photo by D'Arcy Norman

Puerto Vallarta is a city and popular vacation resort on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

Around the Bay, beautiful beaches, lush jungles and sparkling waterfalls offer many opportunities for the adventurous, while five star resorts, world-class shopping and gourmet restaurants satisfy even the most sophisticated traveler. Stretching from the south end of Old Town to central downtown, a newly extended and refurbished boardwalk along the ocean, called the Malecon, passes by any number of shops, restaurants, and hotels, and often plays host to mimes, breakdancers, clowns and artists.

The residents of Puerto Vallarta are very friendly and generally willing to help with directions and other requests. Old TownVallarta (or the Zona Romantica district) south of the River Cuale is more like a Mexican town and less like a tourist trap.

English is widely spoken, and as a tourist destination prices are higher than many other places in Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is very crowded at holiday times, if planning a visit to Mexico that coincides with a major holiday consider opting to visit Mexico City or Guadalajara instead. The cities empty out as Mexicans and tourists alike flood to the beaches.

Getting there

By plane

Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (IATA: PVR) is located just to the North of Puerto Vallarta proper, and just south of Nuevo Vallarta. Most major US airlines serve the airport along with Aeromexico. It has been recently remodeled, though waits can still occur when more than two flights have landed. Note that the arrival area is plagued by timeshare hucksters. They will offer to arrange a cab for you and try to rope you into a timeshare sales presentation. After you clear customs, walk quickly through the next room - the one housing the hucksters - continue walking past the rope-line. Now look for the official taxi kiosk out in the main airport atrium. You purchase your taxi trip here. All other offers of cab rides you will receive between customs and the kiosk will be from timeshare hucksters. Ignore every one of them. The bad experience of those taken in can ruin one's first hours in PVR, and that would be a shame. Or hire private transportation. If you've packed lightly you can take the city buses into town. Continue straight ahead as you exit the arrivals area and exit the doors in front of you. The bus stop is to your left, under the pedestrian overpass. Wait for a bus marked Centro (but NOT marked Pitillal or Bobadilla), wave it down, pay your M$6.50 pesos, and enjoy the ride. You've just saved $20. You don't need exact change for the bus. Drivers will make change. But you will need some small change. Drivers won't break large bills.

By private transportation

If you are visiting Puerto Vallarta, you should consider private pre-arranged transportation directly from your airport to your hotel. This transportation can be arranged by contacting a company by phone, or booking online.

By car

There are modern, well maintained toll roads all the way from the border, other roads are not as well maintained, but are still suitable for the drive. See also driving in Mexico for further tips regarding driving in Mexico

By boat

There are many party boats that leave the coast from the Marina for day trips. Some stop at various beaches. You are even able to go horsebackriding up to a waterfall at one beach south of Puerto Vallarta. Major cruise ships loaded with thousands of tourists from the states as well as Europe dock in the city's main port typically spending there an entire day.

By bus

The main bus station is north of town, past the airport.

Luxury line Primera Plus runs many buses from Guadalajara (also stopping at the western Zapopin terminal). If you are traveling in a peak holiday period booking ahead is not essential the bus companies will schedule extra buses.

Second class buses run from coastal towns throughout the riviera Nayarit such as San Blas.

To catch a local bus into town, exit the bus station and keep walking across the parking area. Then walk to your right toward the corner. The city buses will stop here. Any bus you pick up here will take you all the way down to the "Romantic Zone", about a half an hour drive, for just M$5.50! Although not really known to tourists, the buses are one of the best ways to mingle with the locals, as well as getting a nice view of town.

It is possible to walk between the airport and the bus station, however catching a city bus is a cheap and reliable option.

Traveling around

By taxi

Hotels may provide a price list for cabs (expect to pay about 50 pesos for short trips, and 200 for longer trips). Hotels will also offer (expensive) transport from airport to hotel., but it is much better to take a taxi. If you've booked with a travel agency, they will most likely provide you with transportation to and from the airport. Be prepared for fast speeds, as the cab drivers have schedules to adhere to. Many of the cabs do not have working seatbelts or speedometers as well. Taxi drivers tend to gather at the intersection close to the liquor outlet in the Centro District. They are friendly and you can negotiate trips outside of Puerto Vallarta at a very reasonable cost on slow days. They will wait for you while you dine or shop as well as photograph you and your mates. Include a small tip with the very reasonable fare.

Tip: From the airport, there are two types of taxis available to get you to where you are going. The white federal taxis are available immediately upon exiting the airport but are more expensive. Cross the pedestrian bridge over the highway for the cheaper yellow taxis that are more common in other parts of the city.

By bus

  • Local trips Bus trips cost around 5.50 pesos, which is about 40 US cents (0.30 Euro) that you pay to the bus driver when you get in and every ride is good for as long as you have to stay on... the whole city if you'd like. Buses stop almost every five to ten blocks and at peak hours tend to get very full, so be ready for that. If you are a man, be ready to give up your seat to women if the bus becomes crowded. Bus drivers will make change, but won't break large bills. (these prices updated Feb 2009)

The buses are quite handy to get to places like Pitillal (the rapidly growing suburb to the NE) and Ixtapa (including the nearby U of Guadalajara campus with its gallery and crocodile farm). They are also useful for travelling from the hotel zone and marina area to the downtown or old-town areas. Any bus marked Centro will pass through both. Buses marked Tunel will skip downtown and head directly to the old-town / zona romantica via the tunnel bypass.

