Puerto Vallarta is a place full of attractions for all tastes and ages, but if you want to enjoy a true Mexican experience, then you should visit Puerto Vallarta’s Romantic Zone or also known as Viejo Vallarta (Old Vallarta Town), the right place to enjoy a tasty bit of Old Mexico.

Its picturesque cobbled streets and tree flanked streets are the perfect companions and guides on a tour of the galleries, hotels, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants this romantic area of Vallarta has to offer.

Viejo Vallarta or Puerto Vallarta's Romantic Zone (Zona Romántica)

In the Viejo Vallarta you can find everything, excellent hangouts like Cuates y Cuetes, a now traditional location to spend the day at the beach, relaxing and enjoying a cold cocktail, or if you prefer some beer, at this place you’ll find the famous (or is it infamous) "buckets" (cubetas), they are literally buckets of ice cold beer in a bucket of ice and water. You can also visit a nice place called Época, where you can relax under the shade of a palapa and savor a delicious margarita and enjoy the view. If you like to treat yourself to a delicious Mexican dish, you will find a wide variety of options that will surely satisfy your craving, or if you are looking for a delicious international cuisine dinner or share some quality time with your friends here in the Viejo Vallarta, there are many small local restaurants where the food is practically homemade, all the way up to gourmet restaurants where meals are prepared by local or celebrity chefs from around the country and the world.

For a casual, but delicious dining experience, can go to Fajita Republic, for example, where you can find all kinds of fajitas made from chicken, beef, seafood, lobster and even vegetarian fajitas… if you can imagine that, or another great place is the restaurant Café de Olla, both are notably popular when it comes to Mexican or Mexican inspired food.

 If you are looking for a place for your breakfast, Freddy Tucan o El Ándale are ideal and famous in the area, just ask around if you don’t believe us. If you prefer you can enjoy an evening with a scrumptious Italian dinner, you can find that either at La Piazzetta (Rodolfo Gomez 143 - (322) 222-0650, at Pizza Nostra (Francisca Rodriguez 150 - (322) 223-0703) or the Trattoria Michel on Olas Altas 507 ((322) 223-2060).

You can also enjoy a walk in the pleasant Vallarta weather and enjoy the beautiful sunsets by the beach. When the sun has slipped below the horizon it is common to crave a cold delicious drink and then take off to a night club in the area, no need to even search, bars and clubs abound in the Zona Romántica, so just stay in the area and enjoy.

At night, the fun never stops, and once you're ready to enjoy a delicious drink to start off the evening, it is important to not miss the opportunity to savor a famous Tequila, the most famous of the Mexican liquors and proudly Made in Jalisco, which you can undoubtedly find in any of the bars or clubs you visit, if they don’t feel free to move along to a real bar/club. Do not hesitate to take the traditional shot of tequila (caballito de Tequila), a short glass of pure quality tequila (Don Julio, Centenario, Herradura, are good brands), not the bad tequila you normally find around the world, which has to be forced down with salt and lemon, rather the pure delicate distillate that you drink slowly, enjoying the taste and smoothness of liquor in each sip.

Of course this Viejo Vallarta could not lack an artistic side too. For those who enjoy and truly admire (an like to purchase) beautiful crafts and arts, the romantic section of ??Puerto Vallarta has a corridor that includes more than fifteen art galleries and is held once a week from October to April, the so-called “Art Walk”. These galleries feature diverse exhibits, where you can find everything from classic pieces of Mexican art to completely contemporary art creations.

As mentioned, this beautiful area of ??Puerto Vallarta has something to please the expectations and tastes of each and every one of the visitors. Without doubt, a stroll around the romantic Old Town area will complement and even complete your visit, making it a truly unique trip where you’ll experience and grasp a little of the essence of the heart of Puerto Vallarta, not only the typical and sometimes bland all-inclusive TV dinner prepackaged trip.

Many activities have been held in conjunction with the reopening of the malecon in Puerto Vallarta, one of these was the unveiling of the sculpture of Triton and Mermaid in its new location. And to make the moment even more enjoyeable, the youth group Bieros-Kum had all attendees dancing during the celebration.

Unveiling art in Puerto Vallarta

This event took place last Sunday after the remodeling of the seaside walkway (known as “el Malecón”) in Puerto Vallarta, financed by the Municipal Government, headed by Salvador Gonzalez Resendiz. The unveiling of the sculpture called Triton and Mermaid was the presentation of the different works that graced this new area of Vallarta.

Representing the local authorities, the chronicler Juan Manuel Gomez Encarnacion, along with all the people present, cut the ribbon of the sculpture which is a favorite for visitors to take pictures and take a souvenir photo from Puerto Vallarta.

The bronze sculpture was made by the artist Carlos Espino and was made public in August 1990.

Carlos Espino is a Mexican sculptor that gives himself in soul and spirit in each of his sculptures. He usually combines the great myths of antiquity and the sensitivity of the modern man. Bronze is his favorite material to work with. That also explains the wonder of this work that now adorns the new Malecón.

