Puerto Vallarta & Riviera Nayarit
Downtown Puerto Vallarta is where art and nature come together. Take a stroll down the Malecon (boardwalk) where shops, restaurants and street performers make this lively strip one of Puerto Vallarta’s most recognised landmarks. Enjoy numerous open-air sculptures created by famous local artists, including the town's iconic seahorse. There are art galleries on almost every corner. The town is divided into north and south by The River Cuale. To the north the Old Town meanders up towards Gringo Gulch and along the bay to Plaza de Armas (main square) and Los Arcos amphitheatre where you can enjoy free daily performances. Further north is the Hotel Zone and Marina, then Riviera Nayarit with charming towns and a number of resorts. To the south of the river you'll find Playa los Muertos which draws beach and bar lovers, and the seaside villages of Boca de Tomatlan and Mismaloya.
Beaches & Beach Activities
There are 88km of beautiful coastline to enjoy in Banderas Bay with glorious beaches and waters rich in marine life. Dolphins, mantra rays, turtles and even humpback whales between November and March. There are many tours taking advantage of these natural wonders including swimming with dolphins, cruises, whale watching, snorkeling the Los Arco Marine Park, scuba diving and surfing. Further south more beautiful beaches can be found in Mismaloya, Colomitos and Yelapa. Accessible by sea, Las Caleta is surrounded by a steep jungle-clad mountain backdrop, making it a truly secluded tropical sanctuary. Enjoy snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters or take a scenic sunset cruise across Banderas Bay to the island. About 8km out of Riviera Nayarit you'll find the hidden beaches of the Marieta Islands, a small group of uninhabited islands that are home to hidden, sun-drenched beaches that are only accessible after swimming through a 12m cave tunnel.
Banderas Bay is surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountains, where you explore small colonial style towns like San Sebastian del Oeste, Mascota or Talpa de Allende where time stands still or take a tour in an all terrain vehicle and get off the beaten track. Nature lovers can visit Estero de El Salado, an ecological protection zone, great for bird watching and learning about local flora and fauna. The Marieta Islands are also a birdwatching haven with more than 315 species. Go horseriding or take a zipline canopy tour, visit the water parks, zoo or the Vallarta Botanical Gardens.
Puerto Vallarta is a place where modern 5 star hotels mingle with cobblestone streets, upmarket restaurants are side by side with street food stands offering simple, but fresh, seafood or typical Mexican tacos. Some local food specialties include Huachinango Sarandeado, red snapper marinated in a birria paste (roast peppers, garlic and spices) and grilled; Grilled Mahi Mahi, skewered and cooked over coals then served with hot sauce and lime; and Ceviche, raw fish, scallops, or shrimp, with onions, chiles such as serranos or jalepenos, and lime juice, which cures the fish. It is usually served with tortilla chips or on a whole tostada, and accompanied by guacamole.
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