Marina Vallarta is a bit like a resort within a resort with an exclusive Marina filled with yachts, boats, and charters, plus a championship 18-hole golf course designed by Joe Finger. It is located just 15 minutes from downtown Puerto Vallarta and around 5 minutes from the Puerto Vallarta International Airport, Lic. Gustavo Diaz Ordaz.
The Marina area is more exclusive and a bit more expensive than other areas in Puerto Vallarta. It was built during the most active years of the city in the 1980's, specifically in 1986, by the Güitrón brothers Jorge and José Martínez Güitrón, they took a leap of faith and really planned big.
The population of Puerto Vallarta had managed to nearly double between 1980 and 1990 due, in large part, to a sudden devaluation of the peso at that point in time, something that attracted many visitors from both Canada and the United States, due to their sudden purchase power increase.
This sudden growth in tourism inspired the Güitrón Martinez brothers to start an important and visionary residential and business development, the one we now know as the Marina Vallarta, where you would be able to shop by the Marina and enjoy luxury hotels, condos, housing developments, private schools and top-level maritime amenities that could even welcome luxury yachts in what was at the time the largest marina in Mexico with 500 slips.
They also had excellent marketing sense and convinced the famous actress Elizabeth Taylor, that already owned property in the city and lived many years here, to buy one of the first available condos by the Marina, that helped give it all some extra appeal, for sure.
The Marina boardwalk offers lots of good shops, a great range from inexpensive restaurants to fancy elegant dining options, delis, a Starbucks, spas, cafés, bakeries, and ice-cream stores too, even a little supermarket.
The view and the relaxed atmosphere makes it a great afternoon sunset stroll for couples and families, watching the yachts and boats. The Marina is close to the airport, but planes do not fly close so you actually don't hear them unless you are on the north side.
Plaza Neptuno and the Vallarta Whale (click image to enlarge)
For those traveling with youngsters, there is also fun for them here. Marina Vallarta has a large water park with slides and wave pool for children, so they can also spend a memorable vacation.
The beach is a bit complicated to get to unless you stay at one the beachfront resorts if not, use this guide to get to El Salado Beach.
Marina Vallarta has its own little lighthouse, more for the show that really useful, surrounded by buildings that are higher than it is :-). At the top of the lighthouse, you can enjoy a drink at the El Faro bar. The Marina Lighthouse offers a fantastic view of the Marina area, the Sierra Madre Mountains and wonderful sunsets (very romantic). At night they also have live music to take romantic to an even higher level.
Enjoy great restaurants, specialty stores, cafes and shops offering quality products around the Marina, the view is great, the ambiance, relaxed, great for a day out with the family.
Another attraction for young and old is the bronze sculpture at the entrance to the Marina called "Vallarta Whale". This sculpture was installed in 2001 as a tribute to the whales that visit the harbor and the Banderas Bay each year, according to the locals it is the largest bronze sculpture in the world.
Vista Vallarta's Jack Nicklaus Golf Course was opened to the public on April 2001, it was the first golf course and is a Signature Design by Jack Nicklaus. chosen to host the 2002 EMC World Golf Championships. The course is placed on the property's highest areas, not only do golfers enjoy a top-notch golf experience but also amazing views of the Bay, Marina Vallarta, and Puerto Vallarta.
Contrasting areas with jungle, palm forests, Ficus trees and natural creeks are part of this perfect design by the world's greatest golf player. This 18 hole 7,057-yard, par-72 layout will make you think, mainly on the especially on the golf greens. As is typical for Nicklaus designs, the course has generous driving areas, but greens also have many undulations, makes you think of a tricky miniature golf course in a larger format.
Vista Vallarta Golf Club
Designer: Jack Nicklaus
Vista Vallarta Tom Weiskopf Golf Course was opened to the public on November 1st, 2001. This Signature Design golf course was done by Tom Weiskopf and contrasts dramatically with the first course in Vista Vallarta, its a challenging layout with scenic views as it windingly advances through jungle and valleys, offering breathtaking scenic views.
The terrain where the course is built is rugged with dense jungle, deep ravines, and creeks. Mr. Weiskopf's master status is clear in how he blended elevations and natural features into a first-rate golf experience.
This golf course was part of the 2002 EMC World Cup Golf Tournament. It offers a marvelous view of Puerto Vallarta and the Banderas Bay with the Sierra Madre Mountains in the background. If you are into golf, this is one course you should not miss while in Vallarta.
Vista Vallarta Golf Club
Designer: Tom Weiskopf
Marina Vallarta Golf Course was designed by the famous American architect, Joe Finger, it's an 18 hole course located in the marina area of Puerto Vallarta.
A marvelous mix of tropical ambiance with views of the Sierra Madre and the Banderas Bay. Offers an hacienda-style clubhouse right beside some of the most important hotels in Vallarta. The club each year hosts the International Pro-AM.
Marina Vallarta Golf Course
Class: Blue, Professional White & Red · Operator: Club Corp
Even though it seems that Plaza Marina has never really been 100% full, it does offer a number of very useful day-to-day stores and businesses, there are banks, a supermarket, a drugstore and various places to eat. It's very useful for those that live in the area and as a place to pass the time when waiting for a flight to leave or arrive.
Address: Gansos, Marina Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
Phone: (322) 221-0060
The Puerto Vallarta International Airport is located four miles north of downtown Vallarta. There are a regular taxi or van transfers from the airport at reasonable rates. Pay at the taxi booth and they'll assign you to a taxi/van that will take you to your destination. The airport receives many direct flights from both the US and Mexico. More information regarding documentation, passorts, and visas.