  • Out of town trips You can visit Bucerias for 12 pesos, $.85. You can also go to Punta Mita for 20 pesos, $1.50. Mismaloya buses charge around 6 pesos. There are also larger buses that can take you to Guadalajara, which is about a 5-hour trip.

You can catch buses for Mismaloya along Basilio Badillo on the corner just West of where you see them lined up.

The easiest way to catch a bus to Bucerias, Punta Mita or points in between is to catch a city bus to Wal-Mart/Sams. Walk along the main road to the northernmost bus shelters in front of Wal-Mart. The buses to Bucerias leave from here.


Beautiful Banderas Bay, one of the largest and deepest in the world, may be admired from many of the surrounding hills exuberant in lush vegetation. Located right at the mouth of the Bay, straddling both sides of the River Cuale lays a charming and picturesque little town with true Mexican spirit, Puerto Vallarta.

For those who just want to relax, Puerto Vallarta's many golden sand beaches offer one of the best ways to experience the beauty and magic of the Bay of Banderas. A section of the beach called The Blue Chairs is the focal point of the gay village.

To the North, the hills give way a little. Here you will find mile-long stretches of golden sand beaches, rich plantations of papaya and mango and, tucked back along tumbling rivers and streams, small villages where life seems to move at a different pace. There are many different ways to explore the Bay.

To the South, the hills cascade towards the sea creating a rich palette that mixes the vivid green foliage with the deep blues of the water. At their feet nestle secluded coves and small fishing villages, many of which are still accessible only by sea.

To the East, the jungle clad Sierra Madre Mountains, which quickly rise to over 8,000 feet, encircle and protect the town from the winds and regulate the semi-tropical and humid weather.

And, to the West, the Bay of Banderas is home to a wide variety of aquatic life. Humpback whales come here to mate every year from December to March, and sea turtles nest on the beaches from May to October. Schools of dolphins and giant manta rays also inhabit these waters. The Bay and the Marietas Islands offer an amazing kaleidoscope of tropical fish, attracting snorkelers, scuba divers and sport fishermen alike.

Things to do

Puerto Vallarta has many activities and excursions to keep you entertained. The adventurous can hike or mountain bike in the hills, explore the jungle and hidden trails on horseback, take a jeep safari, snorkel, scuba dive, charter a yacht or sailboat, or take a cruise on one of the many party boats, make a personal photoshoot. Oftentimes they are easily booked online.

Botanical Gardens

  • Vallarta Botanical Gardens (Hacienda de Oro Restaurant) , (322) 223-6182, From 9AM to 6PM (closed on Mondays), Carretera a Barra de Navidad Km.24 S/N just beyond Las Juntas y Los Veranos, Vallarta Botanical Gardens a pleasure garden high in the glorious Sierra Madre Mountains. These gardens are easily accessible, just 12 miles south of Puerto Vallarta (on Hwy 200). Located on 20 acres of land, these botanical collections features thousands of different species of plants. The gardens are in a unique tropical dry forest ecosystem at 1,300 feet above sea level. Against the breathtaking backdrop of soaring mountain peaks, there is much to experience: Palm Gardens, Rose Garden, Tree Fern Grotto, Orchid House, Jungle Trails, Tropical Bird Watching, Agave Gardens, displays of Mexican Wildflowers and the Carnivorous Plant Collection. Bringing your swimsuit and enjoy a refreshing dip in the crystal clear Rio Los Horcones The Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens is registered with Botanic Gardens Conservation International in Surrey, England and members of the Asociacion Mexicana de Orquideologia. The Gardens are listed in the Lonely Planet 2009 Guide to Mexico as a


Tours and Activities

  • Puerto Vallarta Tours and Activities - Established in 2003 we offer Tours and activities in Puerto Vallarta, Punta Mita and more. Located in Conchas Chinas 104a Sainta Barbara Calle tours include Whale Watching, Zipline, Pirate Cruise, Sunset cruise, Booze Cruise and more. This is the official website for Amigo tours Vallarta. 1.877.404.5958


  • La Marina Vallarta Golf Course-Have to have good accuracy for this one due to narrow fairways that are guarded by water

  • Los Flamingos Golf Course-Known as one of the easiest to play

  • The Mayan Palace Nuevo Vallarta Golf Club, 18-hole par 71 course designed by Jim Lipe. Address: Paseo de las Moras S/N, Fraccionamiento Náutico Turístico, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico 63735, . Fun course with many obstacles is on the spectacular beaches of Vallarta between the Sierra Madre mountains and the Bahia de Banderas bay. The Vallarta course offers interesting competitive advantages and challenges to golf lovers for the vast fairways appear to be the easy part but the lakes complicate the game for the most expert golfers.

