In Puerto Vallarta, the Beach Is Only the Beginning

What to do

Puerto Vallarta is largely an outdoor town: There are museums, many art galleries and lovely churches — especially the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Calle Hidalgo off the old town square — but most of the time you’ll want to be outside.

Walk the City

The best way to see most of Puerto Vallarta is on foot: Amble the boardwalk, the food markets, the riverwalk along the Cuale, or follow the streets of the old town up into the hills to “Gringo Gulch,” where you can still the air bridge connecting the houses where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton once lived. (Maps are available for free nearly everywhere, or you can check these online maps to the city and its highlights.) June through October it rains nearly every day, so pack an umbrella — or duck into the nearest taqueria.

Vallarta Food Tours
1193-A Avenida Mexico
888.457.2210

The “Original Downtown Tour” by Ricardo “Lobo” Lopez offers the real deal: Street carts selling steak tacos, rustic sidewalk stands selling fresh coconut and chiles on little more than a folding table, posole in a backyard garden, a tortilleria by one of the seven rivers that empty into the city’s shore from the green, green jungles up on the Sierra Madres. Other tours offer adventures outside the city or of taco trucks.

Vallarta Adventures
13-C Mástil Local
52.322.297.1212

Many come to Puerto Vallarta just for the outdoor activities, and this respected company offers at least two dozen tours to help, like trips to lovely traditional Mexican mountain towns, or whale watching, off-roading, surfing, and a trek to the area’s famous zip lines that cut through the rain forest canopy. If you prefer to sip instead of sweat, there’s also a tour of tequilerias. Most have dedicated guides who give an overview of area culture and history en route.

Basics • Where to eat and drink • Where to stay

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