Seahorse sculpture on Playa de los Muertos; one of several large public works donated by local artists for the malecon.
Puerto Vallarta  is a city and popular vacation resort on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.
Around the Bay, beautiful beaches, lush jungles and sparkling waterfalls offer many opportunities for the adventurous, while five star resorts, world-class shopping and gourmet restaurants satisfy even the most sophisticated traveler. Stretching from the south end of Old Town to central downtown, a newly extended and refurbished boardwalk along the ocean, called the Malecon, passes by any number of shops, restaurants, and hotels, and often plays host to mimes, breakdancers, clowns and artists.
The residents of Puerto Vallarta are very friendly and generally willing to help with directions and other requests. Old TownVallarta (or the Zona Romantica district) south of the River Cuale is more like a Mexican town and less like a tourist trap.
English is widely spoken, and as a tourist destination prices are higher than many other places in Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is very crowded at holiday times, if planning a visit to Mexico that coincides with a major holiday consider opting to visit Mexico City or Guadalajara instead. The cities empty out as Mexicans and tourists alike flood to the beaches.
Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (IATA: PVR) is located just to the North of Puerto Vallarta proper, and just south of Nuevo Vallarta. Most major US airlines serve the airport along with Aeromexico. It has been recently remodeled, though waits can still occur when more than two flights have landed.
Note that the arrival area is plagued by timeshare hucksters. They will offer to arrange a cab for you and try to rope you into a timeshare sales presentation. After you clear customs, walk quickly through the next room - the one housing the hucksters - continue walking past the rope-line. Now look for the official taxi kiosk out in the main airport atrium. You purchase your taxi trip here. All other offers of cab rides you will receive between customs and the kiosk will be from timeshare hucksters. Ignore every one of them. The bad experience of those taken in can ruin one's first hours in PVR, and that would be a shame. Or hire private transportation.
If you've packed lightly you can take the city buses into town. Continue straight ahead as you exit the arrivals area and exit the doors in front of you. The bus stop is to your left, under the pedestrian overpass (1/4 block from the airport door). Wait for a bus (5 minutes or so) marked Centro (but NOT marked Pitillal or Bobadilla), wave it down, pay your M$6.50 pesos, and enjoy the ride. The bus stops all throughout the town. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes for the bus to get to its farthest southerly stop. You've just saved $20! You don't need exact change for the bus. Drivers will make change for bills $50.00 pesos & smaller.
By private transportation
If you are visiting Puerto Vallarta, you should consider private pre-arranged transportation directly from your airport to your hotel. This transportation can be arranged by contacting a company by phone, or booking online.
There are modern, well maintained toll roads all the way from the border, other roads are not as well maintained, but are still suitable for the drive. See also driving in Mexico for further tips regarding driving in Mexico
There are many party boats that leave the coast from the Marina for day trips. Some stop at various beaches. You are even able to go horseback riding up to a waterfall at one beach south of Puerto Vallarta. Major cruise ships loaded with thousands of tourists from the United States as well as Europe dock in the city's main port typically spending an entire day there.
The main bus station is north of town, past the airport.
Luxury line Primera Plus  runs many buses from Guadalajara (also stopping at the western Zapopin terminal). If you are traveling in a peak holiday period booking ahead is not essential the bus companies will schedule extra buses.
Second class buses run from coastal towns throughout the riviera Nayarit such as San Blas.
To catch a local bus into town, exit the bus station and keep walking across the parking area. Then walk to your right toward the corner. The city buses will stop here. Any bus you pick up here will take you all the way down to the "Romantic Zone", about a half an hour drive, for just M$5.50! Although not really known to tourists, the buses are one of the best ways to mingle with the locals, as well as getting a nice view of town.
It is possible to walk between the airport and the bus station, however catching a city bus is a cheap and reliable option.
Hotels may provide a price list for cabs (expect to pay about 50 pesos for short trips, and 200 for longer trips). Hotels will also offer (expensive) transport from airport to hotel., but it is much better to take a taxi. If you've booked with a travel agency, they will most likely provide you with transportation to and from the airport.
Be prepared for fast speeds, as the cab drivers have schedules to adhere to. Many of the cabs do not have working seatbelts or speedometers as well. Taxi drivers tend to gather at the intersection close to the liquor outlet in the Centro District. They are friendly and you can negotiate trips outside of Puerto Vallarta at a very reasonable cost on slow days. They will wait for you while you dine or shop as well as photograph you and your mates. Include a small tip with the very reasonable fare.
Tip: From the airport, there are two types of taxis available to get you to where you are going. The white federal taxis are available immediately upon exiting the airport but are more expensive. Cross the pedestrian bridge over the highway for the cheaper yellow taxis that are more common in other parts of the city.
Bus trips cost around 6.50 pesos, which is about 50 US cents (0.35 Euro) that you pay to the bus driver when you get in and every ride is good for as long as you have to stay on... the whole city if you'd like. It is easy to find a bus stop. You will see large amounts of people loitering on the sidewalk. If you wait a few minutes, a bus will stop as they run quite frequently. Look for your travel location on the bus windshield. Buses stop almost every five to ten blocks and at peak hours tend to get very full & can get very hot, so be ready for that. If you are a man, be ready to give up your seat to women if the bus becomes crowded. Bus drivers will make change for any amount up to 50.00 pesos, but won't break larger bills. (these prices updated August 2010)
The buses are very reliable quite handy to get to places like Pitillal (the rapidly growing suburb to the NE) and Ixtapa (including the nearby U of Guadalajara campus with its gallery and crocodile farm). They are also useful for travelling from the hotel zone and marina area to the downtown or old-town areas. Any bus marked Centro will pass through both. Buses marked Tunel will skip downtown and head directly to the old-town / zona romantica via the tunnel bypass.
You can visit Bucerias for 12 pesos, $.85. You can also go to Punta Mita for 20 pesos, $1.50. Mismaloya buses charge around 6 pesos. There are also larger buses that can take you to Guadalajara, which is about a 5-hour trip.
You can catch buses for Mismaloya along Basilio Badillo on the corner just West of where you see them lined up.
The easiest way to catch a bus to Bucerias, Punta Mita or points in between is to catch a city bus to Wal-Mart/Sams. Walk along the main road to the northernmost bus shelters in front of Wal-Mart. The buses to Bucerias leave from here.
