Discover the Magic of Puerto Vallarta: A Tourist's Guide

Puerto Vallarta is a coastal paradise that offers something for everyone. From fishing and boating to relaxing on the beach, there's no shortage of activities to enjoy. Banderas Bay, the body of water in which Puerto Vallarta sits, is one of the largest bays in the world and provides plenty of opportunities for exploration. Boca de Tomatlán is a quiet fishing village located near Puerto Vallarta and is a popular spot for scuba diving.

Protected by palm trees on either side, “Boca” offers a nice little bay that makes it a great place to relax and unwind away from the crowds. Los Muertos Beach is the most popular and well-known beach in the area and is an ideal destination for people of all ages. The beach is known for its beautiful sunsets, and there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars that are open all day and late at night. If you're looking for adventure, 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.

Puerto Vallarta also offers a wide variety of water sports for a spectacular day full of excitement and fun. The Cruz del Cerro viewpoint provides a panoramic view of the city while admiring the crystal blue ocean water, lush green vegetation and the spectacular mountain landscape that makes Puerto Vallarta so special. Mismaloya is a small fishing village that was made famous by the movie Night of the Iguana and is a great spot for a day trip from Puerto Vallarta. The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Secretariat also offers free tours in Puerto Vallarta that are an unmissable opportunity to explore the city.

Recognizing this new opportunity, visionary leaders such as Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, then president of Mexico, together with Francisco Medina Ascencio, then governor of the state of Jalisco, shared the vision of making Puerto Vallarta a model tourist destination and initiated projects that provided the city with adequate infrastructure. The city is divided into neighborhoods (zones), with endless things to do in Puerto Vallarta along Banderas Bay and beyond. However, Puerto Vallarta manages to strike a balance between modernity and tradition, offering a charming and sunny coastal getaway that is a little rough around the edges in the best possible way. Throughout the year, Puerto Vallarta prides itself on hosting a variety of important events: culture and art festivals cover everything from mariachis, international movies to gourmet food, and there are endless tennis, golf and fishing tournaments.

Airbnb is alive and well in Puerto Vallarta, so look for an apartment if you want to live like a local. For something even more remote, take an Uber or a local bus to the beaches south of Puerto Vallarta. With direct flights from most cities in North America and Europe offered by Aeromexico, America West, Alaska and Continental Airlines, Puerto Vallarta has been a fixture on the international tourism map for more than 50 years. The Seahorse Monument is formally known as El Niño del Caballito de Seahorse, and is one of the main symbols of Puerto Vallarta.

According to some Puerto Vallarta locals I met, Playa Los Muertos is called “the dead” because during the colonial period pirates used to brutally ambush natives who were forced to knock down the gold they collected in the hills through donkeys. Puerto Vallarta has something for everyone - whether you're looking for adventure or relaxation - making it an ideal destination for tourists from all over the world.

Léa Payamps
Léa Payamps

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