Puerto Vallarta Profile I ns t ruc t Ions
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History & Overview
The Mexican Riviera, with its palm-fringed modest fishing community of 1,500 residents. It was
beaches and luxuriant jungle vegetation, hosts sev- also a port for silver shipments from nearby Cuale
eral beachside resorts. But no resort better typi- mines.
fies the classic Mexican beach vacation than does For the next 50 years, not much happened in the
Puertoa Vallarta (Pwer-toe Vah-YAR-tah). Set in the way of development. Then, in 1963, director John
most “Mexican” of all the states—Jalisco—Puerto Huston came to film Tennessee Williams’“Night of
Vallarta offers travelers an authentic glimpse of the Iguana,” and the rest is history. Liz Taylor and
Mexico through its natural, cultural, historical, and Richard Burton left their mark as well, giving Puerto
gastronomical delights. Vallarta an international jet set reputation.
And of all of Mexico’s resorts, Puerto Vallarta A bustling town of 220,368 residents (accord-
comes closest to being all things to all visitors. It ing to the 2005 census), Puerto Vallarta attracts
delivers ‘round the clock activity (or blissful seclu- more than 3 million annual visitors. Despite its pop-
sion), sophisticated amenities, and a romantic ularity and the recent flurry of new resort develop-
dream-like natural setting. It’s considered the ideal ment, the city itself retains much of its “Old Mexico”
vacation spot for the first-time Mexico visitor, while flair. Downtown Puerto Vallarta is graced with lovely Zone (or zona hotelera)—a parade of hotels, condos,
also boasting enough diversity of activities to keep architecture, cobblestone streets, a popular seafront shopping malls, and apartments—is between the
people coming back time and time again. From its boardwalk, and white stucco buildings (city ordi- Marina and downtown. The Downtown (or El Centro)
sleepy village roots, it has grown into one of Mexico’s nance decrees that all buildings are white), crowned area is the heart of Puerto Vallarta, with its diverse
most loved destinations. by flower-covered balconies and red tile roofs. dining, shopping, and typically Mexican atmosphere.
As you arrive by plane, the town’s romance and Occasionally you may even see a burro headed for And finally, the South Shore is a secluded—yet
beauty are evident: a blanket of market, clip-clopping along the city’s streets. accessible—area sprinkled with hillside villas, deluxe
lush tropical jungle surrounds The area boasts over 18,000 lodging units hotels, tropical coves, and sparkling beaches.
the quaint colonial city as it (including several thousand condos and timeshare Outdoor recreation is limitless. Every imaginable
climbs away from the blue Pacific, units). It offers exclusive private villa hideaways, water sport is available along Puerto Vallarta’s miles
into the Sierra Madre Mountains. grand class resorts and bargain, beachfront inns. of sandy shore. Its dining and nightlife are some
Nestled on the shores of Bahía de Lodging is concentrated in one of four zones. Each of Mexico’s best. A variety of settings, cuisines and
Banderas (Mexico’s largest natu- has its own advantages and personality. Visitors can prices (more than 400 choices from fast food to ultra-
ral bay), Vallarta traces its history be either in the heart of the action or tucked away gourmet) ensure visitors dine in style. Shopping is
back to the 1500’s, when it was in a remote tropical villa, depending on which of the some of Mexico’s finest, thanks to a bevy of Mexican
visited by Spanish explorers. It zones is selected. It is important to make this choice and international artists that make Puerto Vallarta
later became a respite for pirates carefully, based upon your clients’ vacation desires. their home. Several intriguing day trips tempt visi-
plying the Pacific Coast. Just south of the airport is the 440-acre Marina tors to explore—either by boat, by air, or on land.
It was not until 1851 that Vallarta complex, with its deluxe hotels, champion- Visits to offshore islands, remote jungle coves, snor-
the area was inhabited. By 1918 ship golf course, and world-class marina. The Hotel keling cruises, and inland eco-adventures are offered
(the year it was officially made a by an assortment of professional tour operators. The
municipality), the village was a golf scene has grown exponentially since 2001, with
2 Profile: history & overview Contents | Search | Screen | Print | Exit < >
a total of seven courses now available to visitors. ones. Ramps in nearly all of the public sidewalks now By Sea
Throughout the resort, a distinct cultural flair make them handicap-accessible. A pedestrian bridge Puerto Vallarta is
from the State of Jalisco punctuates Puerto Vallarta’s built over the Rio Cuale allows for languorous stroll- the most popular
ambiance. Mariachi music blares and tequila flows ing along the waterfront as far as Los Muertos Beach. port of call for cruise
from downtown bars, Wixárika (pronounced vee-RA- Puerto Vallarta could be crowned Mexico’s quint- ships on Mexico’s
ree-ka) Indians sell their distinctive art in the city’s col- essential beach destination. Yet it’s actually much Pacific Coast. Most
orful markets, and charros (Mexico’s ornately-dressed more. Readers of Condé Nast magazine named it major cruise lines
rodeo riders) perform, along with brightly costumed the “world’s most friendly” city in 2002. And thanks include Puerto
señoritas at “Fiesta Night” celebrations. An active cal- to the city’s desire to re-cast its image as hip, cul- Vallarta in their Mexican Riviera itineraries.
endar of annual events includes regattas, religious fes- tured, and cosmopolitan, today’s demanding traveler
tivals, music festivals, gourmet festivals, and the popu- can have many needs fulfilled at once in “El Día de” Nearly $18 US million expansion to Puerto Vallarta’s
lar Sea Fest (held each November). Puerto Vallarta. n Marina has been done. Now the pier is capable of
Following an explosion of growth in the 1980’s, simultaneously welcoming three passenger ships of
a great effort has been made to beautify the north- up to a thousand feet in length. Also, a fourth ship can
ern hotel zone and downtown areas. An attractively be anchored out of the pier.
landscaped four-lane highway leads from the air- Transportation
port into town. Similarly, the downtown area ben- G e t t i nG A rou n d
efits from a highway bypass that diverts bus and From the airport, frequent regular cabs and van
truck traffic off of the city’s bumpy cobblestone
A r r i v i nG And d e pA rt i nG
By Air transfers are available at reasonable rates. The van
streets. The city has been certified by the Secretary of transfer cost will vary according to distance traveled,
Puerto Vallarta’s airport, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz
Health to have one of Mexico’s purest water supplies. with most transfers costing $8-15 US per person.
International Airport (code PVR), is 6.5 km. north of
A band of “tourist police” in spiffy white uniforms Several rental car companies have airport desks.
downtown. It is well-connected to North America’s
strolls downtown streets, assisting with questions
main gateways. Year-round and seasonal service
and making streets more pedestrian-friendly. The easiest way to get around town is by taxi. There
is provided by Aeroméxico, Mexicana, Air Canada,
Puerto Vallarta’s beachfront promenade is look- are over 1,000 licensed taxis operating in Puerto
Alaska Airlines, US Airways, American Airlines,
ing better than ever. A flurry of cleanup and renova- Vallarta and fares are set, not metered. Average fares
Continental, Delta, Frontier, and United, in addition to
tion after Hurricane Kena in 2002 is still benefiting range from 40 pesos for a short run to 200 pesos for a
numerous seasonal charters.
today’s visitors. New sculptures were added and flat, cross town ride. Fares are higher for rides to the North
smooth decorative sidewalks replaced older, uneven or South areas of Banderas Bay. All fares are posted in
Typical of most Mexico airports, the recently reno-
vated and expanded terminal has polished marble taxis, at hotels and main local newspapers. Travelers
floors, plenty of souvenir shopping, a bank, an ice should ask the fare before getting into a taxi.
cream parlor, a restaurant/bar, car rentals and excel-
lent duty-free facilities. Facilities for handicapped The city offers an extensive public bus network that
travels are also seen throughout the terminal. runs from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. The bus goes from
Mismaloya in the south to the Marina entrance. Look
for blue and white signs along the main highway,
and buses marked “Centro” if you’re going down-
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The Wixárika (Huichol) of this artwork has provided the com- there, she
munity with the income that they need finds her way
Jalisco, and its neighboring state of
to preserve their cultural identity. to her habi-
Nayarit, is home to the Wixárika (pro-
Huichol-made products are found in sev- tat off the
nounced vee-RA-reeka), better known
eral shopping mercados and stores coast, return-
as the Huichol Indians. The Huichol, ing full of
believed to be direct descendants of around Puerto Vallarta (see Shopping
for details). renewed
the Aztecs, are one of the last indige- energy to the
town. Fare is about 7 pesos per ride. nous groups in North America to live mountain peaks.
W I X Á R I K A CE R E M O N I E S
Puerto Vallarta has a new bus station— according to their ancient pre-Colum- Most of the traditional ritual sites
Every year, the Wixaritari reenact the
bian traditions. are located in the central mountain
located a short distance east of the air- activities of their ancestors in elaborate
Huichol communities live in the ceremonies. In addition, they have highlands where the Wixaritari live. It is
port—that is now used for all bus trips
northern part of the state of Jalisco in numerous devotions where they give in this area at the sacred springs and
departing from the area. between high volcanic ranges and deep central canyons, where the Huichol
thanks for past sacrifices that continue to
canyons. Visiting the remote mountain provide them with abundance and har- people go to seek fertility and rain.
Traffic can be a problem through town, village of San Andres Coamihata, The ceremonial center is the heart of
particularly at peak periods. Parking tucked high in the Sierra Madre Moun- Towards the end of June, the Wixari- Huichol Culture. This tukipa is one of
is difficult to find, although improved, tains, is like taking a giant leap back in tari celebrate the change of seasons by three ceremonial centers correspond-
thanks to two underground structures time, and is an enriching cultural expe- thanking Our Mother Corn, Tatei Niwet- ing to the Wixárika community of Tua-
opened in late 2005. With a new bypass, rience in ancient traditions. sika, for keeping her kernels ready to puri. The larger circular building dedi-
bus and truck traffic has largely been germinate. It is also during this time cated to Our Grandfather (fire) is linked
The Huichol are well respected
when Our Mother Rain prepares to to smaller shrines dedicated to other
diverted off the city’s one-way, narrow amongst their neighbors for being
primordial ancestors surrounding a
streets. healers, and they have exceptional keep the soil fertilized in harmony with
Our Grandfather Fire. patio. Selected pilgrimage members
knowledge of medicinal plants. During and their families gather here to carry
celebrations, rituals, and pilgrimages, When the cobs are maturing on their
Rental cars can be an option, although out collective tasks, rituals, and celebra-
the Wixaritari (plural for Wixárika) paint stalks, the Wixárika hold the Dance of
less so than in other Mexican resorts. All Our Mother, Tatei Neixa, in order to tions, under the supervision of the most
area tours include transportation from sacred icons on their faces, and cover important elder shamans.
thank her and Our Mothers of Rain and
your hotel and parking can be a chal- their heads and hats with arrows and Each traditional community has five
Fertility, including Our Father Sun, who
lenge when downtown. Cabs/busses feathers. Their clothes are woven and will ripen the harvest and disperse the wise elders (kawitero) who are consid-
embroidered with symbolic designs to rains. ered the shamans that have mastered
provide an affordable, convenient ser-
evoke the presence of their ancestors. Once the harvest is completed, a new the chants, some of which can be an
vice. Consider a car rental for wander- entire day long.
