies is a water sports enthusiast’s paradise since it offers a wide array of water sports that include wind surfing, sailing, kayaking, surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling and water-skiing along with opportunities for swimming with dolphins and whale watching. Many hotels and beach resorts, additionally, offer organized excursions to secluded beaches along with various hiking, biking tours and canopy tours. Vacations to Puerto Vallarta are a welcome break for adventure sport enthusiasts.
This resort town is additionally equipped with several facilities for various popular leisure activities like golf (the 18-hole public access Flamingo’s Golf Club at Neuvo Vallarta is a popular venue), deep-sea fishing, horse riding and bungee jumping.
Besides these recreational activities, the beachside resort of Puerto Vallarta offers several sightseeing opportunities for visitors, who may want to take a break from the resort’s many seaside and beach attractions.
The Malecón is the main boardwalk of Puerto Vallarta that is located in the heart of the city. This beachfront promenade offers gorgeous vistas of Puerto Vallarta’s bay and is a popular spot for viewing the stunning Puerto Vallarta sunsets.
The Puerto Vallarta Malecón is lined with many bronze sculptures and sand sculptures. Further, the Malecón at Puerta Vallarta is also populated by many bars, restaurants, and shops. The Malecón leads onto the city’s Los Arcos attraction and the amphitheater, which is a popular locale for many performances and shows on the weekends. This boardwalk is a must do activity to explore the city during your vacations in Puerto Vallarta.
The Cathedral of Guadalupe
La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe is the prime attraction of downtown Puerto Vallarta. This church, which was constructed over a 12 year period in the 1930’s is the focal point of a 12 day festival that is held annually in Puerto Vallarta in December.
The interior of the church is filled with elaborate and intricately hand-carved columns, decorative moldings and other rich detailing. It is believed that an earthquake damaged the ornate crown that originally adorned the church. The crown has been repaired and replaced in recent times.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe is open to the public on Sundays from 10am onwards.
Los Arcos National Marine Park
This popular attraction is a federal underwater park that is operated as an eco-preserve near the neighborhood of Mismaloya in the Bay of Banderas. The park consists of a series of small islands that offer reefs, tunnels, caves, and arches that teem with marine life. Los Arcos offers excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities and is extremely popular with tourists who can’t stop marveling at the wide variety of sea life on offer at the park.
Marine creatures like the spotted Eagle Rays, octopus, lobster, angelfish, puffer fish, needlefish, and clownfish are regularly seen at Los Arcos to the delight of its visitors on vacations.
The Seahorse statue is a major attraction in Puerto Vallarta. This statue features a bronze Triton sporting a sombrero and riding a seahorse and is located in the downtown area of the city. The Seahorse statue is a much photographed monument in Puerto Vallarta.
Whale watching expeditions
The whale-watching season in Puerto Vallarta begins as early as November and extends until March. During this period, thousands of people come out to Puerto Vallarta to see the great marine mammals up close.
Many tour companies in Puerto Vallarta offer whale watching expeditions during the season. January and February are generally considered to be the best months for whale sightings in Puerto Vallarta.
This museum offers many displays of indigenous artworks created by Puerto Vallarta’s original settlers, the Huichol Indians. These fascinating displays feature colorful marks and many abstract paintings that provide a valuable insight into the tradition and ingenuity of these indigenous peoples. You may visit this museum during your Puerto Vallarta vacations for a peek at the city’s history and culture.
Best time to visit Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta has a climate that is hot and humid for most of the year. Year round temperatures in Puerto Vallarta usually register an average of 90°F (32°C) and render this coastal city as a destination that can be visited at any time of the year. Peak tourist season in Puerto Vallarta usually extends from December to the end of April.
The city also experiences a rainy season that extends from May to Mid-October, which coincides with the traditional hurricane season. During these months tropical afternoon showers are a common occurrence and it is best to avoid vacations to Puerto Vallarta during this time.
Getting around in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is well served by flights from US and Mexico. So, if you want to save time on traveling, especially if vacations are short, you can explore cheap air ticket deals to Puerto Vallarta on Fare Buzz. With our rich inventory of cheap air tickets, you will save time and money.
Fr moving around the city, Puerto Vallarta is well served by a public transport system that comprises of public buses and taxis. The tickets for the bus services are extremely reasonable and are usually priced at approximately six to ten pesos a ride.
Taxis are also plentiful in Puerto Vallarta but it is always wise to fix a price with the driver before you set off. Moreover it is useful to know that if you ask your bell hop or your hotel concierge to call a taxi, you will be charged more so if you want to save some pesos you should walk out of your hotel and hail your taxi in the street yourself.
Where to shop in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta, like various other Mexican beach resorts abounds with great shopping options. Silver jewelry, local pottery, sarapes, masks, blown glass objects and native art are some of the many artisan products favored by shoppers who visit Puerto Vallarta. In fact Puerto Vallarta has a reputation as an arts center of Mexico and this beach resort is home many art galleries, showcasing the artworks of local artists.
Most visitors to Puerto Vallarta tend to concentrate their shopping expeditions in and around the city’s main streets like Calle Libertad, Calle Juarez and Calle Morelos. Located here are several art galleries and boutiques offering original artworks, designer apparel, pottery and other artisanal goods at hugely competitive prices. Additional shopping options are also available at Puerto Vallarta’s modern malls and shopping centers, like Plaza Marina, Plaza Caracol, Plaza Neptune and Paradise Village. Located within these malls are several lifestyle, jewelry and apparel stores belonging to well-known local and international brands.
The stalls and kiosks located within Puerta Vallarta’s Municipal Market, on Cuale Island and the Pueblo Viejo Artisans’ Market are especially popular with souvenir seeking tourists. Bargaining is an accepted shopping norm in Mexico and both buyers and sellers seem to enjoy the back and forth as they arrive on a mutually acceptable price. As a rule of thumb, it is advisable to offer 40-50% less than the asking price as you begin your negotiations with a seller at one of these markets.
Where to eat in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is a much frequented vacation destination, which attracts scores of international and domestic tourists annually. As a result, this popular Mexican beach resort hosts a wide variety of restaurants offering a smorgasbord of local and international eats. Moreover, the resort also hosts two annual food festivals, the Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Week (held in May) and the Gourmet Festival (November), both of which aim to showcase the creativity, quality and diversity of Puerto Vallarta restaurants.
Popular and well-liked restaurants in Puerto Vallarta currently include establishments like El Arrayan (traditional Mexican fare), Fajita Republic and La Ronda (both offering Tex-Mex cuisine), Marisco Polo (seafood), El Rio BBQ, Café Roma (Italian fare), Barcelona Tapas, La Kuh (US steaks), Archie’s Wok, Hashi Sushi and Peking Restaurant (all three serving Asian fare).
Aside from restaurants, Puerto Vallarta also hosts several taco stands around the city which serve as popular as dining options with locals and tourists alike. Recommended Taco stands in Puerto Vallarta include –Tacos de Mariscos, El Moreno and Mariscos Mismaloya.
Nightlife in Puerto Vallarta
Of all the wonderful things that Puerto Vallarta has to offer, nightlife is not the least of them. There is something for everyone in this beach resort town. Located along the stretch of the Malecón in Puerto Vallarta are several bars, nightclubs, jazz bars, live music venues, late-night eateries offering various forms of nocturnal entertainment.