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Puerto Vallarta Mexico

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a stunning resort town located on Mexico’s Pacific coast in Jalisco state. Known for its spectacular beaches, marine life, water sports, and local resorts, Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world.

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Puerto Vallarta Travel Advisory

What is Puerto Vallarta known for?

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

A holiday in Puerto Vallarta will be a joyous blur of beaches, tasty cuisine and bars. This Mexican city is famed for its stunning beaches, stylish restaurants and vibrant nightlife scene. It’s not as expensive as other Mexican resorts, and is a popular destination among young people and couples. 

The main reason visitors from all over the world flock to Puerto Vallarta is for the beaches. However, the picturesque Historical Center, art-filled boulevard, and magnificent views of the Bahía de Banderas, as well as the Zona Romántica (Romantic District), are all highlights which make this city a unique, unforgettable destination.

You can take trips into the Sierra Madre mountains or out onto the bay, which has protected islands with caves, reefs and tunnels.

Humpback whales come down to the bay at the same time as the tourist hordes, and are not to be missed on a spotting expeditions.

When to visit Puerto Vallarta?

Best time to visit Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is in a geographical perfect  spot: nested on the Bay of Banderas (the second largest bay in the world), sheltered by the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, protected from the threat of hurricanes. Located in the north of the country, so temperatures stay mild a majority of the year, but the ebst time to visit is between January and April. You can visit in the summer (when everything is a fraction of the price), but prepare for the sky to open up multiple times a day.

New Year’s Eve is a massive party, so avoid it if you want to stay in a quiet environment. Same with Easter and Semana Santa (Holy Week, which begins Palm Sunday). 

Travel Agency in Mexico

Getting to Puerto Vallarta

How to get to Puerto Vallarta?

Located on the Pacific coast, 205 miles (330 km) from Guadalajara (the capital of the state of Jalisco), Puerto Vallarta is home to Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport, with connections to major cities in the country, as well as important foreign cities. As such, it has become one of the main tourist destinations in Mexico. 

◆ BY AIR ― The vast majority of travelers reach Puerto Vallarta by air. Flights are frequent and reasonably priced, although the airlines have cut back on the number of flights in recent years, and in some cases raised prices. Competition sometimes shaves tariffs to as low as $275 for a Puerto Vallarta low-season round-trip from the departure gateways of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, or Houston. Air travelers can save lots of money by shopping around.

A few airlines fly across the Atlantic directly to Mexico City, where easy Puerto Vallarta connections are available via VivaAerobus, Copa, and Aeroméxico. These include Lufthansa, which connects directly from Frankfurt, and Aeroméxico, which connects directly from Paris and Madrid.

From Latin America, Aeroméxico connects directly with Mexico City, customarily with São Paulo, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Bogota, Colombia. They also connect directly with Guatemala City, San Jose in Costa Rica, San Pedro Sula in Honduras, and San Salvador in El Salvador. A number of other Latin American carriers also fly directly to Mexico City.

◆ BY BUS    You can travel to Puerto Vallarta on a  bus from Mexico City – but be aware that the trip will take around 14 hours. From Guadalajara, the journey time is about 6-7 hours. Puerto Vallarta is flanked by large mountains, so the roads in and out of the area are steep, winding, and take time to negotiate. The bus line ETN offers first-class service.

BY CAR The road journey to Puerto Vallarta from inland Mexico (e.g. Guadalajara, Mexico City, Chihuahua, et al) is mountainous and winding. Expect it to take longer than you anticipate. The easiest route in and out of Puerto Vallarta is by using Highway 200 — the coast road — although if you plan to go inland to Guadalajara or Mexico City, then this road will take you well out of the way you really want to go.

◆ CAR RENTAL  There are some stunning hidden areas just north and south of Puerto Vallarta that can be explored along the coast roads, and renting a car locally is ideal and effective way to experience them. Having your own car will give you more flexibility than using public transport options and, in some cases, offer you access to places which are otherwise difficult to visit without the use of a car. 

How to get to and from Puerto Vallarta airport?

