As you arrive by plane, Puerto Vallarta's romance and beauty begin to take hold as a blanket of lush tropical jungle surrounding the quaint colonial city, as it climbs away from the blue Pacific into the Sierra Madre mountains. Puerto Vallarta is nestled in the shores of Bahia de Banderas, Mexico's largest bay and second largest in North America.
Offering an extremely wide variety of attractions and entertainment options, Puerto Vallarta has something special for everyone, regardless of your personal preferences. There are many cultural events and exhibits, exciting day trips to the jungle, relaxing days at the beach and countless romantic hideaways.
A modern marina and cruise ship port attract visitors on ships and yachts from all over the world. The city's clean and modern infrastructure, friendly atmosphere, unique Old Mexico ambiance and incredibly diverse shopping possibilities, including crafts made by locals, attract International and Mexican tourists in droves. Night life abounds with many popular night clubs and an array of quality restaurants to please even the most discriminating palate. You'll find all sorts of lodgings available from budget inns to world class beachfront resorts. All this variety guarantees you that your Puerto Vallarta vacations will be the best ones in your life.
PUERTO VALLARTA BEACHES
Puerto Vallarta is a haven for anyone who enjoys any type of beach activity, from whale watching to parasailling. Bungee jumping over the Pacific, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing or fishing are available for you. The surf at most beaches is normally calm and safe for swimming year around.
Playa de Oro is a wide, sandy beach with a few rocky areas interspersed, popular because of its water sports. Further north, the beaches of Banderas Bay are pristine and quiet as they reach up toward Punta de Mita. In winter many tours are available to view the magnificent Humpback Whales.
Puerto Vallarta's most popular beach, Playa de los Muertos, is located just south of the malecon and the River Cuale. It is lined with beachfront hotels and restaurants and is usually bustling with activity, sun worshipers by day, the dining and nightlife crowd after dark. The beachfront bars and restaurants in this area are a great place to catch one of the incredible Vallarta sunsets.
South of town, you'll find Playa de Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlan, the last two beaches accessible by road, great for relax and swimming. You can hire local pangas here to take you to Yelapa, Las Animas or Quimixto.
Destiladeras is one of the most enjoyable beaches in the northern area. Snorkeling, wind surfing and bird watching is also great at the Las Marietas Islands Bird Sanctuary.
PUERTO VALLARTA RESTAURANTS
Take delight in the great variety of Puerto Vallarta restaurants, they are mainly distributed along the sea walk and downtown streets. Dining in Puerto Vallarta is a real pleasure, since this beautiful port is worldwide ranked among the best gastronomic destinations. Here you will find more than the Mexican culinary diversity, but you’ll be surprised to run into sophisticated and avant-garde dishes.
Puerto Vallarta hosts an International Gourmet Festival each year, where acclaimed local and International chefs take part, and it also plays an important role as exchange forum giving Vallarta food offer a very special character.
Ambiences are just as varied, from the beach restaurant “de rigeur” under a fresh thatched roof, to restored colonial buildings, with a picturesque frame given by the narrow cobblestone streets or sophisticated restaurants at the interior of the resort hotels.
PUERTO VALLARTA NIGHTLIFE
Puerto Vallarta nightlife starts at dusk, on the terraces of the restaurants and bars bordering the sea walk. Puerto Vallarta nightclubs are diverse and very lively. Thursdays and Sundays afternoons there are public concerts at the Main Plaza.
But Puerto Vallarta nightlife offers more options for those who love to stay awake till early morning. Options are in a very wide range from popular cantinas with traditional Mexican live music to modern lounges with the latest European electronic, going through well known rock and roll bars.
There are two sophisticated clubs at Marina Vallarta with that pop music that makes you stand up, a visit is practically obligatory. Another option for the night is inside most hotels, they usually offer fun night shows and Mexican parties every week that you should not miss.
After going through gelid waters searching for tropical warmth, humpback whales arrive to Puerto Vallarta shores to match and give birth. For years these cetaceans have amazed mankind with their spectacular jumps and their melancholic songs that only males sing.
Today whale watching expeditions get close enough so you can see mothers swim away with their babies or the evolutions on air and underwater of a matching couple. With some luck a curious a baby will approach the boat and you will be able to touch him. In many ways we guarantee this will be an emotional experience as it is exciting.
PUERTO VALLARTA SHOPPING
Almost every handcraft produced in Mexico is in this port: masks, clothing and textiles, serapes, ceramics, blown glass, copper, silver, carved wood, kitchen ingredients and liquors. Best buys are the ones produced locally thou, such as leather sandals and hand made cotton clothing. There is also furniture which can be shipped abroad.
Puerto Vallarta shopping features a wide range of jewelry to the most surprising products, either at the flea market or at the most modern malls. Strolling down the streets you will notice buy opportunities are virtually everywhere, besides having the opportunity of having a close sight on Vallartans daily life. These are some of the main Puerto Vallarta shops.
Taxis are everywhere in Puerto Vallarta and it is easy to get one almost any time, anywhere. The taxis are un-metered so be sure that you agree on a fare before entering. You should not have to pay more than $40 pesos per cab ride for almost anywhere in Puerto Vallarta; feel free to use your negotiating skills before you get in a cab.
Traveling around Puerto Vallarta on bus is easy and a very inexpensive way to go. Bus fare anywhere in town is $4.50 pesos. Buses can be caught at nearly every corner and run from early morning until 11 p.m. There is also bus service for out-of-town trips. $15.00 pesos to get to Bucerias, $20.00 pesos will get you to Punta Mita.
PUERTO VALLARTA EMERGENCY TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Police Emergencies: 060 [similar to 911 in the United States & Canada]
Non-emergencies: (322) 222-0123 or (322) 223-2500
Hospital and Medical ServicesAmeri-Med American Hospital: (322) 221-0023 or (322) 221-0024
Hospital CMQ: (322) 223-1919
Hospital Versalles: (322) 224-9292
Hospital San Javier: (322) 226-1010
Private Ambulance: (322) 225-0386
Cruz Roja (Red Cross) Ambulancia: (322) 222-1533 or (322) 222-4973
International Phone Calls to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Mexico Country Code - 52
Puerto Vallarta City Code - 322
For example, to call the Ameri-Med American Hospital in Puerto Vallarta from the US, dial: