The bridge over the Rio Ameca, forms the boundary between the State of Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is, and the State of Nayarit, where you’ll find Nuevo Vallarta and other Beach Towns inside and outside the bay.
The Vallarta Marina starts at the Marine Terminal, where the cruise ships dock, adjacent to Sam’s Club, Walmart and theGalerías Mall.
On the northern part of this basin is the Marina where you’ll find private yachts and condos, between the two is Los Peines, where most fishing charter boats berth. On the ocean side of this area are more hotels. Just to the north isthe Marina Golf Course andthe airport, inland from the airport isthe central bus station.
The Map below is interactive, the towns inBlue, will bring up more information.
Downtown, the Real “Old Town” –Go To Map
The oldest part of Puerto Vallarta, is from Parque Hidalgo to the Rio Cuale, when once upon a time there were just planks on rocks to cross over the river. About 1933 a cable bridge was constructed. It wasn’t until the fifties that a stone bridge was built at Miramar (1954), which got to be called the Old Bridge, when the ‘New’ one was built years later down river at Morelos.
Here you’ll find thePresidencia(Town Hall) and the main church,Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe(Our Lady of Guadalupe). Also the main Plaza, where many events take place.
Across from the Plaza, by the shore, is the Los Arcos Amphitheater,Theater de Aquiles Serdan,where many music, dance and theatrical performances occur in the evenings.
The Malecón (an oceanfront walkway) is the place that locals meet each other, mostly on Saturday and especially on Sunday evenings. Also on Sunday, at 6pm there’s Municipal Band concert and 7pm a public dance in the plaza, this is ballroom style.
Walking to the north end, at the Rosita Hotel (one of the first here), you’ll pass many sculptures of many different styles, sometimes art exhibits and, of course, the sand sculptures.
On the other side of the road (Paseo Diaz Ordaz) are many night clubs, restaurants and stores that cater to the tourist. Nothing cheap here, this is the most expensive real estate in town.
From Los Arcos Amphitheater you can now walk south on the Malecón all the way to Los Muertos beach.
Behind the church there’s a steep hill, this is Gringo Gulch and runs between the river to behind the church, it was popularized right after WWII by some veterans from that war, looking for some peace and quiet.
Later the ‘Rich & Famous’ started to build there, after Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor took up residence on Zaragoza.
At the point where the Malecón cuts inland, by the ‘Boy of a Seahorse’ statue, was the location of the Oceana Hotel, with it’s bar on the corner, habitually inhabited by Burton and his drinking buddyPeter O’Toole.
Next to it is a structure usually called a lighthouse, a column painted with white and black horizontal stripes and a light on the top. This is actually a ‘Range Light’, which in conjunction with the other one up the hill on Matamoros, would guide ships into the bay, to be unloaded, by pangas. This was before there was a decent road into town or a marina.
The South Side of Town,Old Town or Romantic Zone –Go To Map
Incorrectly called ‘Old Town’ (downtown is much older, the 1st bridge over Rio Cuale wasn’t built till 1954) this part of Vallarta has less of the commercialism which has affected downtown, it also has less timeshare booths ?. Called by a variation of names, “Romantic Zone” was the brainchild of some local politicians, who thought “PlayaLos Muertos” was not a good name, it means “Beach of The Dead”, althoughthe average tourist wouldn’t understand that ? We prefer the “South Side”, being the south side of the Rio Cuale which divides the town.
Los Muertos Beach is the focal point in the South Side for tourists. A busy beach with a mix of tourists and locals, many beachside restaurants and bars, also a pier for fishing boats and water taxis to the south side of the bay.
The farther inland from the beaches you explore, you’ll find of the beautiful, traditional Mexico neighbourhoods, it is a more residential area, with some hidden gems of restaurants for those in the know. see theInsider’spicks. There will be fewer tourists and you’ll experience the atmosphere of what Puerto Vallarta was like before it became the tourist destination it is today.
We have two bridges across the Rio Cuale now, connecting the South Side to Downtown, one northbound and one southbound. There’s also a pedestrian bridge by the beach which connects from the downtown Malecón (seaside promenade) all the way to our ‘Disco’ pier on Los Muertos Beach.
North of Downtown and the Hotel Zone –Go To Map
North of the Rosita Hotel is mostly a local business area, with a few hotels, andour Sports Stadium, which has a State of the Art running track, as well as, soccer, baseball fields, exercise equipment and even a skateboard area.
Apart from the supermarkets Leys and Mega Store, there’s an interesting local Municipal Market in Colonia 5 de Diciembre, next to the cemetery.
