Located in Bahía de Banderas (second largest in America and among the most beautiful in the world), Puerto Vallarta was founded in the middle of the 20th century. For years it was a peaceful community dedicated to fishing, visited by locals and some adventurous foreigners. One of them, movie director John Huston, was fascinated with the beauty of the place and chose it as a main location for the filming of one of his most famous movies: The night of the iguana, where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were the stars. This was the main trigger for the peaceful population to become a premium tourist destination of international fame; ideal for honeymooners, families, couples or friends.
In spite of its exceptional service infrastructure (noteworthy resorts, boutique hotels, gourmet restaurants, spas, golf courses, excellent communication ways –by land, by air and by sea- among others), the town has a quaint style (narrow cobble-stoned streets, white houses with clay tiles and colorful balconies). Worth visiting: The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Arches Amphitheater. El Malecón –beach walk- (with the Seahorse a sculpture by Rafael Zamarripa and an emblem of the city) is the most distinctive place and meeting point by excellence, with splendid views of the sea and of the sunset.
Good art galleries, exclusive boutiques, very commercial handcrafts, nevertheless huichol art stands out. Artistic, culinary and sport events (Cultural Festival, May; Downtown Art Walks, October-April; International Gourmet Festival, November; regattas, International Marlin and Sail Fish Tournament; golf championships de golf). In addition to sun and beach, eco-tourism, water sports, and extreme sports are the most popular with marvelous landscapes for their practice. Intense nightlife for all tastes and ages.
TO STAY PUERTO VALLARTA
• Casa Velas Hotel & Ocean Club
Service and peaceful atmosphere in an adult all-inclusive place. Sophisticated suites with pool and private Jacuzzi. Private beach; access to the marina and the nearby golf courses. Great spa; gym, boutique and beauty salon.
Pelícanos 311. Fracc. Marina Vallarta.
Tel: (01-322) 226 6688 01800-8238802.
• Villa Premiere Hotel & Spa
On the Malecón, the heart of Puerto Vallarta. For adults or families with children over 16. Excellent quality-price ratio.
San Salvador117. Col. 5 de Diciembre.
Tel: (01-322) 226 7074 01800-0120810.
TO EAT PUERTO VALLARTA
• Archie’s Wok
Asian fusion cuisine.
Personal service of its owners. Youthful and friendly environment; very concurred. Ideal for friends.
Thai with garlic; Shanghai chicken.
Francisca Rodríguez 130. Zona Romántica.
Tel: (01-322) 222 0411.
• Barcelona Tapas
Cozy and modern place that serves well-seasoned tapas. Fun and casual atmosphere. The terrace with a view to the sea is a must to have a drink and watch the sunset.
Prawns with garlic; Tapas for sharing.
Matamoros y 31 de Octubre. Centro.
Tel: (01-322) 222 0510.
Small informal and fresh establishment on the beach at reasonable prices. Spectacular sunsets. Ideal for a casual outing with family or friends.
Fresh ceviches; Seafood tacos.
Paraguay 1290. Col. 5 de Diciembre.
Tel: (01-322) 222 4034.
• Café des Artistes
Culinary institution in Vallarta where French Chef Thierry Blouet is in charge; he also has an eatery next door, signature cuisine, in a magical place. The terrace is a must. Ideal for a romantic outing or with friends.
Scallops; Shrimps on the griddle.
Guadalupe Sánchez 740. Centro.
Tel: (01-322) 222 3228.
TO EAT PUERTO VALLARTA
• El Arrayán
Traditional Mexican cuisine.
Fun and friendly place in the style of a diner. Carmen Porras, the owner, has as a goal to rescue several dishes of the traditional Mexican cuisine. A favorite among foreigners.
Green pozole; Plantain empanadas; barbacoa.
Allende 344. Centro.
Tel: (01-322) 222 7195.
• Kaiser Maximilian
Contemporary Austrian cuisine.
Cozy. Typically European flavors with a varied menu. Inviting terrace to enjoy coffee and dessert. Good breakfasts.
Bread soup; Spinach strudel; Veal leg.
Olas Altas 380-B. Col. Emiliano Zapata.
Tel: (01-322) 223 0760.
• La Leche
Avant-garde evolution cuisine.
Austere, elegant and original. Revolutionary Chef Alfonso Cadena is in charge, with his creative and innovative spirit. Ideal for couples or friends who want a different gastronomic experience. There is no fixed menu.
Av. Francisco Medina Ascencio Km. 2.5. Zona Hotelera.
Tel: (01-322) 293 0900.
• La Palapa
Mexican contemporary cuisine.
It’s been around for more than 10 years, by the sea; relaxed atmosphere. Breakfasts are very popular. Live jazz band at night. Ideal for a romantic occasion or with friends.
Chilaquiles; Ceviches; Shrimp with tamarind.
Púlpito 103. Col. Emiliano Zapata.
Tel: (01-322) 222 5225.
• Porto Bello Ristorante Italiano
Recently modeled. Delicious Italian food in the area of the marina. The terrace is a must.
Fusilli Porto Bello; Veal scallop; pasta with seafood.
Marina Sol. Local 7. Marina Vallarta.
Tel: (01-322) 221 0003.
In the heart of Puerto Vallarta, its owners are in charge, two Austrian chefs. Ongoing quality in their products. Trio music every evening. Ideal for couples, friends or business.
Zucchini ravioli ; Salmon tartar.
Guerrero 264. Centro.
Tel: (01-322) 222 2196.
Argentinean meat cuts.
Small contemporary European bistro, art deco style, right on the Malecón. Its menu changes constantly, but seasonal fresh ingredients are always used. Live music. Ideal for friends or family.
Roast beef sandwich; Spinach quiche; Filet mignon.
Libertad 2 and Malecón. Centro.
Tel: (01-322) 222 8703.