Puerto Vallarta, in addition to being one of the most visited vacation destination for its beaches, numerous tours and activities and many exceptional sights, is now also a great tourist destination to really appreciate and enjoy arts and culture in all its expressions.

Across the town you can find fabulous sculptures, paintings and other forms of art which are the expression of a large community of artists that either live in Puerto Vallarta or are visiting the city from other parts of Mexico or the world to showcase their work and make it known. We can mention writers, artisans, painters and sculptors that present their work in the streets, galleries and the seaside walkway in Puerto Vallarta.

As another aspect of the different arts, do not miss miss out on the opportunity to enjoy all the music that has become an everpresent part of all the celebrations related to the new Malecón.

This time it was the vallartan youth group "Bieros-Kum" who played in Los Arcos, where they were in charge of getting the audience's mood up and ended with everyone dancing cumbia villera, a subgenre of an argentinean cumbia that began to gain popularity in some of the most popular areas in Argentina and now has won fame in many other places.
The interpretation of young musicians of "Bier-Kum" was well received and won the applause of all those present. They alos enjoyed this because it was their first public concert. All in all a very successful and enjoyeable event on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta.

Ever since the Puerto Vallarta Malecon reopening events, businessmen and local stores and restaurants located in the local tourist area have all mentioned that it’s a fact and there has been an increase in both sales and number of visitors. Most of them have noticed a strong improvement in their business and sales. Visitors have flocked to the Malecón, to see it, enjoy it and reestablish the habit.

The Puerto Vallarta Malecon improvements help the local economy

On the other hand, the manager of a well-known restaurant in the area stated that there has been a marked improvement in the number of people who daily visit the boardwalk, he also said that they have had a greater influx of people to their business and are having more sales, especially when comparing with previous months in which the remodeling work had closed the seaside walkway. He said they are now ready to receive all the people who usually visit during the Christmas holidays and will enjoy this new Malecon.

Another owner, Vallarta-Mart, also said that they are doing much better economically, sales have improved and people and are visiting more often.
Another opinion was that there really has been a noticeable change since the walkway was reopened; the previous week has shown a significant improvement. There is a clear tendency and they are aware that things will continue to improve gradually, and they are expecting that this increase in visitors will improve more every day, helping to keep Puerto Vallarta among the top Mexican tourist destinations.

Jose Ramirez, Assistant Restaurant Manager at the “Bubba Gump Restaurant” stated: "When they started the construction of the Malecon, sales plummeted 70%, now, with the reopening it has gone up 20 percent, we can also observe an improved flow of pedestrian, so we are hoping that with this reopening of the walkway, the arrival of ships to port, and the holidays and the dates from December 25th to January 1st which is the strongest week for Puerto Vallarta we will be able to 100 percent. "
Similarly, Marco, maitre of the restaurant “La Dolce Vita” said: "sales have increased since the opening of the Malecon, there are more people and the walkway is much more attractive."

Arturo Castañeda, maitre at Restaurant Las Palomas stated; "sales have gone up, the number is between 60 and 70 percent over previous transactions."

Raul Zermeno, owner of Aries Jewelry, said: "You can ready see an improved flow of people walking  and enjoying the seaside walkway, when we look at our sales we can’t say that we’ve improved, I think what has hurt us is that the U.S. economy is not doing well, but we definitely have more visitors on the Vallarta Malecon."

As was to be expected, the positive opinion regarding improvements both in terms of tourism and sales associated to the remodeled Malecón in Puerto Vallarta is general, this in turn is promoting a positive outlook and a generalized positive mindset, which are a byproduct of this new city project. 

This public space that Vallartenses share with the world is framed by a beautiful natural setting and every day it is filled more and more with beautiful art, culture, and entertainment that attracts the people of Puerto Vallarta to the Malecon.

Read our main Puerto Vallarta Malecon article.

The Malecon comes alive

We are talking about all the vendors, cartoonists, painters, acrobats, sculptors, those who for years have filled the Puerto Vallarta boardwalk with life and joy so that all visitors can enjoy a colorful and pleasant walk along the waterfront and also enjoy various attractions that make the stroll something different and quite unforgettable.

Today, with the remodeled malecón one of the important aspects is that all this folklore survives and continues to delight visitors and that all the people who make it possible rest assured that all the activities that have taken place here for years will be organizing in new ways so that all participants will still have the opportunity to continue earning a living here and, furthermore, that the magic of this walking area also prevails. These changes have been made trying to balance a number of elements, one is a better image, harmony, and beauty of the town and Malecon itself, at the same time that those that make a living there are also taken into account.

To achieve this, the Municipal Government, through the Administrative Office of Census and Licensing Regulations, the deputy director of Culture and the leaders of Culture and Tourism, took on the task of organizing several meetings with members of these different groups, those who for years have been part of this economic activity. Agreements were set for the location, schedules and how to avoid saturation as was the case in the past, and at the same time maintain a better image which is the main goal, that those that stroll along the Malecon and the waterfront have a pleasant experience.