Art is a daily part of the lives of the Wix- cycle of pilgrimages is undertaken to
ings up the coast into nearby Nayarit The journey through the life of a
aritari and it is rich in magic and myth, sacred springs, caves and peaks within
State or an inland excursion to Tequila. vibrant in color and rich in symbolism. wise elder is compared to that of a cat-
Huichol territory. These pilgrimages are
Otherwise public transportation is rec- Huichol art takes many forms such as accompanied and followed by gathering erpillar, which crawls out of the ocean
ommended. n weaving, embroidery, votive offerings, ceremonies and hunting and fishing in the West, and begins a slow journey
chairs, basketry, musical instruments expeditions. that takes it to all the sacred cardinal
For the Huichol, Our Mother Earth spots until it reaches the East, where it
and sculptures, and is well known for its
nurtures the seeds of corn, squash, and rises with the sun to become a butterfly.
quality beadwork using tradi-
other vegetables and returns after n
tional methods. The
commercialization the harvest to the streams. From
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Sightseeing traditional and regional Mexican cui- contemporary attractions. The ever-
& Attractions sine to contemporary Mexican and a
wide variety of international fare.
popular city tour can be a great way
to get acquainted with the area.
Three-hour trips leave from most
MAin AttrActions The Puerto Vallarta area provides hotels each morning and after-
In addition to its long stretch of visitors with a wide variety of out- noon. The trips include stops at sev-
sunny, picturesque beaches, Puerto door activities and water sports eral downtown attractions. Contact
Vallarta’s authentic Mexican flavor from scuba diving and snorkeling, to Friendship Home Tours at Tel:
proves a big draw for most North whale watching, swimming with 322-222-5466.
American visitors. The town’s main dolphins, fishing, windsurfing, kayak-
square and malecón (a seaside ing, hiking, biking, canopy tours, jeep
boardwalk that stretches along the safaris, golf, and horseback riding,
Much of Puerto Vallarta’s allure and
downtown waterfront) come alive just to name a few! Many of these
charm are found in the downtown
on weekends with live music, local activities are family-friendly. Look for
area. The bustling and lively city is
families strolling, artists, mimes, and the icon next to activities that are
an irregular grid of narrow streets
even the flying dancers of Papantla. suggested for adventurers all ages.
that slope upward away from the sea
into the hillside. Begin with a stroll
The historic downtown area is a Day excursions to nearby his- along the lovely malecón. The lovely
charming collection of white-walled toric towns like Tequila (a UNESCO seaside promenade serves as the
houses, wrought-iron balconies, World Heritage Site), San Sebastian city’s main landmark. With the addi-
red-tiled roofs and cobble stoned (a charming 16th century mining tion of a third pedestrian bridge, it
streets. Puerto Vallarta offers great town) and the remote mountain vil- now stretches about 3 km from the
shopping from local arts and crafts lage of San Andrés Coamihata, home entrance to town, over the mouth
fairs to indigenous art from the of the Wixárika Indians. Just up the of the Cuale River, and on to the
local Huichol Indians. The town also coast is neighboring Nayarit State, Zona Romantica/Playa Los Muertos
hosts one of the most dynamic art home to several coastal villages area. Now, the entire downtown sea-
gallery scenes in Mexico, offering a and upscale resort development. To front can be walked—a welcome
wide selection of works by local and the south, exiting Banderas Bay, are improvement!
regional artists. more coastal towns and neighboring
Colima State. Starting in the north (by the Rosita
Puerto Vallarta is alive with culture
and hosts numerous festivals year- Hotel) the malecón is lined with
round showcasing the best in music, s iGh tse e i nG shops, fine art galleries, balconied
theater, film, and culinary arts. Food Puerto Vallarta is much more than a restaurants, open-air bistros, and a
aficionados will find a vibrant restau- sea-and-sand destination. In fact, the few fast food outlets. Several inter-
rant scene with talented chefs area is redolent with things to see esting sculptures are along the way
preparing creative dishes and do. In “El Día de” Puerto (see sidebar next page), includ-
that range from Vallarta, sightseeing involves ing a giant bronze seahorse being
historical, cultural and ridden by a small boy. Strollers can
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rest along the way on white wrought-iron
Public Art state of Jalisco, including Sergio Created in 1999 in honor of the
benches, or duck into a cafe for a cool drink
Puerto Vallarta’s love of art is also Bustamante, Alejandro Colunga and millennium, In Search of Reason is a
while gazing toward the sea. The malecón
evident in the town’s impressive col- Adrian Reynoso. 30-foot high ladder to the sky with
continues on to the Seahorse, a popu-
lection of public art that lines the Ramiz Barquet’s La Nostalgia rep- two kids climbing up and their
resents two lovers reflecting on life’s mother yelling after them from below. lar meeting spot. Here you’ll also find the
malecón, the town’s seaside prome- “flying Indians” of Papantla, performing on
nade. This collection has greatly been twists and turns and has become a The statue is the work of renowned
romantic symbol of Puerto Vallarta. artist Sergio Bustamante. Friday-Sundays at 6:00 pm.
enhanced since the first sculpture
adorning the malecón, the nine-foot The sculptor’s own love story inspired Nature As Mother, by another
the piece as a tribute to the woman he native of the state of Jalisco, Adrian As you continue southward along the
high Seahorse, was installed in 1976.
long loved, lost and later married. Ale- Reynoso, depicts a spiraling wave on a malecón, detour inland for one block to see
The Seahorse has since become one
of the most recognized symbols of jandro Colunga has contributed to snail, representing the life and death the city’s small central square (or zócalo).
the city. Today, some of the beautiful the city’s public arts scene with The cycle. Benches and shade trees surround a pretty
and eclectic pieces embellishing Rotunda on the Sea, an ensemble of On Tuesday mornings, Galería Pací- bandstand, and the City Hall is on the pla-
Puerto Vallarta’s historic quarters seven large pieces, mostly sea- fico owner Gary Thompson offers za’s north side. Stop in for a look at the late
include works by well-reputed local inspired creatures within a big Public Sculpture Tours. Tours begin at Manuel Lepe’s whimsical mural of Puerto
artist Ramiz Barquet, as well as from rotunda. The original sculpture con- 9:30 am. Call (322) 221-1982 for more Vallarta’s angelical
other highly valued artists from the tained 16 pieces but was heavily dam- information. n flying children.
aged by Hurricane Kena in 2002.
square is the fan-
ciful Church of
Our Lady of
Guadalupe. It is
the city’s most
mark. It was built over a 33-year period,
from 1918-1951. The steeple of this church
is topped by an enormous replica of the
crown worn by Carlota, empress of Mexico
in the 1860’s. The exterior is decorated with
angels holding hands and supporting the
From this point, you have two choices: stay
inland and cross onto the Cuale River Island,
or head back to the Malecón and continue
your seaside walk (return to the seaside
arches, and continue walking south).
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The new Naval Museum (maritime history of River Island. This elongated five-acre sandbar is an attraction in
Banderas Bay) is part of a major urban renewal itself. Lush vegetation surrounds dozens of fine shops, riverside res-
that extends the malecón toward a new pedes- taurants, parks, and a children’s play area. An archaeological museum
trian bridge over the Rio Cuale. From here you features weapons, artifacts and musical instruments hand-crafted by
can either detour onto the Isla Rio Cuale or con- Indians from the nearby states of Nayarit and Colima. A monument
tinue into the Zona Romantica (read below). to film director John Houston is another of the Island’s charms.
The Cuale River enters the bay a few blocks past Once across the Cuale River, continue heading south to the shore-
the zócalo, and bisects the city. Three bridges line and Calle Olas Altas (dubbed by promoters as the Zona
now cross the river, two near the flea market Romántica). The street has been widened to allow ample space for
(inland) and a third along the waterfront. All sidewalks, open-air and cyber-cafés, coffee houses, and bookstores.
three provide pedestrian access to the Cuale Avenida Basilio Badillo has several trendy eateries. And Avenida
Vallarta now touts a half-dozen clubs and bars—many with live
rock, jazz and salsa music. The beach here is quite popular – an
ideal spot for a morning swim, a seaside lunch, or perhaps cocktails
Once in the Zona Romántica there is plenty to explore inland (see
section on Shopping/Dining later in this chapter). Puerto Vallarta’s
city streets are safe at all hours, so encourage your clients to
explore beyond the malecón for some authentic Mexican delights.
B O AT T R I P S The five most popular boat trip destina-
Banderas Bay is home to some of Mexico’s prettiest coves and tions, listed from south to north are:
inlets. In fact, it is the third largest bay in the Americas, spanning
some 13 miles at its mouth with more than 40 miles of shoreline. A Yelapa
half-dozen secluded beaches are found far south of town. They can A small village of about 1,500 residents
only be reached by boat, all of which depart from either the marina that has the feel of a small South Pacific
north of town, the downtown pier at Playa Los Muertos, or from island, Yelapa is a laid-back retreat for art-
Playa Mismaloya. Check with the hotel’s front desk for details and ists and for those in search of a very infor-
schedules. Operators include Princesa Cruises, tel. (322) 224-4777, mal lifestyle. Yelapa still lacks most of the
Vallarta Adventure, tel. (322) 221-0657, and Alegre Cruises, tel. (322) modern world conveniences such as cars
223-0206. Alegre Cruises also offers several sunset cruises and ele- and telephones. The town provides the
gant dinner cruises. ideal getaway for those seeking complete
relaxation in a very simple environment.
Yelapa is a 45-minute water taxi ride away
from Puerto Vallarta.
