Holidays to Puerto Vallarta aren’t just about sandy beaches. You’ve also got buzzy nightlife, a mountain backdrop, and one of Mexico’s best dining scenes.
Back in the 60s, Hollywood’s golden couple – Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton – jetted in to Puerto Vallarta and thrust this sleepy town into the spotlight. It’s been a popular pick for holidaymakers ever since, morphing into a fully-fledged seaside city complete with boutique shops, cosmopolitan bars, and restaurants that rival those in Mexico’s capital city.
Puerto Vallarta hugs the centre of Banderas Bay, a scenic scoop on Mexico’s west coast. Wide, golden beaches are the norm here – Los Muertos is the big cheese, but if you fancy a bit more elbow room, there are plenty of other sandy stretches. Some of them are only accessible by boat, so they’ve got real get-away-from-it-all credentials.
The hub of the city is the old town – Viejo Vallarta. Also known as the Zona Romantica, it mixes up traditional and modern Mexico – upmarket restaurants and boutiques stand shoulder-to-shoulder with teensy bakeries and stalls frying up tortillas and slicing tropical fruits. Running along the waterfront is the malecón, a mile-long boardwalk that’s prime sunset-strolling territory. Keep an eye out for its quirky sculptures and street performers.
Backing the city are the jungle-blanketed Sierra Madre mountains. Take the traditional route and visit sleepy Colonial villages, or go all action-hero with a trip that packs in waterfall rappelling and zip-lining. If you prefer water-based fun, jump on a boat to Los Arcos Marine Park. The corals and rock formations around these granite islands make for great snorkelling and scuba diving.
Places To Stay In Puerto Vallarta View all places to stay »
Things To Do View all »
Puerto Vallarta has a handful of malls sheltering big brand names, but for shopping that has more originality, you’re best…View details »
Shoppers are sorted in Puerto Vallarta – there’s everything from street stalls to ritzy malls here. But for souvenirs with…View details »
Los Arcos National Marine Park is a cluster of granite islands protruding out of the sea, about 15 minutes’ drive south of…View details »
When it comes to nightlife, Vallarta does it ‘con gusto’. Cerveza-fuelled parties draw half the neighbourhood to hacienda-style…View details »