  • El Tigre Golf Club-Long course with many traps and water

  • Vista Vallarta-Hosted the 2002 EMC World Cup Championship

  • Vallarta Discovery, . Offers an excellent selection of Puerto Vallarta tours including dolphin encounters, whale watching from mid-December to the end of March, sea lion encounters, scuba diving, snorkeling and speedboats. They can also arrange 4x4 MB Unimog and mule bring you 2200ft above sea level deep into the sub-tropical forest of the Sierra Madre mountains. You make your way back by ziplining from canyon to canyon, rappelling down waterfalls, crossing jungle bridges and splashing through streams and natural river pools, or arrange a canopy tour including ziplining from tree-top to tree-top, crossing hanging bridges, a tarzan swing and rappeling from 90ft (30m) above forest floor.

Scuba Diving

  • Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico's top dive destinations. There are many rental shops along the beaches.


  • The most popular snorkeling areas are Los Arcos underwater caves and Marietas Islands caverns. Vallarta Adventures snorkeling trips combine an extraordinary day of sun, fun, and adventure with just the right mixture of entertainment, learning and challenge, while snorkeling, sea kayaking, and exploring the tropical ecosystems on the secluded islands and beach hideaways that surround beautiful Banderas Bay.

Explore the Sierra Madre

  • The Mexican Outback in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit offers an opportunity of discovery and adventure: A culturally and ecologically trained guide can take you into authentic Mexican villages and through the sub-tropical forest with its extraordinary ecology and wildlife. Vallarta Adventures´ Sierra Madre Expedition takes you in specially designed Mercedes Benz all-terrain vehicles on an off-road voyage of discovery, past forgotten villages into the heart of the Sierra Madre.

Canopy Tour / Zip lines

  • Puerto Vallarta is well known for its canopy and zip line tours. Experience the exhilarating rush as you fly over the tree tops, securely fastened, from platform to platform.

Puerto Vallarta Atv Tours and Activities

  • Puerto Vallarta Atv Tours and Activities - Established in 2007 we offer ATV Tours and activities in Puerto Vallarta, Punta Mita and more. Located in puerto vallarta in the Romantic section . This is the official website for Unique Atv Tours. 1.866.391.6901


  • Banderas Bay is the second largest bay in North America, behind Hudson Bay. The deep, calm waters offer a very rich biodiversity, stunning beauty, romantic sunsets and relaxed sailing. Vallarta Adventures offers Day Sailing, Sunset Sailing, Sailing with Whales and Private Charters.


  • Kitesurfing is becoming more and more popular in Banderas Bay. Especially in Bucerias, a fishing village north of Nuevo Vallarta, you can see up to 30 people kitesurfing on a Sunday when the wind is good. The calm waters of Banderas Bay, the extended shoreline and the fact that it´s not too crowded with kitesurfers (yet) make it an excellent place to take lessons, for example from Jamison Smith , an IKO Level 2 Senior Certified International Kiteboarding Instructor. The season is from February until May.


  • You are able to parasail at pretty much every beach. The sky high trip usually last around 15 min.

Jet Skiing

  • Jet skis can be rented at most beaches by the hour.


  • Banderas Bay is home to annual Puerto Vallarta International Fishing Tournament held since 1956. Fish types include sailfish, dorado, marlin, bonita and yellowfin tuna, roostertail, jack cravel, pargo, red snapper and more denizens of the deep, black, blue and striped marlin.

    • ProFishingVallarta Sport Fishing in Puerto Vallarta - Offers fishing charter services throughout the whole year in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

Horseback Riding

  • There are many ranches in town that offer horseback Riding into small villages and through the forests. They can last from a few hours to a few days.

Turtle-Watching & Repatriation

  • Some tour companies offer educational programs combined with hands-on activities to help save Mexico’s turtles. After the female turtles lay their eggs in nests they create in the sand, volunteers dig up the eggs and re-bury them somewhere safe from predators. After about 45 to 60 days, the eggs hatch. Without help, only about 1 in every 1,000 baby turtles will survive to adulthood because most are caught by predators before they make it back to the safety of the ocean. However, turtle repatriation volunteers keep the babies safe until it is time to set them free to head for the ocean (at night when predators are less active). You can be part of these programs.

  • Puerto Vallarta Atv Tours - Puerto Vallarta Atv Tours provides funfilled Atv Tours in Rio Cuale, Quimixto, Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding areas..Located in the Romantic zone Calle San pedro C5a.


  • You will be hard-pressed to find information about simple hiking excursions, because no one makes much money from hikers while they are hiking. So you must research this ahead of time if you wish to hike. However, one short and interesting hike may be accessed as follows. Take a water taxi to Yelapa. On the main beach in Yelapa, walk to the right and cross the creek. Hike upwards a few meters to the cobblestone trail. Turn right, and then follow the trail over a ridge and up the adjacent valley. After hiking about 1.5 km through a tropical deciduous forest, your persistence will be rewarded. The waterfall is about 10 m high, with a pool for bathers at the base. The falls are more impressive during the rainy season (northern summer).