Most of the big hotels, between the Sports Stadium and the Marina are in what we call the Hotel Zone, this area is full of hotels next to each other on the beach, inland is mostly a business district apart from a few new nightclubs and restaurants.
Pitillal –Go To Map
Once an outlying village, Pitillal is now in the Municipality of Puerto Vallarta. Very non-touristy with some good local food and shopping.
Marina & Airport –Go To Map
The Marina starts at the Marine Terminal, where the cruise ships dock, adjacent to Sam’s Club, Walmart and the Liverpool Mall.
On the northern part of this basin is the Recreational Marina withprivate yachts and condos, between the two is Los Peines, where most fishing charter boats berth. On the ocean side of this area are more hotels. To the northpast the Marina Golf Course is the airport, inland to the central bus station and eventually the bridge over the Rio Ameca, which forms the boundary between the State of Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is, and the State of Nayarit, where you’ll find Nuevo Vallarta.
South Around The Bay
On the south side of the bay the Sierra Tuito mountains come right down to the shore, covered with thick foliage and very steep. This is the mountain range that protects Puerto Vallarta from hurricanes, if they come up the coast from the south.
There are a few beaches with small villages, once engaged in fishing and now handling tourists, a couple have waterfalls in the back of them as an added attraction, Las Animas, Quimixto, Caletas, Majahuitas and Yelapa. Some small beaches also exist without villages, but all have to be reached by boat, or are more easily reached by boat, as the main highway going south, turns inland at Boca de Tomatlan.
There is a “road” to Yelapa, best driven in the dry season and very carefully with a four wheel vehicle, also one that goes to Chimo. But it’s quicker and easier by boat. One nice little beach at Los Colomitos can be hiked to from Boca de Tomatlán. SeeYelapaandHidden Beaches.
Outside the Bay –See links on the Bay Map
Nayarit –Click HERE for further north, into the State of Nayarit.
Besides being one of the most beautiful bays in the world, Banderas Bay also happens to be one of the deepest bays in the world at close to a kilometer deep. In addition to being one of the deepest, it's also one of the biggest. Stretching over 42 kilometers, it's the largest bay in Mexico.How deep is Puerto Vallarta bay? ›
The crystal clear water of Puerto Vallarta's famous Banderas Bay is 3,000 feet deep and 26 miles across.What is the bay of Puerto Vallarta called? ›
Puerto Vallarta - Banderas Bay, one of the most largest bays in Mexico, stretches across 80 kilometers of the Pacific Ocean.What is Vallarta known for? ›
Known for its spectacular beaches, marine life, water sports, and local resorts, Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world.Can you swim in Banderas Bay? ›
Puerto Vallarta is located on beautiful Banderas Bay where the waters are calmer than the Pacific Ocean. The bay and beaches are perfect for swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking.Can you brush your teeth with the water in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Puerto Vallarta's tap water has been declared potable for over 15 years and while you can use it to brush your teeth and for cooking, we do recommend that you drink bottled water.Are there great white sharks in Puerto Vallarta? ›
When there is a shark around, dolphins ram their snouts into the shark until it's killed or leaves the area. There are thousands of dolphins in the Banderas Bay which surrounds Vallarta, therefore there are no sharks in Vallarta.Do whale sharks go to Puerto Vallarta? ›
Diving in Puerto Vallarta is known for close encounters with giant mantas, dolphins and schools of jacks. Lucky scuba divers can swim with whale sharks, eagle rays, hammerhead sharks and sailfish in the open ocean.Can you walk along the beach in Puerto Vallarta? ›
We recommend that you walk along the beach to get to town. It is a 10 to 20 minute walk to Playa Los Muertos depending on how fast you walk. Right before you get to Playa Los Muertos you have to go up a path over the rocks about 75 to 100 feet about above the sea.What does Vallarta mean in English? ›
The Vallarta meaning in English is just that, the last name of an influential person. Puerto, on the other hand, means port, or a town with a harbor where ships can load and unload. Together, the Vallarta meaning in English is Port of Vallarta.
