Hiking to the Waterfalls in the small village of Yelapa or walking the Malecon boardwalk – to visit Old town for some traditional Mexican food and entertainment, in my humble opinion, Puerto Vallarta should be considered the top destination in Mexico for Mexican tradition!
Mexican Tradition and Culture runs rapidly through out Puerto Vallarta, yes there are many new retail stores and restaurant chains all over, but Puerto Vallarta has some how maintained much of the original traditions and culture through out the city.
Jalisco State, Puerto Vallarta is a city on the move, everyone works, whether it be at their own business, driving a taxi or bus, Hotel, retail and restaurant work or even working the beaches selling trinkets and tours, from the youngest to the oldest, they work! Unemployment is low in Puerto Vallarta, this is not a City where people are looking for a hand out, the government is well organized! Puerto Vallarta Government
Puerto Vallarta is a city that you can easily fall in love with, in fact many expats have made the move to Puerto Vallarta permanently.
PV as known as Puerto Vallarta became famous from the 1964 movie : The night of the Iguana starring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner. At the time of filming Richard Burton was having an affair with his soon to be wife Elizabeth Taylor who was there in Puerto Vallarta during the filming of the movie.
We had the privilege to stay at the resort that was built right on the set of this movie (Barcelo Puerto Vallarta) which is located in a beautiful cove on the beach of Mismaloya.
Like all areas in Mexico, the usual things to do are available here in Puerto Vallarta, zip-lining; snorkeling; and a host of tours, but on this particular trip I decided to do more traditional and Cultural type of adventures, requiring some careful planning.
In PV you will find many freebies or low cost things to do, a travel bloggers dream 😁 in fact, time did not permit me to explore a lot of these PV Gems or what I call simple self excursions.
Things to do in PV
1. Malecon: The Malecon Boardwalk is the heart ❤️ of Puerto Vallarta, no matter what you do, you will end up at the Malecon Boardwalk. Here you will find Mexican tradition everywhere at the Malecon, sample Mexican Food, see some Mexican entertainment, and a host of landmarks, shops and clubs and so on, and to cap the night off you will see a fireworks show at night ends. This is a must do when visiting PV. (Cost/Free) For additional information on PV, Check out my friend Travelista YouTube video featuring the Malecon.
2. City Tour: If you take the city tour you will get a lot of bang for your buck. This tour meets right near the Marina or Walmart, where you will board a tour bus. This bus will take you to see old town, visiting some silver shops, also you will see many landmarks along the way. This tour will also take you to visit the Tequila distillery (Don Tadeo) and see how Tequila is made, and finally you will go into the mountains and visit the Kawitu Tribe for a fabulous lunch, however lunch is not included but well worth the the cost, with several other picturesque opportunities. (Cost/$20.00pp) a steal. City Tour
3. Yelapa: Take a water taxi to Yelapa. This easy self guided tour could prove to be the highlight of your trip to Puerto Vallarta. First of all you want to take a bus or taxi to the dock at Los Muertos Beach, (Romantica Zone) in walking distance from the Malecon boardwalk, get your water taxi ticket, and there are many places you can buy tickets from, for about $280 pesos per person, which equals to about $14.00 US round trip. Very nice and fast water taxi boat – equiped with life jackets and you will get a chance to see lots of scenery along the way, but once you reach your destination its like you are pulling into a Cove of paradise, and the sand feels like light brown sugar. Yelapa
Hiking to Yelapa waterfalls ; Lunch on the beach, Check out Tino’s Oasis
enough said, spend the day in Yelapa!
(no tour guide needed)
4. Bucerias: Take a taxi or bus to the small fishing village of Bucerias. You will not be disappointed – this is where that Mexican Culture and Tradition runs through out the Village. Do not eat before visiting this little charming town, why not? simply put…..you should eat with the locals, our taxi driver recommended a seafood restaurant off the beach, Fat Boys Seafood, the portions of food are ridiculous, no website but they do have a Facebook page. The Locals are hospitable and inviting, this small town is located near the ocean where you will find local eateries, markets and bargain shopping. Bucerias
BuceriasAt Fat Boys Seafood in Bucerias, your waiter will make your drink right at your table.