  • The beaches in Puerto Vallarta proper don't give such good waves but a daytrip out of town up along the coast of Banderas Bay will lead you to such decent spots as Veneros and Punta del Burro (these two are the most consistent) as well as in Punta de Mita. Passing the Ameca river along the way to these spots, you find yourself in the next door northern state of Nayarit. Such trips can be coordinated with a local surfing instructor or done solo. The drive from downtown Vallarta to points inside the Bay takes perhaps 30-45 minutes, and a bit over an hour to get to renowned Sayulita on the Pacific coast, a small village which consistently produces some of the best surfers in Mexico. The beaches there have very consistent waves and the place is crowded during the winter months particularly. There are waves small enough for beginners and large enough for the locals and experts. Most of the adventure companies (such as Vallarta Adventures) don't offer surfing lessons and you might need to find an independent, licensed instructor. One suggested instructor based in Puerto Vallarta: Alejandro Fuentes, or 044-322-117-6257.


  • Davannayoga - great sunset yoga classes on a 360 rooftop in old town in front of the ocean. Well known for it's traditional style yoga. Only certified teachers offering Vinyasa Flow, Morning Yoga, Sunset Yoga, Children's Yoga. Calle Matamoros #542 on the corner of Corona.

  • Yoga Vallarta - located in Zona Romantica (Basilio Badillo #325 3rd floor). This studio has high-mounted windows that bathe the studio in wonderful, natural light.


  • Sea Life Park by Dolphin Discovery - Discover Sea Life Park.

Dolphin Encounters

How to Get there Located in the first exit of Nuevo Vallarta, very easy to find, look for the Water Slides that can be seeing from the road.

Open daily except Mondays and Fridays from 10AM. to 6PM.


November Festival

It usually occurs in the middle of November and includes:

  • Many cocktail parties

  • Wine and tequila tastings

  • Cooking classes

  • Concerts

  • Gala dinners

  • Art expos

  • Screenings

Art Old Town Art Walk in El Centro - Will occur every Wednesday night, 6-10PM, from October 28, 2009 to May 26. 2010. Some of the local art galleries visited are:

  • Galería Arte Latinoamericano - Two floor gallery. Participates in art walk

  • Galería Corsica - Contemporary Mexican fine art

  • Gallería Dante - Voted #1 Gallery in Vallarta Voice Reader’s Choice 2003

  • Galería Feedma - A recent addition to the Vallarta art scene, with renowned Mexican and international artists and photographers (moves to mexico city

  • Galería Omar Alonso - Dedicated to antique and contemporary photography, engraving and sculpture

  • Gallería Pacificio - One of Vallarta's leading galleries since 1987; Sponsors the Public Sculpture Walking Tour that starts at 9:30AM every Tuesday on the malecon, Nov-April.


Puerto Vallarta didn't have an English language theater scene until recently. Now you can see up to four companies from the venue Theater Agustin Flores Contreras.


  • Malecon - You'll find live Cuban, jazz, rock, Latin American ethnic, Mexican ranchero and Mariachi

  • South Side - Los Muertos Beach offers jazz at Daiquiri Dick's happy hour You can also find blues, pop-rock and jazz.

  • Marina Vallarta & Nuevo Vallarta-You can have a Mexican dinner and listen to mariachi, marimba, romantic trios and folk harp.

  • North Shore - Offers a variety of live music.


The rich cultural diversity of Puerto Vallarta is reflected in the cuisine that its many restaurants have to offer. From the most casual taco stands, to tropical beachfront palapas, to upscale rooftop restaurants with panoramic views, there are literally hundreds of restaurants serving exactly what you are hungry for.

However, care should be taken to avoid food poisoning. There are many beachside restaurants to tempt you with tropical drinks, but bottled beer is a much safer option. When water taxis or other guides seamlessly hand you off to their "amigos" at a beachside restaurant, do not be bashful about seeking other options, or just order a bottled beer to be opened in front of you. Do not trust that your guide has made a good decision, he will be gone with your tip long before you show any symptoms. Restaurants listed in reputable tour guides are a fairly safe bet.

  • Chez Elena Famous hotel and restaurant located in Puerto Vallarta. It has been cited by Playboy Magazine and well known actors such as Peter O'Toole and Elizabeth Taylor.

  • Coexist Cafe (In Hotel Rio)Locals and tourists coexist creating a unique atmosphere, where music is definitely an ingredient you will enjoy. We’re recommended for having an eclectic taste, reflected in our Mexican and international dishes. Live music daily!

  • Epoca Just south of the foot bridge over Rio Cuale. Easy to overlook, hard to forget. Excellent food at very reasonable prices.

  • Planeta Vegetariano (just around the corner from the church.) Planeta Vegetariano serves a buffet-style meal with a varied and changing menu. All-you-can-eat fresh juices, vegetables, salads, fruit, and many traditional dishes served sin carne are to be found. Reasonable prices. They serve a breakfast and lunch buffet, each with different dishes. Many dishes are not only "sin carne" but with fake meat.

  • Fajitas Republic, Pino Suárez # 321 Col. Emiliano Zapata, Downtown, Just as the name implies they serve fajitas. Not just any fajitas, the best I have personally ever tasted. With over 10 varieties you cannot go wrong visiting this restaurant in old town Puerto Vallarta. This restaurant offers a quiet setting and great food. If you are in the mood to savor the best fajitas this is the spot.

  • Hard Rock Café, Presidente Díaz Ordaz 652 Downtown, This is a Hard Rock Café just like any other one in the United States but with a touch of Mexico. Just what you can expect good hamburgers and a funky atmosphere. If you are looking for a taste of home this is the place.

