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.