Vallarta is many things to many people. Here are a few of the reasons, in no particular order, that keep visitors returning year after year, and make first-time vacationers fall in love with the destination on the spot. But first, when we use "Vallarta", we are including both Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit, as well as the many communities within these regions. Vallarta is more than just Puerto Vallarta!
A Privileged Location
Vallarta is located in Mexico's Pacific Riviera, in the heart of Banderas Bay, one of the largest bay's in the world. It's protected waters and secluded beaches have sheltered humpback whales and sea turtles for centuries, as they perform their annual procreation ritual.
Great Weather Most of the Year
The dry, warm weather of the Winter and Spring months is ideal for many visitors from the US and Canada looking to escape the harsh winters of north. As the Summer months near, the weather turns increasingly warmer, more humid and rainy, discouraging some. At the same time, more and more savvy travelers are realizing that they can get an excellent value by vacationing in Puerto Vallarta during the "crossover" months (May-June and October). Many delight in the Summer season (increasingly referred to as the Summer Value Season), as it provides a unique opportunity to enjoy a lush, tropical environment, along with its diverse flora and fauna.
Se Habla Inglés
English-speaking visitors can travel comfortably to many locations in Vallarta, confident that they will encounter a friendly, English-speaking destination, not to mention a large community of expats and snowbirds that choose to make Vallarta their home for six months a year. Many others are full-time retirees. And while there are not as many mexicanos that speak French, there is also a sizable French Canadian community residing in Vallarta.
Considered a top dining destination, second only to Mexico City, Vallarta offers a vast variety of dining experiences, featuring top chefs from all over the world, offering top-notch Mexican and international cuisine for just about every taste and budget. Vallarta proudly showcases its gastronomy through several food and wine-related events throughout the year, including two very important ones: the annual Festival Gourmet Internacional in November, and Restaurant Week
Excellent Travel Connectivity
Puerto Vallarta's International Airport welcomes many non-stop flights from hubs in western United States and Canada, along with a large number of one-stop flights from eastern locations. A number of charter flights originating in these and a few European and Asian countries also contribute to Vallarta's popularity among travelers. Several cruise ship companies serving the Pacific coast from Alaska to Panama and beyond, make weekly stops in Puerto Vallarta. A network of toll highways, along with first-class bus companies also make it easy to travel from Vallarta to important Mexican cities such as Guadalajara. (And, as evidenced by the number of foreign license plates circulating about town, you'd be surprised at how many snowbirds drive all the way from the US and even Canada to spend the winter months here!)
With ten professional courses in the destination, two of them designed by Jack Nicklaus, Vallarta is a mecca for golfers who travel to Vallarta regularly to practice the sport recreationally, participate in many pro golf tournaments scheduled throughout the year, and to purchase homes in residential developments built around some of the courses. The variety and breadth is astounding and your game is bound to improve.
Three world-class marinas—Marina Vallarta, Paradise Village Marina and Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle provide safe anchorage for cruisers traveling through the Pacific coast. And with fine weather and strong winds throughout most of the year, the marinas are backdrops to a host of nautical events, from international regattas to kitesurfing and paddle boarding tournaments. Many of these events take place during the month of March as part of Riviera Nayarit's Nautical Extravaganza.
From small towns to urban neighborhoods, there are many diverse communities distributed throughout Vallarta, in the two states that share the destination: Jalisco and Riviera Nayarit. Each community has its own unique personality, amenities and attractions, making exploring Banderas Bay and beyond in its entirety is a real treat. From surfing-heaven Sayulita, a beach town in Riviera Nayarit, to Emiliano Zapata, one of Puerto Vallarta's most cosmopolitan colonias, there is no shortage of places to see and things to do. And speaking of diversity, Puerto Vallarta is considered the most important gay and lesbian beach destination in Mexico, attracting thousands of GLBT visitors, annually.
Mother Nature, Up Close & Personal
There are humpback whales making their annual migration to Banderas Bay in the Winter months. There are sea turtle hatchlings appearing on the beaches throughout the Bay in the late Summer and Fall. There are up close encounters in the wild with dolphins, giant manta rays, guacamayas and iguanas, not to mention hundreds of fascinating bird and plant species worthy of exploration. All year around.
More Than Just a Beach Destination
While Vallarta is a party-on-the-beach vacation destination to many, it is much more than that, particularly if you are looking for cultural activities. Beyond the previously described gastronomy, Vallarta is home to many visual artists, writers, musicians and artisans who, along with art galleries, art collectives, cultural festivals, special interest groups and specialized stores, provide ample opportunity to shop for, collect, create, and share art and culture. Looking to learn how to dance the tango, make a mean salsa or surf like a pro? Relax. You came to the right place!
Paddle boarding, surfing, golfing, sailing, yachting, hiking, running, cycling, kitesurfing, paragliding, water and jet skiing, sports fishing, snorkeling, horseback riding, canopy riding, whale watching, volley balling, kayaking, scuba diving, rock climbing, rappelling, shopping, learning, dining. They are all available here, waiting for you to put your mind, your body and your soul to good use. Yoga, too!
Great Health Resources
Vallarta features a tightly-knit health resources network that includes many top-notch physicians with national and international credentials, along with several hospitals with state-of-the-art facilities to handle just about any type of medical emergency, along with ongoing patient care. In addition, Vallarta is an important medical tourism hub in Mexico, with many foreigners routinely seeking dental and cosmetic surgery treatments here.
Real Mexico, Right Here
While Vallarta has blossomed into a sophisticated tourism destination with world-class features and services, it still retains the charm of real Mexico in many of its neighborhoods and surrounding towns, many of which can be enjoyed on single-day or overnight trips (Mascota or San Sebastián del Oeste in the Sierra Madre mountains, for example). In addition, many communities celebrate traditional patron saint fiestas throughout the year, not to mention the annual Virgin of Guadalupe feasts in Puerto Vallarta, during the beginning of December.
Something for Everyone
An idyllic honeymoon destination? Check. Memorable times for families with children? Check. Great locations for your next motion picture? Check. A good place to retire? Check. A discreet weekend away from the paparazzi? You should see the A-list! Love at first sight? Why not. Avoiding responsibilities? Well, let's just say you won't be the first or last to do so in Vallarta!