When you land Puerto Vallarta, you immediately notice you are somewhere new, the warm humid air, the smell of the tropics, it's something special in itself, and you start to grasp why PV is such a popular destination.
In this section, we'll show you the attractions and interesting sightseeing options organized by zone from north to south.
We're including the main places to visit north of the Ameca river (Puerto Vallarta's northern limit), this includes many great beaches and small towns in the Banderas Bay area and a few interesting towns and beaches north of Punta Mita (the northern edge of the bay), from North to South.
- La Caleta
- Rincón de Guayabitos
- Lo De Marcos
- San Francisco (San Pancho)
- Marietas Islands
- Hidden Beach
- Punta de Mita
- El Morro
- La Corbeteña
- La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
- La Manzanilla
Nuevo Vallarta is a relative new invention of the northern state of Nayarit. Piggybacking on Puerto Vallarta's fame and the airport seemed a good idea at the time. Since then both sides of the state line have started to work more together and promoting the impressive array of attractions the Bay area includes.
Because Nuevo Vallarta was built on a clean slate, they took a more resort-oriented stance to tourism, so it's here you'll find the bigger All-Inclusive options. The beach here is also wider, longer and with much more and finer sand than what you'll find southward. I recommend it for avid beach-fans, those that will not necessarily walk out of the resort (though if you ask me, I would say that's a shame!).
Nuevo Vallarta's attractions are mostly:
- Flamingo Beach (Nuevo Vallarta Beach)
- Splash Water Park
- Aquaventuras Water Park
- Paradise Village Mall
- Golf Courses: Mayan Palace, Flamingo's, El Tigre
- Marina Nuevo Vallarta
- Vallarta Adventures
When PV really started booming in the 80's there was an obvious lack of a marina area and adding a residential area to the project really made it take off. Now, 30 or so years in the future, Marina Vallarta is where many of the best resort hotels are located and the Marina area is a great place to enjoy and visit during the day and night.
Marina Vallarta offers these attractions:
- Marina Lighthouse
- Marina Boardwalk (Restaurants, bars and nightclubs)
- The Vallarta Whale statue
- Marina Vallarta Golf Course
- Plaza Marina
Sandwiched between the Marina Area, the cruise terminal and harbor, the Puerto Vallarta hotel zone is, as would be expected by the name, the place with the highest concentration of hotels in the city. Many of the well-known names in international accommodation options intermingle with local names and smaller hotels.
The area has also grown with many shopping options and malls, the main attractions in this area are:
- Cruise terminal area, currently the starting place for most day cruises and the docking place for large cruise ships that visit the city
- Playa de Oro (Gold Beach) the beach of the northern hotel zone
- Plaza Galerías (Galerías Mall)
- Plaza Península (north of the Pitillal River)
- La Isla (large mall just south of the Pitillal River)
- Playa Los Tules
- Playa Las Glorias
- Playa Tranquila
Downtown Puerto Vallarta
As you might expect from the oldest and historically significant part of town, downtown Puerto Vallarta has many things to offer, both culturally as well as for your entertainment.
Some of the main attractions in this part are:
- The Malecon
- The Seahorse Statue & other statues
- The Local Parish
- Main Square (Plaza de Armas)
- Gringo Gulch
- Art Galleries
- Municipal Cuale River Market (Mercado Isla Río Cuale)
- Camarones Beach
- La Cruz Hill Lookout
- Cobblestone streets
- Cuale River Island
Romantic zone (Old Vallarta)
Despite the name, this part of town is younger than the downtown area. Even so, it embodies much of what visitors would consider as real "Mexico". Small cafes, bars, restaurants mingle with humble taco and tostada street carts. The streets are always full of life, and walk a few blocks up away from the beach and you'll get to where the locals live and relax, you get a feel of what it is to be a Mexican and what makes it all so appealing.
Some of the main attractions of the Romantic Zone include:
- Los Muertos Beach
- Los Muertos Pier
- Old Farmer's Market (only in high season)
- Olas Altas street
- Las Pilitas
- El Púlpito
- Las Amapas
Starting south from the Romantic zone, you'll start off in Amapas and Conchas Chinas, this highway was just a small dirt trail in the early 60s, now a nice small two-lane highway taking you to, or closer to, the many and distinct attractions that this large area has for you.
The list is long and we'll have to jump some, the main attractions we can mention are:
- Conchas Chinas Beach
- Palmares Beach
- Las Gemelas Beach
- Los Arcos
- El Eden & Edenva
- Vallarta Zoo
- Boca de Tomatlan
- Vallarta Botanical Gardens
- Las Ánimas Beach
- El Tuito
Natural and cultural things to see and enjoy in Puerto Vallarta and the Banderas Bay area are many (no way you can see them in one visit). No matter where you choose to stay you'll find a beautiful locations, views, and nature, there are miles and miles of beautiful beaches, bathed by the calm emerald waters of the Mexican Pacific coast, fish are abundant, golf is world-class with signature courses designed by the best, you can enjoy endless activities on land, air, and sea.
Blessed with 25 miles of golden beaches within spectacular Banderas Bay, Vallarta presents limitless possibilities for enjoying the Pacific Ocean.