Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock/Chris HoweyMarinaGreat place to whale watch during the season.

Families will love:

  • Exquisite setting amongst the sea and mountains
  • Charming villages with restaurants and shopping
  • Horseback riding and whale watching

Located almost halfway down Mexico's Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta is blessed with one of the most exquisite settings in the entire country. Set on the shores of the expansive bay, Bahia de Banderas, and backed by the ridge of the Sierra Madres, views from your hotel room almost guarantee sea and mountains. This alluring combination has resulted in exponential growth. When ... more
Located almost halfway down Mexico's Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta is blessed with one of the most exquisite settings in the entire country. Set on the shores of the expansive bay, Bahia de Banderas, and backed by the ridge of the Sierra Madres, views from your hotel room almost guarantee sea and mountains. This alluring combination has resulted in exponential growth. When Director John Huston arrived in this seaside village in 1963 to film Tennessee Williams' Night of the Iguana, there were a little over 2,000 inhabitants. Then the paparazzi arrived to take pictures of star Richard Burton and his latest love, Elizabeth Taylor, against the backdrop of this tropical setting, and the world came to its doorstep. Today, Puerto Vallarta has a population a little over 400,000.

But don't expect congested streets. Puerto Vallarta still retains the charm of yesteryear. Walk the broad Malecon, the city's boardwalk, and you'll be mesmerized by the mix of shopping, restaurants, and bars on one side, beach and sand sculptures on the other side. More topnotch dining and specialty shops line the cobblestone streets of Old Town. Resorts spread out from one side of town to the other, from the Marina in the north to the exclusive hillside community of Conchas Chinas and its million-dollar second homes in the south.

For families, the mountains and sea offer a multitude of activity, from boating and secluded beaches to horseback riding in the hills and whale watching on the ocean. While crime has been an issue of late, Puerto Vallarta does not have the problems of Mazatlan and Acapulco, both also on the Pacific coast. As with any big city, the rare robbery does occur, but during a recent trip to the city with my family of four, we never felt unsafe.

Editor's Note: Puerto Vallarta is on the U.S. travel advisory risk list and caution should be used if visiting the area.

Written by Stephen Jermanok less

Puerto Vallarta Planning & Tips
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