Mon, August 8th, 2011 - By

Spotlight: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Mexico has plenty of great resort towns and villages ranging from the wild to the mild. One popular spot for many is Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It’s an interesting spot geographically because beyond the sands of the shore, you head straight into mountains and jungle forests. It’s amazing.

Getting here is easy as many airlines fly direct into the Puerto Vallarta airport, and once you’ve collected your bags and managed to get past the fierce timeshare salesfolk in the airport lobby, how will you spend your days? Here are some ideas.

The Beach

The bad thing about the beaches in PuertoVallarta? There’s so many of them. The town is located on Banderas Bay, one of the deepest bays in the world and one of the largest in Mexico.

There are 26 or so beaches along the shoreline to tempt you. Some recommendations:

  • Bucerias Beach:  great for those with children as the sea floor has a gradual drop off, so you can enjoy a gentle swim in shallow water.
  • Gemelas Beach: these smaller beaches right at the foot of the mountains are great for swimming.
  • Los Muertos Beach: The translation of the name may mean “dead,” but you’ll get anything but as this bustling beach, the place to see and be seen.


Because of all the tourism architecture you can get a lot of great food in Puerto Vallarta. A few cuisine suggestions:

  • Mexican:  seems obvious, but with so much American food wafting around you could be led astray. Try some of the many fajitas bars or grab a torta, which is sort of like the Mexican equivalent of a big sandwich.  Many upscale Mexican (or Argentinian) establishments also have great steaks.
  • Seafood: Since you’re at the sea, why not try to patron a venue with fresh seafood?  There are shrimp bars and fish taco carts and everything in between.
  • Pizza: It’s simple but who doesn’t like a good pizza on vacation? Believe it or not there are some excellent pizza joints around town. Or what about some seafood pizza?!

Ask your hotel or accommodation for a recommendation on what’s close – there’s so much choice, you have lots of options. And don’t forget – be careful with the water. If you’re ordering fruity, blended drinks you’d be best doing so at a more touristy bar/restaurant actually, where you can be sure that the ice is with clean water.


If you get bored or burnt just laying around the beach and eating, how about a little exercise? With lots of space in the water as well as the nearby mountains, again you are spoiled with choice. A few suggestions:

  • Golf:  There are at least four golf courses in the area; for experts, the Mayan Palace Nuevo Vallarta comes highly recommended (though I am not a golfer).
  • Scuba: Given the layout of the terrain, Puerto Vallarta is at the top of the list for scuba diving in Mexico. You can pick up a tour at any one of the shops along the beaches.  Snorkelling is another popular option – Vallarta Adventures has some great trips.
  • Zip Lines:  Last but not least are the canopy tours and zip line courses that are famous in Puerto Vallarta. They’re fun and not as scary as you might think. Check it out!

Also, don’t miss my tips for Puerto Vallarta daytrips.

Photos by: Reg Natarajan, mickou, jay.tong, hbarrison

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Monday, August 8th, 2011 at 11:00
Category : Spotlight
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