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RedWeek Travel Guide: Puerto Vallarta

published on March 21, 2023 by

A glamorous resort town on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Puerto Vallarta delivers a tropical vacation experience like nowhere else. If you’re in the mood for a luxurious sun-and-sand getaway this year, use RedWeek’s travel guide as your inspiration. 

Puerto Vallarta Beaches

  • Playa de los Muertos: Its name translates to “Beach of the Dead,” but Playa de los Muertos is always full of life. The most popular beach in Puerto Vallarta is set upon the scenic shores of Banderas Bay, offering plenty of sand, sun and surf year-round. Don’t miss the incredible Los Muertos Pier, a sailboat-shaped work of art created in 2013 by architect José de Jesús Torres Vega.  
  • Playa Conchas Chinas: For a more secluded beach experience, try Playa Conchas Chinas. Located south of Playa de los Muertos, it’s one of the most beautiful spots in all of Puerto Vallarta, with white sands, fascinating rock pools and views of jungle covered mountains. This beach feels like another world.  
  • Palmares Beach: This beach is a bit further away (about five miles south of Puerto Vallarta’s Main Square), but it’s very much worth the trip. On the expansive Palmares Beach you’ll find crystal clear waters, gentle waves and gorgeous rock formations. Keep an eye out for food vendors who sell tasty fish-on-a-stick treats. 
  • Mismaloya Beach: Puerto Vallarta’s most family friendly beach is the charming Mismaloya Beach. Located in a small cove, Mismaloya’s waters are calm and shallow, its sands are clean and there are plenty of places to explore. One of those spots is an old Hollywood set, where the classic film Night of the Iguana was made back in the 1960s. 

Things To Do In Puerto Vallarta

  • Malecón: A vibrant town center, Malecón (which translates to “boardwalk”) is a must-visit when you’re on vacation in Puerto Vallarta. There’s always something going on here, whether it’s a street fair, live music, open-air markets and beyond. There are also countless shops, restaurants, art galleries and cafes to enjoy, all running along a dazzling stretch of coastline. 
  • Deep Sea Fishing: Puerto Vallarta is renowned among anglers as one of the best deep sea fishing destinations in Mexico. Whether you’re experienced at sea or new to sport fishing, it’s a 365-days-a-year bonanza, with trophy-size Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Tuna and more all waiting in the waters nearby. 
  • Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe: An iconic historic attraction in Puerto Vallarta, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s lovely basilica looms over the city’s skyline. Built in the 1920s, it’s a lovingly preserved place of worship, with splendid design details both inside and out. While you’re exploring Puerto Vallarta, listen for Our Lady’s bells ringing every hour on the hour. 
  • Puerto Vallarta Nightlife: You can’t visit Puerto Vallarta without sampling some of its legendary nightlife. For a celebratory evening out with friends, head to the glitzy Strana, where you’ll find DJs, dancefloors and bottle service. For something a little mellower, head to the laid-back Bar La Playa, where the cocktails are tasty, and the locals are friendly. Or if you want to sing your heart out, the stylish Piano Bar & Jazz Garbo is always a good time. 

Kid-Friendly Activities & Adventures

  • Whale Watching: From December through March, Puerto Vallarta offers vacationers the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with incredible humpback whales. Expert tour guides can take you out onto Banderas Bay for a respectful and exciting encounter with these majestic mammals. You might even be lucky to see the humpbacks leaping out of the water — showing off why they’re called “the acrobats of the sea”! 
  • Vallarta Botanical Gardens: See what’s blooming at this world-class attraction. The 120-acre Vallarta Botanical Gardens is devoted to the conservation of Mexico’s diverse and unique plant life. It’s also a great place for birdwatching, with over 230 different species spotted throughout the grounds. 
  • Pirate Ship Puerto Vallarta: Ahoy mateys! If your kids are Pirates of the Caribbean fans, this one is perfect. Pirate Ship Puerto Vallarta takes you out onto Banderas Bay aboard a detailed re-creation of a real pirate ship, immersing guests in a world of swashbuckling action. 

Puerto Vallarta Restaurants

  • Mercado Emiliano Zapata: A local go-to for decades, Mercado Emiliano Zapata offers a menu full of deliciously authentic Mexican dishes. From birria (a spicy traditional soup) to a winning chile relleno platter, the flavors at this no-frills restaurant in Puerto Vallarta’s old town will satisfy every member of your family. 
  • El Campanario: For more classic Puerto Vallarta cuisine, El Campanario is a great option, with a broad selection of favorites and a colorful atmosphere. It’s especially well-regarded for its breakfast and brunch, with tasty chilaquiles, eggs rancheros and more served until 11am every morning. 
  • Café des Artistes: A romantic, unforgettable date night can be enjoyed at this elegant bistro. Book a table in the restaurant’s garden space and you’ll be surrounded by lush vegetation and beautiful sculpture while you eat. Or enjoy an intimate fine dining experience at the Chef’s Table, where you’ll see your meal magically come together, one ingredient after another. 
  • La Palapa Restaurant: Located oceanside on Playa de los Muertos since 1959, La Palapa’s panoramic views are as spectacular as its gourmet food. Choose from fresh-caught seafood, perfectly prepared pasta dishes and a wide array of vegetarian options. Sip a craft cocktail while the sun sets over the water and toast to another magical day in Puerto Vallarta. 

Where To Stay

  • The Grand Bliss at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta: Luxury is refined and perfected at the Grand Bliss, where guests will enjoy plunge pools in their suites, as well as an indulgent spa and an 18-hole championship golf course just a short walk away. 
  • The Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta: Located on the northern edge of the Vidanta estate in Nuevo Vallarta, the Grand Mayan’s spacious suites offer either mountain or ocean views — both options are spectacular. 
  • Villa del Palmar Vallarta: This oceanfront resort brings together old-world elegance and modern amenities, with a tropical aesthetic and beautiful views from its rooms and suites. 

Start planning your Puerto Vallarta vacation with RedWeek now

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