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Puerto Vallarta Life
Puerto Vallarta is... a day at the beach under a palm-fringed palapa, fine food in a secluded courtyard restaurant, a tour by jeep into the forested foothills of the Sierra Madre, cobblestone streets, red-tiled roofs and adobe houses, lazing by a hotel pool while being served cool drinks, a boat ride on the Bay of Banderas watching whales and mantas play, shopping for handicrafts and clothes and souvenirs, serenading mariachis in the plaza, moonlight walks, sunset strolls, fiestas, festivals and fireworks, fishing, diving, sailing-- traditional and modern, it’s Magic!
Puerto Vallarta has been on the international tourism map for over 50 years. Many feel it is the one vacation area where a destination in a single locale features the culture and traditions of old and new Mexico, combined with sun, sea, and sand resort ambience.
Bahia de las Banderas - This magnificent bay, one of the world's largest, runs from Punta de Mita in the State of Nayarit in the north to Cabo Corriente in the State of Jalisco in the south.
Las Peñas - The three offshore rocks along the bay's southern coast, an early landmark for ships and source of the original name of Puerto Vallarta. Also known as Los Arcos.
A Variety of Villages - Around the bay and inland lie a number of intriguing villages. North in Nayarit : Rincon de Guayabitos, San Francisco (San Pancho), Sayulita, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, the Valle de Banderas' three towns and Bucerias. In Jalisco: Las Juntas, Ixtapa, El Pitillal on the north side of PV and Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlan on the south side. Two major visitor villages behind the mountains: San Sebastian del Oeste and Talpa de Allende. Most of these see an influx of winter visitors for longer stays.
How do I get around? - Visitors can choose from many forms of transportation in Puerto Vallarta. Car and jeep rentals offer independence and mobility in sightseeing and beach excursions. Taxis are also a viable option. Remember to negotiate your taxi fare up front. For the more adventurous, public buses are available.
Beaches - Just too numerous to list, and all around the Bay. The liveliest, perhaps, is Los Muertos in Puerto Vallarta, just south of the Rio Cuale and the most tranquil along the north shore along the road to Punta Mita.
Jungle Spots - South of town from Mismaloya: Chino's Paraiso, Chico's Paradise and El Edén (food services at all three). Also, via horseback into the hills.
El Centro - Old Town, or Viejo Vallarta, known for its traditional red-tiled roofs, whitewashed buildings, cobblestone streets and hillside homes. Center for restaurants, shops, galleries and government.
Currency - The peso is the Mexican form of currency. It is suggested that you exchange small amounts of U.S. dollars for pesos. Major credit cards are also widely accepted. A pocket calculator can also be helpful when you shop to help convert U. S. dollars to pesos. Bartering when shopping outside resort areas is practiced. U.S. dollars are accepted in resort areas, but keep in mind that any change returned will be in pesos. Our recommendation is that you use a credit card to give you the daily currency exchange on your next billing statement.
South of the Rio Cuale - Something of a continuation of El Centro. More shops and restaurants, especially along the "Calle de los Cafes" (Basilio Badillo).
Plaza Principal - The main square of Puerto Vallarta, flanked by Presidencia Municipal (City Hall) in the heart of El Centro.
The Malecon - A sweeping seafront promenade in the very center of town, a preferred spot for strollers. Site of three symbolic statues: Caballito de Mar (seahorse), La Fuente de los Delfines (fountain of the dolphins) and Neptune and Serena (Neptune and the mermaid). Another promenade lies along the inner Marina.
Los Arcos - Open-air amphitheater at the south end of the Malecon.
Museo Manuel Lepe - Dedicated to Vallarta's famous whimsical painter. South of the Rio Cuale (ask for directions).
Cristo Resuscitado de El Pitillal - Church in El Pitillal village, 20 minutes from Vallarta. Noted for its five-meter tall cedar wood statue of Jesus.
Isla del Rio Cuale - A botanical park along the river separating downtown into north and south sections, dotted with restaurants, shops and galleries.
Mercado Municipal - Sometimes called the Flea Market, it’s a real Mexican market adjacent to the Rio Cuale, featuring souvenir and food vendors.
Museo Rio Cuale - A small, attractive museum on the Isla de Rio Cuale.
La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe - Puerto Vallarta's unique landmark, the central church in the center of town topped by its one-of-a-kind crown.
Gringo Gulch - Colorful name given to an area overlooking the River Cuale in the central district. Site of some of the first homes of resident foreigners.
Casa Kimberly - Former home of Elizabeth Taylor in Gringo Gulch, purchased during the filming of "Night of the Iguana." Richard Burton's home is just across the street. Now open as a B&B and for home tours.
Conchas Chinas - A major seaside area of villas and condominium apartments just south of town.
Mismaloya - Small cove area well south of town. Location site of the film, "Night of Iguana."
Boca de Tomatlan - Spectacular cove located eight miles south of PV, below Mismaloya. Restaurants; also boats available to Las Animas, Quimixto and Yelapa.
Las Animas, Quimixto and Yelapa - Three delightful isolated beaches accessible only by boat (tours from the PV Port and by boat available at Los Muertos beach and Boca de Tomatlan. Restaurants at all three; overnight accommodations at Yelapa.
Ixtapa - Small town just to the north of Puerto Vallarta. Site of new archeological discoveries of pre-Columbian México.
San Sebastian del Oeste - Interesting old mining town in the hills beyond Puerto Vallarta. Most easily accessed by air. Restored hacienda accommodations.
Talpa de Allende - Picturesque town south of San Sebastian and site of an important annual pilgrimage to the "Walking Virgin of Talpa." Hacienda accommodations available.
Night Life - After dark, Puerto Vallarta just gets better and better. At the Marina, major hotels offer fiestas and discos, and the new entertainment complex is something not be missed. Live rock and jazz are featured at over a dozen high-activity pubs and discos in El Centro and south of the Rio Cuale.
Proof of Citizenship - Acceptable forms of proof of citizenship for U.S. citizens traveling between the U.S. and our International Destinations are a valid passport, OR a certified , state issued birth certificate with raised seal AND a valid government photo ID, a naturalization/citizenship certificate, Armed Forces' ID or discharge papers stating place of birth. It is the traveler's responsibility to provide proper documentation. Married women traveling with any documentation in their maiden name must supply a marriage license (a copy is acceptable). Before leaving your home country, please check your government’s travel regulations to be sure your documentation is up-to-date.