  • Las Palomas Beyali, Cond. Royal Pacific # 245 Local # 129 Marina Vallarta, This restaurants sits in the beautiful marina of Puerto Vallarta. Surrounded by massive yachts and a peaceful ambience. The food here is very authentic and quite tasteful.

  • Pipi’s, Guadalupe Sánchez # 804 Downtown, Fajitas and enchiladas to die for and also delicious margaritas of all flavors. Be prepared for a long wait, however it is worth it you will not regret waiting for this delectable treat. The only downside is that this restaurant is very touristy.

  • Señor Frog’s, Venustiano Carranza # 218 Emiliano Zapata, Downtown, This restaurant is mostly known for its club-like environment. At night it is one of the most popular and exciting clubs. During the day though it offers good food that might remind you of Hooters. Owned by the same folks as Carlos O'Brian and similar atmosphere.

  • The Blue Shrimp, Morelos # 779 Downtown, As the name implies you must like shrimp to eat at this restaurant. That said it offers some spectacular entrées that will take your hunger away that is for sure. Set partially outside the décor is fun but also very intimate.

  • Buenos Aires, in the Marina, This is a steak house that is simply put amazing. Their menu features a 2 LB. tenderloin that is marvelously prepared. They also offer a decent wine list. The setting is beautiful and the food even better.

  • Ay Caramba, Ask taxi driver, This restaurant is located atop a roof in the more residential part of Puerto Vallarta. They serve seafood that is freshly caught that day. Also they feature live music and a view that is unmatched. A very intimate setting. One of Puerto Vallarta’s best kept secrets.

  • Black Forest Restaurant , 013292955203, 5 - 10PM, C. Marlin 16, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Situated in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle 30 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta - Restaurant Black Forest is the creation of Chef Winfried Küffner and his family. It's thoroughly German, from the half-timbered exterior to the gracious service and authentic Black Forest cuisine which is truly a blending of many European flavors. Each of Chef Winfried's dishes contains traces of his professional background and his classical European training. His emphasis is always on freshness, quality and consistency in preparation and presentation which has earned them a loyal and growing clientele over the years.

  • Cafe des Artistes, A beautiful restaurant in the heart of downtown. The restaurant is divided into 3 areas: Inside, outside with a view of the ocean, and the garden. The garden is the most beautiful of the three, with an artificial creek running through it. The food here is very tasty

  • La Piazzetta, 4 to midnight, Calle Rodolfo Gómez 143, Col. E. Zapata, Puerto Vallarta, Locals come for the delicious Naples-style pizza (the crust not too thick, not too thin, and cooked in a brick oven), but there's also great pasta and a good variety of entrées, like the cream-based salmon with caviar and lemon. For appetizers try the top-heavy (con molto tomate) bruschetta or steamed mussels with lemon, parsley, and butter. Most folks choose to sit on the open patio, but La Piazzeta also has an intimate dining room. The personal attention of the owner, Mimmo, guarantees repeat business. It's open 4 to midnight.


  • Cafe de Olla - Basilio Badillo, 168 (near Olas Altas, Zona Romantica). (322) 223-1626. Has good, cheap food. Try the pork ribs or chicken.

  • La Joya de Mismaloya - Eat with your toes in the sand and a cold Corona in your hand. Any of these quaint beach side restaurants will delight you with some fantastic and authentic local seafood dishes. Some recommendations: Shrimp empanadas, Pescado Sarandeado, Tostadas de Ceviche de Camaron.

  • Coffee Cup - Rudolfo Gomez 146 (near Olas Atlas Street). 222-8584. An American-style coffee house that serves espresso, latte and cappucino with local baked goods. It is still rare to find this type of coffee in Puerto Vallarta. Local art is displayed on the walls.

  • Esquina de los Caprichos - Miramar 402. 222-0911. Open 1 -10PM. Closed Sundays. Spanish and Basque tapas. A few dishes and a glass of sangria is around $17 USD.

  • Tia Katrina - A hip take on traditional food. Appetizers from $5, mains from $9 USD. The Tortilla Soup is recommended.

  • Red Cabbage - Rivera del Rio 204A. 223-0411. A funky restaurant up the hill from the main streets in the Zona Romantica. It is themed on Frida Kahlo and features pre-hispanic recipes. Dinners from $15 - $25 USD.


  • Tinos - Up on a hill overlooking Vallarta, most tourists don't know about this place, frequented by local businessmen, and others looking to spend a buck for some fantastic seafood dishes. Some recommendations: tacos de marlin are excellent, and the "mariscada" or "parrillada" which is a huge sampler platter filled with house specialties.


  • Boca Bento - Basillo Badillo 180, south side. (322)-222-9108, 223-4727. Features an original menu of Latin and Asian fusion cuisine. Try the mouthwatering Thai-Crusted Calamari with Chipotle Dipping Sauce. Signature entrees include: Adobo Shrimp with Chimichurri Sauce and Chipotle Honey Glazed Pork Ribs with a warm Peruvian Potato Salad. Best cocktails in town include: Pomegranate Martini and Mandarin Lemonade. Music selection is fabulous: Buddha Bar, Mezzanine de L'Alcazar and Hotel Costes. An experience for the senses - not to be missed!

