A Cruising Couple | April 22, 2016 5:00 AM ET
Puerto Vallarta Destination Guide
Photo courtesy of the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board
There’s no doubt that Puerto Vallarta is quickly becoming one of Mexico's most popular tourist destinations. In fact, Puerto Vallarta has been named one of the top 10 destinations in Mexico, voted as one of the friendliest cities in the world, and called one of the most romantic spots in the country.
While fame isn't always ideal for a destination, Puerto Vallarta is popular for a reason. Whether you're visiting to say your vows or just say hola, here are some of our top recommendations you won't want to miss in and around town:
What to See
Bahia de Banderas
One of Mexico's largest (and the world's deepest) bays, the Bahia de Banderas creates an environment unlike anywhere else on earth. The horseshoe-shaped coastline that forms the bay stretches over 60 miles and boasts countless beaches from long strips of public sand to tiny private coves.
Photo via Flickr/Christian Frausto Bernal
The bay itself is the perfect place to spot whales during the winter months and snorkel around the Marieta Islands. The islands are part of the Marieta Islands National Park and are home not only to migrating whales but also many birds, sea turtles and fish.
With over 20 beaches readily available from Puerto Vallarta, whether you are looking for watersports or just a secluded spot to relax, there is a beach for just about every occasion. A few different options in the region include Las Caletas, Los Muertos Beach, and Playa Bucerias.
Once the home of the famous director John Huston, the secluded hideaway of Las Caletas can only be visited via a tour with Vallarta Adventures. We recommend pairing a trip with the extraordinary Rhythms of the Night Tour dinner and show.
Photo by A Cruising Couple
Los Muertos Beach is conveniently placed right in the Romantic Zone in downtown Puerto Vallarta, making it one of the most popular and developed of the beaches. Restaurants, shopping and hotels are all just a quick walk away.
Photo via Flickr/Gus
Farther north, Playa Bucerias is an excellent compromise between the two. With waves mild enough to allow swimming or body surfing, and a few shops and restaurants along the beach, it's the perfect spot for families who want to spend the day somewhere not too far outside of town.
Photo via Flickr/Gildardo
The heart and soul of Puerto Vallarta, this 11-block pedestrian walkway has statues, shopping, street artists and performers, restaurants and sweeping views of the bay. It's perfect for a sunset stroll. Make your way down to the south side where there may be an impromptu show happening at the amphitheater.
Just south of downtown Puerto Vallarta is Old Vallarta, also known as the Romantic Zone. Though there are more shops, cafes, bars and restaurants per square foot here than anywhere else in town, the cobblestone streets and traditional old town feel will make you think you're in a pueblo. Grab dinner or a drink with your special someone as you admire the pier at Playa Los Muertos as it lights up in the night.
What To Eat
This local dish is far more appetizing than it's translation — pregnant fish — lets on. Various fish such as Marlin are first marinated in lime. The chef then grills the fish over coals and serves it with Huichol salsa, a traditional medium-hot sauce.
Photo via Flickr/El Gran Dee
These local sandwiches are made using birote, a type of white bread similar to a baguette, which is stuffed with pieces of pork meat and loaded up with spicy chili and tomato sauce. Make sure you grab a few napkins before you chow down, as this meal can be surprisingly messy.
Of course, you can't visit Mexico without having its classic roadside specialty. Look for a vendor that's especially crowded and order a few for a tasty and budget-friendly treat.
Have you been to Puerto Vallarta? What were your favorite spots?
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