Our partner in adventure, culture, and smart luxury travel, writer Dr. Cacinda Maloney from PointsandTravel.com shares her recent experience in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico — and why it’s a destination that’s well worth your time.
Traveling is a way of life for my family and me. We have been traveling every six weeks for over 25 years, and now I travel even more than that as a Travel Ambassador for Travelocity. When I start to philosophize about it, I discovered there is really only one thing that we don’t have enough of … and that is TIME. Time is the only scarce commodity that we have. So when I come to that realization, I think about how important it is to travel, to travel alone, as a couple, and as a family. What better way to spend our time on earth than to educate ourselves and broaden our minds?
I have been to Mexico at least 50 times, and one place that I always long to return to is Puerto Vallarta. With the Malecon’s ocean boardwalk, as well as its growing food scene, Puerto Vallarta is a playground for tourists and foodies alike. This includes hole-in-the-wall taco stands, as well as up-and-coming restaurants. You can walk along the Pacific Coast’s boardwalk, admiring the wonderful metal sculptures and the amazing views of the Sierra Madre Mountains. There is a charming mix of cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and a grand centerpiece of a church.
With so many places to visit in this world and only a limited time to explore them, we need to wander wisely. So, with that in mind, I have chosen:
Five Fun Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico:
Puerto Vallarta became a popular tourist destination after the extensive media coverage following the romance between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor during the filming of “Night of the Iguana.” The film was based on a Tennessee Williams’ Broadway play about a defrocked minister turned tour guide in Mexico. The 1964 film starred Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, and Deborah Kerr and was directed by Hollywood Filmmaker John Huston. There is a statue dedicated to Mr. Huston here because of his role in making the city a romantic destination, putting Puerto Vallarta on the celebrity map.
Now a boutique hotel, Casa Kimberly was once a gift from Burton to Taylor as a home he had built for her 32nd birthday. The house has a “bridge of love” (Puente del Amore) that connected Ms. Taylor’s house to his casita across the street. This made it great for avoiding the paparazzi and for escaping the tumultuous affair they would have, as they married and divorced each other twice in their lifetimes! Both were married to other people during this affair. Today, Casa Kimberly is a luxurious nine-suite boutique hotel with an open-air rooftop restaurant, tequila bar, pool and spa.
Las Caletas is the hidden gem where Hollywood director John Huston built his party house. Today it has been converted into a private nature preserve/outdoor adventure park. There are so many different things to do here. Everything from a massage in an outdoor tropical setting to paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, and even flyboarding. You can stroll through orchid gardens, visit a parrot center to feed flamingos, float on hammocks in the ocean, and eat until your heart’s content.
As mentioned before, the Malecon is an ocean boardwalk that runs along the Pacific Coast. It has been a tourist destination since the 1940s, but that $2.4 million renovation in 2013 brought it to a whole new level. Now you can walk along and admire the wonderful statues, while people watching and photographing the street performers and vendors. A walk along the Malecon a must while in Puerto Vallarta.
The Church of Guadalupe
While you are in the old town, Viejo Vallarta, make sure to visit the crown jewel of Puerto Vallarta, La Iglesia de Guadalupe, the Church of Guadalupe. With its beautiful domed tower — replaced after an earthquake in 1995, it has been restored and is an iconic landmark of the city. The original crown was damaged in a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Mexico City.
Puerto Vallarta is a great tourist hotspot to escape the winters of the North. You will find a variety of activities, delicious restaurants, and some fabulous accommodations here. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, whale watching, scuba diving, sailing, fishing, golfing, jet skiing and much more are also available. I would even go on a foodie tour if you get a chance. For me, Puerto Vallarta is one of my favorite places to go in Mexico and that in itself says a lot, since I have been to Mexico at least 50 times!
Places to Stay in the Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Area:
Looking for the perfect home away from home? There are three flavors of hotels in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Here are some great options, each with a mouthwatering taste of their own:
The Flavorful Hotel Mousai: Trendy, Chic and Luxurious
The Savory Villa La Estancia: Old World, Multi-Generational and Authentic
The Appetizing Riu Palace Pacifico: All-Inclusive, Spanish-Flair and Sport Activities
How will you spend your time in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico? However you choose to escape, I promise it will be worth every minute.
Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.
I would LOVE to go there someday. I have never been to Mexico and I would like to change that.
You need to change that! lol Mexico is a traveler’s paradise!
We’ve been to Puerto Vallarta and it was beautiful! We went there on our wedding cruise and swam with the dolphins and then went shopping. It’s a beautiful place to visit!
Puerto Vallarta sounds like an awesome place to visit. I’ve never been to Mexico, but I want to take a trip down there in the worst way.
The church of Guadalupe looks absolutely stunning. I went to Mexico two years ago and absolutely loved my experience!
What a gorgeous sounding place to visit, Las Caletas in particular sounds like some place I would love to visit.
Puerto Vallarta is so beautiful. I would love to visit someday. Casa Kimberly would be an interesting place to be. I would love to see that Bridge of Love. 🙂
This looks like a stunning place to visit. I would love to go with my husband.
This looks like a great place to go on vacation. I will keep this in mind when we are planning our next trip.
I have never been out of the United States. I think Mexico would be such a beautiful place to visit, especially Puerto Vallarta!
I’ve been to Puerto Vallarta once, and can understand why you want to go back. I’m dying for another chance to visit.
This has been on my list, and your beautiful pictures make me want to go now! School is still not over in the north east, and I need to know I have a place to getaway to, Puerto Vallarta looks like the place!
Oh my! Mexico has so many beautiful destinations it’s tough to pick just one and stay there! I think this is another place to be added on my list. Just look at how beautiful that resort is!
I love visiting Mexico. I want to visit Puerto Vallarta someday, but I haven’t made it there yet!
I’ve never been to Puerta Vallarta and have always wanted to go. That stand alone platform in Las Caletas sure does look intriguing.
I love to people watch, so the boardwalk would probably be my first stop. Though, I would love to explore everything Puerto Vallarta has to offer!
What an amazing place! Mexico has been on our bucket list! Such a great place to visit this summer!
Gorgeous! I have heard nothing but good things but have yet to visit Mexico! These resorts are beautiful so I’ll need to add it to my travel list for sure!!!
I have been hearing good things about Puerto Vallarta. I am bookmarking your post for future reference.
I think this would be a very awesome place to visit….I would like to visit here when the NE USA is in the Winter Season 🙂 !
I would LOVE to visit Mexico someday. I’ve heard amazing things about Puerto Vallarta so its one place I can’t wait to see!
I’d love to go back to Mexico someday. I miss living in the south where we could just hop on down there for next to nothing.
That looks like one place I would go to in Mexico. It looks amazing!
Time is definitely in short supply. I definitely wish it didn’t matter.
Time is definitely in short supply. I definitely wish it didn’t matter.
What a gorgeous spot to visit. I’ve never been but would love to go one day!