What Makes Puerto Vallarta the Best Beach Town?
Puerto Vallarta was once a quiet port, agriculture being its main contribution. In the mid-60’s all that changed when John Huston decided to film his steamy movie The Night of the Iguana, based on the Tennessee Williams novel. The heat wasn’t just on screen however, and Hollywood gossip columns were on fire with rumors, photos and some substantial facts about the star Richard Burton’s ongoing offset affair with Elizabeth Taylor. With the mountains of preceding publicity, the huge success of the film put Puerto Vallarta on the map; this small town began a sensational climb to notoriety. Today, suites in the remodeled love nest of Burton and Taylor can be rented, in a luxurious setting known as Casa Kimberly, surrounded by splendid dining, tequila bar, pool and the incredible Puente del Amor, the Bridge of Love.
The Bay of Banderas, where Puerto Vallarta is nestled in the same latitude as the Hawaiian Islands, is the largest natural bay in Mexico. If you’re coming from Los Angeles it’s a quick flight of three hours, and a mere four and a half hours from New York. In the bay, one can find isolated beach havens and hopping hotspots, with a bit of everything in between. This makes Puerto Vallarta a destination for celebrities and busy people of all types, looking for a quick getaway with premier vacation necessities.
From Los Muertos to Playa de Oro, the most well known beaches in town, one will find gay beach clubs, high end restaurants, family friendly attractions, and peaceful retreats. Playa Sayulita, less than an hour from Puerto Vallarta, is a surfer’s paradise. El Anclote, in Punta de Mita has endless calm water where kids and adult can safely wade. Playa Mismaloya is a prime place to jump aboard a small skiff (panga) for a well guided fishing tour or buck the waves over to the famous rock formation Los Arcos for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Weddings and other elegant celebrations are common on the beaches, as well as the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe or one of the lesser known churches, all gorgeous, warm, and hospitable. Professional wedding planners abound in Puerto Vallarta.
Puerto Vallarta has world class golf courses, numerous hiking trails, and day or overnight trips to places like the mountain village of San Sebastián del Oeste, a rural community situated among the pines of the majestic Sierra Madre range. Puerto Vallarta has two world-class well-appointed shopping malls between the airport and central area of town; one on the ocean side and the other across from the cruise ship terminal, where vessels visit daily. Puerto Vallarta is a birdwatcher’s paradise and abundant with wildlife, in the jungle and sea. Puerto Vallarta has fishing, horseback riding, kayaking, plus the must-see Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens, for nature lovers of all kinds.
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While in Puerto Vallarta, you have the chance to swim with dolphins or sea lions. If you visit between mid-December and the end of March, you can go whale watching in the Banderas Bay, possibly spotting humpback whales and wild dolphins, Pelicans and parakeets are just a few of the birds you can see at the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens.