Puerto Vallarta Travel Guide

Puerto Vallarta Overview

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is a popular tourist destination located on the Pacific coast.   Once a sleepy fishing village, Puerto Vallarta was flung into the world spotlight in the 1964 Hollywood film, Night of the Iguana staring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner, and has since become a thriving tourist destination with visitors from all over the world.
Rich Mexican history, beautiful architecture, the Pacific Ocean, several beaches and mountainous jungles all help make Puerto Vallarta a popular destination with beachgoers and adventure seekers alike. The city of Puerto Vallarta is relatively small and is divided into four main neighborhoods; the Hotel Zone (or Marina Vallarta) running along the north shore, Zona Romantica located just south of the Rio Cuale, Centro (or Viejo Puerto Vallarta) which is located between Zona Romantica and the Hotel Zone, and the residential area east of the Hotel Zone.
Puerto Vallarta is serviced by an International Airport (PVR), and once here everything is easily navigated by foot, bus or taxi. If you plan on visiting other nearby towns or the Riviera Nayarit, you might want to consider renting a car.
The vibe in Puerto Vallarta is very touristy and festive, however you can still find some remnants of Mexican culture, as many of the visitors are domestic tourists from Mexico City and Guadalajara.   Depending on your travel style, Puerto Vallarta can be seen as a sun soaked holiday party destination or over the top tourist trap.   What Puerto Vallarta may lack in culture is made up in activities.   Just be prepared to spend some extra pesos.

Things to do in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta Beaches
Puerto Vallarta boast over 40 beaches with varying degrees of beauty and popularity. It’s important to note that the beaches in Puerto Vallarta are not necessarily world-class as there are many rocks both on the beach and in the water. Also the water quality around Puerto Vallarta is sometimes not great. Still, with that in mind, Puerto Vallarta still has some decent beach options.
Playa de Los Muertos – located in town at the Romantic District, this is probably the most popular and busiest beach in Puerto Vallarta
Destiladeras - located about 20 miles north of the city center, this is a popular beach with locals and is excellent on Sundays. 
Mismoloya – Located south of the center, this beach was made famous by the 1964 film, The Night of the Iguana”. This is a beautiful and relaxed beach with mountains as a backdrop
Boca de Tomatlan – South of the city center, this is a small seaside village with a few restaurants and nice beach.
Garza Blanca – Located to the south, this is a small city beach located off Barra Navidad road, with beautiful water that is good for swimming.
Playa Majahuitas – located at the edge of the lush green jungle, this beach is stunningly beautiful and fairly remote.
Scuba Diving Puerto Vallarta
Chico’s Dive Shop – offering daily dives and PADI classes. Located downtown at 772 Diaz Ordaz. Tel: +52 (322) 222 1895
Vallarta Adventures  - offering several dive packages as well as PADI courses. These guys are located all over the city. Tel: 888 526 2238
Vallarta Under Sea – Offering diving a snorkeling trips. Address: Proa Sn Local 24 Edif. Marina del Ray. Tel: (322) 209 0025
Walk Puerto Vallarta Neighborhoods
Viejo Puerto Vallarta – walk the cobblestone streets in the old city and find lots of boutique stores, restaurants and cafés.
Marina Vallarta – Stroll the Marina and get an up close look at yachts and fishing boats.
Zona Romantica – Here you will find many art galleries, cafés and restaurants. This is also the gay neighborhood.
The malecòn – The malecòn is right on the water and is where all the action takes place: restaurants, bars, clubs, street shows, souvenir shops and street hawkers are what you will find here.
Puerto Vallarta Yoga
Yoga Vallarta – offering a variety of classes from Flaming Hot Yoga to Belly Dancing. Located at Basilio Badillo #325, 3rd floor
Davannayoga – offering classes and workshops and located in the old city. Address: 542 Calle Matamoros. Tel: (322) 147 7008
Puerto Vallarta Tours
Vallarta Adventures – the leading adventure tour company in Puerto Vallarta, offering eco tours, whale watching, scuba diving, zip line, jungle tours and more.
Superior Tours Vallarta – offering both day and overnight tours these guys will help you find what’s unique about Puerto Vallarta.
Los Veranos Canopy Tour – The oldest zip-line tour company in the area. Tel: (322) 223 0504
Puerto Vallarta Nightlife
Most of the action at night takes place in Centro Puerto Vallarta, also known as Viejo Puerto Vallarta. This is where you will find clubs and bars packed with locals and tourist partying to the wee hours of the morning. A good place to start is just walk the malecòn and you will see plenty of nightlife options.
La Vaquita – Located on the malecòn, this club caters to the very young and can be a bit cheesy, but always good fun.
Zoo Puerto Vallarta – located right next to La Vaquita on the malecòn, this animal themed club gets going after midnight
Mandala – Located on the malecòn, this is always a hot dance party.
El Patio de Mi Casa – Great little wine bar and café with an open air space. Located on Guerrero 311 at Matamoros. Tel: 322 222 0743
El Faro Bar – located at the top of the light house in the Marina district, this is a great place to have a glass of wine and enjoy the view. Address: Paseo da la Marina No 245. Tel: (322) 221 0541
Puerto Vallarta Restaurants
Bar Los Burros  - located right on the beach and serving up fresh seafood and cocktails with umbrellas. Located on just south of the Rio Cuale directly on the beach. 
The Blue Shrimp Restaurant – excellent seafood right on the beach in the Romantic Zone. Olas Altas #335. Tel: (322) 222 4246
Gaby’s Restaurant – Nice Mexican restaurant located in Centro. Address Mina 252. Tel: (322) 2220480
Coexist Café – Excellent for breakfast and lunch, serving international and Mexican dishes. If you like good coffee in the morning this is the spot. Calle Morelos 170 in Centro.

Hotels in Puerto Vallarta

Budget Hotels Puerto Vallarta
Oasis Hostel - a backpacker favorite with seven dorm rooms, wifi, cable, and fully equipped kitchen. Libramiento #222 Col. Benito Juarez. Tel 222 2636. Web: www.oasishostel.com
Vallarta Sun Hostel – Very clean hostel located in the Romantic Zone. Francisca Rodriguez #169. Tel: (322) 22 31523 web: www.vallartasunhostel.com
Midrange Hotels Puerto Vallarta
Hotel Catedral – Excellent midrange option in Centro. Tel (322) 222 9033 web: www.hotelcatedralvallarta.com
Hotel Rio – Decent hotel located in Centro Puerto Vallarta. Calle Morelis 170. Tel: +52 (322) 222 0366.
Hotel Embarcadero Pacifico – Beautiful all-inclusive resort located in Marina Vallarta. Tel: (322) 221 1177 web: www.embarcadero.com.mx
Luxury Hotels Puerto Vallarta
InterContinental Presidente - Situated on the bay of Banderas, this is sophistication at it’s finest. 
Four Seasons Punta Mita – located just north of Puerto Vallarta on the exclusive Punta de Mita beach.

Puerto Vallarta Weather

Puerto Vallarta Travel Resources

http://www.tastingvallarta.blogspot.com/ - blog written by a local girl who loves good food.

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This page was last modified on 5 Jul 2011 by Matt