  • El Arrayan - Allende 344, El Centro. (322) 222 7195. A very good menu of specialties from many regions. The food is not "typical" to tourist-oriented Mexican restaurants, but rich banquet and festival foods with upscale service. You will have an opportunity to try many familiar dishes like lamb and pork, as well as cactus salad and seasoned roast crickets, for the adventurous.


Downtown:The Hot Spot for Nighlife - Located along the beachfront walk

  • El Dorado-Live Music

  • La Cave-Piano Bar

  • La Dolce Vita-Live Music

  • Le Carrousel-Disco/Dancing

  • BeboTero-Live Rock at night

  • Stars-Disco/Dancing

Old Town: It may seem strange but Steve's Sports Bar on Basilio Badillo #286 has the best margaritas - and we've been testing.

  • Right across the street from Steve's at Basilio Badillo #284 (upstairs from the El Cabaret Restaurant) is a great piano bar called El Pianito. Live entertainer, sing-along, etc.

  • Club Roxy-Live R&B Hit among people over thiry with live blues and rock. Ignacio Vallarta #217. Music starts around 10PM, no cover. Closed on Sundays

  • The American Legend-Dancing/Live Music


  • Carlos O'Brians now closed, demolished to make way for the new upscale bar-restaurant Punto V

  • Hard Rock Cafe-Live Music/Dancing Restaurant open until 2am

  • The Zoo-Disco/Dancing Attract the 20's crowd with DJ spun music and cages to dance in

  • EL Zoo, Paseo Díaz Ordaz # 630 Downtown, This dance club is quite small but very fun. The dance floor doesn’t offer much room to bust a move but offers a great time to be had. Located on the Malecon it is in the center of everything.

  • Hilo, Just down the street from El Zoo, Again this club is small. The inside is very cool and the bar is very large. It can get a little crazy because of the small area but is fun for younger kids.

  • Señor Frogs, Morelos #518 Downtown, The Tues night foam party is the best and this place is the larger than most clubs. It has two bars and the service is awesome.

  • Mandala - Restaurant and Disco-Bar. Located in front of the malecon, beside Zoo bar. This is one of the newest and hottest clubs in town. Open everyday from 11AM to 6AM. Perfect for everyone.

  • Collage - World Famous Foam Parties, as seen on E!, Playboy, MTV, and may other TV Networks. This place can hold up to 2000 crazy partiers at a time! Tuesdays and Fridays open bar.

  • Christine's, NH Krystal Vallarta Hotel Hotel Zone, This club is HUGE!! It is only open a few nights a week though. It is located close to most hotels.


Accommodations around the Bay of Banderas range from well-known international hotel chains and upscale villas and condominiums in the hotel zone, Marina Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta, and Punta Mita to moderately priced hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, apartments villas, and condominiums in Old Town Vallarta. The south end of Old Town has a number of gay-friendly hotels.


  • Cartagena de Indias Hotel, 222 6914, Madero 428, In the old town the street F. Madero hosts a bunch of similar, simple but clean hotels at a very affordable price. It is a 5-10 minute's walk away from the Malecon.

  • Hotel Belmar , 222 0572, 222 0572, Insurgentes 161, Family-owned hotel with a personalized service. 30 rooms with color TV. Air conditioning is optional.

  • Hotel Bernal, 222 0785, Madero 423, One of the cheap hotels on the street F. Madero.

  • Hotel Encino , 222 0051, 222 0051, Juarez 122, Hotel located in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, just one block away from the beach, in front of the market and two blocks from the Malecon.

  • Hotel Lina, 222 1661, Madero 367, One of the cheap hotels on the street F. Madero.

  • Hotel Mocali , 222 4201, Nicaragua 286 Col. 5 de Diciembre, Hotel located in downtown Puerto Vallarta, just a 2 blocks from the beach and 7 from the pier or

  • Hotel Villa del Mar , 222 2885, 222 2885, Francisco. I. Madero 440; Col. E. Zapata; Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, The hotel offers 49 beautiful and affordable rooms and 10 suites with kitchenette. Many of the rooms have private balcony.

  • Oasis Hostel , At $170 MXN per person per night it is one of the most inexpensive options. It is just off the centre of Puerto Vallarta, but buses and a reasonable walking distance (20 minutes) to town makes it feel well connected.

  • Viva La Vida Hostel ( , (322) 113 03 20, Juarez #386, Puerto Vallarta Centro, 1 minute from the beach, just opened in April 2009, they have free Internet both WiFi and a public computer and a massive TV with cable. right in the heart of the city and they have a Beautiful terrace where you can have a beer and watch the sun set. the staff its very friendly and the food its good & clean they always have an option for vegeterians. If you want a more community experience, choose Oasis. The security lockers here are very small.


  • Casa Panoramica (Bed and Breakfast) , 1-866-573-9804, Carr. Barra de Navidad 599, Traditional Mexican style villa runs as a Bed and Breakfast, with six bedroom suites, each with its own private bathroom. Panoramic views of the city and the bay.

  • Crown Paradise Club - All Inclusive Resort & Spa , (562) 904 70 50, (562) 904 70 50, Offers an activities pool, water park with pirate ship, a castle and 9 water slides, playground area, outdoor family game area, and fine dining & bars.