If you want to catch a bus south to Barra de Navidad or any of the towns south to Costa Allagre, you can catch the bus at the corner of [Dieguez & Aguacate] at the south end of town. Busses leave at 6am & 9am. Look for the blue bust stop sign. You will have to pay the driver in Peso's (fares vary on distance). Just tell the driver where or when you want to get off the bus. Most busses make frequent stops but have A/C. Regional busses are very reliable & run 7 days per week.
Puerto Vallarta's beaches lie between mountains and ocean
Beautiful Banderas Bay, one of the largest and deepest in the world, may be admired from many of the surrounding hills exuberant in lush vegetation. Located right at the mouth of the Bay, straddling both sides of the River Cuale lies a charming and picturesque little town with true Mexican spirit, Puerto Vallarta.
For those who just want to relax, Puerto Vallarta's many golden sand beaches offer one of the best ways to experience the beauty and magic of the Bay of Banderas. A section of the beach called The Blue Chairs is the focal point of the gay village.
To the North, the hills give way a little. Here you will find mile-long stretches of golden sand beaches, rich plantations of papaya and mango and, tucked back along tumbling rivers and streams, small villages where life seems to move at a different pace. There are many different ways to explore the Bay.
To the South, the hills cascade towards the sea creating a rich palette that mixes the vivid green foliage with the deep blues of the water. At their feet nestle secluded coves and small fishing villages, many of which are still accessible only by sea.
To the East, the jungle clad Sierra Madre Mountains, which quickly rise to over 8,000 feet, encircle and protect the town from the winds and regulate the semi-tropical and humid weather.
And, to the West, the Bay of Banderas is home to a wide variety of aquatic life. Humpback whales come here to mate every year from December to March, and sea turtles nest on the beaches from May to October. Schools of dolphins and giant manta rays also inhabit these waters. The Bay and the Marietas Islands offer an amazing kaleidoscope of tropical fish, attracting snorkelers, scuba divers and sport fishermen alike.
Puerto Vallarta has many activities and excursions to keep you entertained. The adventurous can hike or mountain bike in the hills, explore the jungle and hidden trails on horseback, take a jeep safari, snorkel, scuba dive, charter a yacht or sailboat, or take a cruise on one of the many party boats, make a personal photoshoot. Oftentimes they are easily booked online.
Bay of Banderas - Puerto Vallarta
- La Luna, 433 Venustiano Carranza (6 blocks in from Los Muertos beach), ☎ 223-5612, . 3pm-9pm. La Luna offers cooking classes Monday-Wednesday at 3pm, and dinner Monday-Friday from 6pm-9pm.
- Vallarta Botanical Gardens (Hacienda de Oro Restaurant), Carretera a Barra de Navidad Km.24 S/N just beyond Las Juntas y Los Veranos, ☎ (322) 223-6182, . From 9AM to 6PM (closed on Mondays). Vallarta Botanical Gardens a pleasure garden high in the glorious Sierra Madre Mountains. These gardens are easily accessible, just 12 miles south of Puerto Vallarta (on Hwy 200). Located on 20 acres of land, these botanical collections features thousands of different species of plants. The gardens are in a unique tropical dry forest ecosystem at 1,300 feet above sea level. Against the breathtaking backdrop of soaring mountain peaks, there is much to experience: Palm Gardens, Rose Garden, Tree Fern Grotto, Orchid House, Jungle Trails, Tropical Bird Watching, Agave Gardens, displays of Mexican Wildflowers and the Carnivorous Plant Collection. Bringing your swimsuit and enjoy a refreshing dip in the crystal clear Rio Los Horcones The Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens is registered with Botanic Gardens Conservation International in Surrey, England and members of the Asociacion Mexicana de Orquideologia. The Gardens are listed in the Lonely Planet 2009 Guide to Mexico as a "Vallarta Must See" Vallarta Botanical Gardens is a 501c3 nonprofit institution. The Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens was founded in 2004 and was opened to the public in 2005. Our Vision: to build Mexico's greatest botanical garden here in the enchanted highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Our staff is dedicated to the research and education of plant life, as well as showing the public all the beauty that nature has to offer. Plus providing the finest hospitality around. ---- Hacienda de Oro Visitor's Center with spectacular mountain views, is also where you will find Hacienda de Oro Restaurant, with a courteous staff, delicious brick oven pizzas, salads and other Mexican specialties. Hacienda de Oro Restaurant was designed by Santa Rosa, CA native and world-renowned fine artist, Anthony Sbragia. Also, in this area are the famous "classy" restrooms. Located in the heart of an old growth native forest, with thousands of native and ornamental plants, a short ride from town - by car, bus, taxi.
- Puerto Vallarta’s whale watching season runs from December to March of every year. Humpback whales are the top liners of this fantastic nature show, but you can also see dolphins, porpoises and other animals. Puerto Vallarta Whale Watching Tours take you to see humpback whale mothers ant their calves in Banderas Bay.
- International Charter Group: . Yacht charter and sailing, one of the worlds largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to crewed in Puerto Vallarta. Operating from nine offices worldwide (USA, Spain, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Caribbean, Honk Kong and Dubai).
Go kayaking or rent a boat from Bilbobentura  (a company that rents out kayaks on the bank of the river nervion).
- La Marina Vallarta Golf Course-Have to have good accuracy for this one due to narrow fairways that are guarded by water
- Los Flamingos Golf Course-Known as one of the easiest to play
- The Mayan Palace Nuevo Vallarta Golf Club, 18-hole par 71 course designed by Jim Lipe. Address: Paseo de las Moras S/N, Fraccionamiento Náutico Turístico, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico 63735, . Fun course with many obstacles is on the spectacular beaches of Vallarta between the Sierra Madre mountains and the Bahia de Banderas bay. The Vallarta course offers interesting competitive advantages and challenges to golf lovers for the vast fairways appear to be the easy part but the lakes complicate the game for the most expert golfers.
- El Tigre Golf Club-Long course with many traps and water
- Vista Vallarta-Hosted the 2002 EMC World Cup Championship
- Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico's top dive destinations. There are many rental shops along the beaches.
- The beaches in Puerto Vallarta are not ideal for surfing, but a daytrip out of town up along the coast of Banderas Bay will take you to some great surf spots! Passing the Ameca river along the way to these spots, you find yourself in the next door northern state of Nayarit. Such trips can be coordinated with a local surfing instructor or done solo.