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Las Caletas is an unspoiled cove and the former site d Ay e xc u r sions ,
of film great John Huston’s private home. Tall palms, A rou n d p u e rto v A l l A rtA
a white sandy beach and calm, clear waters are now
the backdrop for excursions offered only by Vallarta San Sebastian
Adventures (who holds an exclusive lease to the Head inland to San Sebastian, one of the oldest
property). By day there’s kayaking, snorkeling, diving, mining towns in Mexico that dates back to the 17th
spa services, and lunch. By night, dine by the light of century. The town’s main attractions are the main
candles and tiki torches before being entertained by cobble stoned square, an 18th century church,
native performers. Tel. (322) 221-0657. Hacienda Jalisco, a museum that showcases the
town’s rich historic heritage, and a coffee plantation
Quimixto where visitors can buy the specialty blend—coffee
Another deserted tropical paradise—and truly the largest sailing ships ever built, makes a daily trip lightly flavored with chocolate and cinnamon. The
authentic Mexican village by the bay—is Quimixto. to this beach. Alternately, independent travelers town itself is a living museum of how villagers once
Try a diversion on horseback to the nearby waterfall can take the water taxi departing from Los Muertos lived and worked in a remote mountain village.
and natural swimming pool. Quimixto (pronounced pier each morning at 10:30am, returning at 4pm. Flights aboard a 14-seat Cessna Turboprop take visi-
key-MEESH-toh) also has good diving. Dive out- Cost is $15/rt US. It also departs from the beach at tors on the 10-minute hop to the town and a 4-hour
ings can be arranged by Chico’s Dive Shop, tel. (322) Mismaloya at an hourly cost of $13. guided exploration, meeting local residents and
222-1895. stopping for lunch at the Paradero San Sebastian.
Marietas Islands Contact Air Adventures, tel. (322) 221-0657 or
Playa Las Animas Located at the northern edge of Banderas Bay, this Vallarta Adventures who also offers San Sebastian
A little closer to Puerto Vallarta, though still only cluster of two main islands plus rock outcroppings excursions by land. Tel. 1-888-303-2653;
accessible by water, Las Animas Beach is a bit more is visited via a fun-filled, full-day boat excursion. The www.vallarta-adventures.com.
civilized. The enormous Bora Bora Trimaran, one of islands are now a nature sanctuary (with over 40
native and migratory bird species, including blue
footed boobies). The surrounding waters are replete
with marine life (giant manta rays, turtles, plus whale
Pirates of the Bay watching Nov.-April)—great for snorkeling, diving How’s Your Español?
and kayaking! Various local operators offer boat
The Marigalante is an exact replica of Columbus’ excursions to the Marietas from the Puerto Vallarta Universidad de Guadalajara: Language and cul-
ship the Santa Maria. It was built in honor of the cruise port. Vallata Adventures (1-888-303-2653; ture classes are offered in two- and four-week
500th anniversary of his voyage to the Ameri- www.vallarta-adventures.com) and others operate curriculums. A lodging program is available,
cas. Daytime “pirate’s cruises” ($85 per person) daily trips to the Islands. along with a quality computer lab and either
are available. The adventure includes picnic bar- group or one-on-one instruction. For informa-
beque and a treasure hunt. A sunset dinner tion, call (322) 223-2082; fax (322) 223-2982.
cruise with fireworks, open bar and disco is Another option is the Spanish Experience Center,
another option ($85 per person). www.mari- offering weekly classes at their location at Calle
galante.com.mx Rep de Chile #182 (downtown) tel: 322-223-5864;
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San Andres Coamihata San Blas
A visit to the Indian community of San Andres Coamihata, home Just a three-hour drive north of Puerto
to the Wixárika Indians, more commonly referred to as the Huichol Vallarta, San Blas is an authentic Mexican
Indians, will prove a highly educational experience for parents and village housing an old fort, as well as inter-
children alike. Visiting this remote mountain village, tucked high esting colonial buildings including the
in the Sierra Madre Mountains, is like taking a giant leap back in ruins of the Temple of San Basilio. This vil-
time, and an enriching cultural experience in ancient traditions. The lage was an important port and shipbuild-
Wixárika, believed to be direct descendants of the Aztecs, are per- ing center during Mexico’s colonization by
haps the last indigenous group in North America to live according Spain. San Blas also provides a great set-
to their pre-Columbian traditions, a feat they have achieved thanks ting for birdwatchers and nature lovers.
to their seclusion in the mountains. Visitors are welcome to learn The village is surrounded by a rich tropi-
about the community’s rich mythology, ceremonial rituals and spir- cal flora and fauna and some of the differ-
ituality. San Andres Coamihata can be reached by a scenic one-hour ent plants and animals that can be seen in
flight from Puerto Vallarta’s airport. the area include orchids, mangroves, cai-
mans, whales, tropical fish, and land and
Boca de Tomatlán sea turtles.
Heading south just past Playa Mismaloya, is a small village at the
mouth of this jungle river. The main attractions are large palapa res- Mascota and Talpa de Allende
taurants and freshwater pools for wading. Water taxis depart here, Two traditional Mexican villages that pro-
traveling to Las Animas, Quimixto and Yelapa. vide a full insight into authentic Mexican
rural life and the area’s religious tradi-
Chico’s Paradise, El Edén, Nogalito & Chino’s Paradise tions, Mascota and Talpa de Allende are
Traditional Mexican Ranches Tired of the beach? Head south towards Mismaloya, then travel easily reached by a panoramic flight over
An educational experience for the entire inland a few miles to one of three tropical parks. These day-use the beautiful valleys of the Sierra Madre
family, learning about life in a traditional areas each feature riverside dining (open only for lunch) and swim- Mountains. Mascota’s quaint cobblestone
Mexican ranch will make for a memo- ming between gigantic boulders, surrounded by small pools and streets are lined with colonial haciendas and
rable vacation. The small town envi- waterfalls. The newest, El Nogalito, is closer to town up the Boca adobe houses. Visitors can tour the town’s
ronment allows for interacting with Negra River and offers a beautifully-kept hiking trail.
the locals as well as an immersion into
their local customs and traditions. Some Sayulita
ranches also offer tours on horseback, A 35-minute drive north of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is a charming little
by motorbike or hikes through sur- fishing village that is a surfers’ paradise with many surf breaks along
rounding ecosystems. Guests also have the beach. Numerous beachfront restaurants serve fresh, locally-
a chance to savor some of the Mexican caught seafood. It is also possible to rent kayaks and surfboards on
delicacies prepared at the ranch where the beach.
meals are often cooked in traditional
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monumental main church, dedicated to the Virgin of The site is part of an expansive landscape of blue suburbs of Guadalajara, are
the Sorrows, which was completed in 1880 and took agave, shaped by the culture of the plant which has known for their rich craft
100 years to construct, and sample some of the locally been used since the 16th century to produce tequila industry where visitors
produced raicilla, a typical spirit distilled in the area, in spirit and over at least 2,000 years to make fer- can purchase creative jew-
an authentic raicilla distillery. mented drinks and cloth. Within the landscape are elry, arts and crafts, ceram-
working distilleries reflecting the growth in the inter- ics, pottery, and glassware.
Talpa, a pastoral village, is home to one of Mexico’s national consumption of tequila in the 19th and 20th Contact Marina Tours, tel.
most revered icons, the Virgin of Rosario Talpa, one centuries. The area encloses a living, working land- (322) 221-1885. n
of the three “Sister Virgins” of the state of Jalisco, scape of blue agave fields and the urban settlements
believed to grant miracles with her healing powers. of Tequila, Arenal, and Amatitan with large distill-
Thousands of pilgrims from eries where the agave ”pineapple” is fermented and
throughout Mexico make the distilled.
journey to the Gothic church Eco-Adventure
that’s home to the Virgin in The property numbers numerous haciendas, or
order to receive her blessings. estates, some of which date back to the 18th century. The Sierra Madre Mountains around Puerto Vallarta
The site also covers archaeological sites which bear are home to some of the largest biodiversity in
Tequila testimony to the Teuchitlan culture which shaped the North America. Various local tour companies offer
One of Mexico’s authentic Tequila area from 200–900 A.D., notably through the cre- soft adventure type excursions to explore the dif-
cultural expressions, Tequila ation of terraces for agriculture, housing, temples, cere- ferent flora and wildlife of the region that include
is grown and distilled in monial mounds, and ball courts. hikes on rocky terrains and repelling. Some of the
the state of Jalisco, where sightings that visitors can look forward to include
Puerto Vallarta is located. In Contact local excursion operators for trip details, or
orchids and bouganvilias, dyewood trees, parrots
2006 the area was named a head there on your own via rental car or luxury bus.
and several types of migratory birds, iguanas, and
UNESCO World Heritage Site. armadillos.
There are many small distill- Guadalajara
eries around Puerto Vallarta, Travel to Jalisco State’s colorful and historic capital
for a day of Mexico’s best shopping, historic sight- Several top-notch operators (see chart for con-
but a visit to the authentic tact information) offer a wild assortment of nature-
town of Tequila—just a short seeing, fine dining, and a taste of one of Mexico’s based trips on both land and water. A few of these
35-minute flight away (3 grandest colonial cities. A visit to Guadalajara is a
are especially appealing to families and children.
hours by bus)—is well worth great complement to any vacation in Puerto Vallarta. Here’s a sampling (contact details are on p. 12):
the visit. The entire region is Known as “the most Mexican city” and birthplace of
carpeted with the blue-green many Mexican traditions including mariachis and 3 A wonderful array of ecological and cultural
agave plants that are vis- tequila, Guadalajara houses a rich cultural tradition
and some of Mexico’s finest architecture, both colo- outings is provided by Vallarta Adventures. They
ible for miles around. This is also offer several air excursions to outlying areas.
the only region in the world nial and contemporary. Guadalajara also offers a
wealth of shopping options. Recent additions include day trips to the villages of
where the authentic spirit San Sebastian, Talpa de Allende and Mascota. Highly
worthy of the name tequila is Tlaquepaque and recommended!
distilled. Tonalá, two
10 Profile: siGhtseeinG & AttrActions Contents | Search | Screen | Print | Exit < >
3 Several journeys venture into nearby Nayarit State. Puerto Vallarta. Every night throughout this season,
Sierra Madre Expeditions operates open-air Mercedes hotel employees from various beachfront hotels gather
Benz vehicles into the heart of the surrounding jungle the turtle eggs from the shore and take them for incu-
mountains. bation still in their nests (to best preserve natural condi-
tions). Once the hatchlings are born and are ready to be
3 Ecotours de Mexico offers a wide array of adventure released into their natural habitat, the hotels invite their
tours including whale watching, turtle camp, sea kayak- guests to aid in the release of the newborn hatchlings
ing, hiking, and bird watching trips. Founded in 1991 and on the beaches so they find their way into the water.
one of the area’s best operators.
