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Puerto Vallarta Travel Guide


Flights to Puerto Vallarta

There are many reasons why so many holidaymakers book cheap flights to Puerto Vallarta and it has become one of Mexico's most popular destinations, but chief among them is the fact that it boasts a resort setting that has maintained its unique character. This is a considerable achievement and one visitors arriving here appreciate.

Located in the Bahía de Banderas on the Pacific Coast, Puerto Vallarta is nestled at the foot of lush green hills and bounded by a series of sandy beaches that line the bay. At the centre, lie the cobbled streets of old Vallarta with resorts extending both to the north and south.

Among the many shops and galleries crowded into the area, visitors can also take in the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe (La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe). Dedicated to the patron saint of Puerto Vallarta, the cathedral's bell tower featured an iron crown that toppled during a 1995 earthquake. The current version is a fibreglass replacement, supported, like its preceding original, by faithful stone angels.

Nearby, the Archeological Museum (Museo Arqueológico) features a permanent exhibition of Indian artifacts as well as displays aimed at explaining local cultures and the impact of Spanish conquest.

Indeed the area has developed a reputation as an art haven and this is reflected in the number of locally produced arts and crafts on offer in the area. Ceramics, pottery and hand-blown glass works all figure prominently, but be sure to check out the flea market to bag a souvenir bargain.

Puerto Vallarta has laid claim to the title of culinary capital of Mexico (it is not alone in doing this) and backing its claim is the fact that it hosts the annual Gourmet Dining Festival, held every November. As a developed metropolitan area, there is also no shortage of choice for discerning diners who may choose to forego local Mexican cuisine in favour of Italian, French or even Japanese food. So regardless of your mood and taste, from the moment you arrive off the flights to Mexico, you will not go hungry.

For those who prefer a North American-style experience for their purchasing needs, an area near the city's main marina north of the town centre, features several shopping malls to choose from.

No self-respecting resort in Mexico can lay claim to the title without an assortment of golf courses within easy reach and PV certainly fits the bill in this regard.

Choice is key here but the standouts are the Vista Vallarta Jack Nicklaus, an 18-hole challenging course featuring views of the bay and Puerto Vallarta; Paradise Village Golf Course also known as El Tigre, a 7,239 yard championship course fit to be played by, well the nickname suggests the very best though there is no confirmation of that and Vista Vallarta Tom Weiskopf, set in the same hills as the Nicklaus course though less challenging.

As can be expected of the world-class facilities on offer, most courses in the area include putting greens, lessons, clinics, driving ranges, pro shops and last, though certainly not least to anyone coming off an arduous 18 holes, clubhouses.

Visitors drawn to the coast for the beach life will find everything they need here. From diving, snorkelling, surfing and sailing facilities to local traders selling local wares, there is no shortage of activities to amuse the young and old alike.

Sailing and fishing are also on offer and can be arranged locally directly with one of the charter firms or via a resort or hotel.

More adventurous types can opt for all-terrain vehicle tours of the hills surrounding the town and those with a penchant for taking charge of the four-wheel drive tour can book their own vehicle to explore the hills and ranches in the vicinity of the resort. Beware that a valid driver's licence and credit card will be required.

A more pedestrian approach may include mountain biking or horseback riding while an even more laid-back approach may call for hiking or what is better known as walking.

Finally, those with a taste for a drop of something stronger than water can take a day trip to nearby Tequila where agave plants used to produce Mexico's national liquor of the same name are grown. Think of it as a winery or distillery tour with a twist (of lime, naturally).

Whatever your reasons for going, make sure you check the travel guide to Puerto Vallarta for its invaluable insider tips to Mexico features a variety of suggestions for touring one of the world's most exotic and sought-after destinations.