There are many surfing spots in the state of Nayarit: ranging from beginner waves, to perfect reef breaks for experienced surfers. The names of some of the more popular surf spots are: Veneros, Burros, la Lancha, Punta de Mita, San Pancho and Sayulita. The drive from downtown Vallarta to points inside the Bay takes roughly 45 minutes, and a bit over an hour to get to renowned Sayulita on the Pacific coast. Sayulita is a small village which is frequented by many tourists because it is easily accessible and a vast array of businesses cater to beginner surfers. You can find surfboard rentals, surf lessons and great beaches. Sayulita is known for producing some of the best surfers in Mexico like Tigre Cadena, Kalle Carranza, Diego Cadena and Adan Hernandez amongst others.
The main beach at Sayulita has consistent waves and the place is crowded during the winter months particularly. There are waves small enough for beginners and large enough for the locals and experts. Most of the adventure companies don't offer surfing lessons and you might need to find an independent instructor.
- The most popular snorkeling areas are Los Arcos underwater caves and Marietas Islands caverns. Vallarta Adventures snorkeling trips combine an extraordinary day of sun, fun, and adventure with just the right mixture of entertainment, learning and challenge, while snorkeling, sea kayaking, and exploring the tropical ecosystems on the secluded islands and beach hideaways that surround beautiful Banderas Bay.
Explore the Sierra Madre
- The Mexican Outback in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit offers an opportunity of discovery and adventure: A culturally and ecologically trained guide can take you into authentic Mexican villages and through the sub-tropical forest with its extraordinary ecology and wildlife. Vallarta Adventures´ Sierra Madre Expedition takes you in specially designed Mercedes Benz all-terrain vehicles on an off-road voyage of discovery, past forgotten villages into the heart of the Sierra Madre.
Canopy Tour / Zip lines
- Puerto Vallarta is well known for its canopy and zip line tours. Experience the exhilarating rush as you fly over the tree tops, securely fastened, from platform to platform.
- Banderas Bay is the second largest bay in North America, behind Hudson Bay. The deep, calm waters offer a very rich biodiversity, stunning beauty, romantic sunsets and relaxed sailing. Vallarta Adventures offers Day Sailing, Sunset Sailing, Sailing with Whales and Private Charters.
- Kitesurfing is becoming more and more popular in Banderas Bay. Especially in Bucerias, a fishing village north of Nuevo Vallarta, you can see up to 30 people kitesurfing on a Sunday when the wind is good. The calm waters of Banderas Bay, the extended shoreline and the fact that it´s not too crowded with kitesurfers (yet) make it an excellent place to take lessons, for example from Jamison Smith , an IKO Level 2 Senior Certified International Kiteboarding Instructor. The season is from February until May.
- You are able to parasail at pretty much every beach. The sky high trip usually last around 15 min.
- Jet skis can be rented at most beaches by the hour.
- Banderas Bay is home to annual Puerto Vallarta International Fishing Tournament held since 1956. Fish types include sailfish, dorado, marlin, bonita and yellowfin tuna, roostertail, jack cravel, pargo, red snapper and more denizens of the deep, black, blue and striped marlin.
- ProFishingVallarta Sport Fishing in Puerto Vallarta  - Offers fishing charter services throughout the whole year in Puerto Vallarta Mexico
- There are many ranches in town that offer horseback Riding into small villages and through the forests. They can last from a few hours to a few days.
Turtle-Watching & Repatriation
- Some tour companies offer educational programs combined with hands-on activities to help save Mexico’s turtles. After the female turtles lay their eggs in nests they create in the sand, volunteers dig up the eggs and re-bury them somewhere safe from predators. After about 45 to 60 days, the eggs hatch. Without help, only about 1 in every 1,000 baby turtles will survive to adulthood because most are caught by predators before they make it back to the safety of the ocean. However, turtle repatriation volunteers keep the babies safe until it is time to set them free to head for the ocean (at night when predators are less active). You can be part of these programs.
- You will be hard-pressed to find information about simple hiking excursions, because no one makes much money from hikers while they are hiking.
So you must research this ahead of time if you wish to hike. However, one short and interesting hike may be accessed as follows. Take a water taxi to Yelapa. On the main beach in Yelapa, walk to the right and cross the creek. Hike upwards a few meters to the cobblestone trail. Turn right, and then follow the trail over a ridge and up the adjacent valley. After hiking about 1.5 km through a tropical deciduous forest, your persistence will be rewarded. The waterfall is about 10 m high, with a pool for bathers at the base. The falls are more impressive during the rainy season (northern summer).
- Davannayoga  - great sunset yoga classes on a 360 rooftop in old town in front of the ocean. Well known for it's traditional style yoga. Only certified teachers offering Vinyasa Flow, Morning Yoga, Sunset Yoga, Children's Yoga. Calle Matamoros #542 on the corner of Corona.
- Yoga Vallarta  - located in Zona Romantica (Basilio Badillo #325 3rd floor). This studio has high-mounted windows that bathe the studio in wonderful, natural light.
- Sea Life Park by Dolphin Discovery - Discover Sea Life Park. Located off the first exit of Nuevo Vallarta; look for the water slides that can be seeing from the road. Open daily except Mondays and Fridays from 10AM. to 6PM.
It usually occurs in the middle of November and includes:
- Many cocktail parties
- Wine and tequila tastings
- Cooking classes
- Gala dinners
- Art expos
Old Town Art Walk in El Centro - Will occur every Wednesday night, 6-10PM, from October 28, 2009 to May 26. 2010. Some of the local art galleries visited are:
- Galería Arte Latinoamericano - Two floor gallery. Participates in art walk
- Galería Corsica - Contemporary Mexican fine art
- Gallería Dante - Voted #1 Gallery in Vallarta Voice Reader’s Choice 2003
- Galería Feedma - A recent addition to the Vallarta art scene, with renowned Mexican and international artists and photographers (moves to mexico city [email protected])
- Galería Omar Alonso - Dedicated to antique and contemporary photography, engraving and sculpture
- Gallería Pacificio - One of Vallarta's leading galleries since 1987; Sponsors the Public Sculpture Walking Tour that starts at 9:30AM every Tuesday on the malecon, Nov-April.