3 In the winter months, humpback whales migrate
3 XPLORA Aventours operates both water and inland to Puerto Vallarta from Alaska. Great whale watching
day trips. Visit them at the Sierra Madre store along the opportunities, including some shore viewings, are a spe-
malecón. cial Vallarta treat. Trips range from “photo safari” expedi-
tions which seek up-close encounters, to “sail with the
3 Open Air Expeditions offers low-impact eco-tours of whales” boat trips. Banderas Bay also provides a natural
hiking and kayaking with specially trained guides includ- habitat for dolphins. Offered by several tour operators.
ing Marine biologists.
3 Mountain Biking: Several mountain biking tours
3 Pathfinder Tours operates ATV and dune buggy tours allow for the more adventurous to discover some of
to points around Banderas Bay. Puerto Vallarta’s neighboring locales from a different
angle. Tours of varying difficulty are offered to several
3 Dolphin Adventure, run by the same world-class locations such as Yelapa, San Sebastian, Emiliano Zapata,
trainer who initiated the dolphin swim at Xcaret near and Las Juntas y Los Veranos. Riders enjoy beautiful
Cancún, now offers interactive dolphin options in nearby jungle scenery, even riding along trails used for silver
Nuevo Vallarta. The 2-part program begins with a taped and gold mining in the 1700s. Eco Ride specializes in
education program on dolphins and follows with a chance biking tours around Puerto Vallarta.
to touch the dolphins or actually swim with them. This is
an extremely well-run and popular program that fills up 3 Catamaran Tours: Enjoy whale watching or beach
quickly. Reservations are recommended. There are now excursions via a catamaran cruise. Offered by several
three dolphin swim programs in the Nuevo Vallarta area. tour operators.
3 The Sea Turtle Release Program is an educational 3 Jungle Canopy tours remain one of the most
experience for the entire family, and specially endearing fun ways to see and learn about the varied tropical
to younger children who can release newborn tiny sea flora and fauna of the rainforest surrounding Puerto
turtles into the ocean. From May to September of every Vallarta. Three canopy tour options are offered around
year, thousands of sea turtles Puerto Vallarta and all are located within ecological
come to lay their eggs on reserves that contain a wealthy biodiversity. The adren-
the beaches of aline mounts as one zips from treetop to treetop, hov-
11 Profile: eco - Adventure Contents | Search | Screen | Print | Exit < >
E C O T O U R O P E R AT O R S
AREA CODE 322
ATV Tours 223-0392
Birding in Mexico 222-7407
Canopy de los Veranos 223-6060
Eco Ride 222-7912
Eco Tours de Mexico 223-3130
Natura Expeditions 224-0410
Open Air Expeditions 135-9260
Outdoor Vallarta 293-1142
Pathfinder Tours 221-1875
Puerto Vallarta Tours 222-4935
www.puertovallartatours.net ering over the canopy of the lush vegetation of the Sierra Madre
Sierra Madre Expeditions 221-0657 Mountains. The jungle vegetation and bird life look spectacular from
Twin Dolphin Resort Center 293-1905 this truly privileged vantage point. Each canopy tour offers a differ-
Vallarta Adventures 291-1212
ent thrill including tours on a total of 14 cables, lines over 1,300 feet
Wildlife Connection 225-3621 long, some 90 feet above the forest floor. Tours: Vallarta Adventures
www.wildlifeconnection.com (tel. 322-297-1212); Canopy Tours de los Veranos (tel. 322-23-0504); or 3 El Zoológico de Vallarta: Puerto Vallarta now
Xplora Aventours 221-1401 Canopy Tour El Eden (tel. 322-223-6003). has a facility in Mismaloya, just south of town,
where the public can view 550 animals from 70 dif-
3 Horseback Tours: Memorable, full-day excursions on horseback ferent species at a cost of $100 pesos for adults
provide a challenging experience through diverse terrains amidst and $50 for both children and seniors. Inaugurated
some of the finest scenery surrounding Puerto Vallarta. Riding high in 2005, the initial phase of this 64-hectare facility
atop the mountains, through trails of lush tropical vegetation, can- covers four hectares. Endangered species housed
yons, streams and waterfalls, riders can witness life in picturesque here include Mexican wolves and white tigers,
jungle villages, relax by refreshing cascades, and stop for a swim in cared for with the hope that with excellent care
the river. Horseback riding excursions can also be combined with they will reproduce in captivity. Half the animals on
visits to working ranches where lucky visitors get to savor a traditional display are indigenous to Mexico, and most every
Mexican barbecue lunch. Tour operators include Rancho El Charro, tel. creature found in the area is represented— includ-
322-224-0114, Rancho Ojo de Agua tel. 322-224-0607 and ing jaguars, pumas, coyotes, ocelots, tlacuaches,
Hacienda Doña Engracia, coatimundis, various bird and reptile species, croco-
tel. 322-224-0410. diles, and iguanas.
12 Profile: eco - Adventure Contents | Search | Screen | Print | Exit < >
Sports & Recreation as part of boat trips to secluded islands such as the
Marietas or Caletas. The rich marine life that the area
w At e r s p orts houses include turtles, spotted eagle rays, needlefish,
Banderas Bay is a natural haven for water sports of and many varieties of tropical fish. Several snorkel-
every variety. Since the water is generally quite calm, ing tours can also be combined with sea kayaking or
sailing, windsurfing and parasailing are exceptional. simply relaxing on a deserted beach.
FishinG/Fly FishinG scubA divinG
Puerto Vallarta has never aggressively promoted A variety of dive sites around Banderas Bay offer
itself as a world-class sport fishing destination. world-class diving options for both beginners and
Nevertheless, its deep waters provide an excel- sAilinG experienced divers. The complex marine ecosystems
lent haul of sailfish, marlin and smaller game fish. Sailing cruises provide an adventurous way to spend a of Los Arcos National Marine Park and the Marietas
October through February is the best time for sailfish day relaxing in the sun, to go swimming and snorkel- Islands contain large reserves of marine wildlife. The
and black or blue marlin. Smaller game fish, such as ing in protected coves, or catch a glimpse of dolphins best diving at Los Arcos is around the gigantic rock
wahoo, tuna, dorado, and roosterfish are caught year- and humpback whales. There are also romantic sunset archway from which the area derives its name. The
round, with May-October being the better months. cruises for a memorable evening under the stars. All Quimixto coves and Caletas also offer good diving,
Trips can be arranged through travel agencies or cruises offer a briefing on the sport of sailing before as does Punta Mita further north up the coast.
through the Cooperativa de Pescadores (fishing departure so that everyone has an opportunity to
cooperative) on the malecón north of the Rio Cuale, enjoy and participate in the ride. Divers can explore underwater caves, canyons, reefs
next door to the Rosita Hotel. Fishing charter costs teeming with tropical fish, and see turtles, octo-
vary, but should start at about $250 to $400 a day for pArAsAilinG pus, sea horses, dolphins, manta rays, jacks, yellow-
four to eight people. (Though prices at the agencies A thrilling way to catch breathtaking views of Puerto tails and sailfish. The waters of Banderas Bay are also
and co-op are the same, you might be able to nego- Vallarta and the Banderas Bay, parasailing is offered at home to whales, dolphins and wahoo that can be
tiate with co-op prices as they do not accept credit numerous beaches and major hotels around Puerto spotted almost year-round. Many specialized opera-
cards.) Puerto Vallarta also hosts an annual fishing Vallarta. Visitors can choose from either beach or boat tors offer scuba diving excursions and offer various
tournament every November. takeoffs to see the sights from above. levels of PADI
L O C A L D I V E O P E R AT O R S
Fishing enthu- snorkelinG & kAyAkinG Water condi- AREA CODE 322
S P O R T F I S H I N G O P E R AT O R S siasts also have tions are gener-
Banderas Bay, with its warm blue waters, beautiful Chico’s Dive Shop** 222-1895
AREA CODE 322
the option of coral reefs, natural rock formations, and abundant ally best during www.chicos-diveshop.com
Fishing with Carolina 224-7250
Charter Dreams 221-0690
fresh water marine life is a magnet for snorkelers and kayakers. the winter Pacific Scuba 209-0364
fishing in the months. Bandera Scuba Republic 223-4103
Strike One Charters 221-2595 There are numerous snorkeling options in the Puerto www.bs-republic.com
Pesca Deportiva Vallarta 224-2261 rivers that wind Vallarta area, whether close to shore in Mismaloya, Vallarta Adventures** 297-1212
Pesca al Atardecer 297-1212 through the Yelapa or www.vallarta-adventures.com
Sierra Madre Majahuitas, or **5-star PADI dive centers
13 Profile: sports & recreAtion Contents | Search | Screen | Print | Exit < >
surFinG & windsurFinG l A n d s p orts
With over 60 places to surf along the Banderas Bay,
including many secluded surf beaches, the Puerto GolF
Vallarta area is a true surfers’ paradise. The best surf- Golfers headed to Mexico now have an even broader
ing conditions are usually found in the late summer assortment of world-class choices—thanks to Puerto
and early fall when hurricane season often drives Vallarta’s recent ascent into the golf market. With
huge swells ashore all along the Pacific coast. Some seven courses, world-renowned designers, and set-
of the more popular locales for surfing include tings that range from seaside to jungle hillside, Puerto
Ipala and Las Peñitas (on the Cabo Corrientes coast Vallarta offers an experience sure to satisfying the
south of Tehualmixtle), Playa el Tecuán, Playa la most discriminating of golfers.
Manzanilla, and Barra de Navidad (at the jetty).
Farther north, Sayulita is very popular with surfers Puerto Vallarta area golf courses rank high among
as well as Playa Matanchen, near San Blas. the best in Mexico. According to the 2007 list of
Top 30 Resort Courses in Mexico (published by Golf
wAter skiinG & Jet skiinG Guides to Mexico), Four Seasons Golf Club at Punta
The calmer waters off the coast of Puerto Vallarta Mita ranks 4th, Vista Vallarta courses rank 7th and
allow for some exciting water skiing, while catch- 8th, El Tigre ranks 15th, the Marina Vallarta came in
ing spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, the pic- 23rd and the course at the Mayan Palace finished
turesque towns along Banderas Bay and the ver- 25th. The Four Seasons Golf Club at Punta Mita was
dant slopes of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Most rated #1 above courses spanning six continents by
resorts along the beach as well as concessions on readers of Condé Nast Traveler in their Golf Poll 2006.
the more popular beaches allow for water and jet- Here’s a review of the area’s courses:
ski rental by the hour or the half-hour.
