Puerto Vallarta: Things to Do

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Puerto Vallarta


In the small, quaint fishing town of Puerto Vallarta, things to do are as numerous as the white sandy beaches that lie at the feet of the rugged, jungle-clad Sierra Madre mountains. As the second-most-visited resort in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta now attracts almost three million visitors a year and the nightlife in Puerto Vallarta is as varied as the daytime activities.

In Puerto Vallarta, things to do range from historical sightseeing to shopping to swimming with dolphins. Located on one of the largest natural bays in the world -- Bay of Banderas -- the colonial "old town" attracts history buffs, photographers and bargain hunters.

Growing areas such as Marina Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta attract sun worshipers, boaters and those looking for the all-inclusive resort lifestyle. North of the city, visitors can kayak through lagoons and swim with dolphins. South of the city are scenic wonders of coves and gullies, ideal for snorkeling and reachable only by boat.

The Bay of Banderas is a breeding ground for great pods of humpback whales during the winter months. Pacific dolphins can be seen all year. In Puerto Vallarta, things to do include eco-tours and photo safaris to take advantage of the abundance of marine life in the region; jungle tours, horseback treks and visits to tequila factories are some of the other activities offered.

Get a good Puerto Vallarta map from your cruise line or one of many online websites – choose a Puerto Vallarta map that is segmented by activity so you can easily choose your favorite sights to see.

Puerto Vallarta: Things to Do

Visit a beach at one of the resorts that line the Hotel Zone. Check out the Fiesta Americana and Sheraton Bouganvilas; all the resorts are pleasant and offer bars and restaurants.

Stroll the Malecon -- the restored walkway that rings the bay – where occasional waves crash against the rocks so hard that splumes of salt water rain down on you.

Relive the romance by touring Casa Kimberly, the home purchased by actor Richard Burton during the 1960s filming of "The Night of the Iguana," which also Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr. The movie was filmed in Puerto Vallarta and Burton bought Casa Kimberly for Elizabeth Taylor, then purchased the house across the narrow cobbled street and connected the two with a pink bridge that arches over the lane.

Shopping in Puerto Vallarta is a mix of tourist trinket shops and more distinctive boutiques, including Cachet for beautiful Mexican household furnishings, Sucesos for handpainted cotton fashions, and Sergio Bustamante Galeria for art.

Rio Cuale Flea Market is filled with vendor stalls, and an ideal place to test your bargaining skills. Veterans recommend you shop here just before you head back to the Marina Vallarta and your ship; that's when you can get the best bargains.

The nightlife in Puerto Vallarta has moved in recent years from live music to DJ clubs, which feature an array of eclectic, contemporary music. A group of nightclubs can be found along Calle Ignacio L. Vallarta – in one three-block stretch you'll find a taste of every type of nightlife in Puerto Vallarta, including live blues, a sports bar, live mariachi music, a live salsa dance club, and the renowned Señor Frog's.

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