Puerto Vallarta didn't have an English language theater scene until recently. Now you can see up to four companies from the venue Theater Agustin Flores Contreras.
- Electro Beach Puerto Vallarta - a yearly Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festival featuring talent like Tiesto, Avicii, Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Hardwell and more.
- Malecon - You'll find live Cuban, jazz, rock, Latin American ethnic, Mexican ranchero and Mariachi
- South Side - Los Muertos Beach offers jazz at Daiquiri Dick's happy hour
You can also find blues, pop-rock and jazz.
- Marina Vallarta & Nuevo Vallarta-You can have a Mexican dinner and listen to mariachi, marimba, romantic trios and folk harp.
- North Shore - Offers a variety of live music.
- Take a cooking class at La Luna, 433 Venustiano Carranza, in Old Town.
- La Playa liquors and wines. At least two outlets - one in the old town and one in the centro. This is the place to go for reasonably priced tequila. Most of the flashy tequila shops are either factory stores or time-share gimmicks. Neither are good options for buying tequila at a decent price/quality ratio.
- Manta Maya a shop selling contemporary variations on traditional mexican cotton clothing. The clothing is made in their shop in Zapopan, on the outskirts of Guadalajara. Basilio Badillo at Ignacio Vallarta.
- Galeria Indigena a shop specializing in Huichol art as well as art from other indigenous peoples. You'll see bead art everywhere, but this is one of a few shops that sell somethint at least a little more authentic than colorful beaded lizards and such. Juarez 628.
- Arte Mágico Huichol another Huichol art shop. In addition to the usual bead art and yarn art they also sell piece of more traditional Huichol handicrafts. Coronoa 179.
- La Casa del Habano Vallarta's best selection of real Cuban cigars. They also have a cigar bar. Aldama 170, Zona Centro. [email protected]
- Curvas Peligrosas (Swimwear and Beachwear), Juarez #178 (Downtown- Close to Flea Market), ☎ 322-223-5978, . 10AM-6PM. Offers high quality swimwear and beachwear for women in sizes 6 to 18 and Plus Sizes 20-40. Great for when you cannot find a swimsuit at home or forget to pack one. Huge selection, reasonable prices, beautiful suits. Closed Sunday. Summer hours M-F 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Oxxo, (All over the city, every few blocks), . most open 24 hours. Best place to buy beer or snacks, save Wal-Mart (hassle, bus ride). They are all over the city & will save you tons of money. Most have cash machines. A great place to make small change for the bus.
- Wal-Mart, . Cheapest place to buy most groceries. Huge produce dept. Good variety of Mexican & some US products. Good place to buy smokes or liquor before flying home. Can be inconvenient to bring back groceries via local bus.
- Woolworths, (corner of 31 de Octubre & Juarez), . Great & inexpensive place to purchase clothes & household items. Store has A/C. Prices average 10-40% less on similar items from the US. They also take Visa/MC. Bus stop directly outside the front door.
The rich cultural diversity of Puerto Vallarta is reflected in the cuisine that its many restaurants have to offer. From the most casual taco stands, to tropical beachfront palapas, to upscale rooftop restaurants with panoramic views, there are literally hundreds of restaurants serving exactly what you are hungry for.
However, care should be taken to avoid travellers' diarrhea. There are many beachside restaurants to tempt you with tropical drinks, but bottled beer is a much safer option.
When water taxis or other guides seamlessly hand you off to their "amigos" at a beachside restaurant, do not be bashful about seeking other options, or just
order a bottled beer to be opened in front of you. Do not trust that your guide has made a good decision, he will be gone with your tip long before you show any symptoms. Restaurants listed in reputable tour guides are a fairly safe bet.
- Chez Elena Famous hotel and restaurant located in Puerto Vallarta. It has been cited by Playboy Magazine and well known actors such as Peter O'Toole and Elizabeth Taylor.
- Coexist Cafe  (In Hotel Rio)Locals and tourists coexist creating a unique atmosphere, where music is definitely an ingredient you will enjoy. We’re recommended for having an eclectic taste, reflected in our Mexican and international dishes. Live music daily!
- Epoca Just south of the foot bridge over Rio Cuale. Easy to overlook, hard to forget. Excellent food at very reasonable prices.
- Planeta Vegetariano (just around the corner from the church.) Planeta Vegetariano serves a buffet-style vegan meal with a varied and changing menu. All-you-can-eat fresh juices, vegetables, salads, fruit, and many traditional dishes served "sin carne" are to be found. Reasonable prices. They serve a breakfast and lunch buffet, each with different dishes.
- Hard Rock Café, Presidente Díaz Ordaz 652 Downtown. This is a Hard Rock Café just like any other one in the United States but with a touch of Mexico. Just what you can expect good hamburgers and a funky atmosphere. If you are looking for a taste of home this is the place.
- Las Palomas Beyali, Cond. Royal Pacific # 245 Local # 129 Marina Vallarta. This restaurants sits in the beautiful marina of Puerto Vallarta. Surrounded by massive yachts and a peaceful ambience. The food here is very authentic and quite tasteful.
- Pipi’s, Guadalupe Sánchez # 804 Downtown. Fajitas and enchiladas to die for and also delicious margaritas of all flavors. Be prepared for a long wait, however it is worth it you will not regret waiting for this delectable treat. The only downside is that this restaurant is very touristy.
- Señor Frog’s, Venustiano Carranza # 218 Emiliano Zapata, Downtown. This restaurant is mostly known for its club-like environment. At night it is one of the most popular and exciting clubs. During the day though it offers good food that might remind you of Hooters. Owned by the same folks as Carlos O'Brian and similar atmosphere.
- The Blue Shrimp, Morelos # 779 Downtown. As the name implies you must like shrimp to eat at this restaurant. That said it offers some spectacular entrées that will take your hunger away that is for sure. Set partially outside the décor is fun but also very intimate.
- Buenos Aires, in the Marina. This is a steak house that is simply put amazing. Their menu features a 2 LB. tenderloin that is marvelously prepared. They also offer a decent wine list. The setting is beautiful and the food even better.