Vista Vallarta: With the opening of Vista Vallarta
Club de Golf and its two dynamic courses in 2001,
wAter pArk Puerto Vallarta is destined to become a major
The newly remodeled Sea Life Park (near the golf destination. Unlike other notable golf offer-
ings in Mexico, the terrain chosen for Vista Vallarta
entrance to Nuevo Vallarta) offers a wealth of fun appears more appropriate for a Tarzan movie.
for the entire family with swimming pools, slides, The first course, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design,
toboggans, tube and thrill rides. Some water parks measures 7,057 yards and features long par-5
also offer dolphin, seal and sea lion shows as well holes. Located on the property’s highest eleva-
tions, golfers play across rolling, grassy hillsides,
as the opportunity for children to get up-close through dense forests of palms and giant ficus
and personal as they swim with the dolphins. trees, and across the natural creeks and arroyos
Age restrictions apply for certain activities. Tel: in at least a dozen places. The second course, a
Signature Design by Tom Weiskopf, has a signature
322-297-0708. par 3 that appears to be carved out of the hill-
n side. In dramatic contrast to the Nicklaus course,
Weiskopf’s course plays
14 Profile: sports & recreAtion Contents | Search | Screen | Print | Exit < >
forests of palm and papaleo trees, across perched in the heart of El Tigre offering tennis
deep natural ravines and swift creeks char- spectacular views in all directions. The 440-
acteristic of the property’s lowest elevations. acre course, designed by the team of Von Tennis is a popular sport in Mexico,
Green Fees: $130. Tel. (322) 290-0030; Hagge, Smelek and Barril, is a 7,239 yard, par and Puerto Vallarta holds no excep-
www.vistavallartagolf.com. 72 Bermuda grass course with a 74.5/133 tion. Tennis lovers will find an excel-
rating. Managed and operated by Troon Golf,
Marina Vallarta Golf Club: Joe Finger twelve of the holes feature water. Green
lent option of courts around town,
designed this par-71, 18-hole course with Fees: $70-$130. Tel. (322) 297-1830; www.elti- from open-air to covered, clay and
6,701 yards; part of the $400 million Marina gregolf.com. asphalt to synthetic grass. Most of
Vallarta mega-resort, just north of town. the clay courts are turned around
Fairways are dotted with lakes, ponds and Four Seasons Golf Course at Punta Mita:
lagoons (water comes into play on 11 holes). The Jack Nicklaus signature golf course at
several times a week to ensure their
The course winds its way through countless the Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita is one freshness.
palm trees, with a number of holes afford- of Mexico’s premier courses. This spectacu-
ing outstanding views of Banderas Bay. lar par-72 course features a drive to a small
Green fees are $99 US per person, plus cart or Some of the more popular tennis
island on the third hole, and luxury club
caddy (mandatory). Play is open to the public, facilities that will set a new standard for golf courts are located within hotel
although preferential starting times are given in Mexico. Its signature hole, an optional complexes such as the Hotel Canto
to guests staying at member hotels. Special “19th” par-3 hole, referred to as “the Tail of del Sol Tennis & Beach Resort, the
midday rates (11am-2pm) are only $53, the Whale,” known as a site for whale watch-
including cart. Tel. (322) 221-0073. ing, is set on a natural lava-rock island that is
Sheraton Buganvilias, the Playa de
www.marinavallartagolf.com only accessible at low tide. 5 sets of tees and Oro Resort, and Los Tules Resort.
7,014 yards (slope 131; rating 72.7). Green Many of these hotels offer tennis
Los Flamingos Country Club: This older fees $170. Tel. 329-291-6037;
course (6,452 yards), designed by Percy instruction courses, host annual
Clifford, has been carved from the ever- tennis tournaments and also allow
encroaching jungle, lined with orange, lemon Mayan Palace Golf Course: Designed by non-guests to use their installations
and mango trees and with a wide variety of
birds and many lakes. Located 13 km. north
internationally-renowned Jim Lipe, this for a fee.
imposing 6936-yard, 18-hole, par-71 course
of the airport in the neighboring State of is located on the spectacular beaches of
Nayarit, the course was bit rough around the Nuevo Vallarta between the Western Sierra In addition to the dozens of courts
edges, but challenging for all skill levels. A $3 Madre Mountains and the Bay of Banderas. at area resorts, there are fine tennis
million refurbishment was completed in 2003 Green fees $129. Tel. (322) 226-1517;
and the course is under new management. centers at Canto del Sol, tel. (322)
Green fees: $99 US. There is also inexpen- 224-0123 and Iguana Tennis Center,
sive shuttle service from town, beginning at Puerto Vallarta also played host to tel. (322) 221-0683.
the Sheraton Buganvilias and heading north. the inaugural edition of the PGA’s
Carts/caddies are optional. Tel. 329-296-5006;
Puerto Vallarta Blue Agave Golf
Classic in March 2006. The Blue
El Tigre at Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta Agave Golf Classic was the first
is the newest addition to the impressive list
of courses in Puerto Vallarta and is ranked
Champions Tour event in Mexico
in Mexico’s top 20. Golfers enter the club since the MasterCard Classic at
through an impressive stone archway Bosque Real Country Club in 2004.
resembling a Mayan temple, beside which a Puerto Vallarta also hosts an annual
real Bengal tiger lives securely in
his habitat. Further in, the golf tournament every
45,000 sq. ft. clubhouse sits November.
15 Profile: sports & recreAtion Contents | Search | Screen | Print | Exit < >
Puerto Vallarta is a sports lover’s paradise offering an
endless array of outdoor adventures under the warm
Mexican sun. Water sports enthusiasts can choose from
every imaginable activity from snorkeling and scuba
diving to kayaking, sailing, water skiing, and surfing.
The abundant marine life in the warm Pacific waters
of Banderas Bay are known to be a fisherman’s para-
dise offering some of the best deep sea sports fishing
Those in search of more adventure can go mountain
bike riding, opt for a jeep safari or go horseback riding
in challenging terrain. Following is a brief description
of the many adventures that await travelers in Puerto
ATV Tours: An adventure-filled tour of the back roads
of Puerto Vallarta, a ride on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle)
is fun-filled. The tour takes riders to the rural country-
side and along dirt roads and through rivers. It is rec-
ommended to bring old clothes and sneakers for this
excursion as drivers end up completely covered in dust
and mud. The tours are also open to children over 6
years old who ride with an adult holding a valid driver’s
Bungee Jumping: The natural beauty of Banderas Bay Jeep Safaris: Jeep safaris combine visits to traditional
provides a picturesque backdrop for bungee jump- towns outside Puerto Vallarta with nature walks and
ing, overlooking the verdant slopes of the Sierra Madre drives through mountain streams and the dense forests
Mountains and the emerald blue waters of the Pacific of the Sierra Madre Mountains. The tours are conducted
Ocean. At a permanent bungee jumping structure in all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and offer a wide overview
located on the south shore of the bay on the road to of all facets of life in and around Puerto Vallarta, from
Mismaloya, the adventurous let their inhibitions loose interacting with the locals in small towns and suburbs
by jumping 120 feet from this cliffside free-fall over the to exploring the flora and
ocean. Tel: 322-228-0670. fauna of the Sierra.
16 Profile: sports & recreAtion Contents | Search | Screen | Print | Exit < >
other Activities SOUTH OF TOWN
As you leave the city heading south, the coast
BEACHES becomes a series of coves and bays, backed by jun-
What’s more fun than spending a day at the beach? gle-clad, rugged hills—ideal for swimming and relax-
The Puerto Vallarta area offers 26 miles of beauti- ation. Since few rivers enter the ocean here, the sand
ful beaches along picturesque Banderas Bay, set on is whiter, water is clearer. The setting is quiet and
the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Most of the serene.
area’s beaches are also kid and family-friendly. Kids
can enjoy playing on the sand, building sandcastles, Mismaloya Beach: a pretty cove that is now the
playing ball and throwing Frisbees, or simply enjoy home to a major resort development. The area’s
wading and swimming in the clear waters of the once dilapidated movie set (from the 1963 film
ocean. “Night of the Iguana”) was recently restored and
opened as a restaurant. There are two beachside
Puerto Vallarta has three distinct beach zones and restaurants, and some good shoreline snorkeling.
nearly forty different beaches. The area’s beaches are Admission is free.
typically of golden colored sand and water of a deep
blue color. Note that during the rainy season (June for an honest assessment if you have clients with Boca de Tomatlán: a jungle-fringed beach and
to September) several rivers empty into the bay and specific beach concerns. bay; boats can be rented here for visits to Yalapa,
cloud the sea. Quimixto and Las Animas beaches.
NORTH OF TOWN
Beach conditions are subject to change as Mother To the north in neighboring Nayarit State, the N E W R E E F F O R B A N D E R A S B AY
Nature has her way with currents that can shift beaches of Banderas Bay stretch out uninterrupted The construction of reefs, similar to those built in
sand and expose rocks. This is especially true of the toward Punta Mita. Surf is good at Punta del Burro the water off Barra de Navidad, is promoted as a
beaches in downtown and to the north of the city, all and Punta de Mita. possible option for Banderas Bay. Recent meet-
the way to Marina Vallarta. It’s best to ask each hotel ings in Bahía de Banderas and Puerto Vallarta con-
Playa de Oro and the Marina are where most of the
area’s newer resort development has occurred. This
generally is a wide sandy beach, broken up by sev-
eral jetties; some areas are a little rocky; lots of activ-
ity, water sports, and people-watching.
Playa de los Muertos stretches along the city’s palm-
lined waterfront; lots of vendors, sunbathers and
17 Profile: sports & recreAtion Contents | Search | Screen | Print | Exit < >
cluded that once the environmental
impact studies indicate that the proj- Puerto Vallarta’s
ect would have no negative impact Modern Art Scene
on local beaches, the final step would Puerto Vallarta is home to one of the most dynamic
be assigning the work and setting the and fastest growing arts scenes in Mexico. With over
timetable. In simple words, the reefs 30 art galleries displaying works by local, national
are constructed of a combination of and international artists—from native indigenous art
cement blocks and PVCs connected to and traditional Mexican silverware, glasswork and
the sea floor by cables. The openings, pottery to folk art, contemporary paintings and
both small and large, allow fish of dif- sculptures—the local arts scene has been revitalized
ferent sizes to congregate and feed in by a cosmopolitan group of resident artists that have
the protection of the spaces, encour- decided to call Puerto Vallarta home.
aging a diverse community of species.
