Enjoy a meal at La Iguana. Puerto Vallarta is one of the only places to visit in Mexico, where mountains meet jungles and sea. Its historic center, the Romantic Zone, is full of cobbled streets. Bright purple flowers hang low over crisscrossing avenues, adding bursts of color to whitewashed buildings that are covered with iconic terracotta roofs.
If Puerto Vallarta could be reduced to a snapshot, it would be its iconic Malecón. This mile-long walkway that hugs the coast takes visitors on a journey from Downtown to the Romantic Zone or the historic district. Along the way, travelers can enjoy stunning views of Banderas Bay and jungle-covered mountains; see downtown's beautiful red tile roofs; stroll through many of the city's most popular restaurants; and see the city's sculptures, beaches, and live street shows. The Malecón is also closed to vehicle traffic, which means you can take your time while strolling.
It's also a perfect spot for a morning jog. End at one of Puerto Vallarta's most famous beaches and at the iconic sail-shaped pier. Anytime of the day something happens along the Malecón, and it's the main place where locals, tourists and expats gather. Colourful Buildings in the Romantic Zone Step back in time and experience the heart and soul of the original Puerto Vallarta.
The Romantic Zone is the historic district of the city and is one of the most visually pleasing parts of the city. The Romantic Zone starts at the bridge over the Cuale River. Here you'll find the Old Farmers Market and some of the city's most popular beaches, restaurants, art galleries and boutique hotels. It's also where the highest concentration of expats live, so you'll find it very tourist-friendly.
Mismaloya Beach is located in the next small coastal town of Puerto Vallarta, called Mismaloya. In fact, it was this beach that put Puerto Vallarta on the tourist map, since it was the setting for the 1964 film, Night of the Iguana, starring Richard Burton. Los Arcos Marine National Park in Banderas Bay Puerto Vallarta thrives on its coastal location. Life revolves around water, whether it's fishing, boating, or just lying on the beach.
One of the best ways to enjoy the city is to go out on the water. Banderas Bay, the body of water in which Puerto Vallarta sits, is one of the largest bays in the world. Yelapa is a quiet sandy beach just 20 miles south of Puerto Vallarta. What keeps you so discreet? You can only get there by boat.
You can do it from the Los Muertos pier, or by hiring a private charter from Boca de Tomatlán, another fishing village south of Puerto Vallarta). Wildlife abounds in this government-protected natural area. Islas Marietas is a group of uninhabited islands that sit in Banderas Bay off the coast of Puerto Vallarta and the neighboring state, Nayarit. The islands are protected from human access to preserve the native and rare wildlife species that live here.
More than a park, Islas Marietas National Park is a dedicated part of the UNESCO biosphere reserve and a RAMSAR site. Fishing and hunting are not allowed on the islands, so the area is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including whales, seabirds, manta rays, dolphins and thousands of species of tropical fish. Only a few tour companies can take guests to the islands, but visitors looking for a bit of fun in the sun can head to the white sand beach of La Nopalera, where they can jump into the water for kayaking, surfing, snorkeling, or paddleboarding. Los Arcos (Los Arcos) is a famous rock formation in Banderas Bay, and one of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta.
It is very popular with boat tours and photographers alike, and known for having the best snorkel in Puerto Vallarta. Casa 449 is a newer family restaurant whose managers trained as international chefs in some of the most expensive restaurants in Puerto Vallarta and Spain. Technically it's not in Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is just across the border in the state of Nayarit, but it's a perfect (and common) day trip from Puerto Vallarta. If you are looking for car rental in Puerto Vallarta, the airport is the best and most convenient place to rent.
This stunning and beautiful Puerto Vallarta boutique hotel is also one of the best tourist attractions in Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta is one of the most gay-friendly cities in Mexico, and perhaps the world, so this is a great place to visit in Puerto Vallarta for LGBT travelers. Conchas Chinas: An exclusive neighborhood along Puerto Vallarta's south coast, home to incredible condos with spectacular ocean views. Romantic Zone, the area between the Cuale River and the end of the beach, the liveliest part of Puerto Vallarta with art galleries and excellent restaurants.
In fact, the two cities are side by side, making it possible to visit them on a day trip to Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta's Malecón is the perfect spot to find live shows, art, street food, restaurants with beach access, live music, crafts and other activities. Truly, no Best of Puerto Vallarta guide like this one would be complete without a mention of Sayulita, a boho, relaxed and Instagram-friendly beach town. While the other two are incredible in their own right and have some of the best beaches in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta has a more authentic cultural vibe.
Sayulita may not have the feel of the big city of Puerto Vallarta, but it has salt-drenched beach bars and surf huts galore. One of the best things about Puerto Vallarta is that there are a lot of things to do no matter what type of traveler you are. . .