Listening to the gentle lapping of the waves against the shore is just one of the many pleasures of Puerto Vallarta. Surrounded by a variety of beautiful beaches, The Bay of Banderas can either lull you into a state of relaxation or provide an aquatic stage for watersport fun. For a different but still intense beauty, try visiting the Marietas Islands just offshore (these island were made famous by oceanographer Jacques Cousteau). Explore the varied wildlife beneath the ocean or just take in the stunning views onshore.
In addition to gorgeous seascapes, the Sierra Madres, enclosed in dense, tropical rainforest, drop dramatically to the Bay of Banderas and provide a rich, topographical backdrop to this remarkable place.
Within the rainforest near Puerto Vallarata is Jardin Botanico Vallarta, or the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens. These extraordinary gardens feature an impressive array of naturally growing orchids attaching themselves to tree bark or in other soilless environments. There are dramatic hiking trails amongst the thick of the rainforest; sturdy walking shoes and insect repellent are recommended. Carved out from this lush abundance are sculpted gardens and a lovely place to get a drink; there is also an eclectic gift shop which offers such unique items as hand-painted eggs with botanical scenes.
If you want to pick up the pace, the Puerto Vallarta area offers zip line adventures through the rainforest or “canopy tours.” For more exploration, consider an ATV excursion.
Adventure of a different sort can be found in Puerto Vallarta’s robust nightlife. For a more contemplative side of the city, visit Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, the decorative church in the heart of Puerto Vallarta.
Another delight are the restaurants in the hills overlooking the city and the Bay of Banderas offering stunning views—day or night. Open-air restaurants are particularly charming, and nearly all feature tropically infused desserts difficult to resist.
Also difficult to resist are the many colorful shops throughout Puerto Vallarta. Happy Latin colors vibrantly pulsate throughout the shops, boutiques, and galleries offering everything from dishware to fine art. Some of Mexico’s most famous artists are featured here.
In addition to fine art, Puerto Vallarta has refined, world-class accommodations. Some of the finest are luxury exchange homes with International Vacation Home Exchange. Each exclusive home exchange, uniquely decorated and furnished with a decidedly Latin flair, has modern amenities. Learn more about these remarkable homes and see how it works.
Thank you to travel writer Sona Schmidt-Harris @Sonag2000