The depth of the reefs depends pri- Arts aficionados will enjoy the numerous gallery
marily on the average water temperature, Shopping openings and weekly art walks that are held year-
round and are an integral part of the local social
while the actual locations of the reefs
scene. For up-to-date information on the arts and cul-
would be determined with the aid of sat- For fine works of art, exquisite folk art, jewelry, designer ture scene, four local publications in English—Val-
ellite photos of the bay. n and casual clothing, and of course tequila, no beach resort larta Today (daily) Vallarta Tribune (weekly), Bay Val-
in Mexico can beat Puerto Vallarta. Not only is it close to larta, and Vallarta Lifestyles magazine (quarterly)—
Guadalajara, but Puerto Vallarta has become a mecca of provide venue listings and reviews of local entertain-
sorts for Mexican and foreign artists, many of whom can be ment options. Online, visit Banderas News at
seen at work in studios and workshops along the city’s bus- www.banderasnews.com.
tling streets. (There are more than 40 galleries.) Most shops
are open from 10 am until 8 pm, closing from 2-4 pm.
The national currency is the Mexican peso but for shopping old town Art wAlks
convenience many stores also accept U.S. Dollars converted Seventeen downtown galler-
at the day’s exchange rate and accept major credit cards. ies host Old Town Art Walks
A wide majority of the town’s shopkeepers speak English every Wednesday, 6-10:00 pm
- making Puerto Vallarta an ideal shopping destination for during the high season. Now
North American travelers, no matter what their shopping in its eleventh year, this self-
preferences may be. Tip: the definitive guide to area galleries directed art walk is an impor-
is produced by Vallarta Lifestyles. Get a copy of their annual tant component of Puerto
Art Issue, or see them online at www.virtualvallarta.com. Vallarta’s social and cultural
calendar, giving residents and
visitors alike the opportunity
to catch up with friends old
and new, enjoy free cocktails,
18 Profile: shoppinG Contents | Search | Screen | Print | Exit < >
meet the artists, and get a great over- a destination of its size, with world-class Catrinas, hand-sculpted clay and paper with colored yarn. Authentic paint-
view of the thriving local art scene in a galleries continually coming on board. maché female figures, were a popu- ings are usually made with wool yarn,
street party atmosphere. The range of lar symbol during the Mexican revolu- but acrylic yarn pieces are very popu-
genres and the quality of the art avail- l o cA l & r e GionA l w A r e s tion and a common staple in the Day lar for their vibrant colors. The beaded
able in Puerto Vallarta is surprising for of the Dead celebrations. Catrinas are Huichol crafts are created from various
named after the Mexican term which wood pieces, often in the shape of dif-
conteMporAry Art refers to a chic and elegant individual, ferent animals, most traditionally deer,
Puerto Vallarta is notorious for having
and are often decorated with color- snakes, wolves, and scorpions, but sou-
Mexico’s most impressive and trendy
ful painted clothing, and adorned with venirs can also be found in the shape
contemporary art scene outside of
sequins and lace. Alebrijes are another of iguanas and frogs as well. The pieces
Mexico City. Works from well-known
original Mexican folk art creation found are first covered with wax, and artisans
local artists, such as Manuel Lepe, the
in Puerto Vallarta’s shops and markets. apply the tiny chaquira beads one by
creator of the naïf painting style often
These winged, majestic, and sometimes
referred to as “Vallarta Art,” mix with
frightful creatures are created from
international artists who have been
copal wood, and have their roots in
drawn to the natural beauty of the
region and now call Puerto Vallarta
home. Visitors can search for original
pieces in the many galleries that rival wixárikA hAndicrAFts
those in large world capitals, or dis- Puerto Vallarta is home to the beautiful
cover unique and wonderfully made Wixárika (pronounced vee-RA-ree-ka)
paintings and sculptures lining the sea- handicrafts, known for their brilliantly
side promenade of Puerto Vallarta. The colored and beaded sacred designs.
public is often invited to attend gal- Historically, artwork was used to honor
lery exhibitions and art walks are regu- the gods, but in more
larly held, and it is not uncommon that recent years Huichol
visitors have the chance the meet the handicrafts, which take
artist, and to enjoy the distinctive works the form of “yarn paint-
ranging from watercolor ings” and beaded objects,
and oil pieces, to acrylic are in high demand in
and charcoal. the locally-run shops of
Puerto Vallarta. The yarn
paintings are made on a
crAFts & Folk Art piece of wood, which is
Visitors to Puerto Vallarta
first coated in wax, and
can find very typical
is subsequently covered
and folk art.
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one to create the beautiful designs. The unique and consistently create new and distinctive dishes, vases,
supernatural images are a reflection of the visions tiles, sinks, garden ornaments, etc.
experienced during sacred religious ceremonies.
Local artisans are also notorious for their beautifully
cerAMics & blown GlAss made hand-blown glassware, a tradition that was
Puerto Vallarta also boasts a wide variety of pottery brought to the area by glass blowers from Jalisco.
in a multitude of designs and colors. Talavera pot- Shoppers have their pick of colorful stained-glass
tery, a tin and lead-glazed ceramic, was introduced windows, door panels, mirrors, glasses, vases, and
to the region in the 16th century. Detailed, colorful, more, found in a variety of furniture and craft stores
and authentic, Talavera potters have preserved the around Puerto Vallarta.
traditional techniques of earlier years; however, they
Mask-making is another remnant of the traditions
of the local indigenous communities. Many stores
offer a variety of masks, designed to represent the
Indigenous, Caucasian and African races of Mexico.
Most masks are made from carved and painted
wood, and are characterized by the combination of
human and animal features. Masks designed using
traditional lacquer technique of pre-Hispanic origin,
a patina process in which natural ingredients are
rubbed in to the masks by hand, can be found even
Mexico is a world producer of silver, and Puerto
Vallarta is no exception. Jewelry and other silverware
can be found throughout the area. From the fine jew-
elry stores offering high quality silver, gold, pearl,
semi-precious stones, precious stones, ethnic and
tequilA & tobAcco
Puerto Vallarta is located in the state of Jalisco, birth-
antique pieces, to the beach vendors selling a unique
place of Mexico’s most authentic traditions, includ-
assortment of bracelets, rings, and earrings, visitors
ing tequila. It just makes sense that a fine selection
have no shortage of choices when searching for that
of tequila is offered in shops around town, including
locally-distilled brands. Travelers can also enjoy a tour
of tequila distilleries surrounding Puerto Vallarta,
or even take a trip to the town of Tequila where
the liquor originates. Also not to be missed are the
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AlonG the MAlecón MArinA vAllArtA MAlecón
Dozens of chic boutiques and souvenir shops line High quality artisan works, stylish boutiques and
the waterfront walkway. cafes border the walkway surrounding the exclusive
An outdoor flea market provides a gathering place MercAdo MunicipAl
for vendors selling folk art, t-shirts and souvenirs at Don’t miss Puerto Vallarta’s fine craft market along
the cruise ship docks. the banks of the Cuale River. This indoor/outdoor
market is a maze of stalls and shops with a good
downtown selection of clothing, leather goods, and several
Along Juárez and Morelos streets, are a wide range of good food stands on the second floor. Bargaining is
shops with high quality goods and plenty of authen- expected at most mercado stalls.
tic Mexican atmosphere. This area is better than ever
with the addition of new shops! Arts & crAFts
Alfareria Tlaquepaque: stoneware, pottery, and
beAch vendors glassware from the Guadalajara area. Av. Mexico
The shopping comes to you! Every imaginable item 1100.
is peddled by an army of vendors that work the Azul Siempre Azul: religious figurines, antique retab-
beaches in town, and to the north. Expect to bargain los (painted scenes on tin backgrounds depicting the
for best prices. granting of a miracle), artistic jewelry and enormous
beeswax candles. Ignacio L. Vallarta 228, across from
shoppinG MAlls Club Roxy, just over the south bridge.
Several shopping centers dot the area. Some are Banderas Bay Trading Company: antiques, handi-
American-style, while others have walkways, colo- crafts and furnishings. Lázaro Cardenas 263.
numerous cigar bars and tobacco shops offering the nial architecture, fountains, and outdoor cafes. Try Blue Dolphin: Majolica and Talavera pottery, handi-
visitors the finest of Cuban cigars. the Plaza Malecón on the north end of town, Plaza crafts and religious icons. Malecón.
Marina near the airport, Plaza Neptúno at Marina Galería de Arte Huichol: native beaded tapestries
Vallarta, Villas Vallarta across from the Canto del Sol, from nearby Nayarit; Corona 164.
M A i n s hoppi nG A r e A s and the Plaza Caracol with its huge “Gigante” super- Galería Vallarta: impressive collection of handicrafts
market (both north of town). The Plaza Peninsula in plus sculpture, paintings, and lithos by Mexican art-
the cuAle river islAnd the Hotel Zone has shopping, entertainment, fine art ists. Juárez 263.
Look here for interesting boutiques and shops, galleries, and its open area boasts the larger-than-life Galería Indígena: fine Talavera tile, Oaxacan wood
sculptures of renowned artist Juan Soriano. carvings, jewelry.
including the Vallarta Cultural Center, an excel- Lucy’s Cucu Cabaña: fine folk art including painted
lent place to get acquainted with Vallarta’s eclec- animals and Zapotec wool rugs. Basilio Badillo 295.
tic fine arts scene. Most stay open until 11:00pm. Huichol Collection: Two locations in Colonial Centro,
Complimentary art workshops are given most with live examples of Huichol art in the making. A
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portion of sales is donated to sustaining the culture. Peyote People: native Mexican folk art, including
Marsar: hand-formed copper from Michoacán. Huichol yarn paintings. El Centro.
Mundo de Azulejos: wall to wall handmade and Querubines: Guatemalan fabrics, pewter, and fine Spa in the Sky
hand painted tiles, sinks, plates, etc. The only Talavera quality items. Juárez & Galeana. Terra Noble Spa, Art & Healing Center
tile factory in Puerto Vallarta. La Reja: fine handicrafts and hand-blown glass items. High on the hill over Puerto Vallarta, this open-
Mundo de Cristal: handmade glass factory. Basilio Juárez 501. air, adobe day spa is at home in its tropical land-
Badillo y Insurgentes. Sierra Madre: Mexico’s version of The Nature scape. It offers massages, body treatments,
Nevaj: Central and South American weavings, bags, Company. Ecologically-themed gifts, clothing, art facials and spa packages. Guests can also partic-
and shawls; Morelos 223. work. Malecón. ipate in clay workshops to learn how to make
Talavera, etc.: ceramic dinnerware, tiles and murals traditional pottery. Tel. (322) 223-3530;
from Puebla; hand-made jewelry.
