Puerto Vallarta Overview
Puerto Vallarta is drenched in romance! After all, it was the legendary love of Richard Burton for Elizabeth Taylor that brought Hollywood here and catapulted the town into a world class resort in the ‘60’s. Today, it is one of the most ideal honeymoon destinations on the planet. Newlywed couples love it from the get-go, and there are plenty of romantic reasons why.
- The scenery is spectacular. If you want your honeymoon to be surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, this is your place! The city is nestled along the border of beautiful Banderas Bay, the 6th largest bay in the world, which lies about half way up Mexico’s sunny Pacific Coast. Long stretches of golden beaches border the town on one side and the lush tropical vegetation of the gentle Sierra Madre Mountains lines the other. Everything you do will have a breathtaking view as a background!
- Romance is in the air. Love is all around you. A strolling trio may surprise you with a love song serenade. Soft breezes caress and cool. Fireworks light up the sky and your love. The pace is gentle. All you have to do is relax and enjoy every honeymoon day.
- Old and new sing sweet harmony. The city center might look like an old colonial town with cobblestone streets and soaring church spires, but the facilities in it are as contemporary and cutting edge as they come. It blends yesterday’s Old World elegance and simplicity with tomorrow’s modern facilities and could be called Mexico’s St. Tropez!
- Hotels and resorts come in every size and price range. Restaurants are rated as some of the country’s best for their outstanding gastronomy as well as for their romantic ambiences.
- The city has one of the most vibrant and sophisticated fine arts scenes in the country, and many of Mexico’s most innovative jewelry, clothing and accessories designers reside here, yet informality and barefoot sophistication reign.
Puerto Vallarta invites you to take it at your own pace. You never have to get dressed up unless you want to. Men never need ties or jackets and all women have to pack are a few bathing suits, cover-ups, and some pretty resort wear for the evenings. You won’t have to include overweight baggage charges into your budget when you honeymoon here!
- The welcome is warm and genuine. Puerto Vallarta has all of the advantages of the small town that it is. Residents are proud of their culture and their city, and they reach out to help visitors appreciate it and join in the fun and excitement that are part of everyday life. Festivals and civic events take place almost every month. (Click here for event information) Participate and you’ll feel the warm, genuine hospitality that surrounds you.
- Millions of memories are waiting to be made. For such a small place, Puerto Vallarta offers an amazing array of things to see and do on every honeymoon day. Let the sun shine on your bodies as you relax on the beach or around the pool one day. Then, get out into the nearby countryside for outdoor sports and excitement the next. Golf courses, tennis courts, deep sea fishing boats, jet skis, ATV’s, and other world class sports are at your beck and call. Your Concierge can arrange for tours, sightseeing and many other activities.
- Getting around is easy. You won’t have to waste precious honeymoon days getting oriented. This town is compact and just about everything is nearby or a short ride away. Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive and a new seaside promenade has put many places that you’ll want to visit within easy walking distance.
- Nights are pure magic. What could be more romantic than watching moonbeams dance on the water? Ultra-romantic restaurants await beside the sea or on the hillside. Glittering dance clubs, cool bars, quiet lounges and rocking discos for after-dinner fun can all be found somewhere in town, and most places have sweeping ocean views. Deciding where to go every night will be one of the most delicious choices you’ll have to make.
- Value is built in. Rest assured that you’ll get more than your money’s worth when you honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta. The natural beauty that surrounds you is priceless. Because the town is small, charges for services and facilities are lower than they would be elsewhere and these savings are passed along to you so you’ll get the utmost in romance and fun for every dollar spent.
Should you decide to marry here, there are plenty of professionals who are skilled in planning world class events to help arrange your Big Day.
Walk along the Malecon at sunset and you’ll discover why Puerto Vallarta charms couples from throughout the world!
