Found in the Mexican state of Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta is nestled on a 28-mile curve of the Banderas Bay and bordered by the Sierra Madre Mountains. This beautiful seaside city enjoys old Mexico charm with cobblestone streets, stunning beaches, fine dining and a sophisticated arts scene; yet still a town often seen with colorful decorations for a parade, fiesta or celebration with Mariachi bands playing.
Puerto Vallarta offers fun and sun for everyone-from cultural events and exhibits, to guided tours into the jungle, to virtually every type of beach activity you can imagine. If it's outdoor adventures, try snorkeling, scuba diving swimming with dolphins and seasonal whale watching. On shore, take a hike, ride a bike, join an eco-tour or embark on a 4-wheeling jungle adventure. For shopping, there is a wide variety of locals offering arts and crafts, including masks, clothing, ceramics, blown glass and silver. Great buys are also had on locally produced goods, such as leather sandals and handmade cotton clothing.
Places to Explore
- Dolphin Adventure Center
Home to more than 25 Pacific Bottlenose dolphins and the first facility in the world to train dolphins for human-interaction programs.
- The Lady of Guadalupe Church
A famous cathedral featuring amazing architecture and beautifully carved interiors. The bells ring every 15 minutes and the crown was designed after one worn by Empress Carlota of Mexico (late 1860).
- Casa Kimberly
Elizabeth Taylor's former home. Bought by husband Richard Burton after filming The Night of the Iguana, many of her possessions have been left on display. Part of the home has been converted into a bed-and-breakfast while the rest has become a museum.
- Tequila Distilleries
The Mexican state of Jalisco is the only location where tequila is made. The many distilleries offer educational tours and post-tour samples.
- Playa de los Muertos
Lined with resorts, restaurants and bars, as well as vendors selling crafts and food, it's the most popular beach in Puerto Vallarta with its wide shore and gentle surf.
- Playa de Oro
This wide, sandy beach with few rocky areas is great for water sports.
- Playa Mismaloya
The film location of John Huston's The Night of the Iguana. With crystal-clear blue waters, it's also an ideal beach for snorkeling.
The official language is Spanish, but many people speak English.
The local currency is the peso, but U.S. currency is accepted as are all major credit cards.
- How to Get Around
- Car Rentals are available through local travel agencies; however, due to the high costs and difficulty in finding parking, renting a car is not recommended.
- Taxis are available throughout the city. The white taxis are federal and yellow taxis are private.
- Buses, the cheapest form of transportation, are available on the main road in the city and make several stops along the Hotel Zone before arriving into the center of the city.
- Downtown Puerto Vallarta can be explored on foot.