5. Get a Day Pass at a 5 Star Resort: This is becoming pretty popular amongst resort reviewers and bloggers when on vacation. Seek out a resort for a day pass to give you some variety on what other resorts are like in PV. The all inclusive day pass is your best option, this was a free gift to me from a tour guide who was trying to sell us a vacation package with a short presentation, so I accepted with the results of spending the day for free (all inclusive) at no cost for me and my family of (4) what a STEAL. Lesson: I know you are on your vacation and you don’t have time to mess around, but (Don’t) always be so quick to turn down these sales people, sometimes it can be to your advantage! This resort was beautiful: Villa Del Palmar Flamingos Beach Resort the photos will speak for itself.
Time in Puerto Vallarta sure did escape us pretty fast as the week flew by, therefore we were not able to explore everything we wanted to explore, so….. I will list some of the things that I would like to do on my next go round to PV:
6. Food Tour: Most of these tours are walking tours from restaurant to restaurant tasting local foods and so on, also they have a taco tour, tasting several different kinds of tacos near Old town. Vallarta Food tours
7. Sayulita Beach: A relaxing Beach town with restaurants and friendly locals in place to make you feel welcome. This is a do it yourself tour, you don’t need a guide just ask your resort concierge or your resort taxi service for the best cost efficient way to get there, it may be part way taxi and part way bus, but do yourself a favor and get engaged with what your doing, do your own research and homework first, this is how you save time and money. Syaulita Beach town
8. Art Walking Tour: (Free) Get the map and go on the walking art tour, I was told by a little birdy that all of the art galleries serve free Tequila at night ?!?! Humm? Check out the link Puerto Vallarta Art Walk
The list goes on and on, there are many many more tours you can explore here in PV, If you have been to PV, or plan on going to Puerto Vallarta, please don’t hesitate letting me know of some unique tours or excursions that you have found, share your ideas in my comment box.
Where to Stay?
Where did we stay in PV? Our first resort was the Riu Jalisco. This is the third Riu Resort that I have stayed at, and it will most likely be my last Riu resort, not to take away from the Riu Santa Fe in Cabos or the Riu Guanacaste in Costa Rica both of those resorts are just fine almost 4 stars, though the food is the same in both resorts and across the board at the Riu resorts.
But why did the Riu Jalisco make it strike 3 ? As a blogger, I research resorts for stats and data etc, me being a self proclaimed resort expert knowing how to snuff out the impostors, this Riu resort was definitely an impostor trying to fly under the radar with 3 stars. This resort is surface clean, but under the sheets it’s filled with spots on your linen, literally just about every night, that’s just one example. The food was not good, but consistent with all Riu resorts across the board. Trust me I’m not a complainer nor am I picky, I’m a blogger just giving you the inside. Check out my reviews on TripAdvisor swinttravelblogRiu Jalisco
This a resort sits on beautiful grounds and all Riu buildings are grand in outer appearance. I think this resort had a lot of potential at one time, but there was no money put into this place to make it about something. The rooms are super damp and the lobby looks like something out of the 70’s, not to add the specialty restaurant steak tasted like rubber, SMH
The RIU needs to get it together , the problem is, they don’t focus on one resort in one tourist spot, they have to have several huge resorts right next to each other, robbing Peter to pay Paul, not good! The Riu’s reputation is to have a budget resort next to a upper scale resort, thus trying to please both type of guest, this is not a great idea and leave paying guest wandering whats going on next door. But none the less, I have to add that most of the employees at all Riu resorts work very hard at doing there jobs and they are to be commended.
A night to remember at the set of the night of the Iguana
BARCELO PUERTO VALLARTA
Our final night in PV we had the pleasure of staying at a 5 star resort to make up for the other resort in which I won’t name anymore. We checked into the Barcelo Puerto Vallarta. Elegance meets you as your driver drops you off in the cobblestone driveway.
What a grand entrance for a grand 5 star resort, most of the pictures I will post, speaks for themselves. The rooms are very spacious with two full bathrooms and two bedrooms. The employees are very welcoming and professional and the food at the buffet is average , however we did not go to any specialty restaurants. This resort is located in a cove of paradise off of the Mismaloya beach at the set of the 1964 movie: The night of the Iguana, a movie that supposedly put PV on the map as mentioned earlier in this story. I will highly recommend this resort for families and couples, you will not be disappointed!