- STROLL ALONG THE NEW MALECON: The newly widened and extended seaside promenade, affectionately called the “Malecon,” has to be one of the most romantic walks in Mexico. It now extends from Rosita, the oldest hotel in town, in the North to El Dorado Restaurant in the South. The downtown portion, formally known as Paseo Diaz Ordaz is not an outdoor art gallery, complete with sidewalk mosaics, sculptures, and an open air amphitheater that stages cultural events every week. The wide walkway invites you to take a leisurely stroll hand-in-hand to appreciate the amazing art and spectacular ocean views as you get a glimpse of daily local life. In the evenings, you’ll want to sit on a bench and watch the moonlight shimmering on the water.The new Northern and Southern extensions bordering the beach are lined with tempting shops and restaurants. After dark, some sections become a carnival full of mimes and entertainment. Other pockets are quiet and invite you to do nothing but stop to enjoy the dramatic seascapes. You’ll soon discover that the Malecon offers one of the most romantic sightseeing tours available, and it’s free!
- BE A SPORT: Just about every sport under the sun from paddle boarding to polo can be found here. Share some excitement as you enjoy your favorite. Scuba diving, snorkeling, spear fishing, kayaking, surfing, sailing and deep sea fishing (Lucky fishermen catch giant marlin, sailfish, tuna and more!) are among the water sports that you can enjoy together. Tour the coastline on a jet ski, or go scuba diving at night to get a special thrill. On land, there are 9 magnificent golf courses and a host of tennis courts waiting. The pristine foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains, covered with abundant tropical vegetation, are just outside of town. Here, you can also go horseback riding, rock climbing, rappelling and zip lining. Follow a rushing river on an ATV tour, go bungee jumping over a 120 ft. cliff, see exotic birds in the jungle or fly over a tropical forest on a zip line. Lovers of active sports will never be bored!
- SHOP, SHOP, SHOP: Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s top shopping destinations, and perhaps the easiest place in the country to find a host of quality goods. Many artists, designers and interior decorators reside here, so you are more than likely to find some beautiful treasures to adorn your new home and remind you of your happy honeymoon days.
- FINE ART GALLERIES: Full of breathtaking contemporary pieces can be found all over town. Quality decorative items, cutting edge fashions and accessories, innovative jewelry and exquisite handicrafts, including the amazing yarn and bead artwork made by Huichol Indians, are just a few of the prizes to be had. Find them in typical open air souvenir markets or search in world class shops and boutiques. Or, you can buy from a beach vendor wearing 10 hats and carrying 25 purses. Any way, shopping is a popular sport here.
- FASHION FIFTH AVENUE: Bausilio Badillo is Puerto Vallarta’s "Fashion Fifth Avenue," but you’ll find hundreds of other shops tucked away all over town. There is even an interior design center on the way to the airport!
- WATCH THE WHALES AND MORE: Nature loving couples delight in Puerto Vallarta, one of the most unspoiled resort destinations in Mexico. Keep your eyes on the horizon and you might see giant Humpback whales breeching and cavorting in Banderas Bay anytime between December and April.
- BIRDWATCHERS DELIGHT: See exotic, colorful species that they see in the mountain foothills. Glorious tropical flora and fauna are on display at Puerto Vallarta’s lush Botanical Garden and local wildlife can be watched in its natural habitat at the Zoo on the edge of town. Visitors can participate in Save the Turtle programs, swim with dolphins or watch colorful tropical fish. Puerto Vallarta is eco-friendly and delighted to share its natural beauty.
- DO AWAY WITH WEDDING STRESS: If you want to rejuvenate, refresh or revive, this is your place. The number of world class, full service spas is amazing. If your hotel doesn’t have one, chances are good that there is one nearby. Or, you can take out the kinks right on the each. Itinerant masseuses will give you a full body massage or a foot and leg massage while you are stretched under your umbrella on the beach.
- JOIN THE FUN IN A LOCAL FESTIVAL: Puerto Vallarta’s proud communities stage festivals throughout the year and visitors are invited to join the fun. (Click here for a list of Festivals & Events.) They give you a chance to meet the locals and see customs and culture on display.For example, the Virgin of Guadalupe Festival in early December puts the town’s deep community spirit on display. Three days and nights of colorful processions to the church, floats, songs, and special foods are all part of the heartwarming event.
Tips and Advice
- AIRPORT CODE: PVR. The airport is only 5 miles from the center of town!
