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Your guide to Puerto Vallarta
Welcome to Puerto Vallarta
Known simply as Vallarta by those who are lucky enough to live there, the town of Puerto Vallarta looks out over the turquoise waters of Banderas Bay and a coastline with nearly 50 km of beautiful sandy beaches. In the background, the lush Sierra Madre mountains make for a stunning backdrop just outside of town. This coastal haven is popular for its nightlife scene, but it also boasts a vibrant arts community, charming historic neighbourhoods, traditional markets, and mouth-watering cuisine.
Dotted with fascinating sculptures alongside vendors and buskers, the seaside Malecón boardwalk carries you through the centre of beachfront Puerto Vallarta and is perfect for casual strolling and beachside refreshments. For the more adventurous, there are numerous options for outings within a short drive of town, including jungle trekking, mountain hiking, scuba diving and snorkelling, kayak touring, and surfing.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Puerto Vallarta?
While there’s never a bad time to visit a beach paradise, Puerto Vallarta is at its most appealing during the winter months, December through March. This is when you’ll enjoy nearly perfect weather conditions, as in lots of sun and not much rain. It’s also the best time for watching whales off the coast as they make their annual migration. Crowds pick up during major holidays, but this can also provide the motivation to explore more secluded beaches nearby. Come spring and summer, Puerto Vallarta can get very hot, and this is when most of the rainfall happens. Hurricane and tropical storm season lasts from June through November, but the afternoon rain and thunderstorms are usually predictable and can be dazzling to watch.
What are the top things to do in Puerto Vallarta?
Isla Río Cuale
This small isle is just south of downtown Puerto Vallarta in the middle of the Cuale River. It’s home to an eclectic flea market shaded by rubber trees and surrounded by street art. Be sure not to miss the green-tiled Iguana Bridge, which connects the island to “Gringo Gulch,” an area once famous for its celebrity residents.
Jardín Botánico de Vallarta
Visit 20 acres of gorgeous flora and fauna, including orchids, cacti, cacao trees, and carnivorous plants, at Puerto Vallarta’s botanical garden. Bring a bathing suit for a river swim, hiking shoes for the nature trails, and bug spray to keep the critters away, and keep your eyes out for hummingbirds and other winged visitors.
For a quieter slice of sand than Puerto Vallarta’s populous beaches, head an hour north to the surfer town of Sayulita. Bring your own board, rent one with a lesson, or simply watch others hit the waves as you snack on local fruits from strolling beach vendors. When you’re hungry for more, Sayulita has great taquerias and restaurants in town.