As the sun sets on the horizon, the city of Puerto Vallarta closes another day in paradise along Mexico’s stunning Pacific coast, but the day started a little something like this..
“Tourists drop their lines into the water, prop their poles on the side and pop open a beer,” shares travel writer Carolyn Bass for the Huffington Post. “A catamaran, its bronzed passengers gripping the sidelines with one hand and a drink in the other, rushes along the coast.”
Puerto Vallarta offers some of the best ocean fishing in the world and its waters are teeming with dorado, bonito, yellow fin, mahi-mahi and marlin. And the town itself has become a favorite destination among international travelers ever since Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were together in Puerto Vallarta during the filming of Night of the Iguana here back in 1963. Still, Puerto Vallarta offers something for everyone, including everything visitors and expats need to enjoy supreme relaxation, exciting adventures and the experience of a lifetime.
“Puerto Vallarta is an ideal blend between the old and the new, the trendy and the traditional, the cultural and the cosmopolitan,” writes the Huffington Post. “One of the top three resort destinations in Mexico – the others being Cancun and Cabo San Lucas – Puerto Vallarta has managed to maintain its Mexican identity, while also providing a net of friendliness and security for international travelers.”
In fact, the term “local” in this region now includes the many genuinely cordial and warm individuals who were born and raised here, along with a growing community of expats and retirees, who have discovered that living in Puerto Vallarta offers affordable luxury in paradise. Here, international transplants work side by side with the Mexican-born population to share the best this dynamic city has to offer with visitors from around the world.
The cobblestone street and boardwalk on the beachside strip known as the malecon in Puerto Vallarta offers easy access to everything from shops and restaurants to art galleries and nightclubs. Here, you’ll find many recognizable brands, such as Hard Rock Café, Senior Frogs and Carlos O’Briens, along with local favorites like La Palapa, which serves haute cuisine right on the beach, and upscale offerings such as Café des Artiste, Trio and the Vista Grill, which serves world-class gourmet cuisine from atop a hillside overlooking Banderas Bay.
Places like Marisma Taqueria offer an authentic experience at an unbeatable price. Located just a few blocks from the malecon on Calle Naranjo, this taqueria has been serving up fresh fish tacos on fresh corn tortillas featuring your choice of shrimp, crap, batter-fried fish and calamari for almost 20 years. And at about $1.30 each, the value is tough to beat.
“If you’re wanting authentic Mexican food, don’t be afraid to try some of the streetside vendors or taquerias,” writes the Huffington Post.
(Inside Scoop from Vallarta Daily: Look for streetside eateries where the locals gather.)
Other delights found in the streets of Puerto Vallarta include the usual array of tourist shops featuring a variety of trinkets, along with cantinas serving up the best tequila and cerveza. Cigar aficionados will enjoy the variety of shops featuring hand-rolled cigars made with Cuban tobacco, while art lovers will thrill to the amazing array of art and hand-painted tiles available in the marketplace.
Of course, the waters of Banderas Bay offer their own unique set of offerings, including a protected marine park surrounding Los Arcos (The Arches), which is a stunning rock formation located just off the south coast of Puerto Vallarta. Here, divers enjoy easy access from the malecon and the local marina to a mesmerizing world of underwater grottos that is home to a wide variety of sea life.
“It’s not unusual to spot giant mantas, eagle rays, sea turtles, butterfly fish, parrot fish, puffers, angelfish, needlefish and damsels,” writes the Huffington Post. “The waters are also home to the Pacific bottlenose dolphin and the loggerhead, hawksbill and Pacific black sea turtles.”