Destination of the Week: Puerto Vallarta
As people start to make their holiday plans, we head south of the border for some sea and sun for today’s Destination of the Week to one of Mexico’s all-round best vacation destinations: Puerto Vallarta.
WHAT TO DO
Ever since Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor spent a few languid months in what was then a sleepy fishing village on the Mexican Riviera while Burton was filming Night of the Iguana in 1964, Puerto Vallarta has been on every jetsetter’s map.
Today it continues to be one of Mexico’s most gracious vacation spots thanks to a charming central town with gourmet restaurants and beautiful art galleries (not to mention a healthy dose of spring break-style nightclubs), wide beaches with gentle surf along the expansive Bahia de Banderas, adventure and aquatic sports, a plethora of resort-style hotels, and a balmy climate with year-round sunshine (though it does get rather sticky and humid during the late summer and early autumn rainy season). It’s also been spared the spate of recent violence in Mexico that have depressed tourism numbers in other prominent destinations like Cancun and Acapulco.
Puerto Vallarta is actually several destinations in one straddling the border of the Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit. In the center is the town of Puerto Vallarta itself, presided over by a singular cathedral tower topped with a crown, with buildings cascading down jungly mountainsides right up to the water’s edge along the Malecon – a mostly pedestrianized boardwalk fringed with restaurants, bars and shops, where street vendors sell souvenirs and trinkets, and buskers perform everything from mariachi music to puppet shows.
The city has long been a foodie favorite, and popular restaurants include Daiquiri Dick’s for lobster tacos right on the beach, Trio and Café Des Artistes in the quieter streets above town for some of the city’s best gourmet dining experiences, and just across the street, a buzzing little place called Pipi’s that’s gotten quite touristy thanks to sizzling skillets of fajitas and margaritas the size of Spanish galleons that help guests get into the groove with blaring mariachi music.