Puerto Vallarta is the perfect Mexican holiday destination, combining elements of some of the livelier resorts (without all the bustle and crowds) whilst also offering a more traditional Mexican setting for you to feel like you have escaped from your normal life for a couple of weeks. In recent years it has established itself as something of a adventure sports mecca and it is a wonderful destination if thrills and spills are what you’re after. In Puerto Vallarta you can find everything from bungy jumps to zip lines, parasailing to shark diving, deep sea fishing to jeep safari tours and rainforest hikes. But when you get back at night from your adventures you will also find a beautiful old Mexican fishing town of cobbled streets and traditional bars and restaurants.
If you spend a week or two in Puerto Vallarta there are one or two things that you simply must do, besides all the water sports. The first is to spend an afternoon or two just strolling along the El Malecon. This is considered to be one of the most beautiful beachfront promenades in the world, being a mile long boardwalk on the ocean which starts at the Hotel Rosita, takes in some stunning views along the way and finishes up in an incredible open-air theater called Los Arcos (the arches). All along the walk you’ll find stunning statues and sculptures by local artists that reflect the colorful Puerto Vallarta way of life and history. Best of all are the world famous sunsets that you can watch from El Malecon as the waves crash below, a sight and sound that you will never forget. Once the sun has fallen below the horizon, browse the outdoor market for local arts and crafts and grab a drink looking out over the ocean.
Another couple of must-see places are Chino’s Paradise, a restaurant situated at the confluence of two rivers in a lush rainforest setting, with food served to you by flowing rivers and natural pools, where you can swim before or after your meal; and Las Caletas, a tropical beach in Banderas Valley which can only be reached by boat. It takes an hour to get to Las Caletas but it is worth it; the moment you step off the boat you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, a tropical island all to yourself. With a pristine white sandy beach, hammocks and therapeutic massages looking out over lush vegetation this is a slice of paradise that is worth paying for.
If you get time it is worth going diving in Puerto Vallarta, so rich and exotic is the marine life, but if you don’t want to dive you can always head out to sea on one of Chico’s Dive Shop’s tours which allow you to snorkel in some of the most beautiful areas of the ocean. Finally, one thing that everyone should do is head out on a whale watching tour, which will get you up close and personal with whales, dolphins and other amazing sea creatures. An incredible experience and one you will never forget.