Vacations are the perfect time to try something different. And with a unique culture, coastal mountains and picturesque rocky shores, Puerto Vallarta is certainly different. If only in the best ways possible. In fact, once you experience it all for yourself, it might be hard for you to go back to an average getaway ever again. So if you’re ready to shake up your vacation routine, this paradise has more than a few surprises you’ll be delighted to discover.
When we say Puerto Vallarta’s El Malecón Boardwalk is an absolute must-see, we mean it. With endless views of the breathtaking ocean, and countless places to explore like art galleries, bars, shops and restaurants, there’s nowhere else in the world quite like it. The energy of the plaza is fueled by music, dancing, delicious street food and your own individuality. So don’t be shy about striking a pose beneath gorgeous landmarks like the arches of Los Arcos del Malecón or next to one of the many sand sculptures along the boardwalk. It’s all a part of what gives this place its own special flair.
Just up the street from the main plaza is the iconic Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. With bells rung 30 and 15 minutes prior to every service, not only is this one of the most important monuments in the city, we’d have to say it’s one of the most active. And if you’re lucky enough to stop by during the Our Lady of Guadalupe Festival (December 1-12 every year), you can take your experience to a whole new level. With dancers, floats, and nightly processions commemorating the Virgin Guadalupe, the entire thing is totally amazing.
And last, but certainly not least, no matter what you’re doing at the end of the day, make sure you pause for the jaw-dropping sunset over the Pacific Ocean. After all, it’s one the most iconic parts of the entire city.
Since Puerto Vallarta is so different, it should come as no surprise that the local art is too. Even if you aren’t an art enthusiast, you’ll still fall in love with Huichol art, the ancient Mexican folk art that’s special to the area. Named after the Huichol Indians native to the Sierra Mountains, it’s known for its bright colors and vibrant design. Which makes it pretty hard to miss.
Consisting of colorful beads and yarn work called nierkas, this art can be found on everything from simple earrings to elaborate sculptures. But perhaps the most interesting thing is how the Huichol artisans use different colors to address different parts of their nature-based religion. That means no matter which masterpiece speaks to you, each of these amazing keepsakes are completely unique.
Sure, Banderas Bay is one of the largest bays in Mexico. But more importantly, it’s a prime spot for whale watching. Humpback Whales emerge from beneath the waves between late December and early February. And if you’re looking for a bit of a nudge to come and visit, many people say it’s a life-changing experience. Which sounds like a pretty good reason to us.
When you’re not completely transfixed on the wonders of whale watching, you can turn your gaze to the gorgeous views of the Sierra Mountains. These mountains are set against the blue water of Banderas Bay, and there’s no better way to describe the scene than “absolutely spectacular.”
If you like to consider yourself a bit of a thrill seeker, then you have to check out the Marietas Islands. Specifically, the Playa Escondida (or Hidden Beach). This stunning beach is unlike any other you’ve seen before. Probably because it’s hidden behind the natural rock of the island. It may only be accessible by swimming through an underwater tunnel, but trust us, the extra effort is worth the trip.
You may already have a go-to getaway spot, but it’s never too late to try a change of pace. Start with Puerto Vallarta.