48 hours in Puerto Vallarta, a paradisiacal destination with a Mexican flavor

Beaches on the edge of green mountains, surfing in the most coveted waves on the Pacific coast, unique landscapes protected by UNESCO, flora and fauna endemic to Mexico, palpable culture in memorable delicacies and picturesque corners, all these ingredients position Puerto Vallarta as one of the beaches with the highest national and international tourist influx.

This diversity is host to an infinity of adventures: from family vacations, business trips, romantic getaways, fun nights with friends, sports road trips, and attractions for the LGBT community, to destination weddings. Puerto Vallarta has it all.

Consequently, according to the searches carried out on the PriceTravel and Despegar platforms, travel preferences rank Puerto Vallarta among the top five most visited destinations in Mexico in 2022.

With summer approaching and the post-pandemic surge in travel, this is the ideal destination for all tastes, plans, budgets, and ages.

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta has countless high-end hotels and all-inclusive stays that promise total satisfaction for any guest.

A must-see is the Vidanta Puerto Vallarta resort hotel. Unique in beauty, charm and quality, the luxury resort complex offers a wide collection of attractions —such as The Park and Sunset Snack Bar—, which result in a welcoming oasis of rest, adventure, and memories.

The Sheraton Buganvilias Resort & Convention Center in the heart of the city has suites with ocean views, as well as one of the ten most popular restaurants in the city (Gaviotas) according to TripAdvisor. Along with the Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort, awarded with the Four Diamond Award by the AAA (American Automobile Association), both stand out among the most luxurious hotels in the destination.

The all-inclusive Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa is also a must-see, thanks to its 85 hectares of tropical jungle, luxury suites, gourmet cuisine, and fascinating experiences for all ages.

On the other hand, if you are one of those who enjoy a stay with the typical comforts of home, without losing luxury, the Live Inn Grand Venetian apartment condominium is an excellent lodging for family travel.

In turn, Airbnb also offers extremely flexible accommodations and competitive prices that appeal to a young, adventurous, and relaxed public.

Signature delicacies of Puerto Vallarta

The extensive offer of restaurants on the coast of Jalisco satisfies from the simplest tastes to the most refined demands.

For the first meal of the day, Fredy’s Tucan and Mr. Cream offer hearty breakfasts, such as omelets, waffles, and delicious pancakes—so you can start the day with the required energy.

When talking about the beach, it is impossible not to mention the sea cuisine. Some gourmet restaurants in the area are Campomar and Oyster Grill; In both, you can taste the famous Vallarta ceviche, cocktails, and a wide variety of both seafood and prepared fish. Do not forget the specialty of the latter: fresh oysters and clams.

For lovers of a good cut of meats, the nationally recognized restaurants Porfirio’s and Vaca Argentina are favorites of locals and tourists. They shine for dishes such as pork belly with creamy avocado, beef marrow with escamoles, New Zealand lamb ribs, among other delicacies.

Another must is Café Des Artistes by chef Thierry Blouet. Beyond a restaurant, visiting the establishment results in a multisensory, exclusive, and elegant experience; In addition, it is ideal to celebrate special occasions.

Its five-course tasting menu, vegetarian dishes, and signature cocktails stand out, tasted in a natural environment in its exuberant garden with live music. It has spaces specially designed for intimate celebrations and important business meetings.

La Leche is the place to visit if you are looking for disruptive and innovative dishes. This Spanish-influenced restaurant reinterprets culinary traditions and makes the most of local produce, reinventing the menu daily—all in an all-white space.

However, not everything lies in gourmet dishes. The typical cuisine of the area also means an experience that will delight your palate. You can enjoy fresh seafood, such as the traditional shrimp (which you find with street vendors on the beaches), or take a gastronomic tour among the local stalls and restaurants that stand out from the streets.

Authentic Mexican flavor and spirit

Music, painting, crafts, gastronomy, and traditions, as well as the characteristic hospitality and warmth of the Mexican people, come to life in multiple attractions.

The Romantic Zone or “old Vallarta” is one of the oldest neighborhoods: a mix of local businesses, residential areas, and cobblestone streets. One of the most popular beaches stands out, Playa Los Muertos, the beautiful Lázaro Cárdenas Mosaic Park, and the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

With a kilometer and a half in length, another meeting point in the city is the Puerto Vallarta Malecón. There you can find practically everything you are looking for: shops, restaurants, entertainment, outdoor shows, or sculptures by Mexican artists —such as El Caballito de Mar and the Los Arcos structure—.

