Having previously travelled to Mexico City and the Yucatan Peninsula, my partner and I fell madly in love with Mexico. There’s just something about it – perhaps the sunny weather, the natural beauty, the amazing food or the friendliness of the local people that we just adored. So, we were very excited to return and see a different part of Mexico.
We wanted to go somewhere that would be relaxing and romantic, with beautiful beaches and great restaurants as well as the option to go a bit further out and experience Mexican culture. Enter Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s east coast (about as far away from Cancun as you can get). It seemed to have everything we wanted, and so we booked a week-long stay in the resort town through Zurfers.
Here are just some of the things we loved doing in Puerto Vallarta:
Of course, you can’t go to Puerto Vallarta and not talk about the beaches. We booked accommodations that looked right over the ocean, and it was absolutely stunning. Even better was actually dipping my toes into the azure waters, and trying out water activities like windsurfing and snorkeling. The most popular beach is Playa Los Muertos, but we also loved some further-afield options including Playa Les Gemalas and Playa Palmares, which were a bit quieter.
One of the amazing things about Puerto Vallarta is that there are many opportunities to see marine animals in their natural environment. One of the most amazing things we did was swimming near bottle-nosed dolphins – I always wanted to swim with them, but never wanted to do so in captivity. Another highlight was watching baby turtles released into the sea, but note that this is only available between June and September.
Mexican food is one of my favorites, and Puerto Vallarta does not disappoint. Although it has many homegrown favorites, it also has ample authentic options for those (like us) who wanted to sample genuine local delicacies. We took a walking tour and tasted various local dishes that were fresh and flavorful. We even dropped by a Tequila Distillery for another quintessential Mexican experience. In fact, we loved the food in Puerto Vallarta so much we ended up taking a cooking class to try to replicate the meals in our own kitchen!
Although Puerto Vallarta is best known as a resort area, there are several intriguing archaeological sites nearby that make for great daytrips. The most well-known is a pre-Columbian site called Guachimontones, which lies near the picturesque town of Mascota. Mascota feels a world away from busy Puerto Vallarta, and is also a great place to buy locally made crafts and speak to local people about life in the area.
There were so many exciting adventure activities to choose from, it was almost impossible to narrow them down. In the end, we chose to spend our time zip-lining and tried out an ATV tour. Both were great options. You also can’t leave Puerto Vallarta without trying snorkeling at Los Arcos, which lived up to its brilliant reputation - as did the whole Puerto Vallarta region.