Hot Spot: El Pitillal Plaza
: Thanks to modern conveniences, most of us today can tootle along major supermarket aisles and shopping centers finding just about every item we could possibly require on a day-to-day basis. This was not always the case, however, as exemplified today by the small-town charm of Pitillal Plaza.
: For decades, surfers of all ages have flocked to Mexico’s Pacific coast, long considered to be a destination of choice, in order to benefit from its more than 1,500 miles of beaches, points and reefs. Well-known surf spots from the northern state of Sinaloa all the way down to Oaxaca are awaiting exploration year round.
La Piñata: The soul of a Mexican fiesta
: Piñatas are the very soul of children’s parties in Mexico. All youngsters wait impatiently for the moment they can try to break this model made of papier mache and metal, its belly a clay pot filled with candies. This folk art attracts not only children; adults also fall under its colorful spell when it appears at a Christmas party or even sometimes at a wedding.
The Huichol Universe
: They are easily spotted at diverse shops around town, painstakingly attaching multi-colored beads to hand-carved wooden sculptures depicting a variety of fantastic creatures.
Hot Spot: Olas Altas
: Bustling with activity day and night, this trendy street has such a formidable draw that many tourists and locals actually refer to the entire neighborhood by its name. Saunter about and you will be delighted to have scheduled ample time to discover its many restaurants, gift stores, outdoor cafés and nightclubs.
Ultimate Tour: Tequila Tour
: Tequila is more than just a liquor – it’s a destination! And now you can discover the soul of Mexico and its national drink with a trip to this classic town, designated a “Pueblo Mágico,” or “Magical Town,” nationally.
Head to the Mountains!
: If you are new to Banderas Bay or on a short-term vacation, chances are that you will want to remain fairly close to your home or hotel, as you will find a plethora of things to do in Puerto Vallarta and its immediate surroundings.
Hot Spot: Pulpito Street
: A funky South Side block with a bohemian feel stretching, for the sake of argument, from landmark beachfront restaurants El Dorado and La Palapa to happening Olas Altas and Picnic restaurant 21 stairs above it, this place to see and be seen offers a bit of everything.
J24 Worlds – World-class Sailing on World-class Banderas Bay
: What makes a great sailboat race? Cruising World says Banderas Bay’s “ideal weather and breathtaking landscape” make it the perfect place for a regatta. Add in a highly skilled, competitive group of international sailors and a fleet of the world’s most popular one-design keelboats, and you have a winning formula.
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
: It may be a hard name to pronounce, but it’s a joy to visit! La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (“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, along with good restaurants, fun shopping and a vibrant music scene.
Flyers by the Sea
: When the day gives way to twilight a drum begins to beat, a flute sings along with the waves, and then a dance begins, four men flying in circles celebrating Mother Earth and the power of the sun.
: Symbols of freedom, grace and serenity, dolphins have a universal appeal. Admired for centuries, these sea mammals were once seen as saviors of the seas, reputed to rescue drowning sailors. Today we celebrate their intelligence and extraordinary qualities, and those fortunate enough to swim or play with these intriguing creatures find it a fascinating experience.
: Condemned in many areas of the world, including Spain where it was born as we know it today, bullfighting is an activity that has withstood the test of time. Ensconced in centuries of tradition, Spanish-style bullfighting, or corrida, continues to awe long-time followers here in Mexico and pique the curiosity of newcomers.
Hot Spot: The Marina Vallarta Malecon
: Peaceful and pretty and a world apart from the hurly-burly of town, yet just 15 minutes away, this is the perfect place for those who dare to dream.
: Undoubtedly, one of the major attractions of the season are the whales that migrate to our shores from their feeding grounds along the northern coast of California, creating one of the most spectacular shows nature offers. Follow these tips to select an environmentally-responsible tour provider.
Discover Banderas Bay’s South Shore
: You could spend weeks, if not months, discovering all the wonders that Vallarta has to offer; however, with more than 40 miles of coastline, it is quite tempting to see what lies beyond the city. From snorkeling and kayaking to peaceful sunbathing in secluded beaches, Vallarta’s South Shore features a number of destinations reachable by boat, suitable for day trips or overnight stays.
Best Yelapa Connection: Brad Wollman
: After 15 years of visiting and ultimately living full-time in Yelapa, Brad Wollman decided to share his considerable expertise with would-be visitors to this pristine village 15 miles southwest of Vallarta.
Best outdoor activity: Canopy Tours
: Exhilarating and educational, this eco-activity has taken off in a big way in the four years since two progressive local companies established tours enticing young and old up into PV’s lush tropical rain forest.
Best Beach: That Depends on What You Have in Mind
: With some 26 beaches on Banderas Bay’s 34 miles of coastline, there really is no such thing as “the best beach” here. Besides, whatever floats your boat, right? We can, however, give you a heads-up about the best ones for enjoying various pursuits.
Botanical Gardens: A Natural New Getaway
: Celebrating this area’s rich bounty of tropical flora and offering a pleasant respite from the bustling crowd is a new family-run botanical gardens a half-hour drive away.