◆ PUBLIC BUSES FROM THE AIRPORT ― Public buses are available to downtown Puerto Vallarta. Heading out of the airport, go toward the highway to a spot under the elevated pedestrian bridge over that highway (usually people will be standing there waiting for a bus). City buses stop here and cost 10 pesos to anywhere south of the airport or north to Las Juntas, just before the bridge to Nuevo Vallarta. Take one marked “Centro” to go to the Puerto Vallarta downtown area. These buses generally stop at or near all major hotels on the way to town and the routes end on the south side of Vallarta in Old Town.

If you wish to take a bus north from the airport to anywhere in Nayarit (Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerias, La Cruz, Sayulita, Punta Mita, etc) the process is a bit more complicated. You must cross the elevated pedestrian bridge and wait for a bus (not a city bus, but, rather, an ATM bus or a Compostela (white) bus with the name of your destination on it. The price is usually 25 pesos or less. Ask the driver if he is going to your location. He will answer even if asked in English.

◆ TAXI ―  Airport Taxi fares are determined by the zone of the destination. Current Airport Taxi Rates may be found on signs at the taxi booths. Prices range from 160 pesos to around 700, depending on the destination zone. The rate to Old town Vallarta is  about 360 pesos total for up to 3 people. Vans (for more than 3 people) cost more. A standard taxi, anywhere in Vallarta, will charge the same for 1-3 people.

◆ UBER ― Using Uber will make you save a lot of money in Puerto Vallarta as they usually are half the rate of a Taxi. Be aware that Uber can drop off clients at the airport curb but is not allowed to do pick-ups there.

 

Puerto Vallarta and Safety

Is Puerto Vallarta safe 2020?

Puerto Vallarta is a city where classic Mexican charm mingles with the comforts of a premier beach destination. As you dream of days spent on the beach and adventures in the mountains, you may have a question looming in the back of your mind: Is it safe to Travel to Puerto Vallarta? The reality is that the city of Puerto Vallarta is actually one of the safest destinations in all of Mexico, and thousands of travelers from around the world safely enjoy everything from family vacations to romantic getaways on the shores of Banderas Bay. If you’re just worrying “Is Puerto Vallarta safe?”, taking time to research Mexico travel advisory news and COVID-19 safety updates will put your mind at ease, so the only thing you need to worry about is which coastal activity to try first. Puerto Vallarta is a gorgeous vacation spot, with high levels of security. You can relax here, but keep your wits with you. Just in case, you should apply all possible precaution measures, to minimize the chances of anything going wrong.

TIPS: Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID. Always carry the immigration visa they gave you where you enter the country. 

Best area to stay in Puerto Vallarta

Where to stay in Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta Downtown

There are a great many choices of hotels and resorts in Puerto Vallarta, in all price ranges and for all tastes. 

Downtown

Known as “the Heart of Puerto Vallarta” and declared as cultural heritage by the State of Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta’s Downtown is located between the imponent Malecon and the most emblematic constructions in the area.  Puerto Vallarta’s Downtown is shaped by the Kiosk, meeting point for festivities and lots of activities for locals and visitors; the City Hall, located at the northern side; and the Parrish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a neoclassic building located half a block, and whose crown and tower have become an icon of Puerto Vallarta.

Romantic Area

It is one of Puerto Vallarta’s most traditional areas because of its red tile buildings, narrow streets, art galleries, small cafes, bars and restaurants, as well as for its boutique hotels located beach front, and its traditional markets with typical food and souvenirs. It is known as a friendly and diverse area where fun is present during the whole day and night.

Marina Vallarta.

The Marina is a very exclusive area because of its luxury, hight class ondos and hotels, its yachts, boats and cruise ships, its luxury and gournmet restaurants that delight all tastes, its stores, cafes and supermarkets where it is possible to buy organic food, music, art, and many other products and events. It is an excellent option to take a walk and enjoy at the same time the attractions around.

Beaches North Zone.

Stretching from Downtown up to the Marina Vallarta, Playa Norte is an area with a vast choice of 5 starts hotels with seafront beaches, as well as many restaurants, bars, night clubs and shopping malls located along the main avenue. With world class golf courses, Playa Norte is the meeting point for sports events and conventions and, being so close to the airport, it is considered as cosmopolite.

Beaches South Zone.