In the case of the sculptors as well as the rest of the artists and vendors that are present throughout the year displaying their works, products, and shows, they will take turns in pairs and every 2 weeks will change their location, this will also be the case with vendors, acrobats, and others, so that all have the same chance to participate in the walkway. Furthermore, artists and vendors will also have their place in the Plaza de Armas, the Marina, and the Lazaro Cardenas Plaza.

This will then result, as mentioned above, in a better organization among those who for years have been part of the magic and folklore of Puerto Vallarta boardwalk, giving them all equal opportunities of development and of course, giving the area a extraordinary appearance, something both local residents and visitors will no doubt enjoy walking along on the Malecon once again, and also fully enjoying the presence of all these people who have offered their magic daily.

So do not miss the opportunity to come to reacquaint yourself with the new and improved Malecón in Puerto Vallarta, more beautiful than ever, but retaining the same magic and old traditions.

Without a doubt, contact with nature is one of the activities that more and more people enjoy during their vacations, it can be a walk through the woods, the beach or the mountains, a horseback ride or simply wearing a bathing suit and diving into the depths of a river, lake or the ocean.

Feeling your body float under the water, like a bird in slow motion, is relaxing and stimulating. Who has not dreamed of flying? Who as a child did not enjoy spending all day in the water?

Well, if you really want to enter a world of adventure, full of new things or that you don’t usually see, there is no better choice but to experience and enjoy the sensational experience of scuba diving.

The deep blue world of Puerto Vallarta

When you jump into the sea, you’ll enjoy the experience of seeing and maybe even touching multicolored fish, corals, anemones, coral, jellyfish and other creatures that you won’t even recognize, you’ll marvel over the textured sands formed by the currents, caves and underwater mountains and reefs  that provide shelter for small creatures from other predators.

In Puerto Vallarta there are many places where you can practice scuba diving, the most famous and popular attraction, no doubt about it, is Los Arcos, a beautiful rock formation protruding from the sea surface. It is located near Mismaloya 5.5 nautical miles south of Puerto Vallarta. This place is adequate for divers of all levels, from novices to experienced divers. The depth of the so-called Aquarium is approximately 60 feet around Los Arcos, where you’ll find all sorts of tropical marine life in the reefs, including the entertaining garden eels that look like shy ribbons sticking out of the sandy sea bottom, waving demurely back and forth with the invisible waves. Its unique feature is an 800 ft vertical wall on the west side of Los Arcos where you can enjoy a descent into the Canyon (El Cañón) and the famous Devil's Jaw (La Quijada del Diablo), which are only for experienced divers. Here you’ll see schools of bright fish, turtles, manta rays and moray eels. Another good dive site “El Bajo”, with an underwater peak and several submerged volcanic formations that offer lots of marine life including parrotfish, snappers, moray eels, nudibranchs and many other surprises. Other dive sites are Las Lajas and the Great Wall (El Paredón) where you can enjoy turtles and rays in large quantities.

The deep blue world of Puerto Vallarta

There are many other options for this sport, not just the beaches and sea in the state of Jalisco, but also in the sea of Nayarit, some recommended places are:

Majahuitas, a beautiful beach that is accessible only by, it’s located between Los Arcos and Yelapa, a beach 10 nautical miles south of Puerto Vallarta. Here the Sierra Madre sinks into the sea and generates a series of shallow bays. You can dive here all year round and enjoy a very diverse and rich marine life. The underwater visibility is up 80 feet from July to December. You’ll find shy garden eels living in the sandy bottom, the largest school of yellow surgeon fish, rays, octopus, seahorses, green turtles and more.

Mismaloya is one of the most visited scuba diving locations due to its proximity to downtown Puerto Vallarta and you can get there by sea and land. The bay 6 nautical miles long and is located to the south of the city. The sloping sea floor offers large boulders with depths between 10 and 20 meters, where you can see moray eels, lobsters, snappers and king angelfish.

The Marieta Islands, off the coast of Nayarit in Banderas Bay, was made famous by Jacques Cousteau, the oceanographer, in the 70's and today is one of the most popular dive sites in the Mexican Pacific. It is part of an underwater mountain range and is located at the entrance of the Bay of Banderas. Here you can find an impressive descent, reefs, and caves, filled with tropical fish, sea turtles, manta rays and even whales when they are visiting the bay, normally between November and March.

El Morro, a place for advanced divers with a rock formation cavern at 70 feet under water.

Las Viudas, where you can also go hunting underwater and catch large sized commercial species that you can, later on, enjoy a delicious dinner.

There is also a place called El Malinal, which happens to be a favorite for those who love sea life. This site is not well known and this makes it a great place to enjoy an impressive amount of sea life and biological underwater diversity. It is definitely a great experience you should not miss.

The Chimo, this place is highly recommended for divers that already have some experience. It's a beautiful place where you can find black and white coral, many different tropical fish species, turtles, giant manta rays and more.

La Corbeteña, one of the best sites for underwater scuba divers. Here you can find stingrays and sharks, but you must have some type of diving certification because you’ll inevitably require some scuba experience to explore its waters.

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