Beautiful Sayulita Beach Taken From Don Pedro's
Language and Currency
What is Puerto Vallarta Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
The official language of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is Spanish, however English is widely spoken in the tourist areas. The official currency is the Mexican peso, but dollars are accepted in many tourist areas, as well.
The main town of Puerto Vallarta resides at the deepest point in Banderas Bay, a huge bay that is almost entirely enclosed by land. To make Puerto Vallarta even more extraordinary, the mighty Sierra Madre Mountains that run the entire length of Mexico from the north, approach downtown Puerto Vallarta to form a dramatic backdrop. Once a sleepy fishing village, Puerto Vallarta is now a bustling city with over a quarter of million residents.
Puerto Vallarta's Los Veneros Beach Club on Punta Mita
Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by wonderful beaches and countryside both to the north and also to the south. The "Old Section" of Puerto Vallarta is a wonderful place to explore on foot and Puerto Vallarta's beaches are excellent.
Puerto Vallarta is blessed with warm days and balmy evenings and near perfect weather year around with the exception of from June to September, when one can expect a good amount of rain in the afternoons. Temperatures can range into the high 80s, so be sure to use sun screen and hats if you are going to be exposed to the sun.
Puerto Vallarta's Cruise Ship Harbor
Ships dock right in the heart of the hotel district in Puerto Vallarta. In fact, one can easily walk to the local Wal Mart and Sam's Club that are located about two blocks from the ship. There is ample transportation to serve passengers upon arrival and also once they are in the downtown area.
Looking Towards Downtown Puerto Vallarta From a Ship's Pool Deck
Be aware, though that only one ship may dock per day. If there is more than one ship in port, the second will tender from a position at anchor into the same facility.
Downtown Puerto Vallarta's Shopping District
Right at the port itself there is an excellent flea market for last minute shopping. Most folks enjoy going to the old section of Puerto Vallarta some 2-3 miles south from the ship (about $5 in a taxi)
Inside Puerto Vallarta's Flea Markets
Here one will find hundreds (if not thousands) of stores, shops, boutiques and flea markets with unlimited shopping. All along the streets between the ship and the old town area, you will find shops selling everything imaginable that would be of interest to tourists. In the municipal market just north of town (on Rio Cuale) you can find tons of bargains.
Many of the surrounding areas also offer shopping opportunities for local art and crafts. Downtown Sayulita offers several quaint artist studios selling quality art and craft pieces as does the beach club at Los Venerous on Punta de Mita.
You can buy everything Mexican that you can imagine in Puerto Vallarta. Souvenirs, silver jewelry, onyx carvings and chess sets, Mexican blankets, dolls, figurines, designer clothes (mostly knock offs) wood carvings, the list goes on and on.
Puerto Vallarta offers something for everyone. First and foremost are the ocean oriented activities. There is excellent swimming, snorkeling, surfing, fishing, diving and boating. The areas to the north and the south offer more of the same.
Puerto Vallarta's Malecon
There is a malecon (oceanfront walkway) that starts in to old section of Puerto Vallarta and continues for about 2 miles that is adorned with statutes and interesting oceanscape that is well worth the time to explore. Walking towards the Golden Zone from downtown, one comes upon rock pinnacles with stairs leading to the top. This is where you can watch local boys diving into the ocean from a good height, much as in Acapulco.
Puerto Vallarta's Cathedral
An old cathedral in downtown Puerto Vallarta (The Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe) is well worth a visit, as is the older section of Puerto Vallarta on the south side of the river that dissects the old section of town.
Typical Beach Scene North of Puerto Vallarta
Mismaloya Beach south of town is where "Night of the Iguana" was filmed and is worth a visit to see, but be aware that the hurricane of 2001 stripped the beach of all its sand and it has been slow returning to fill in the beach. To the north of Puerto Vallarta lies Punta Mita with excellent beaches and golfing and further to the north lies the towns of Sayulita and San Francisco, which are both worthy of a visit.
Yes, I would definitely give the old section of Puerto Vallarta a don't miss rating. It is quaint while at the same time vibrant.
Yes! My new favorite restaurant is Roberto's in the old section south of the river. We tried this place on the referral of a local who knew Puerto Vallarta's restaurants. It isn't touristy, but what an excellent meal. If you like seafood, try their lobster and shrimp combo. It is to die for. I will definitely be going back.
Puerto Vallarta also has a Senior Frogs, Carlos and Charlies, as well as the No Name Cafe that are all rowdy eating and drinking holes in the old town area.