- Ay Caramba, Ask taxi driver. This restaurant is located atop a roof in the more residential part of Puerto Vallarta. They serve seafood that is freshly caught that day. Also they feature live music and a view that is unmatched. A very intimate setting. One of Puerto Vallarta’s VERY best kept secrets. The restaurant offers an exciting, ascending taxi-ride to the restaurant entrance, (high in the hills of Puerto Vallarta). The entrance to the restaurant is non-descript and belies what is to follow after walking a few shot stairwells. Upon entering the panoramic veranda, the view from table-side is phenomenal - panoramic east-to-west). The prices are very reasonable when taking into consideration the presentation of entree and service/accommodation.
- Black Forest Restaurant, C. Marlin 16 (La Cruz de Huanacaxtle), ☎ 013292955203, . 5 - 10PM. Situated in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle 30 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta - Restaurant Black Forest is the creation of Chef Winfried Küffner and his family. It's thoroughly German, from the half-timbered exterior to the gracious service and authentic Black Forest cuisine which is truly a blending of many European flavors. Each of Chef Winfried's dishes contains traces of his professional background and his classical European training. His emphasis is always on freshness, quality and consistency in preparation and presentation which has earned them a loyal and growing clientele over the years.
- Cafe des Artistes. A beautiful restaurant in the heart of downtown. The restaurant is divided into 3 areas: Inside, outside with a view of the ocean, and the garden. The garden is the most beautiful of the three, with an artificial creek running through it. The food here is very tasty
- La Piazzetta, Calle Rodolfo Gómez 143, Col. E. Zapata, Puerto Vallarta. 4 to midnight. Locals come for the delicious Naples-style pizza (the crust not too thick, not too thin, and cooked in a brick oven), but there's also great pasta and a good variety of entrées, like the cream-based salmon with caviar and lemon. For appetizers try the top-heavy (con molto tomate) bruschetta or steamed mussels with lemon, parsley, and butter. Most folks choose to sit on the open patio, but La Piazzeta also has an intimate dining room. The personal attention of the owner, Mimmo, guarantees repeat business. It's open 4 to midnight.
- Mr. Taco, (2 blocks east of Malecon, near Hard Rock Cafe), . Cheap local street food cooked fresh. Excellent torta's. Although named to draw tourists, it's authentically cooked & priced. Host does speak English.
- Alaska's Diner, Lazaro Cardenas #515 (Three blocks up from Calle Insurgentes), ☎ 044 322 137 4781, . M-Sa 6PM-midnight (low season); 5pm-midnight (high season). Air-conditioned Alaska's Diner serves only locally caught fresh fish and beef from Sonora. The owner and chef (Roger Wark) was an instructor of Food Service Health, Hygiene and Safety in the U.S. Rock and Roll DVDs each Saturday night!
- La Isla de Marins Seafood Restaurant (Seafood Restaurant Puerto Vallarta Mexico), Allende Y Matamoros 869, Puerto Vallarta, JAL (Take Marina Centro Bus to Downtown Puerta Vallarta. Tell Bus Drive get off at the store Lans. Walk to Allende. Take Allende 3 blocks up to Matamoros (Left). Halfway down block. ), ☎ +52 322 222 7537 , . 12:00 pm. Central Norte Puerto Vallarta. This is a great find. A tostada for $1.80 USD and Lobster for $11.50 USD. You can't beat the prices or the freshness of the food. $1.80 to $11.50.
- El brujo, Use google to find it. This is by far the best restaurant that I know for quality/price combination. I could not find it listed in any of the tourist guides but pretty much any local will tell you its one of the best. Food is very nice, for around $10/dish.
- Le Bus Burgers, Revolution. BEST BURGERS IN THE WORLD! Best burger in town! Beef, chicken, fish and veggie, we barbeque our burgers to perfection. We are best known for the best garlic burger in the world. Huge burgers for the price. We source the freshest local and regional products. Our hamburgers are 100% grass-fed beef, the chicken is 100% free-range chicken breast, and the fish is Mahi Mahi caught by local fishermen that morning. Think Global Support Local! 80 pesos.
- Cafe de Olla - Basilio Badillo, 168 (near Olas Altas, Zona Romantica). (322) 223-1626. Has good, cheap food. Try the pork ribs or chicken.
- Takos Panchos - Basilio Badillo, 166 approximate. Right next door to Cafe de Olla has awesome Al Pastor tacos for about $1USD each! Opens around 5pm and is open late.
- Super Pollo - Calle Insurgentes and Francisco I. Madero. Whole chickens with Salsa, tortillas and many other side dishes. On Tuesday and Thursdays they have 2 for 1. 2 whole chickens with sides for $10USD. Across the street is a different chicken restaurant that is a chain with similar deals. Shop local though.
- La Joya de Mismaloya - Eat with your toes in the sand and a cold Corona in your hand. Any of these quaint beach side restaurants will delight you with some fantastic and authentic local seafood dishes. Some recommendations: Shrimp empanadas, Pescado Sarandeado, Tostadas de Ceviche de Camaron.
- Coffee Cup - Rudolfo Gomez 146 (near Olas Atlas Street). 222-8584. An American-style coffee house that serves espresso, latte and cappucino with local baked goods. It is still rare to find this type of coffee in Puerto Vallarta. Local art is displayed on the walls.
- Esquina de los Caprichos - Miramar 402. 222-0911. Open 1 -10PM. Closed Sundays. Spanish and Basque tapas. A few dishes and a glass of sangria is around $17 USD.
- Tia Katrina - A hip take on traditional food. Appetizers from $5, mains from $9 USD. The Tortilla Soup is recommended.
- Red Cabbage - Rivera del Rio 204A. 223-0411. A funky restaurant up the hill from the main streets in the Zona Romantica. It is themed on Frida Kahlo and features pre-hispanic recipes. Dinners from $15 - $25 USD.
- Alaska's Diner - Lazaro Cardenas 515 ("near the tunnel"). Closed Sundays. American comfort food, award-winning chili, and International dishes. Dishes from $25 - $120 pesos.
- Fajita republic, Basilio Badillo 188. Just as the name implies they serve fajitas. Not just any fajitas, the best I have personally ever tasted. With over 10 varieties you cannot go wrong visiting this restaurant in old town Puerto Vallarta. This restaurant offers a quiet setting and great food. If you are in the mood to savor the best fajitas this is the spot.
