Welcome to our Puerto Vallarta Travel Guide. Find useful, fun information and find out why it’s such a great idea to plan your trip to this safe and friendly tropical Mexican destination.
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Puerto Vallarta is a special tourist destination, one that grew organically from being a small fisherman town on the coast of the State of Jalisco, into a full-fledged world-class tourist destination (read more). This development was part luck, lots of local effort and promotion and, finally, and most importantly, the place is just naturally beautiful.
Even though Hollywood discovered the place in the 1960's, and even though John Huston brought the jet set along with him and they all fell in love with the picturesque town, already in the 1950's the little town had caught the attention of Mexican city dwellers. Little by little, the place evolved into a very welcoming and modern city with lots to do, many top-class restaurants and fabulous hotels & resorts.
"Vallarta" or "PV" - as it is known to locals - is a typical Mexican "pueblo" (now a BIG pueblo). It has experienced growth and has modernized certain areas of the city, but it remains faithful to the cherished Mexican traditions and heritage, such as the parades in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe or the music bands that play at the town plaza kiosk, where locals and tourists alike dance to the rhythms enjoyed through many generations.
The city's downtown area is a place where nature and art coexist, now protected as cultural heritage of Jalisco (the state), more than ever, a place to dive into what Mexico really is about.
Strolling along the Malecon you'll enjoy dozens of open-air sculptures created by famous local and international artists. There are art galleries on just about every corner, events and showings abound year-round with artists from around the block or around the world.
If you check out our list of things to do in town, you'll notice that most of them are free, a power walk to the Lookout on the La Cruz hill overlooking the downtown area, a trip to Mismaloya or the southern beaches like Colomitos or Yelapa, a visit to Marina Vallarta, visit a cafe or bar in Old Town, a romantic stroll to Los Muertos Beach and Pier, shop on Cuale River Island, etc., you can do it all and save your money for a world-class gourmet lunch or dinner at one of the hundreds of restaurants around town.
There are 55 miles of the beautiful Banderas Bay to enjoy, the beaches or in and under the water, you'll find them teeming with life (dolphins, manta rays, sea turtles and between November and March, even Humpback Whales).
Local PV Parish, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
Enjoy the surrounding nature, the Sierra Madre Mountains, bask on the golden sand beaches in the warm sunny weather, take trips north to the smaller towns (Bucerías, San Pancho, La Cruz) or up in the mountains to small colonial style towns like San Sebastian del Oeste, Mascota or Talpa de Allende where it's like time stood still. You can even take a day trip to Tequila or southward to beautiful isolated beaches that will remind you of a tropical island in the South Pacific.
Tours and activities abound, including zip line canopy tours, swimming with dolphins, golf, cruises, whale watching, scuba, snorkeling, surfing, water parks, a zoo, you can visit the award-winning Vallarta Botanical Gardens and much more.
So Puerto Vallarta is actually a place where ultramodern 5-star hotels coexist with cobblestone streets; Michelin Guide restaurants fuse with street-side food stands that offer simple, but fresh, seafood or typical Mexican tacos (find out more).
When you mix all of this together and add a dash of characters unique to our city, such as artists and expats from around the globe who find inspiration here, along with a tourist industry committed to excellence and first-class service, this magical medley will also pull you into its spell.
The final magic touch is the open, friendly personality of each and every citizen of PV, a welcoming spirit that has earned this fair city the title of the “World’s Most Friendly City” by Condé Nast Travel magazine.
There you have it: magic is all around you in Puerto Vallarta and Jalisco. All you have to do is take a minute, watch and before you know it, you'll be a part of the magic too. Take care or you might end up planning to come back again and again or maybe even move here along with the other thousands that have chosen PV as their home. Continue reading on what to do here or more about our town.