For the most intimate view of Puerto Vallarta , stay in a comfortable hotel within close walking distance of the colorful old-town sights, cafés, restaurants, and shops. If you opt to stay in the north-end Hotel Zone or the Marina, you can easily hail a taxi ($5–8) or hop a local bus to go where the action is. If it’s your thing, be sure to reserve seats ahead for a Fiesta Mexicana show.
Devote your second day to beach exploring. Start at the seafront park just north of the Río Cuale and stroll south along the seashore walkway along Playa los Muertos .
Next, head south by bus (from the corner of Constitución and Basilio Badillo) to Mismaloya  or Chino’s Paradise  swimming hole waterfall. Enjoy an early dinner and sunset at the John Huston Café (near the Night of the Iguana movie set) or at Le Kliff Restaurant overlooking the ocean, just south of Mismaloya.
Take a relaxing day cruise  for snorkeling at Los Arcos  and a waterfall swim at either Quimixto or Yelapa  on the Bay of Banderas’s jungly southern shore. After dinner, do a little nightclub-hopping along the Malecón .
After all of the previous activity, it may be best simply to rest for a day. Or if you prefer, head for an out-of-town adventure at Punta Mita  or Sayulita  village (an hour by bus north of town). There you can stroll, boogie board, and maybe try your hand at surfing.
Reserve your last organized day for doing things that particularly interest you. Shoppers may want to stay in town for south-of-Cuale  shop-hopping. Lovers of the great outdoors might venture out of town for the unmissable wildlife-viewing La Tovara Jungle River trip  near San Blas . To make the round-trip in one day, rent yourself a car or hire a guide.