- AREA CODE: 322
- LANGUAGE: The official language is Spanish but English is widely spoken.
- CURRENCY: The Mexican peso. Don’t change money in the airport unless you must. It’s best to wait until you can get to an ATM or a bank. Some hotels also post fair exchange rates.
- CREDIT CARDS: Major credit cards are widely accepted. Banks are open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. but Currency Exchange windows usually open around 10:00 a.m.
- ELECTRICITY: 110 volts, same as USA & Canada
- WEATHER: The average annual temperature is 80 degrees F. The climate is pleasant year ‘round but ocean breezes sometimes make evenings cooler. Be sure to pack a sweater, jacket or scarf.
- DRESS: One of the nicest things about Puerto Vallarta is its informality. Dress tends to be casual - beachwear and cover-ups for daytime and pretty resort wear for evenings. Men never need jackets or ties.
HELPFUL HONEYMOON HINTS
- TELL THE WORLD: Everybody loves lovers, so don’t hesitate to mention that you’re on your honeymoon when booking restaurants, sightseeing excursions, or just about anything. You’ll be surprised at the positive responses and perks that you may be given!
- DOCUMENTATION: You’ll both need valid passports to enter Mexico. You’ll receive a free Tourist Card and Customs Declaration on the plane. Be careful to fill them out completely and sign where indicated (Firma). Part of the Immigration card will be returned when you enter the country. Do not lose this slip of paper. Keep it with your passport. You’ll be asked to present it when you leave the country.
- AT CUSTOMS: Your baggage may be put through an X-ray machine. When it comes out, present your declaration to officials. Do not rush through. Everyone has to press a button before leaving though the inspection is usually cursory.
- SMOOTH ENTRY: Don’t let eager timeshare salesmen stop you after you’ve passed Immigration! They’ll approach, asking questions, offering perks such as transportation, tours, meals etc. Refuse politely and proceed to one of the official kiosks to buy a ticket for the taxi to your hotel. Give it to the driver, and you’re on the way to a wonderful stay.
- SHOPPING SPREES: If you have a lot of small gifts to buy for the folks back home, start at the souvenir handicrafts market downtown or talk to the wandering beach vendors that sell everything from hats to toys. Bargaining is the name of the game with both options. Offer 30-40% less than the asking price, and then let the fun begin. You’ll save even more money if you bargain with a smile!If the price is more than $20 USD, it’s better to buy the item in a reputable store. It’s always better to buy silver in a shop, but if you look at a vendor’s merchandise, make sure that it’s not “alpaca,” a silver colored metal, or silver plated. Real silver carries a 9.25 stamp.
- GETTING AROUND: Rental cars are available but, unless you plan to explore far out of town, taxis are the way to go. They are plentiful and inexpensive. Don’t look at the meter. Fares are charged by Zone and are reasonable. Try to have small change (10 or 20 peso bills) as drivers often don’t. Airport taxis are under different ownership than the cabs which operate around town. If you plan to drop your luggage at the hotel and go sightseeing before going to your room, pay your airport taxi and hop a town taxi. You’ll save money. If you plan to go farther out of town, agree on a price before getting in. Consider renting by the hour (about $20-$25USD/hr.) for a day of sightseeing or shopping. Puerto Vallarta is one of the few resort destinaions which has easy-to-use public transportation. Buses run along major thoroughfares linking the northern and southern sections of town to the city center. To go from one end of the town to the other you usually have to change downtown. However, one of the most scenic sightseeing trips available is the bus ride from the city center to the Barcelo Resort. The route follows the coastline from sea level to the top of the cliffs and winds around to afford breathtaking views of the bay and the posh homes of Conchas Chinas. The fare is only about 50 US cents!
- TIPPING TIPS:
- Taxi drivers do not expect tips unless they help with your luggage of unless you’ve hired them by the day.
- Some riders leave small change. Bellboys get $1-$2 USD/bag.
- Waiters get 15-20% of the bill before tax. Make sure that a Service Charge has not been included.
- Hotel maids, airport porters, tour guides and street performers also expect small tips.
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