Discover the Magic of Puerto Vallarta

A wide, paved walkway follows the shoreline with beach and whitewashed hotels visible in the distance.

Photo © Victor D. Jimenez, licensed Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivatives.

Puerto Vallarta and its surrounding areas have long had die-hard fans. From the wild, undeveloped southern coast to the colorful beach towns of the northern shores, it’s plain to see why visitors return year after year. Gold beaches embrace the calm waters of the Bay of Banderas, one of the largest, deepest bays in the world. This aquatic haven is home to myriad species, a source of both abundant seafood and diverse recreational activities. It shelters Puerto Vallarta from storms and provides a protected habitat for endangered sea turtles and whales that give birth on its shores and in its warm waters each year.

Fertile farmlands, tropical fruit orchards, and blue agave fields surround the area, giving rise to craggy, volcanic mountains.Nestled into a verdant valley, Puerto Vallarta is rich with resources. Fertile farmlands, tropical fruit orchards, and blue agave fields surround the area, giving rise to craggy, volcanic mountains. In petite coves and along sweeping seashores, small settlements provide a glimpse into what Puerto Vallarta used to be.

While Old Town, or Zona Romántica, as it is called, retains its rustic charm, Vallarta has grown into a modern city complete with posh discos, upscale designer boutiques, modern cinemas, and even a few small casinos. This transition has brought new prosperity and opportunity to the residents.

The heart of Puerto Vallarta remains in Old Town and the lively Malecón that runs along the shoreline. Along the Malecón you’ll find endless entertainment, from sand sculptures and living statues to clowns and musicians. It comes alive at night as people congregate to watch the sunset and later enjoy the live entertainment, delicious street food, and ever-entertaining people-watching that are always available.

There’s something for everyone in the greater Puerto Vallarta region: from the spunky beach town of Barra de Navidad to the tranquil and timeless San Blas; slumbering fishing hamlets to the exclusive communities of the rich and famous; surf towns to wild beaches so removed that you can only reach them by sea. The diversity of the area attracts more people each year, many who return again and again. Join them. You’ll discover your own special place in this magical region by the sea.

Excerpted from the Ninth Edition of Moon Puerto Vallarta.

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