- Tinos - Up on a hill overlooking Vallarta, most tourists don't know about this place, frequented by local businessmen, and others looking to spend a buck for some fantastic seafood dishes. Some recommendations: tacos de marlin are excellent, and the "mariscada" or "parrillada" which is a huge sampler platter filled with house specialties.
- El Arrayan - Allende 344, El Centro. (322) 222 7195. A very good menu of specialties from many regions. The food is not "typical" to tourist-oriented Mexican restaurants, but rich banquet and festival foods with upscale service. You will have an opportunity to try many familiar dishes like lamb and pork, as well as cactus salad and seasoned roast crickets, for the adventurous.
Downtown:The Hot Spot for Nighlife - Located along the beachfront walk
- La Cave-Piano Bar
- La Dolce Vita-Live Music
- Le Carrousel-Disco/Dancing
- BeboTero-Live Rock at night
It may seem strange but Steve's Sports Bar on Basilio Badillo #286 has the best margaritas - and we've been testing.
- The El Pianito piano bar that used to be across the street from Steve's at Basilio Badillo #284 has closed.
- Club Roxy-Live R&B Hit among people over thiry with live blues and rock. Ignacio Vallarta #217. Music starts around 10PM, no cover. Closed on Sundays
- Carlos O'Brians now closed, demolished to make way for the new upscale bar-restaurant Punto V
- Hard Rock Cafe-Live Music/Dancing Restaurant open until 2am
- The Zoo-Disco/Dancing Attract the 20's crowd with DJ spun music and cages to dance in
- EL Zoo, Paseo Díaz Ordaz # 630 Downtown. This dance club is quite small but very fun. The dance floor doesn’t offer much room to bust a move but offers a great time to be had. Located on the Malecon it is in the center of everything.
- Hilo, Just down the street from El Zoo. Again this club is small. The inside is very cool and the bar is very large. It can get a little crazy because of the small area but is fun for younger kids.
- Señor Frogs, Morelos #518 Downtown. The Tues night foam party is the best and this place is the larger than most clubs. It has two bars and the service is awesome.
- Mandala - Restaurant and Disco-Bar. Located in front of the malecon, beside Zoo bar. This is one of the newest and hottest clubs in town. Open everyday from 11AM to 6AM. Perfect for everyone.
- Collage - World Famous Foam Parties, as seen on E!, Playboy, MTV, and may other TV Networks. This place can hold up to 2000 crazy partiers at a time! Tuesdays and Fridays open bar.
- Christine's, NH Krystal Vallarta Hotel Hotel Zone. This club is HUGE!! It is only open a few nights a week though. It is located close to most hotels.
Puerto Vallarta's cobble stone streets
Accommodations around the Bay of Banderas range from well-known international hotel chains and upscale villas and condominiums in the hotel zone, Marina Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta, and Punta Mita to moderately priced hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, apartments villas, and condominiums in Old Town Vallarta. The south end of Old Town has a number of gay-friendly hotels.
- Cartagena de Indias Hotel, Madero 428, ☎ 222 6914. In the old town the street F. Madero hosts a bunch of similar, simple but clean hotels at a very affordable price. It is a 5-10 minute's walk away from the Malecon. $80-140 MXN per person in a private room.
- Hotel Belmar, Insurgentes 161, ☎ 222 0572 ([email protected], fax: 223 1872), . Family-owned hotel with a personalized service. 30 rooms with color TV. Air conditioning is optional.
- Hotel Bernal, Madero 423, ☎ 222 0785. One of the cheap hotels on the street F. Madero.
- Hotel Encino, Juarez 122, ☎ 222 0051 ([email protected], fax: 222 2573), . Hotel located in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, just one block away from the beach, in front of the market and two blocks from the Malecon.
- Hotel Lina, Madero 367, ☎ 222 1661. One of the cheap hotels on the street F. Madero.
- Hotel Mocali, Nicaragua 286 Col. 5 de Diciembre, ☎ 222 4201, . Hotel located in downtown Puerto Vallarta, just a 2 blocks from the beach and 7 from the pier or "Malecon". Located near restaurants, drug stores, and night clubs.
- Hotel Villa del Mar, Francisco. I. Madero 440; Col. E. Zapata; Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, ☎ 222 2885 ([email protected], fax: 222 0785), . The hotel offers 49 beautiful and affordable rooms and 10 suites with kitchenette. Many of the rooms have private balcony.
- Oasis Hostel, . At 180 MXN per person per night for a dorm bed it is one of the most inexpensive options. It is just off the centre of Puerto Vallarta, but buses and a reasonable walking distance (20 minutes) to town makes it feel well connected.
- Viva La Vida Hostel ([email protected]), Juarez #386, Puerto Vallarta Centro, ☎ (322) 113 03 20, . 1 minute from the beach, just opened in April 2009, they have free Internet both WiFi and a public computer and a massive TV with cable. right in the heart of the city and they have a Beautiful terrace where you can have a beer and watch the sun set. the staff its very friendly and the food its good & clean they always have an option for vegeterians. If you want a more community experience, choose Oasis. The security lockers here are very small. $150 pesos or $12 USD, Breakfast included. (20°36'31.46N,105°14'5.85O)
- Hostel Des Artistes, Bolivia #972, Col. 5 de Diciembre, Centro, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, ☎ (01 322) 222 05 13, . checkin: make arrangements; checkout: make arrangements. A great value for the personal level of service provided by David. Beautiful upper terrace area with view of the city & Bahia. Wifi is a bit weak on terrace but is better on the middle floor. To get to the hostel is a bit of an uphill walk (view!), which is nice because it attracts the adventurists & keeps away most typical tourists. Many local tiendas & food stalls are close as is the main bus avenue. $190.00 pesos / average.
- Hotelito Rolando, 471 Rodolfo Gomez (6.5 blocks from the popular Los Muertos beach, 2 blocks from the restaurants of Calle Basilio Badillo and the nightlife of Zona Romantica), ☎ MX:(322) 306 0686; US: (646) 233 3586 ([email protected]), . Hotelito Rolando is located in Old Town Vallarta/Romantic Zone and the ocean on one side, with a back view of the cascading terra cotta-roofed homes of the neighboring hillsides, jungle, and the hotel'slush gardens. There is a large pool deck area on the west end of the property, with an expansive view of Banderas Bay with an outdoor cooking facility with a pool-side aqua bar, lounge chairs along the deck with two large palapas for shade. $55-$85.
