There are too many great things about living in Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas to name here, but here are a few to give you an idea about why you should pick Puerto Vallarta as a place to live. Here is our list of some of the fun things to do around Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding areas.
The first image that comes to mind when you hear Puerto Vallarta is the beach. Of course, it’s a beach town…let’s start there!
Sun, Sand and Surf – The best known and most frequented beach in the area is the iconic Los Muertos Beach! From fun and festive Blue Chairs and Green Chairs, to the world-famous gay beach and pool club Mantamar or the heavenly chic lounge chairs at El Dorado and La Palapa…Los Muertos has everything you could want or imagine – you can literally shop for an evening out without ever leaving your seat!
Beyond Los Muertos, but still in Vallarta, there are beautiful beaches in Conchas Chinas, the Hotel Zone and in the Marina too. However, some of the most beautiful and tranquil beaches on the bay are located just south of Vallarta and in the neighboring state of Nayarit, north of the airport.
Head just a few minutes south on highway 200 to find local favorites like Palmares and Las Gemelas which both offer gorgeous sand and beautifully clear seas. And to spend a day lounging at Sabal Playa in Nuevo Vallarta is a truly wonderful experience. For the ultimate get away (without really having to get away), drive an hour north just past Punta de Mita and spend the day louning on Balinese style day beds under swaying palm trees or day beds directly on the Pacific-facing beach at the idyllic Litibú Grill in Litibú. Or leave the cars and roads behind and hop on a panga (local water taxis) and go to Yelapa, Las Animas or any of the only-accessible-by-boat hidden beaches on the South Shore.
One of the many benefits of living in Puerto Vallarta is access to practically everything you could ever need and want, often at significant cost savings to the United States of America, Canada and many other markets. From luxury dining and boutiques to mom-and-pop taco stands there is something for almost every budget.
Given its tropical location, it should come as no surprise that Vallarta has a world class botanical garden. Located 25 minutes south of the city on highway 200, the Vallarta Botanical Gardens are a veritable Eden for plant lovers. With myriad varieties of orchids and other tropical plants not to mention an incredible vanilla plantation, a trip to the gardens is a wonderful way to spend a day. After enjoying the variey of its many hiking trails through lush mountain jungle or along its boulder strewn river, enjoy a delicious lunch in the truly stunning restaurant. On the way to the gardens is a parrot sanctuary and all kinds of off road and zip lining adventures. There’s a petting zoo in Mismaloya!
For a touristy, but totally-get-why experience, try Rhythms of The Night…it’s the ultimate dinner and a cruise experience, combining a beautiful sunset cruise to the jungle location with a mind-blowing dinner theater spectacle honoring the ancient mysteries of Mexico’s reach cultural heritage.
From mid-December through mid-March, head out (but not that far out) into Banderas Bay for breathtaking whale watching tours or just grab a panga and head south where you are sure to have a whale sighting or two along the way.
For those who like to experience a place on foot, there are fun taco tours and tequila walking tours too. For the ultimate Vallarta walking experience, it’s hard to beat a stroll along the Malecon, the pedestrian-only, beach-front promenade lined with shops and restaurants in the middle of el Centro. With jaw-dropping views of Banderas Bay, the Malecon is popular day and night with tourists and locals alike.
When the sun goes down the party in Vallarta is just getting started. As great as the day-time beach experience is, Vallarta at night is equally un! Wherever your taste may run: from live musical and theater performances to bars and nightclubs, Vallarta has something for everyone. During the high season, there are too many theatrical events to name! The Palm, ACT2, and the piano bar at Garbos are but a few of the many options. Vallarta Artwalk in the Romantic Zone, Centro and Marina, the art galleries on Basilio Badillo (Contempo and Galeria Dante), the lighthouse at the Marina for a drink…especially during rainy season when epic thunder and electrical storms sweep across the bay! And for those who really want to party into the wee hours of the “madrugada” (a Spanish word that perfectly describes the second half of the evening from midnight to sunrise) the countless bars in Zona Romantica along calle Lazaro Cardenas and the bars along the Malecon are PACKED year-round!!
Some of our favorite restaurants to satisfy any craving.
Excellent restaurants abound with outstanding examples of cuisines from around the world. Whether it’s traditional Mexican, nouveau Mexican, Italian or Japanese omikaze tasting menus, Vallarta has it all! And that’s just the restaurants: the events calendar is jam packed with special events throughout the year devoted to food! Restaurant week (May 15-June 10), Puerto Vallarta International Gourmet Festival (November), food events during Day of the Dead and Our Lady of Guadalupe festivals. From November through May the Saturday Market in Lazaro Cardenas Square offers organic produce, atrisinal provisions, tasty international treats along with local crafts and apparell.. Then there are Birria, mango, aguachile, tequila and taco festivals galore. It’s hard to get a bad meal…but, take precautions, eat smart, drink sensibly…Gózalo!
Centro/5 de diciembere
Although hard to believe, sometimes you may need a break from Paradise….In September and October the weather turns increasingly more hot and humid – Vallarta is in the tropics after all. Located just 1.5 hours drive up in the Sierra Occidental mountains is the pueblo magico, San Sebastian del Oeste. At an elevation of over 4,000 feet, this charming former, colonial era mining town is a good 20 degrees cooler and considerably less humid during the hottest summer months. While there are several quaint places to stay and dine, one place really stands out: Villa Nogal. Located on a promontory as you approach the town, Villa Nogal has a world class restaurant and gorgeous accommodations with spectacular views of the valley below.
About 2 hours south but a world away is tranquil and remote Mayto situated on a miles-long and practically deserted beach. To live your surfer fantasy, head north to THE iconic Mexican surfers’ paradise, Sayulita. So hip it hurts, Sayulita strikes the right blend of artfully curated boutiques, endless beachfront restaurants and bars and world class surf schools. Perfect for a day trip or the rest of your life! For a slightly more chill vibe, head up the coast to La Patrona Beach Club in San Pancho, Sayulita’s lower key neighbor. If you need some Vitamin Sea…it’s easily available in the area in and around Banderas Bay!