A Spot of Africa: beautiful art from South African tribes extraordinary masterpieces by some of Mexico’s
and original paintings by Bridget Lot, South African greatest classic masters, such as Rivera, Orozco and
painter. Malecón Uno L-2A. Coronel. Leona Vicario 248.
Arte de las Américas: this gallery features works Galería GN: featuring works by several well-estab-
from Mexico’s most celebrated artists and emerging lished Latin American artists. Josefa Ortíz de
artists as well. Marina Vallarta. Malecón. Domínguez 233.
Galería de Arte Latinoaméricano: this two-floor gal- Galería Manuel Lepe: Vallarta’s most popular painter
lery features works by Marta Gilbert and Raymundo has his colorful works for sale. Ave. Juarez.
Andrade, as well as painters and sculptors such as Galería Mata Ortiz: exceptional collection of clay
María Fernanda Matos, Eduardo Mejorada, César pottery. Plaza Peninsula.
López, Yolanda Marroquin, Jose Guerrero and Jaime Galería Omar Alonso:
Rodriguez. specializes in photography, engraving and sculpture
Galería Corsica: a favorite gallery of many national and is a magnet for art collectors and artists from
and international collectors. Plaza Peninsula. around the globe. This gallery has featured exhi-
Gallería Dante: features Puerto Vallarta’s largest gal- bitions with works of Sebastiao Salgado, Wouter
lery and sculpture garden with works by more than Deruytter, Michal Macku, Ron Van Dongen, Luis
50 artists including: Gabriel Colunga, Guillermo González Palma, and Anderson & Low, among others.
Gómez, Meg Munro, Oscar Capeche, Jonás Gutiérrez, Leona Vicario 249.
and Rocio Sánchez. Named Best Art Gallery by Galería 8 y Más: a collection of eight owner/artists
Vallarta Lifestyles readers in 2006. Basilio Badillo 269. support this space thus eliminating large commis-
Galerie des Artistes: houses an eclectic display of sions and providing buyers with reasonable prices.
works that range from small decorative items and Guerrero y Miramar.
avant-garde paint- Galería Pacífico: features some of the stars of Puerto
ings to Vallarta’s art scene, such as the highly acclaimed
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sculptor Ramiz Barquet and Patrick Denoun, a masterful plus Mexican Indian art. Lázaro Cárdenas 274. Xitlal: silver jew-
French painter. Other artists based in the area include Sergio Bustamante: magical and mesmerizing life- elry with precious
Richard Baker and Alfredo Langarica. Aldama 174. size animals done in bronze, ceramic and paper stones, in both pre-
Galería Rosa Blanca: very fine art gallery with works maché. Not to be missed! Paseo Diaz Ordaz and Isla Columbian and
by leading local artists and those from Mexico City. Iguana Shopping Center. modern motifs. El
Galería Uno: an excellent selection of art from Centro.
throughout Mexico, including originals by Mexican Jewelry
and foreign artists. Morelos 561. Astrid Jewelers: finely crafted gold and silver jew- resortweAr &
Hecho a Mano: exceptional collection of furniture, elry in 14K and 18K. Camino Real, Sierra Hotel, Plaza clothinG
art, and decorative items. One of the city’s best. Along Iguana, Marina Vallarta. Aranpelli Leather:
the Plaza de Armas. Corsica Arte Joya: jewelry made by some of Mexico’s wallets, purses, jack-
Olínala: the most magical shop in Puerto Vallarta, most innovative designers. El Centro. ets, belts, and lug-
offering fine lacquered boxes from Michoacán, and Daniel Espinosa: sterling and 24K gold plate by gage. Morellos 600-A.
an incredible selection of masks from all over Mexico, famous Mexican designer. Morelos 600. Casa Josefa:
Galeria June Rosen Lopez: One-of-a-kind pieces designer, hand-
with colored gems. El Centro. woven caftans and dresses; embroidered and appli-
Jades Maya Gallery: jade jewelry and fine gifts. quéd skirts and blouses; Juárez 533.
Leona Vicario 226-A. Katy: beautiful Native clothing from all around
Joyas Finas Suneson: gorgeous display of unusual Mexico; Cuale River Island.
top-of-the-line silver jewelry, enamel and sculptures. Mosaique: extensive selection of silk, cotton, and
Morelos 593. cashmere pareos and shawls, plus resort bags, jew-
Jymmy’s Jewelry: gold and silver jewelry. Artisans elry and home decor. Basilio Badillo 274.
crafting on site. V. Carranza 377. Originales Yolanda: hand embroidered hand-made
Leona 226: Cassandra Shaw’s creations boldly trans- clothing for men, women and children. Juárez y Iturbide.
form shells, bone, wood, horn and stones into daring Mar de Sueños: exclusive lingerie, beachwear and ele-
and versatile pieces. El Centro. gant eveningwear for women. Basilio Badillo 227-B.
The Old Onyx Factory: hand-carved onyx jewelry Sucesos: easy-care all-cotton clothing for women;
and gifts. V. Carranza 368. unusual accessories and hand-painted fabrics;
The Opal House: huge selection of opals. Morelos Libertad y Hidalgo.
536. Tangas: the latest in women’s swim suits; Morelos y
La Piedra: create your own jewelry with an assort- Abasolo.
ment of materials. Two locations in El Centro. Touché Lingerie: elegant lingerie and swimsuits for
Viva: the shop and the jewelry are equally stunning; women. Plaza Peninsula.
exquisite jewelry from over 450 international design- Unicornio: boutique featuring jewelry, cotton
ers. Basilio Badillo 274. dresses, and designer gems; Morelos 170.
Viva: huge selection of espadrilles, ballet flats and
sandals. Basilio Badillo 274.
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Numerous outlets also sell international designer
brands, such as Ellesse and Tommy Hilfiger, plus Six 5-Star Choices
Mexican designers like Bye-Bye and Carlos ’n
Charlie’s. Six Puerto Vallarta restaurants were
included in a ceremony held in Mexico
ciGArs City to present the Five Star Diamond
Guantanamera Cigar Co.: best selection of Cuban award to leading Mexican restaurateurs.
Those six were Bianco, Café des Artistes,
and Mexican cigars. Corona 186-B.
Kaiser Maximillian, La Palapa, Los Xito-
Vallarta Cigar Factory: cigar-making in action.
mates and Trio. In addition, Los Xitomates’
Libertad 100-3. Luis Fitch received the Star Diamond
Award as one of the best chefs in Mexico.
La Casa del Tequila: over 50 brands to sample (free
tastings), patio bar, plus essential tequila parapher-
nalia. n Dining & Night Life
G A s t ronoMy Abadía Bassó: gourmet French cuisine, live
music. Near the zócalo.
Puerto Vallarta Puerto Vallarta sets the stage for one of the finest culinary
Adobe Cafe: Santa Fe-style decor and fine
experiences in Mexico. The city offers endless alternatives
Gourmet Festival for food aficionados. Some of Mexico’s top chefs along with international cuisine. Basilio Badillo.
numerous chefs from around the world call Puerto Vallarta Barcelona: rooftop dining with a tapas bar and
In November of every year, Puerto Vallarta Spanish-influenced menu. Matamoros y 31 de
reigns as Mexico’s capital of culinary arts with home. From small, family-run taco stands to internation-
ally acclaimed restaurants serving everything from regional Octubre.
the annual International Gourmet Festival. Benito’s: Light breakfast, substantial gringo-
During this ten-day celebration that is a feast Mexican cuisine to creative contemporary Mexican fare and
the most varied international options, Puerto Vallarta’s gas- style sandwiches for lunch. Fondue and wine
for the senses, about 20 guest chefs—amongst
tronomic scene will impress the most sophisticated palates. in the evenings. Inside Plaza Neptuno at the
the finest in the world—in addition to talented
local chefs offer special tasting menus in 21 Most midday dining is done at the beach, where barbecued Marina.
participating restaurants, cooking classes and fish on a stick (sarandeado) is a local specialty. Le Bistro: lovely tropical setting on the river,
wine tastings. Past participants have included jazz music, extensive menu. Rio Cuale Island.
Anton Mossimann of Club Mossimann in Lon- AAA: .
coFFee shops & bAkeries
don, winner of numerous international Bogart’s: prix-fixe menus in a gorgeous and
The Coffee Break: coffees, smoothies, sandwiches and
awards; internationally acclaimed Mexican romantic setting. Hotel Zone.
sweets. Internet. Mexico 1222.
chef Patricia Quintana; and Gerard Dupont, Café des Artistes: fine French fusion cuisine by
Pie in the Sky: Named Best Bakery by Vallarta Lifestyles
president of the Académie Culinaire de France acclaimed Thierry Blouet; possibly the city’s
readers in 2006. Lazaro Cardenas 247.
(the French Culinary Academy). Dates for 2007 finest gourmet dining experience. Live music,
are November 8-18. More information: classy bar. Guadalupe Sanchez 740. AAA: .
www.festivalgourmet.com. Named Best Overall restaurant by Vallarta
Lifestyles readers in 2006.
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Kaiser Maximilian: bistro-style cafe fully selects ingredients every morn- Bianco: elegant and ultra chic river-
with traditional Austrian dishes. ing in the local market. Next to the side dining with innovative Italian
Hotel Playa Los Arcos. Fiesta Americana Hotel. specialties.
Casa del Naranjo: orange-themed Picnic Restaurant and Bar: former La Galleria del ‘Gusto: new
gourmet restaurant. Located in the Chiles owners’ new endeavor. Púlpito Mediterranean-Italian eatery with
South Side, joins the ranks of the fast- 154. art-filled décor. Hidalgo 550.
growing colonia Emiliano Zapata. River Café: pleasant riverside dining La Piazzeta: Named Best Italian res-
Felipes: yet another terraced restau- with varied menu of Mexican and taurant by Vallarta Lifestyles readers
rant with fine views and good food. Continental dishes. Named Best Live in 2006.
Le Gourmet: charming colonial set- Music Venue by Vallarta Lifestyles Mezzaluna: Fine Italian dining. On
ting; flaming desserts, international readers in 2006. Cuale River Island. Calle Hidalgo.
menu. Posada Rio Cuale Hotel. De Santos: fine Mediterranean cui- La Dolce Vita: Italian pizzeria. P. Diaz
Hacienda Alemana: authentic sine and hip bar with rooftop DJ mix Ordaz 674.
Bavarian food served in an open-air and live bands. Porto Bello: spectacular Marina
garden. South Shore. Trio: the local’s choice for Vallarta view; fine Italian dining.