Puerto Vallarta Food
Puerto Vallarta food is probably the best in all of Mexico as it stands from my perspective. Much of the food has its traditional Mexican flavor. Though I stayed at all inclusive resorts, I was able to sneak away and enjoy some local food that didn’t disappoint.
1. PiPi’s : This restaurant was highly recommended to me by a few friends, thanks @colzeworld. Located in Old Town right near the Malecon Boardwalk, this restaurant is filled with old Mexican tradition, with it’s welcome podium outside at the front door. As soon as you walk in you feel special as the manager seats you, and there is a live Mexican band playing. Coming to your table right away, a chef wheels his cart over to you just to make fresh guacamole right in your face, what a nice setting. The food at PiPi’s is some of the best Mexican food you could wish for. Highly recommended.
2. Kawitu Restaurant: Mexican style seafood is served here at the Kawitu restaurant located up in the hills at the tribe of none other than the Kawitu. Another nice setting in PV when dining. Kawitu restaurant They offer seafood platters for up to four people that can share one platter and the food is great, also make sure you get the cheesecake, but….. the only draw back for me was they have cats roaming the eating area, so I was creeped out, cats not my favorite animal, sorry.Kawitu Restaurant
3.Fat Boys: This is a restaurant that I mentioned earlier in the city of Bucerias. Another restaurant featuring Mexican style seafood. Fat boys is located right on the beach where you can listen to live Mexican music and watch your waiter as he make your drink right in front of you, a very nice feature for any restaurant. This restaurant comes highly recommended. No website but you can find them on Facebook.Fat Boys
4. Tino’s Oasis: Tino’s is located in the city of Yelapa right on the beach in a beautiful Cove at the entrance of the small fishing village. Tino’s provided us with free lounge chairs and after we hiked to Yelapa waterfalls, they served us our lunch right on the beach, this was a day to remember and one of the highlights of our trip to PV. The food at Tino’s Oasis was excellent and is highly recommended, again no website but they have a Facebook page.Tino’s Oasis
Swinttravelblog Tip: The grateful hard working people of Puerto Vallarta would like for you to pay for services and merchandise in PESOS, Why? The people of Mexico will lose money trying to exchange American or Canadian dollars back to Pesos, although they will accept American dollars charging you more than needed for services and merchandise in order to compensate for the exchange rate. One ($1) American dollar is estimated to equal $17 to $20 in Pesos depending on where you exchange your money. However, it is to your advantage to get Pesos at a decent rate in order to get cheaper services and merchandise – if that makes any since. In order to get the best exchange rate you should get your money at a U.S. airport or a Mexican bank or a trusted Mexican Bank teller machine.
My Final Thoughts –
The evidence presented in this article proves that Puerto Vallarta’s still holds it’s Traditions and Cultural thinking! This is a place that has it all! Forget about going to a private Beach in PV, it’s not gonna happen, all Beaches are open to the public. It is understandable why so many flock to PV for vacation and to live there permanently every year. I will return to PV in the very near future. The cost to visit PV is very reasonable and the people in Puerto Vallarta and surrounding areas are so warm and kind, they make you feel right at home. Puerto Vallarta is a city that is well managed and it is thriving!
Good food, warm weather, and beautiful resorts, a recipe to make anyone come visit Puerto Vallarta. There is so much more PV has to offer but I couldn’t mention it all in this short article. I truly believe Puerto Vallarta is the best Mexican City in all of Mexico displaying Mexican Traditions and Culture to the utmost in comparison to Cancun and Cabo’s or maybe I have some more exploring to do?? whatever the verdict is, PV is definitely a proven top vacation destination!
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Meet The Author
Welcome to Swint Travel Blog! My name is Mark A Swint and I enjoy Traveling or you can say that I have the travel bug. The purpose of this website is to share travel ideas and travel tips that will invite inexperienced travelers as well as those who are well traveled get away and try something new. My family and I have traveled to many places around the United States as well as the Caribbean, Central America, and Europe. My goal is to get viewers and bloggers excited about going to see places you have never been. (Switching Careers) Living in beautiful Michigan all my life, I currently work in the Auto Industry, however it is my goal to switch to the hospitality/travel industry in the near future. There are so many places on my bucket list for travel, please feel free to share your travel experience with me so that we can have an exchange of ideas.
Thank you for visiting my website and I hope that the pictures and the travel tips get you motivated to try some place new!