  • Embarcadero Pacífico - All Inclusive Resort , (322) 221 1177, (322) 221 1177, Wonderfully located in the exclusive zone of Marina Vallarta, this Family-Friendly All Inclusive Resort allows its guests to enjoy the main channel of Mexico’s biggest Marina, as well as the spectacular Banderas Bay.

  • Golden Crown Paradise- Adults All Inclusive Spa , (562) 904 70 50 , (562) 904 70 50 , This resort caters to adult travelers with spacious accommodations, a la carte dining, friendly service a vast selection of activities, sports and entertainment, as well as romantic settings for candlelit dinners.

  • Buenaventura Grand Hotel and SPA, 226 7770, 226 7770, Av. Mexico 1301, Col. 5 de Diciembre, Located just five minutes from the downtown shops and restaurants, and 15 minutes from the airport, Buenaventura is a great beachfront resort for your trip to the area.

  • Hacienda Hotel and SPA, 226 6667, 226 6667, Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio 2699, Discover the charm and serenity of a true Mexican Hacienda with lush tropical gardens, palm trees and cascades of fresh crystal water and secluded green areas inviting you to savor tranquility and harmony.

  • Hotel El Pescador , 222 2169, 222 2169, Paraguay 1117, Located by the beach in downtown just a few blocks away from the popular Malecon.

  • Hotel Emperador, . Hotel Emperador is in the heart of the most traditional area of the Old Puerto Vallarta, only 3 minutes away from the downtown and 20 minutes from the International Airport. On Puerto Vallarta's famous beach "Playa Los Muertos".

  • Hotel Rio, Email:, . Located within walking distance of the main downtown attractions, Hotel Rio is a good deal with clean, comfortable rooms with central air conditioning, telephone, color TV with cable, complete bathroom and balcony. Swimming pool and restaurant. Money exchange and 24 hours internet service.

  • Hotel Rosita , 222 1033, 222 1033, Paseo Díaz Ordaz 901, One of the first hotels in town on the beach and where the famous Malecon begins.

  • Melia Puerto Vallarta , (52) 322 2263000, (52) 322 2263000, Paseo de la Marina Sur 7 Marina Vallarta, Beachfront, all-inclusive resort for families on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

  • Mexican Resort at Los Tules , 224 5425, 224 5425, Blvd. Fco. Medina Ascencio S/N, interior Los Tules, Located within Los Tules right in the hotel zone in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. An oceanfront condominium-style resort located two miles from the airport and one mile from downtown Vallarta. You can also book condominiums directly from owners.


  • Casamagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa , 52 322 226 0000, Paseo La Marina 435, Marina Vallarta, Nestled between the Sierra Madre Mountains and Banderas Bay, CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa proudly holds a spot as one of the 100 World's Best Hotels according to Conde Nast Traveler. The Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort has completed its $10.7 million renovation! The enhancements include newly decorated rooms with luxurious bedding, contemporary bathrooms, new furniture with Mexican-inspired colors and patterns, a complete redesign of the resort's La Estancia restaurant, and exquisite updates to the banquet facilities and business meeting rooms.

  • Casa Velas'Pelícanos, #311 Fracc. Marina Vallarta, C.P. 48354 Puerto Vallarta, , Hotel Telephone: 52-322-226-6688 For Reservations Only : 1-866-529-8813, Experience Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Resort - Casa Velas Hotel Boutique is an all-inclusive, luxury vacation resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with stunning tropical scenery, a world-class spa, gourmet dining and an ocean-front beach club.

  • Crown Paradise Club All-Inclusive Resort and SPA , 226 6868, 226 6868, Av. de las Garzas S/N, A full all-inclusive program this resort offers: activities pool, water park with pirate ship, a castle and 9 water slides, playground area, outdoor family game area, options for fine dining & bars, programmed activities and more, perfect for a memorable family experience.

  • Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, . A luxury resort on its own private beach cove. Accommodations include spacious ocean-view rooms and suites overlooking the ocean and large private beach. Several rooms and penthouses have twin floors and private swimming pools. To unwind there are three pools, four gourmet restaurants and friendly lounges.

  • Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta , +52 (322) 226 2100, Av. Francisco Medina Ascencio km. 2.5 48333, The recently refurbished Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta resort has 291 rooms. The hotel has three bars and restaurants. Located on site are both a fitness and business center. This resort is enjoyed by both American and Mexican tourists alike who enjoy the pool, massage services, water sports, beach volleyball, waterpolo and bingo, or simply lie back and enjoy the beach and the sea breeze.

  • Golden Crown Paradise Adults All-Inclusive and SPA , 226 6800, 226 6800, Av. de las Garzas 3, This medium-sized Adult Only resort offer spacious accommodations, a la carte dining, friendly service a vast selection of activities, sports and entertainment, as well as romantic settings for candlelit dinners.

  • Grand Velas , 322-226-8000, Av. Cocoteros 98 Sur, C.P. 63735, Enjoy a Mexico resort vacation at a luxury beach hotel in Puerto Vallarta. Stroll along white sand beaches or wander cobblestone streets as you experience the culture and nightlife of Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Your beach vacation in Puerto Vallarta awaits!

