The main reason visitors from all over the world flock to Puerto Vallarta is for the beaches. However, the picturesque Historical Center, art-filled boulevard, and magnificent views of the Bahía de Banderas, as well as the Zona Romántica (Romantic District), are all highlights which make this city a unique, unforgettable destination.
Located on the Pacific coast, 205 miles (330 km) from Guadalajara (the capital of the state of Jalisco), Puerto Vallarta is home to Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport, with connections to major cities in the country, as well as important foreign cities. As such, it has become one of the main tourist destinations in Mexico.
This is with good reason, given that the hotel offer in Puerto Vallarta is varied, with both low-cost and high-end options. Furthermore, there is a huge variety of water sports and activities on offer, with something for everyone: diving, snorkeling, bungee jumping, parasailing, kayaking, game fishing, swimming with dolphins, seasonal whale-watching, jet skis, boat rides, flyboard, windsurfing and surfing, among others.
Behind the beautiful city is the Sierra Madre Occidental (a mountain range in west and northwest Mexico), which provides a lush, green backdrop with a number of waterfalls, and El Jorullo suspension bridge. The outdoor adventure and nature-based activities on offer there expand on the already rich menu of attractions: adrenaline-filled zip lines, ATV rides, horseback riding or mountain bike tours, rappelling, and peaceful nature walks to observe the landscape and birds living in the trees.
Puerto Vallarta is however also considered a “gourmet city” due to the large number of restaurants with renowned chefs at the helm, and the delicious creativity which goes into their dishes. After enjoying an ocean or mountain-based activity, you can regain your strength with top-notch gastronomical delights, and then make an evening of it with the city’s lively nightlife.
Puerto Vallarta, which was originally known as Las Peñas, was founded in 1851. Tourism-based development however took place in the eighties, when Marina Vallarta (the Vallarta Marina) was built. It has not stopped growing since, and continues to win the hearts of visitors, who just keep coming back.
If you are planning a break in Puerto Vallarta, the best time to visit is between April and June, to avoid the rainy season. From December to March, however, whale-watching can be enjoyed in this area of the Pacific.