Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Tue March 01 2016

3 Days of Culture and Relaxation in Puerto Vallarta

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | March 01, 2016

3 Days of Culture and Relaxation in Puerto Vallarta

Photo courtesy of the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board

Puerto Vallarta combines a classic beach holiday with a cultural retreat that is the perfect answer to the quick warm-weather winter getaway. Hotels hug the shoreline, perched on white-sand beaches with gentle waves and temperate water. Visitors have a variety of options, from the ultra-luxurious to the more budget-friendly getaway. Accommodation is really your biggest splurge in Puerto Vallarta, as activities, shopping, dining and transportation are all relatively inexpensive.

Airfare is also relatively cheap and as Puerto Vallarta’s tourism numbers grow, so do the number of gateways that service the city with direct flights.

If you only have three days to stay in Puerto Vallarta, here is how to create the perfect getaway.

Day 1. Try to get an early flight and land in the early afternoon to maximize your first day. Once you are checked into your hotel, use this afternoon time to relax by the pool, stroll on the beach or pre-arrange a spa treatment so that you can unwind and truly enjoy your stay.

Make a reservation for dinner in the heart of the city. Casa Kimberly, which is the former home of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, is both a restaurant, bar and nine-room boutique hotel. The Iguana Restaurant & Tequila Bar is truly a unique dining experience and the hotel is worth seeing — if only for the Love Bridge. There are definitely many other options such the well-known Cafe des Artistes and Los Xitomates, which are well established in Vallarta’s dining scene.

READ MORE: Puerto Vallarta Aims High With Future Tourism Goals

Finish the night with a stroll along the malecon before heading back to your hotel.

Day 2. Get out of the hotel and book a tour with Vallarta Adventures. There are myriad options, everything from dolphin and sea lion swims to cultural excursions and snorkeling trips.

For those looking to something more historical in nature, visit nearby Pueblos Magicos (Magic Towns) — special towns rich in culture, natural beauty and historical significance. These locales are found throughout the country and the Puerto Vallarta area happens to be home to four of them. Most recently, Sayulita, in Riviera Nayarit, was named a Pueblos Magicos. It was the first Magic Town to receive the designation for its cultural vibe instead of historical significance.

Visitors can book a trip to several magical towns with Vallarta Adventures. The newest journey visits the towns of Talpa and Mascota. Many people make pilgrimages to Talpa for its patron saint, who is said to be able to heal people.

Mascota is home to an innovative cheese-making industry that was started by a high school student in order to ensure financial prosperity for the town in times of hardship. The cheese is now well-known throughout the region. Both towns have beautiful colonial squares and, in Talpa, candy makers line cobblestone streets. Samples are a must.

The tour takes most of the day and includes lunch. Guests travel in vans and leave from Vallarta Adventures in the Puerto Vallarta marina.

Once you return from your day out, consider enjoying a relaxing meal at your hotel or ordering room service. If you are home early enough, it’s another great time to book a spa treatment or just enjoy time by the pool. Don’t miss the sunset, which is pretty much amazing no matter where you are.

Day 3. Use this time to take advantage of the strong dollar/peso exchange rate and do some shopping in the market and stroll through the colonial areas of town. If you book an afternoon flight home, you will have enough time to enjoy lunch in the romantic zone, too.

Where to Stay

It's a good time to visit Puerto Vallarta as its hotel industry is booming. There are several new properties and many older properties have been recently renovated. Chief among the new additions are the Hotel Mousai and the Casa Kimberly. Both are luxurious, but they couldn't be more opposite in style. 

Casa Kimberly is, as previously mentioned, the restored home of Burton and Taylor. The property is done up in traditional Spanish colonial style. Modern amenities are concealed in cabinets as to preserve the experience of a bygone era. Each room is unique and named after a different Elizabeth Taylor film and they all have beautiful views of the city and ocean. 

Hotel Mousai is the epitome of modern. Rooms are rife with high-end features such as iPads that control everything from the temperature of the room to the lighting to the music. Speaking of music, speakers are wired throughout the room and music is piped in throughout your spacious accommodations, most of which have enormous wraparound balconies and views that will take your breath away. The piece de resistance however is the rooftop infinity pool that rivals the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore for world's coolest rooftop pool. It literally looks like you will drop off the edge into the jungle below.

READ MORE: Dispatch: Exploring Puerto Vallarta’s Magical Side

Right in the heart of the action, the Villa Premiere is a boutique property that is good option for those looking for a small, relaxing boutique getaway. The hotel has an excellent spa, spacious suites and gorgeous views on a small crescent of beachfront. It is close to the malecon and convenient for evenings out, but you may not want to leave because the two restaurants on property offer delicious menus. 

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