Spending a week in Puerto Vallarta will give you enough time to explore and discover this stunning Mexican city. The weekend itinerary below will allow you to appreciate the historical and cultural significance of this beautiful city. Each of these takes a day or more. Together, they touch on some of the city’s quintessential experiences, from golfing to getting outdoors for some adventure, from shopping to relaxing at the best spas and beaches. If you decide to stay longer, simply add a few days in your Puerto Vallarta itinerary.
Rent a car and head north to experience a different resort scene. After breakfast, grab sunscreen, beach togs, and other beach essentials. If you have a sweet tooth, you might want to make a pit stop at Pie in the Sky, which offers excellent chocolate, pie, and many other sugar fixes. Head to the beach at Rincón de Guayabitos, on the beautiful Jaltemba Bay. Walk the long beach, enjoy the mild surf, or ride a glass-bottom boat to the attractive El Islote, where you will find snorkeling opportunities and a small restaurant.
On your way back south, you might want to stop in the charming town of San Pancho (also known as San Francisco) for dinner. You cannot go wrong at the classy Cafe del Mar or La Ola Rica or Gallo’s Pizzeria.
If you want to experience excellent dining and shopping experience, head south to the Zona Romántica. Have an island breakfast at the River Cafe overlooking the stream and a heavenly lunch at Le Bistro, where the monumental architecture and neo-Continental and romantic decor add to the pleasure. Go to Isla del Río Cuale for T-shirts and trinkets.
Watch the fishermen on the small pier at Los Muertos Beach and lie in the sun or sit in the shade with a really good book. You can also walk south to the Conchas Chinas Beach‘s rocky coves. When the water is calm, the beach becomes very good for snorkeling. If you want to shop for souvenirs, go to Calle Basilio Badillo and the surrounding streets for housewares,folk art, antiques, accessories, and clothing. Head back to Los Muertos to have dinner, booze, and enjoy great live music.
Head for the hills
Have an unforgettable experience by taking a horse-riding tour into Puerto Vallarta‘s lush tropical forest. Rancho Ojo de Agua and Rancho Charro offer full-day excursions. The latter also offers multiday excursions, including trips to the former silver-mining towns of San Sebastián and Mascota. If you prefer motorized horsepower, there is Wild Vallarta that operates full-day ATV trips to San Sebastián.
A day of golf and spa
The city one of the most popular golfing destinations in Mexico. At the southern part of the Costalegre, Grand Bay Isla Navidad and Tamarindo not only have world-class courses, but also very good spas. Above Puerto Vallarta, the Four Seasons offers good golfing as well as an excellent spa. In between are less-exclusive yet still nice courses. The closest spas to the Vista Vallarta and Marina Vallarta greens are those at the CasaMagna Marriott and the Westin Regina.
With a little leg and footwork, you can explore culture in Puerto Vallarta. Learn about the city’s first inhabitants at the small but rich Museo Arqueológico. From here, go downtown along the Malecón. Check out all the action at Los Arcos amphitheater and in the main plaza about four blocks north. You might want to visit the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe and pay respect to the city’s (and Mexico’s) patron saint. Walking farther north along the Malecón is like strolling through a sculpture garden. Check out the statue of a seated coupl, La Nostalgia, by Ramiz Barquet, a noted artist in Puerto Vallarta.