Popular Communities in Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit
Whereas Puerto Vallarta was known a few years back as the destination, it has expanded, such that it would be impossible to describe it as a whole. In fact, the development of this important vacation destination in Mexico’s Pacific Riviera has been such that the region now feature many unique communities within it. Some of them, Sayulita or Bucerias, for example, are small towns. Others, such as Flamingos or Emiliano Zapata, are actual neighborhoods or colonias within Puerto Vallarta. For convenience’s sake, we refer to them here as communities, and invite you to explore their unique character and amenities by selecting from the list on the right-hand column.
Amapas - Conchas Chinas
: Sitting side by side on the hills surrounding Vallarta's southern boundary, Amapas and Conchas Chinas are upscale residential neighborhoods with both upper and lower sections, as divided by the Carr. 200 Sur highway. Here, traditional Vallarta-style villas and modern condominiums sit next to each other, sharing a spectacular view of the Bay or within walking distance to the beach.
: While it may be easy to take laid-back Bucerias in Riviera Nayarit for granted, the number of similarities between this small oceanfront town and Puerto Vallarta—when it was a smaller city, that is—are definitely worth keeping in mind: great restaurants, a thriving live music scene, an art walk, residential and commercial areas, are just a few of them.
: Without a doubt, the heart and soul of Puerto Vallarta can be found in its downtown area, El Centro. In fact, no visit to Puerto Vallarta would be complete without thoroughly exploring the broad diversity of cultural, gastronomic, historic and entertainment options available here. This is where the action is, a sensory and cultural feast never to be forgotten.
: It is frequently known as Olas Altas, Romantic Zone, Basilio Badillo, South Side or Old Town. These are, in fact, names of well-known streets and areas in one of Puerto Vallarta's most happening colonias, or neighborhoods: Emiliano Zapata. And even though the name of a leading figure in Mexico's 1910 revolution doesn't have as much allure as some of these other unofficial monickers it is its official name.
: As one of the fastest growing, most successful real estate investment regions in Riviera Nayarit, the mega development of Flamingos is known best for the full spectrum of real estate homes and condominiums it has to offer, including golf courses and marinas. Flamingos homes and condominiums are situated along the longest beach in the bay and the fairways of the golf courses.
: The largest concentration of hotels in Vallarta can be found in the aptly-named Hotel Zone, a stretch along the city’s main thruway that extends from the Puerto Vallarta Maritime Terminal at its north-most point and the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort at the opposite end. Medina Ascencio runs parallel to the beach, making the vast majority of hotels in the Hotel Zone ideal for family vacations.
: The first destination of sizable proportions beyond San Pancho, in Riviera Nayarit, Jaltemba Bay has long been a favorite vacation spot among Mexican families due to its calm waters, fine sandy beaches and gentle surf. Within it, two contiguous towns, Rincón de Guayabitos and La Peñita de Jaltemba, plus the tiny Los Ayala at the lower tip of the bay, offer visitors a variety of experiences.
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
: It may be a hard name to pronounce, but it’s a joy to visit! La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (or simply "La Cruz"), a mere half hour north of the bustle of Puerto Vallarta, offers a restful alternative to the glitz of Vallarta and a glimpse of a typical fishing village, with its fair share of good restaurants, fun shopping and a vibrant music scene.
: was developed in the late 1980s and at the time was one of the first mega developments in Mexico. It became a model for similar communities to be developed in other places such as Los Cabos, Mazatlan, Ixtapa and Cancun. A "mega development" can be defined as a self-contained tourist community where nearly everything that a resident is available.
: Best known as the setting for the movie that put Puerto Vallarta on the tourist map, director John Huston's "The Night of the Iguana," Mismaloya is a typical fishing village located in a beautiful small bay framed by tropical rainforest-blanketed mountains. It's name, derived from the Náhuatl michmaloyan, means "place where they grab fish with their hands."
: Located just a few minutes north of Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta was originally conceived by the Mexican government as a planned residential-resort with luxury villas that surround the area's estuary canals that evoke Florida. Many deluxe hotels and resorts line up its three-mile long sandy beach, and several shopping centers complement the Nuevo Vallarta experience.
Punta de Mita
: This dramatically pretty peninsula with absolutely exquisite beaches and sweeping views of both the bay and open water has always been a popular weekend escape from Puerto Vallarta. But since the Four Seasons and St. Regis resorts opened a few years ago in the adjacent master-planned resort Punta Mita, it is also attracting the attention of jet setters and those seeking the good life.
: The coastal town of San Francisco (or San Pancho, as it's more commonly used moniker), in Riviera Nayarit, invites rest and relaxation like few others in the region. And yet, with its restaurants, artists and writers collectives and environmental organizations, it encourages short or long-term visitors to get as involved with the community as they choose.
: A funky fishing village that feels a lot like Puerto Vallarta did a few decades ago, Sayulita is still small town Mexico, its appealing town square the heart and soul of the place. A surfing mecca of international renown, the shoreline of this picturesque fishing village is dotted with coves and beaches where surfers do their thing alongside day trippers from Puerto Vallarta.
: Beyond Conchas Chinas, several towns south of Puerto Vallarta are loosely grouped here as the South Shore for practical purposes. Some of them, such as Las Ánimas or Quimixto, are only accessible by boat. Others, such as El Tuito, are located within a different municipality (Cabo Corrientes) but close enough to Puerto Vallarta, geographically and interest-wise, to be considered here.
: Yelapa's unrivaled popularity in Puerto Vallarta's South Shore makes this hip and mellow fishing town more than deserving of its own entry among our Community section. Nestled into the southernmost cove of Banderas Bay, this village with a South Seas feel is a nature lover's delight and a refuge from the complications of city living.