Kabul: different nightly themes, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. El Tarantino’s: a family business serving
including lobster, Italian and Tex- Centro. AAA: . 20 varieties of pizza as well as such
Mex. Mayan Palace hotel. Vitea Bistro & Bar: oceanfront bistro Italian favorites as fettuccini Alfredo,
Le Kliff: dine overlooking lovely with a casual, artistic atmosphere lasagna and spaghetti al pesto.
Banderas Bay along a steep, ter- and excellent food. Next to the Rio Dolcetto: specializing in seafood and
raced hillside. South of Mismaloya Cuale pedestrian bridge. gourmet Italian. Wine bar. Aldama
Beach. Vista Grill: creative contemporary 109 & Malecón.
Maria Bonita Restaurant: at the cuisine accented with regional fla-
Dreams Resort. Considered dressy. vors; set high above town overlook- seAFood & veGetAriAn
Cuisine is international with a ing the city and bay. Named “Best The Blue Shrimp: the choice for deli-
Mexican flair. Live music, awesome Dining with a View” by Vallarta cious shrimp. Morelos 779.
views. Lifestyles readers in 2006. Colonia Bolero: lovely riverside dining at
La Palapa: contemporary haute cui- Alta Vista. the eastern end of Rio Cuale Island.
sine in a romantic beachfront set- Seafood is the specialty.
ting. Named Best Sunset Dining res- itAliAn Chez Elena: since 1954, one of
taurant by Vallarta Lifestyles readers Alfredo: fine Italian cuisine. Vallarta’s best. Cuatro Vientos Hotel.
in 2006. Púlpito 103. Presidente InterContinental Hotel. Planeta Vegetariano: Good value
La Petite: the city’s best authentic Andrea: Italian cuisine with a New and great food. Named Best
French cooking. Live piano sets the World touch. Velas Vallarta Hotel. Vegetarian restaurant by Vallarta
atmosphere, but the delicious food Angelo’s: Italian cuisine, steaks and Lifestyles readers in 2006. Iturbide
is the real draw. No fixed menu seafood with generous portions and 270.
but left to the inspiration good prices. South Shore and Tino’s: the local’s choice for sea-
of the Chef, who care- Nuevo Vallarta locations. food, crab tacos, fresh fish saran-
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Chico’s Paradise: great for a jungle lunch and a fresh- El Dorado: since 1961 a Puerto Vallarta favorite for
water swim. seaside breakfast, lunch or dinner. Playa los Muertos.
Daiquiri Dick’s: an eclectic menu that includes a Fajita Republic: excellent steak, chicken and seafood.
sophisticated blend of Tuscan, Thai and Mexican cui- Fajitas served in a festive mango garden. Great value.
sine. Named “Best Margaritas” by Vallarta Lifestyles Hacienda San Angel: reservations-only dining at this
readers in 2006. Open-air location on Los Muertos unique boutique hotel. El Centro.
Beach. Mestizo: this sister restaurant to the River Café offers
El Nogalito: beautifully landscaped ranch located contemporary Mexican cuisine in a pretty courtyard
beside a clear jungle stream, serving lunch and setting. El Centro.
snacks. Several hiking trails from the ranch where Los Milagros: lovely Mexican setting with traditional
a guide gives nature talks about the local flora and and seafood specialties. Calle Juarez.
fauna. South of PV, follow signs to Calzada del Cedro. Las Palomas: power breakfast place of choice.
No credit cards accepted. Awesome fajitas. Guadalupe Sanchez 804.
De Santos: chapel inspired architecture with Pipi’s: Sizzling fajitas and guacamole prepared at the
Mediterranean inspired cuisine in what has become table. Named Most Fun by Vallarta Lifestyles readers
THE hot spot for late night dining and bar action. Live in 2006. Guadalupe Sanchez 804.
music some nights; DJ on others. Quimixto: a new Mexican grill by La Palapa’s Alberto
Perez. Basilio Badillo 370-5.
MexicAn Red Cabbage Cafe: food has been called “pure art-
Agave Grill: award-winning chef Oscar Galvan offers istry,” and “exceptional traditional Mexican cuisine.”
a different take on Mexican cuisine, in an Old World Adorned with Frida and Diego art.
hacienda setting. Morelos 589. Remembranzas: regarded by locals to serve the
El Arrayán: Chef/owner Carmen Porras uses authen-
tic techniques and ingredients to preserve family
recipes in an intimate patio setting. Named Best
Mexican restaurant by Vallarta Lifestyles readers in
Banana Cantina: contemporary Mexican cuisine in
a super-comfy open-air ambiance. Named Best New
restaurant by Vallarta Lifestyles readers in 2006. El
deado. Named “Best Seafood Restaurant” by Vallarta
Lifestyles readers in 2006. 3 locations: El Pitillal, Nuevo
La Chata: traditional Mexican dishes, with ocean
Vallarta, Punta de Mita.
view. On the malecón.
Coco Tropical: open-air beachfront dining in a
AtMosphere romantic setting. Playa Los Muertos.
La Bodeguita del Medio: authentic Cuban restau-
rant and bar. Known for its casual energy, terrific live
music and mojitos. On the malecón.
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Brasil: tasty beef and chicken dishes served on traditional sword-like skew-
ers with table-side carving. Named Best All You Can Eat restaurant by Vallarta
Lifestyles readers in 2006.
Café Olé: charcoal-grilled steaks, salad bar and “global” cuisine.
Los Pibes: fine imported beef prepared in authentic Argentinean style. Basilio
Badillo and at the Marina malecón. AAA: .
Rincon de Buenos Aires: Argentinean steakhouse and international cuisine.
Tango: Argentine restaurant with delicious steaks. Krystal Hotel.
Thierry’s Prime Steak House: American-style steak house with a French flair.
n iGh t l i F e
Several romantic cliff-side bars draw visitors for breathtaking sunsets. Dinner
city’s best haute Mexican cuisine. Romantic setting and impeccable service. generally starts after 9pm, with the discos rolling by midnight.
Sí Señor: classical Mexican cuisine. Menu includes four kinds of mole, an out-
door quesadilla bar, as well as a substantial grill. Gdlp. Sanchez 274. South of the Rio Cuale in the Olas Altas area are several restaurants and clubs.
Tacos (the dish, not a restaurant): head to Parque Hidalgo (downtown and Strolling along Calle Olas Altas and Calle Basilio Badillo, you’ll be treated to
north of the malecón) and take is any of several authentic taco stands. cyber-cafes, street-side restaurants, nightclubs, and coffee houses. This section
Los Xitomates: owned by award-winning chef Luis Fitch, this hip downtown of town is very popular with locals, including Vallarta’s 35,000+ American and
restaurant serves unique Nouvelle Mexican cuisine. Morelos 570. Canadian residents.
AsiAn FiestA niGhts
Archie’s Wok: fine Chinese cuisine originated by the late John Houston’s private An introduction to popular Mexican culture
chef. Named Best Asian restaurant by Vallarta Lifestyles readers in 2006. for the entire family, Mexican fiestas are held
Bai Sri: new Thai-Vietnamese in a serenely beautiful ambiance. South Shore. weekly in various hotels and restaurants in
Boca Bento: Asian flavors with a Latin soul. South Shore. Puerto Vallarta with fun-filled activities for
Hashi Sushi: fresh sushi and hot dishes. Juarez 797. everyone including dancing, games and com-
Ici Sushi: excellent authentic Japanese sushi. Downtown. petitions accompanied by extensive buffets of
Tsunami Sushi Bar: authentic Japanese sushi and assorted beverages. Named traditional Mexican food and drink specialties.
“Best Sushi Restaurant” by Vallarta Lifestyles readers in 2006. Most would agree that the best of these takes
Ztai: international cuisine with a touch of Asian, in three different environ- place at the NH Krystal on Tues. and Sat. at
ments. Morelos 737. 7pm. Also consider the very authentic show in
a patio setting at La Iguana. Their
“Moonlight Fiesta” is held each Thursday
27 Profile: dininG & niGht liFe Contents | Search | Screen | Print | Exit < >
and Sunday. Also try the “Rhythms
Two of the Hippest Night Spots of the Night” cruise to Caletas, the
pristine cove where the late John
Nikki Beach, super-classy beach club by day and swanky party by Huston had his home. www.val-
night, originated in Miami, with clubs in St. Barts, Marbella, St. larta-adventures.com
Tropez, and now Puerto Vallarta. Attracting jetsetters and those
attracted to a hedonistic lifestyle, its décor and menu are exotic,
its oceanfront setting gorgeous. Whether you feel like dressing clubs & discos
to the nines or wearing a bikini, this is one of the coolest places La Cantina de los Remedios:
to do it. Named Best Sunday Brunch by Vallarta Lifestyles read- serves little complimentary plates
ers in 2006. of food from 1-5pm. In the eve-
nings, listen to recorded music
Tribu Bar & Lounge has a sophisticated ambiance combining eth- from sultry boleros to the hot-
nicity with modernity, photographs of tribes around the world test in Mexican rock, resulting in a
evoking a primal mood. Relax, play pool, and try one of their romantic clubby atmosphere. No Mariachi Loco: live Mariachi bands, dancing, and
special martinis as the DJ spins Latin music and invites requests. credit cards. authentic “Jalisco” atmosphere.
Christine’s: plush setting and a J& B Salsa Club: THE spot for salsa music and Latin-
spectacular light show each eve- style dancing. Live bands Fri/Sat and holidays.
ning. Krystal Hotel. Named Best Dancing Place by Vallarta Lifestyles
Club Roxy: currently the most popular live music readers in 2006.
club in Vallarta playing a mix of Reggae, blues and De Santos: state-of-the-art club adjacent to the res-
rock. Live music from 10pm-2am, Monday-Saturday. taurant drawing an urban, hip, crowd to what is one
Collage: Marina Vallarta’s most popular night spot; of Puerto Vallarta’s most popular
live music, dancing and sports bar. It’s also great for clubs.
kids with bowling, basketball and video games. Sr. Frog’s: Carlos Anderson chain outlet set in large
El Faro Lighthouse Bar: a circular cocktail lounge warehouse. Good food, cute waiters and fun!
at the top of the Marina lighthouse. One of Puerto The Zoo: paper maché animals add to lively dance
Vallarta’s most romantic nightspots with live or club atmosphere. Terrific sound system and variety
recorded jazz, and conversation is manageable. of music, including techno, Reggae and rap.
Hilo: the hottest new disco on the malecón.
Kit Kat Club: swank and reminiscent of a New York See newest additions via press release in the Digital
Club. Leopard patterned chairs and cream-colored Library.
overstuffed banquettes. Attracts a hip, generally gay n
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