  • Riu Palace Pacifico , Opening October 2008, Riu Palace Pacifico will be the third Riu hotel in beautiful Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.Riu Palace Pacifico is on Flamingo Beach, only 2 minutes drive from Riu Vallarta and Riu Jalisco, just 9 miles away from downtown Puerto Vallarta. Magnificent architecture and elegant furnishings combined with unparalleled service will offer guests the highest level of distinction. The ideal place for those vacationers seeking total relaxation in sumptuous luxury and comfort of our Premium brand.

  • Velas Vallarta Suite Resort & Convention Center , +52 (322) 221-0091, +52 (322) 221-0091, Av. Costera S/N, LH2, Fracc. Marina Vallarta Apartado Postal 139B, An all-inclusive 5-star resort with studios, one, two and three bedrooms, all with kitchens or kitchenettes. Hotel offers on-site mini-supermarket, boutique, travel agents, car and bicycle rental, tennis courts, and


  • La Playa liquors and wines. At least two outlets - one in the old town and one in the centro. This is the place to go for reasonably priced tequila. Most of the flashy tequila shops are either factory stores or time-share gimmicks. Neither are good options for buying tequila at a decent price/quality ratio.

  • Manta Maya a shop selling contemporary variations on traditional mexican cotton clothing. The clothing is made in their shop in Zapopan, on the outskirts of Guadalajara. Basilio Badillo at Ignacio Vallarta.

  • Galeria Indigena a shop specializing in Huichol art as well as art from other indigenous peoples. You'll see bead art everywhere, but this is one of a few shops that sell somethint at least a little more authentic than colorful beaded lizards and such. Juarez 628.

  • Arte Mágico Huichol another Huichol art shop. In addition to the usual bead art and yarn art they also sell piece of more traditional Huichol handicrafts. Coronoa 179.

  • La Casa del Habano Vallarta's best selection of real Cuban cigars. They also have a cigar bar. Aldama 170, Zona Centro.


Emergency Numbers

  • Emergency, Police/Fire: 060

  • Fire Dept: 223-9476, 223-9478

  • Police Dept: 290-0507, 290-0512

  • Red Cross & Ambulance: 222-1533

  • Motor Vehicle Dept: 224-8484

  • Consumer Protection (Profeco): 225-0000

  • Immigration Ofice: 221-1380

  • American Consulate: 222-0069, 223-0074 - After hours: 01-333-268-2145

  • Canadian Consulate: 293-0098, 223-0074 - After hours: 01-800-706-2900


  • Ameri-Med: 226-2080

  • CMG: 223-1919

  • Cornerstone: 224-9400

  • I.M.S.S.: 224-3838

  • Medasist: 223-0444

  • Regional: 224-4000

  • San Javier: 226-1010

General Safety

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful holiday destination, but this is not an excuse to leave your common sense at home. You should not treat the city as if it is a huge beach resort existing solely for your pleasure.

If you choose to wear khaki shorts, sandals and a white tshirt coupled with a money belt be aware that you will look like the perfect tourist and a prime target for opportunists.

Exercise caution here as in any place that you are unfamiliar. Keep an eye on your possessions (purses, cameras, etc) at all times. Do not flaunt large amounts of cash and wear a concealed money belt to secure large bills and your passport. Make sure you always have small bills/ coins on hand to pay for small items.

The beaches and hotels have security people who are familiar with the area and tend to ward off most undesirable characters. As in many "tourist destinations", there is a local "tourist police", who concentrate on keeping the area safe for visitors. They, and the locals, understand the value of visitors and make life very difficult for those who may ponder preying on visitors.

Avoid confrontations with the police. In the event you do have a disagreement with them, expect to be treated poorly and expect to pay many a peso to regain your freedom. Respect and co-operation goes a long way with them, disrespect usually will not be tolerated.--

Beach Activities

Water you have never been to can be dangerous. Leaving your valuables (cameras, purses, passport) alone on the beach, is an invitation to theft at any beach.

  • Precautions

  • Observe the warning flags on public beaches. There could be a strong undertow.

  • Never dive into unknown waters. There may be rocks


Note that not very many places take credit cards. Some larger hotel complexes, high end restaurants and shops do, but most do not. It is very much a cash only economy with ATMs available in convenient locations and a bank downtown where in-person withdrawals can be made.

For the budget traveler - time your visit outside of peak holiday periods (eg Santa Semana/ Easter week). Accommodation prices during peak times can double or triple and the beaches become insanely crowded.

If you are traveling around Mexico leave your souvenir shopping until Guadalajara as prices in Puerto Vallarta are higher, sometimes bordering on exorbitant.

Your exploring does not have to be limited just to the Bay, there are nearby archeological sites to visit as well. Close at hand, in the region of Ixtapa, studies have uncovered sites dating back to 400 B.C.

Mismaloya is a short drive outside town. It is famous for being the location for the movie "The Night of the Iguana" directed by John Houston. You can tour the location.

Chico's Paradise, a river valley with rock formations and picnic/restaurant areas is a short drive or bus ride outside town.

Puerto Vallarta is less than a 45 minute flight away from the inland city of Guadalajara and about an hour flight from Mexico City. A 30 minute drive up the coast lands you in Bucerias, a small coastal village.

Contact & location

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