Relaxed and welcoming, this former fishing village now lures visitors with whitewashed walls, cobblestone walkways and a backdrop of beautiful bougainvillea. Puerto Vallarta’s intimate charm has survived the port’s discovery years ago by Hollywood celebrities and jet-setters—and then by the rest of us.
Here are some other things you’ll never forget about Puerto Vallarta:
The giant trees you see all around — they can grow to 90 feet tall and 9 feet around — are called parotas. As well as creating excellent shade, they’re also often used in furniture making.
One of the best reasons to take the boat trip to the Las Marietas Islands in Banderas Bay
is to catch sight of the Blue-footed Booby seabird, which stands about 3 feet high and has a wingspan of 5 feet. True to the name, it has bright blue webbed feet—as a mating ritual the male actually dances first on one blue foot, then the other. These birds take their name from the Spanish word for “stupid fellow” because they’re typically pretty awkward land walkers.
The Art of El Malecón
Bronze sculptures by Alejandro Colunga are spaced on the walkway leading to Los Arcos and, ultimately, Playa de los Muertos. They rival the sunsets as the most striking visuals in Puerto Vallarta.
Fruits of the Sea
Although Mexican favorites like smoked marlin tacos, mojarra ceviche and shrimp in pumpkin-seed sauce aren’t peculiar to Puerto Vallarta, they’re exquisitely prepared in the city that’s become a gastronomic capital.