This area is where the most amazing natural landscapes are found: Playa Los Muertos, Garza Blanca, Boca de Tomatlán, Las Animas and the fishing villages of Quimixto, Majahuitas and Yelapa. Los Arcos National Park, is one of the favorite spots for visitors because of all the activities that can be done. The Botanical Garden is also an excellent option for nature lovers and families. Paradisiac places in the middle of the tropical forest that connect with river streams that flow from the Sierra Madre Occidental to the Bahia de Banderas. This is Puerto Vallarta’s Playa Sur.

Puerto Vallarta romantic zone

What to do in Puerto Vallarta?

Things to do in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta and its surrounds offer you the opportunity to explore around 25 miles of absolutely stunning beaches. Many of the beaches are secluded, and can only be accessed by boat. Don’t let this put you off exploring them – cruises and tours are available.

Some of the beaches are only accessible by car as public transport is limited in the area – by driving north or south of the town. You may rent a car locally: either from Puerto Vallarta (ideal if you fly there to get to Punta de Mita) or if your hotel or accommodation agent picks you up from the airport, you may be able to rent a car on ad-hoc days, directly from the hotel/resort or agent.

Sierra madre occidental Puerto Vallarta

 

  1. Take a stroll along the Malecon to see the collection of sculptures. In the evenings, buskers here entertain passers-by.
  2. Diving enthusiasts must visit Los Arcos de Mismaloya Marine Park, a protected area where you can go diving in one of three spots: el Cañón del Diablo, el Bajo del Cristo and el Acuario. The ideal months for diving are between June and August, when visibility under water is optimal.
  3. Get an adrenaline rush on an extreme adventure like riding an ATV or zip-lining through the Sierra Madre.
  4. The Course next to the Four Seasons resort in nearby Punta de Mita is one of the best golf courses in Mexico as well as one of the world’s top courses.
  5. Treat yourself to a spa treatment at one of Puerto Vallarta’s excellent spas.
  6. Enjoy Puerto Vallarta beaches. With a total of 8 Blue Flag certified beaches: Palmares, Camarones, Playa de oro, Amapas, Conchas Chinas I, Conchas Chinas II, Garza Blanca and Sherarton. All of them have accomplished the necessary requirements to earn this award, which means they’re clean, safe and comfortable, among other attributes.
  7. Take a walk in downtown. The charm of the old city center, which remains perfectly intact, adds that special something to this world-class tourist destination, offering cobbled streets, an intense cultural life, colorful murals, sculptures, as well as parks, where social life circulates just as it did in days gone by.
  8. From November through to March each year, you can take an organized eco boat tour to watch the hump back whales as they arrive to reproduce and bear their calves. Departures are usually from nearby Puerto Vallarta, although some operators may also pick up from quays in the Punta de Mita area.

Puerto Vallarta Beach

Rent a Car in Puerto Vallarta

While you should always be prepared and take precautions while driving in Mexico, there’s no need to be fearful: driving in Mexico and renting a car are safe activities for tourists. It is highly recommended to have more freedom to visit the country and no rely on public transports or taxis. You will find very reliable and economic vehicles to rent in Puerto Vallarta. 

Book your trip

Are you ready to book your trip?  .Here are the websites you can use to book your trip, get inspired with the best things to do in your destinations and travel smarter.

  • Kiwi.com– A great website to book your flights. It has good airfares but you need to search regulaly as the prices are constantly changing
  • Booking.com – The best website to book your accommodation, you can book and cancel free up until a certain point, especially when your plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections. 
  • Airbnb – You can get some really nice places to stay here. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
  • Hotel.com – Huge choice of hotels with  free cancellation up until a certain point. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections. 
  • Agoda – Agoda is very good if you are searching hotels, resorts, houses. They always have attractive promotions.  
  • Get your Guide – It is a platform where you will find tours and excurtions in Cozumel and every part of the world.
  • Xcaret Group – Xcaret Group is the most famous theme park in the Riviera Maya. If you visit Cancun, check their prices here to get good discounts.
  • Viator – If you need to find inspiration about things to do in Cozumel, check on Viator to see the tours they offer for diving and other activities
  • Rental Cars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals. 
  • Yacht Rental – If you are thinking of spending time in a paradise beach destination with friends or family, this is a good option to enjoy the beach life.
  • Sailing Trip – For cruising holidays, book a sailing trip, they have many trip destinations, lehghts and standing.
  • Dive the World – If you are a diver, book a diving trip with them. They have dive packages everywhere in the world with very attractive prices.
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