Must-Do’s on Your First Visit to Puerto Vallarta
Preparing your vacation itinerary can be an arduous task, due to the vast amount of information that appears online when we look for what to do or visit in a certain tourist destination. Attractions, restaurants, places of interest, monuments, museums… the list is long!
If you’ve already decided that your next destination is Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s beautiful Banderas Bay, we offer you this basic guide to the sites you definitely must visit when you get to the city. Of course, we recommend first enjoying your hotel’s amenities to recharge your batteries (who doesn’t like a relaxing day at the pool?) and then going out to discover the best of the destination.
Stroll the Malecón and El Centro
Probably, the first image to appear when we type “Puerto Vallarta” into our web browser is a photograph of the iconic Malecón, a mile-long walkway beside the sea. With construction beginning in the 1930s, it soon became a popular recreation area for residents. Today, it is one of the city’s main attractions, where you can find sculptures such as “El Niño sobre el Caballito de Mar” (The Boy on the Seahorse) and “Los Arcos del Malecón” (The Arches of the Malecón), symbols of Puerto Vallarta.
Thanks to its location in the city’s historic center, the Malecón is very close to other important sites such as the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (the crowned church) and the Plaza de Armas (main square), as well as the old adobe and tile buildings that characterize the enchanting landscape of this zone.
Visit Los Muertos Beach and the Romantic Zone
The southern end of Puerto Vallarta’s Malecón leads to Los Muertos Beach, the bay’s most famous thanks to its location in the Romantic Zone, its history and attractions, including Los Muertos Pier, a metal structure offering an unbeatable view, as well as a light show at night.
As this area hosts countless restaurants overlooking the sea, cafes, boutiques, bars and lodging options, it has positioned itself as one of the hotspots for visitors. If you visit the beach during lunchtime, be sure to try the fish-on-a-stick, one of the city’s typical delicacies.
Take a Tour to the South Shore
Puerto Vallarta also has very quiet beaches with a natural beauty that captivates anyone. The best way to discover them is through a boat tour to the bay’s South Shore. That way, you can get a unique perspective of the city from the ocean, visit the Los Arcos de Mismaloya Marine Park and disembark in charming and picturesque coastal towns such as Las Ánimas, Quimixto and Yelapa. Generally, food and drinks are included in these tours, so fun and a good time are guaranteed.
Enjoy Classic Restaurants
Puerto Vallarta has an active and varied culinary scene, including restaurants with international, fusion, Mexican and contemporary dishes. Before saying goodbye to the city, you simply must try some of its most successful and longstanding restaurants, such as La Palapa and Kaiser Maximilian in the Romantic Zone and Café des Artistes and Trio in El Centro.
Dance and Discover the Nightlife
When the sun goes down, music begins to take over Puerto Vallarta. If you like salsa or Latin rhythms, you can’t miss La Bodeguita del Medio on the Malecón, where you can enjoy live music and a delicious mojito. Nearby, you will also find nightclubs with more modern musical options, whereas the Romantic Zone is home to bars of all genres, most with a special focus on the LGBT community.
Relax at a Spa
Before ending your adventure in the city, indulge in a pleasant massage by the sea or a hydrotherapy session at one of the many spas in Puerto Vallarta. Your hotel will most likely have one! This is the best way to prepare for your return home and to contemplate the ideal time for your second visit.