- Casa Panoramica (Bed and Breakfast), Carr. Barra de Navidad 599, ☎ 1-866-573-9804, . Traditional Mexican style villa runs as a Bed and Breakfast, with six bedroom suites, each with its own private bathroom. Panoramic views of the city and the bay.
- Crown Paradise Club - All Inclusive Resort & Spa, ☎ (562) 904 70 50 ([email protected], fax: (562) 904 09 22), . Offers an activities pool, water park with pirate ship, a castle and 9 water slides, playground area, outdoor family game area, and fine dining & bars.
- Embarcadero Pacífico - All Inclusive Resort, ☎ (322) 221 1177 ([email protected], fax: (322) 221 1433), . checkin: 16:00; checkout: 12:00. Wonderfully located in the exclusive zone of Marina Vallarta, this Family-Friendly All Inclusive Resort allows its guests to enjoy the main channel of Mexico’s biggest Marina, as well as the spectacular Banderas Bay.
- Golden Crown Paradise- Adults All Inclusive Spa, ☎ (562) 904 70 50 ([email protected], fax: (562) 904 09 22), . This resort caters to adult travelers with spacious accommodations, a la carte dining, friendly service a vast selection of activities, sports and entertainment, as well as romantic settings for candlelit dinners.
- Hacienda Hotel and SPA, Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio 2699, ☎ 226 6667 ([email protected], fax: 226 6627). Discover the charm and serenity of a true Mexican Hacienda with lush tropical gardens, palm trees and cascades of fresh crystal water and secluded green areas inviting you to savor tranquility and harmony.
- Krystal International Vacation Club (KIVC) Vallarta, Vallarta Avenida de Las Garzas S/N Zona Hotelera, . checkin: 16:00; checkout: 12:00. Centrally located to shopping and nightclubs with a private beach, multiple restaurants, kid's club, and outdoor pools. Krystal KIVC Vallarta is a family-oriented resort.
- Hotel El Pescador, Paraguay 1117, ☎ 222 2169 ([email protected], fax: 223 4393), . Located by the beach in downtown just a few blocks away from the popular Malecon.
- Hotel Emperador, . Hotel Emperador is in the heart of the most traditional area of the Old Puerto Vallarta, only 3 minutes away from the downtown and 20 minutes from the International Airport. On Puerto Vallarta's famous beach "Playa Los Muertos".
- Hotel Rio, Email: [email protected], . Located within walking distance of the main downtown attractions, Hotel Rio is a good deal with clean, comfortable rooms with central air conditioning, telephone, color TV with cable, complete bathroom and balcony. Swimming pool and restaurant. Money exchange and 24 hours internet service.
- Hotel Rosita, Paseo Díaz Ordaz 901, ☎ 222 1033 ([email protected], fax: 223 4393), . One of the first hotels in town on the beach and where the famous Malecon begins.
- Melia Puerto Vallarta, Paseo de la Marina Sur 7 Marina Vallarta, ☎ (52) 322 2263000 ([email protected]), . Beachfront, all-inclusive resort for families on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
- Mexican Resort at Los Tules, Blvd. Fco. Medina Ascencio S/N, interior Los Tules, ☎ 224 5425 ([email protected], fax: 224 4710), . Located within Los Tules right in the hotel zone in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. An oceanfront condominium-style resort located two miles from the airport and one mile from downtown Vallarta. You can also book condominiums directly from owners.
- Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta Beach Resort & Spa , Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio Km 2.5, Zona Hotelera Norte. Phone: 011-52-322-226-1400 Fax: 011-52-322-224-6837 Email: [email protected] The resort features a Spanish colonial courtyard that opens to expansive grounds with flowering gardens, lawns and towering palm trees. Ten hacienda style buildings with terra-cotta-tile roofs range from four to eight stories. At the centerpiece is a freeform activities pool containing a rock garden waterfall with waterslide. A quiet relaxing pool and oceanfront pool complete the main gardens of the resort.
- Hotel Lagunita, Yelapa minicipio Cabo Corrientes, ☎ 209-5055 or 209-5056 ([email protected], fax: 209-5056), . Charming thatched bungalows is on the beach in Yelapa, a 30 minute boat ride from Puerto Vallarta. It offers an outdoor pool, beach bar and a range of personalized massages..
- Casamagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa, Paseo La Marina 435, Marina Vallarta, ☎ 52 322 226 0000 (fax: 52 322 226 0060), . Nestled between the Sierra Madre Mountains and Banderas Bay, CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa proudly holds a spot as one of the 100 World's Best Hotels according to Conde Nast Traveler. The Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort has completed its $10.7 million renovation! The enhancements include newly decorated rooms with luxurious bedding, contemporary bathrooms, new furniture with Mexican-inspired colors and patterns, a complete redesign of the resort's La Estancia restaurant, and exquisite updates to the banquet facilities and business meeting rooms.
- Casa Velas Hotel Boutique, #311 Fracc. Marina Vallarta, C.P. 48354 Puerto Vallarta, Casa Velas Hotel Boutique, Hotel Telephone: 52-322-226-6688 For Reservations Only : 1-866-529-8813, Experience Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Resort - Casa Velas Hotel Boutique is an all-inclusive, luxury vacation resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with stunning tropical scenery, a world-class spa, gourmet dining and an ocean-front beach club.
- Crown Paradise Club All-Inclusive Resort and SPA, Av. de las Garzas S/N, ☎ 226 6868 ([email protected], fax: 226 6856), . A full all-inclusive program this resort offers: activities pool, water park with pirate ship, a castle and 9 water slides, playground area, outdoor family game area, options for fine dining & bars, programmed activities and more, perfect for a memorable family experience.
- Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, . A luxury resort on its own private beach cove. Accommodations include spacious ocean-view rooms and suites overlooking the ocean and large private beach. Several rooms and penthouses have twin floors and private swimming pools. To unwind there are three pools, four gourmet restaurants and friendly lounges.
- Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta, Av. Francisco Medina Ascencio km. 2.5 48333, ☎ +52 (322) 226 2100, . The recently refurbished Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta resort has 291 rooms. The hotel has three bars and restaurants. Located on site are both a fitness and business center. This resort is enjoyed by both American and Mexican tourists alike who enjoy the pool, massage services, water sports, beach volleyball, waterpolo and bingo, or simply lie back and enjoy the beach and the sea breeze.