Natural paradise to live experiences of disconnection

Given the growing and global need for an environment of rest, relaxation, and disconnection, Puerto Vallarta reemerges as a magical vacation destination. Without having to spend exuberant amounts, you can access these pleasant experiences.

One of the most famous attractions in Puerto Vallarta is the hidden beach in the center of a huge crater on the Islas Marietas. A thriving bird sanctuary, exotic marine life, and blue-footed boobies make this the “beach of love.”

Yelapa, Las Caletas, Colomitos, Las Ánimas, Mismaloya and Quimixto are just some of the virgin beaches located along the coast of Jalisco.

To access several of these tropical paradises it is necessary to take a water taxi. Despite being remote beaches, they are all easily accessible and within a short boat ride of Puerto Vallarta.

It is worth noting the absence of large hotel resorts and luxury restaurants; however, they are not necessary, as you can enjoy local establishments or bring your own provisions.

Between golden sand, crystal clear water, and wild vegetation, appreciating natural beauty is possible through sports and activities such as yoga, trekking, hiking, skydiving, paddle tennis, camping, boat rides, RZR or ATV tours, diving, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, whale watching… The list is endless.

Destination of exclusivity and relaxation

The offer of luxury and leisure experiences in Puerto Vallarta has increased in accordance with both the dynamism and the reinvention of the international tourism industry.

As part of the portfolio of activities that have gained popularity and demand, the rental of yachts, sailboats, catamarans, and fishing boats represent unparalleled experiences that only the beautiful beaches of Mexico can offer. Therefore, there are various companies that offer services such as water activities and parties or social gatherings.

In the context of renting fishing boats, this sport brings attendees from all over the globe to various fishing contests and excursions, such as the International Marlin and Sailfish Fishing Tournament.

Another sport that has taken hold on Mexican beaches is golf. Thanks to the vast presence of fields dedicated to this sport throughout the Riviera Nayarit, it has brought international fame to Puerto Vallarta. Vista Vallarta Weiskopf, Vista Vallarta Nicklaus, and the Marina Golf Club are some venues that stand out in terms of design, exclusivity, and composition.

Another destination with enough activities by itself is La Marina. In addition to yachts, boats, and cruise ships, it concentrates multiple restaurants, resorts, hotels, and luxury shops, as well as the largest shopping center in Puerto Vallarta.

Fun by the beach

If when traveling you are one of those who enjoy sunbathing with a cold and delicious drink in hand, tasting exquisite dishes, dancing to the rhythm of music, and, why not take a dip in the pool or the sea from one of the many beach clubs.

These establishments converge mixology, signature dishes, and DJ sets with popular music such as techno and reggaeton. Today, in addition to being a great tourist attraction, they are the incentive for many young people to travel.

The bohemian and organic style decoration that harmoniously coexists with nature, as well as its location between desolate beaches, have made Casitas Maraika and Majahuitas one of the most acclaimed beach clubs in Mexico.

Chicabal is another beach club inspired by recent international party trends. Located in the hotel zone of Puerto Vallarta, it offers the most complete experience —yacht rental, urban gastronomy, guest DJs, and more.

Puerto Vallarta, synonymous with cosmopolitan fun

At sunset, dozens of bars and nightclubs line the Malecón, the cobblestone streets of the Romantic Zone, and the Marina.

Live bands and talented DJs make tourists and locals dance until dawn, in establishments dedicated to all musical genres.

The Signature Lounge, The Top Sky Bar, Bar Morelos Mezcalería and La Bodeguita del Medio are must-sees. With signature mixology, traditional dishes, international cuisine, and a drinks bar facing the sea (or in the most sophisticated areas of the city) they herald an unforgettable evening.

Part of the charm of nightlife is visiting the different clubs that the city offers in a single night and enjoying the best of each one: from live music, special events and light shows at Strana, La Santa, La Vaquita, or Mandala.

Puerto Vallarta airport

Given the complete range of attractions that exist in Puerto Vallarta, it is not surprising that it is the fourth most visited destination with a beach in Mexico, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

The Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport, colloquially known as the Puerto Vallarta International Airport, occupies seventh place in the ranking of the ten with the most passenger traffic in Mexico, according to the Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico.

Of the 53 destinations that the enclosure has, 40 are international, which represents 63% of arrivals; on the other hand, only 37% of the arriving passengers are nationals.

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