If you are looking out for a destination that offers you mountains, beaches and sea simultaneously along with a vibrant culture, then Puerto Vallarta in the Pacific coast of Mexico should be your choice. Cobblestone streets, lush marine life, great golf courses, five-star resorts and gourmet restaurants add up to the charm and class of this highly popular vacation spot.
Puerto Vallarta stands at the mouth of the Banderas Bay, on either banks of river Cuale. This bay is one of the largest and deepest in the world. This bay is surrounded by hills seeped in green, which reach up to the high Sierra Madre Mountains in the east. There are a number of golden beaches around Puerto Vallarta, as well as some quaint little fishermen’s villages located snugly among the hills.
The Bay of Banderas is known for its vibrant aquatic life. A variety of multicolored tropical fish can be found in the waters. Humpback whales, sea turtles, dolphins and huge Manta rays inhabit the waters. This variegated marine life makes Puerto Vallarta a popular destination for snorkelers, scuba divers and sports fishermen.
Other activities one can get engaged in, when at Puerto Vallarta are hiking, mountain biking, traversing the jungles on horseback, canopy tours, and jeep safari. Rental of equipment for surfing, wind surfing, para sailing and fishing are available at the beach shops. Those who are interested in nature can take part in Turtle watching and repatriation programs to save the Mexican turtles. One can also visit the Sea Life Park by Dolphin Discovery where there are options of swimming with dolphins as well as watching dolphin and sea lion shows. For those who wish to stay away from any of the above activities, there are a number of party cruises to sail around the bay.
For the artistically oriented, there are a number of art galleries and displays, theaters and a variety of live music shows. Cuban, Latin American ethnic, Ranchero, Mariachi, Marimba, pop, rock, jazz- you can have a taste of all while savoring Mexican cuisine at the beaches.
When it comes to sufficing your gastronomic desires, there are a number of options to choose from – from small Taco stands to plush rooftop restaurants. The cuisine is interesting and varied, just like the culture of Puerto Vallarta.
Nightlife comes alive in downtown bars which offer live music, piano recitals and dance floors. There are a number of them in areas of Old Town and Malecon as well.
Accommodations are available for all budget ranges, starting from expensive condominiums to bread-and-breakfast apartments. There are some very good shops to buy liquors and wines, traditional Mexican cotton clothing, Huicol art and authentic Cuban cigars.
While deciding to go for a dive, do not leave your passports, cameras and other valuables on the beach. It only encourages theft. Follow the warning flags on public beaches. There could be a strong undertow or rocks under the water.