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Home / Local Life / Mexico / Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Punta Mita Map

Nestled between the jungle covered mountains and the indigo waters of the Bay of Bandares, Puerto Vallarta offers natural beauty, picture perfect weather, and limitless outdoor recreation. The whitewashed buildings, cobblestone streets, graceful cathedral and occasional mule trotting downtown provide an authentic colonial Mexican atmosphere along with world class shopping, dining and nightlife. Puerto Vallarta was made famous when John Huston filmed Ava Gardner and Richard Burton in Night of the Iguana here in 1963.

Burton’s affair with Liz Taylor brought both Ms. Taylor and the international paparazzi who photographed the beauty of Puerto Vallarta for the entire world to see.

Ecotourism flourishes in the area with plenty of adventures for outdoor enthusiasts and families alike. The lush Sierra Madres Mountains beckon you on horse, mountain bike or foot. Swim with the dolphins, watch humpback whales and manta ray or go on a bird watching tour. With 322 days of sunshine annually and an average temperature of 80 degrees F, the 26 miles of beaches that line the Bay of Bandares are perfect for both relaxing and water sports. Fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing, boating excursions fishing and dune buggy tours are all available.

Stroll the town’s outdoor markets, hunt for local folk art made by the Huichol Indians, browse the contemporary art galleries and shop for gift, clothes, cigars and tequila at upscale boutiques. The Huichol Indians are one of the last remaining indigenous cultures in the world. Their colorful works of art - yarn “paintings”, beaded work and masks include symbolic and mythical imagery. Puerto Vallarta boasts the largest collection of contemporary Mexican Art outside of Mexico City.

Gourmet enthusiasts won’t be disappointed. Puerto Vallarta is home to over 250 restaurants ranging from small family-owned kitchens serving fresh seafood and local fare to the finest international cuisine. Renowned chefs from France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Argentina and the United States have all settled in Puerto Vallarta. Enjoy flavorful Italian dishes at Porto Bella, French bistro fare with local accents at Café des Artistes, the melding of Mediterranean and Mexican flavors at Trio and authentic regional Mexican dining at El Arraylan. Don’t miss the open air Jungle restaurants to the south of town where you can dine in a tropical setting by the ocean or mountain rivers. Chico’s Paradise offers excellent seafood and Mexican dishes along with spectacular views of massive rocks and the surrounding mountains and jungles.

Puerto Vallarta is the perfect base for a variety of day trips. Explore the Sierra Madres Mountains and the old mining town of San Sebastian, the village of Moascoata lined with adobe houses and colonial haciendas and the remote mystical mountain villages where the Huichol Indians live. Yelpa, an island with beaches and seafood restaurants is reached by boat, has no cars and is a popular home for hippies, artists and writers. To the north, you will find the charming coastal village of Bucerias, the exclusive resort community of Punta Mita, and the surfing village of Sayulita.