The city has a variety of attractions, these places are ones you should visit when in Puerto Vallarta.
Located in the historic center of Puerto Vallarta, the Malecon is an 870 meter (2,854 ft) long boardwalk, which starts at the traditional Rosita Hotel, goes all the way to the Romantic Zone passing by the Los Arcos amphitheater. It is a well known landmark not only because it is along the seashore but because all along it there are a great variety of restaurants, bars, art galleries, jewelry shops, boutiques, sculptures and other attractions that turn it into a favorite place for locals and visitors.
Rio Cuale Island
Rio Cuale Island is right between downtown and the Romantic Zone. The island is divided into two areas, the more tranquil one where the Cuale Cultural Center is located, is a place where one can enjoy peaceful surroundings, a walk, some exercise or enjoy the beautiful staircase joining the island and the famous Gringo Gulch, which has spectacular views of the mountains.
The other side of the island is connected to the extension of the new Malecon (towards the Los Muertos Pier). There you will find a great variety of stores selling artisan work, which are ideal places to find a memento from your vacation in Puerto Vallarta. A fun way to get to the island is crossing the river on one of the traditional swinging bridges, on which you will relive the curiosity and innocence of the child we all have inside.
“Pueblo Viejo” Old Town Artisan Market
Located a couple of blocks from the Municipal Market you can find a great variety of stores selling jewelry, souvenirs, typical clothing, Mexican samplings, and much more.
Puerto Vallarta Municipal Market
The Municipal Market is located in the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s Historic Center, offering a wide variety of artisan work, traditional clothing, jewelry, and typical Mexican food. This two-story modern and functional market was inaugurated November 28th, 1979, and has 159 stalls and 132 tenants. The facade has two murals, “Mercado Típico y su Gente” and “La Iguana del Cuale” painted by art restorer Ernesto Garridos.
One can find leather articles, typical sweets, silver jewelry, wooden toys, T-shirts with Vallarta slogans, hats, muslin clothing, guayaberas, ponchos, bathing suits and limitless souvenirs there.
On the second floor the aromas transport one to Mexico’s rich cuisine, whetting the appetite. Traditional food establishments offer: shrimp broth, chicken with mole, stuffed chiles, fish fillets, tacos, grilled onions and flavored water, just to name a few of the most delicious dishes both visitors and locals can enjoy at reasonable prices.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
One of the most visited places in Puerto Vallarta is Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, a symbol of the city recognized worldwide. There are wood and marble works of art here. With its wonderful architecture and famous crown, it is a meeting point for thousands of pilgrims visiting all year round, particularly in December when the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe is celebrated.
Known also as “Plaza de Armas”, this beautiful plaza has a kiosk and lush trees and planters, as well as the sculpture of Ignacio L. Vallarta, outstanding Jalisco judge and State Governor after whom the town is named. This is a tranquil setting where one can enjoy delicious ice cream or simply look at the beautiful landscape towards the mountains or the sea. Concerts, cultural presentations, and art exhibits are held here. The celebrations for Independence take place at this plaza. On Sundays it becomes a marvelous dance floor for those who love to dance the traditional “Danzon” after church.
Los Muertos Pier
The pier, located in the Romantic Zone is built over a hundred meters into the sea and it is a perfect place to stroll alone, with a significant other, or the family enjoying spectacular bay sunsets. Due to its inspiring nature it is also an ideal spot for those looking for tranquility and a place to sit and read or even write. This pier is also an embarkation point for the water taxis heading to the beaches on the southern shore.
Old Vallarta Romantic Zone
Old Town Vallarta, also known as the Romantic Zone is located south of the Cuale river. This area with its cobblestone streets and quiet atmosphere, is a reflection of a typical Mexican style town. Here you can enjoy cafes, restaurants, shops, boutiques, art galleries and a great variety of nightclubs near Los Muertos beach.
Marina Vallarta, a modern and sophisticated area located a few minutes from the Puerto Vallarta International Airport, offers a great variety of attractions. It has a world class golf course, an exclusive hotel zone, a marina with luxury yachts and boats from all over the world, a boardwalk with a variety of restaurants and a lighthouse from where one can enjoy a spectacular view of Puerto Vallarta. Either by day or night, the Marina offers light filled, glamorous and elegant sites you should not miss.
Los Arcos Marine Park
The well known Puerto Vallarta “Arcos”, located to the south of the city are small granite islands jutting out of the water. They are called Los Arcos (Arches) due to their arched shape rock formations. The largest is 25 meters (82 ft) high so even boats can navigate through it. The smaller arches are ideal places to snorkel and dive, as people can swim through them and dive in the numerous caves and tunnels shaped through time by nature.
Vallarta Botanical Garden
An oasis in the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta. These gardens have a large collection of native plants and flowers, including orchid and vanilla conservatories. Some of the main attractions are: rose gardens, aquatic plants, cactus, ferns, a tropical fruit orchard and a picnic area, a restaurant and shops. The Botanical Garden is located south of Puerto Vallarta.
Located south of Puerto Vallarta, Mismaloya offers a beautiful beach surrounded by the jungle. Here you can enjoy delicious seafood dishes offered at small restaurants or take a boat to visit the southern beaches or the Los Arcos Marine Park to snorkel. Mismaloya is known for having been the location where the movie “Night of the Iguana” was filmed. Up river is the area known as “Eden”, a perfect place to swim in the small pools formed by large rocks. The Eden was also the location for another famous movie, “Predator” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.