- Golden Crown Paradise Adults All-Inclusive and SPA, Av. de las Garzas 3, ☎ 226 6800 ([email protected], fax: 226 6855), . This medium-sized Adult Only resort offer spacious accommodations, a la carte dining, friendly service a vast selection of activities, sports and entertainment, as well as romantic settings for candlelit dinners.
- Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit (Puerto Vallarta), Av. Cocoteros 98 Sur, C.P. 63735, ☎ 322-226-8000, . .Grand Velas Riviera NayaritEnjoy a Mexico resort vacation at a luxury beach hotel in Puerto Vallarta. Stroll along white sand beaches or wander cobblestone streets as you experience the culture and nightlife of Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Your beach vacation in Puerto Vallarta awaits!
- Riu Palace Pacifico, . Opening October 2008, Riu Palace Pacifico will be the third Riu hotel in beautiful Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.Riu Palace Pacifico is on Flamingo Beach, only 2 minutes drive from Riu Vallarta and Riu Jalisco, just 9 miles away from downtown Puerto Vallarta. Magnificent architecture and elegant furnishings combined with unparalleled service will offer guests the highest level of distinction. The ideal place for those vacationers seeking total relaxation in sumptuous luxury and comfort of our Premium brand.
- Velas Vallarta, Av. Costera S/N, LH2, Fracc. Marina Vallarta Apartado Postal 139B, ☎ +52 (322) 221-0091 ([email protected], fax: +52 (322) 221-0755), . An all-inclusive resort with studios, one, two and three bedrooms, all with kitchens or kitchenettes. Hotel offers on-site mini-supermarket, boutique, travel agents, car and bicycle rental, tennis courts, and "Kid's Club". Marina Vallarta golf course is within walking distance (2 min).
- Villa La Estancia Nuevo Vallarta , Paseo Cocoteros 750 Sur, Flamingos Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Phone: 01-322-226-9700, Fax:01-322-226-6901 Reservations – 01800 725-6277 / 01800–823-4488, E-Mail:[email protected] Spacious and impeccable garden surround the pool with its dancing fountains and Jacuzzis, creating a magnificent scenery and making this exclusive luxurious property a favorite destination for adults. The earthy colored buildings form a U-shape on top of a hill looking out to the Bay of Banderas. The lobby was designed to offer great comfort for the personalized check in.
- Villa del Palmar Flamingos Beach Resort & Spa  Paseo Cocoteros 750 Sur, Flamingos Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Telephone: 011-52-322-226-8100 Fax: 011-52-322-226-8101 Reservations:877-845-5247 (US & Canada) E-Mail: [email protected] Featuring Vanguard architecture with a fine Mexican touch, distinctive eight-story Spanish Colonial-style buildings are topped with red-tile roofs and blue-tile domes. Bordering a central garden courtyard with freeform pool, the tan buildings form a U-shape looking out to the Bay of Banderas.
- Emergency, Police/Fire: 060
- Fire Dept: 223-9476, 223-9478
- Police Dept: 290-0507, 290-0512
- Red Cross & Ambulance: 222-1533
- Motor Vehicle Dept: 224-8484
- Consumer Protection (Profeco): 225-0000
- Immigration Ofice: 221-1380
- American Consulate: 222-0069, 223-0074 - After hours: 01-333-268-2145
- Canadian Consulate: 293-0098, 223-0074 - After hours: 01-800-706-2900
- Ameri-Med: 226-2080
- CMG: 223-1919
- Cornerstone: 224-9400
- I.M.S.S.: 224-3838
- Medasist: 223-0444
- Regional: 224-4000
- San Javier: 226-1010
Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful holiday destination, but this is not an excuse to leave your common sense at home. You should not treat the city as if it is a huge beach resort existing solely for your pleasure.
Exercise caution here as in any place that you are unfamiliar. Keep an eye on your possessions (purses, cameras, etc) at all times.
Do not flaunt large amounts of cash and wear a concealed money belt to secure large bills and your passport. Make sure you always have small bills/ coins on hand to pay for small items.
The beaches and hotels have security people who are familiar with the area and tend to ward off most undesirable characters. As in many "tourist destinations", there are local "tourist police", who concentrate on keeping the area safe for visitors. They, and the locals, understand the value of visitors and make life very difficult for those who may consider preying on visitors.
Avoid confrontations with the police. In the event you do have a disagreement with them, expect to be treated poorly and expect to pay many a peso to regain your freedom. Respect and co-operation goes a long way with them, disrespect usually will not be tolerated.
For digestive issues, use Immodium. It is sold over the counter & works for most issues.
Water you have never been to can be dangerous. Leaving your valuables (cameras, purses, passport) alone on the beach, is an invitation to theft at any beach.
- Observe the warning flags on public beaches. There could be a strong undertow.
- Never dive into unknown waters. There may be rocks
- Never have a knife in your bag
Note that not very many places take credit cards. Some larger hotel complexes, high end restaurants and shops do, but most do not. It is very much a cash only economy with ATMs available in convenient locations and a bank downtown where in-person withdrawals can be made.
For the budget traveler - time your visit outside of peak holiday periods (eg Santa Semana/ Easter week). Accommodation prices during peak times can double or triple and the beaches become insanely crowded.
If you are traveling around Mexico leave your souvenir shopping until Guadalajara as prices in Puerto Vallarta are higher, sometimes bordering on exorbitant.
Your exploring does not have to be limited just to the Bay, there are nearby archeological sites to visit as well. Close at hand, in the region of Ixtapa, studies have uncovered sites dating back to 400 B.C.
Mismaloya is a short drive outside town. It is famous for being the location for the movie "The Night of the Iguana" directed by John Houston. You can tour the location.
Chico's Paradise, a river valley with rock formations and picnic/restaurant areas is a short drive or bus ride outside town.
For a trip back in time to the 1600's and 1700's; a day-trip up (4600') to the old silver mining town of San Sebastian del Oeste is worth the time. http://www.sansebastianmexico.com/
Puerto Vallarta is less than a 45 minute flight away from the inland city of Guadalajara and about an hour flight from Mexico City. A 30 minute drive up the coast lands you in Bucerias, a small coastal village.
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