Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Tue December 22 2015

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | December 22, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    Top 5 Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta

    Top 5 Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta

    Photos by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

    Boasting striking scenery, rich culture and lively nightlife, Puerto Vallarta supplies many more options for fun than the typical little resort town. From the bustling, sun-soaked cobblestone streets of Zona Centro town center, to the clusters of beaches that line the Pacific, I was amazed at how much there was to do in this pretty coastal village. Sophisticated and eclectic, Vallarta serves up the expected sun and surf activities as well as more urbane pursuits. Here are my recommendations for the top five must do activities here:

    Stroll The Malecon

    This stunning seaside boardwalk is a Puerto Vallarta hallmark. Stretching 12 blocks through the heart of the downtown area and cradled by vistas of the ocean and the Sierra Madre Mountains, it's worth a stroll for the views alone. But there's so much more. Artwork dots the boardwalk like an outdoor art exhibit, including bronze statues, fountains and the iconic seahorse sculpture that's the symbol for Puerto Vallarta. There are also enough quirky shops, bars and restaurants along the way to fill an entire day.

    Listen To A Mariachi Performance

    Mariachi is the essence of Mexican music and it originated in the state of Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is located. Originally used as a representation of Mexican identity during the Mexican Revolution in the 1900s, it has evolved into a complex orchestra that must include a guitarron (acoustic bass), yihuela (5-string guitar), a Mexican guitar, three or more violins and one or more trumpets to be classified as a mariachi band. Most bands know hundreds of songs and can play everything from Mexican folk songs to top 40 hits. Catch a band playing on the malecon or performing in a restaurant and soak up a significant form of Mexican culture.

    Take A Tequila Tour

    No, I don't mean the kind of tour wear you traipse from bar to bar downing bottles. I mean a real tour of the history and production of tequila. Like mariachi, tequila also originated in the state of Jalisco, traced back to indigenous Nahuatl, who discovered that consuming the cooked and fermented juice from a special cactus gave feelings of relaxed well being. Glimpse fields of blue agave and learn about the modern cooking, fermentation and distillation process and then taste the results.

    Gallery Hop

    PHOTO: Galleria Uno.

    Even if you're not a big art fan, browsing through Puerto Vallarta's 30 or so galleries and art stores is a fascinating experience. Most of the art reflects traditional culture and the vivid colors and whimsical Day of the Dead calaveras (skulls) will grab your attention. Black clay pottery, beadwork, ceramics and paintings can also be found.

    Lounge On A Beach

    There's a reason why Vallarta is a popular resort town: it boasts dozens of flawless beaches splashed with crystalline waves. You can sink your toes into golden sand and sunbathe, snorkel, scuba, take a horseback ride or watch humpback whales. Whatever you choose, you can't visit Puerto Vallarta without lying on at least one beach.


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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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