The nicest part of Puerto Vallarta is Zona Romantic, or the Romantic Zone, where many of the best restaurants, boutiques, and attractions are located. With that said, Puerto Vallarta has many nice parts, with other nice areas including Conchas Chinas, Centro Puerto Vallarta, and Marina Vallarta.What kind of money do they use in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Pesos are essential to maximizing the potential of your stay in Mexico as well as its value. There are many ways to gain access to the country's national currency, and while North American dollars are widely accepted in Puerto Vallarta, the fact is that pesos carry more weight in the area.What is the best time of year to go to Puerto Vallarta? ›
The best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is between April and June when the weather is pleasant and the room rates are affordable. During these months, rain is scarce and there are fewer tourists compared to the winter high season. If you're interested in whale watching, however, visit from December to March.Are there orcas in Banderas Bay? ›
Humpbacks are the most common whales in the Banderas Bay. Orcas are also seen in the winter and the least common ones include bride and minky whales.Are there dolphins in the bay of Banderas? ›
Quite a few of these types of dolphins can be found in the Bay of Banderas. However, some, like the bottlenose dolphin, are more common to spot in Mexico's waters, while others make for a rarer but just as special a treat to view.Are there poisonous snakes in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Yes, there are poisonous snakes in Puerto Vallarta, but don't worry! You're more likely to encounter these creatures in the wilderness area than in downtown.Can I use my cell phone in Puerto Vallarta? ›
If you want to use your phone (or an additional one that you carry with you, unlocked) with local service, you can get a SIM card with an approximate cost of $200 pesos and hire a monthly plan with the Mexican cell company that suits you best.Do you tip waiters in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Almost all servers make minimum wage in Mexico (about $5 USD per day…that's right…. not per hour, per day), so you do right by these people and tip your server in Puerto Vallarta. For breakfast and lunch, or in a super casual place, 15% of the total bill is about right. For dinner and fine dining, 20%.Can I drink ice in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Most all restaurants and bars use purified ice. The water in PV is also of high quality so many visitors drink it with no problem.Are there Jaguars in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Over 350 species of birds call the jungle home, as well as countless other species of animals including iguanas, monkeys, jaguar, armadillos, ocelots and more.
Crocodiles are species that have lived in Puerto Vallarta for thousands of years, they were living in the area before people were here and were present before the area was developed as a tourist destination, crocodile, specialist and handler Armando Rubio Delgado and Jaime Torres Guerrero, director of the El Saldo ...Where do the Kardashians stay in Puerto Vallarta? ›
The couple stayed at the ultra-luxe Imanta Resort, where rooms range anywhere from $1,670 to $6,300 a night.Is the water warm enough to swim in Puerto Vallarta? ›
The swimming season in this location lasts all year round. Average annual water temperature on the coast in Puerto Vallarta is 80°F, by the seasons: in winter 75°F, in spring 76°F, in summer 85°F, in autumn 84°F. Minimum water temperature (71°F) in Puerto Vallarta it happens in January, maximum (87°F) in July.Is Puerto Vallarta better than Los Cabos? ›
We'd have to say Puerto Vallarta has better beaches if you want to swim in the ocean. Many of the beaches in Cabo are unsafe for swimming because of strong currents and rip tides. But both have numerous beautiful beaches to walk along or to spend a lazy chillax day, feeling blessed you're on holiday in Mexico.What predators are in Puerto Vallarta? ›
What dangerous animals are there in Puerto Vallarta? A few species to keep an eye out for are: crocodiles, spiders, snakes, scorpions, and mosquitos.Do I need water shoes in Puerto Vallarta? ›
It´s highly advisable to bring a pair of water shoes if your feet are sensitive. Sometimes you may find irregular rocky formations, branches, and sticks along through the coasts. So to avoid any possible pinch and enjoy the warm waters of Puerto Vallarta, don´t forget to bring them.Why are there no sharks in the bay of Banderas? ›
The most likely explanation for a lack of sharks in the Bay of Banderas of Puerto Vallarta is their over-exploitation. In the 1930's and 40's sharks were hunted for their fins. Shark fin soup is still considered a delicacy but it's not easy to find and we wouldn't be proud to eat it, no matter how good it might taste.Can you walk around with alcohol in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Aside from the fact it is illegal to walk down the street with an open container, beer is sold and consumed on the streets of Puerto Vallarta with little notice. Avoid being visibly intoxicated and you can enjoy your chilled cerveza at leisure.Is Puerto Vallarta safer than Cancun? ›
While both Puerto Vallarta and Cancún are relatively safe due to their nature as tourist destinations, Puerto Vallarta does have less criminal activity than Cancún does. Over the last several years, Cancún has seen an increase in murder rates, making headlines all around Mexico and the United States.Can you swim in the Pacific Ocean in Puerto Vallarta? ›
The answer is a resounding yes! Here you'll find less seaweed than in other destinations because authorities clean the hotel beaches regularly. With its own water treatment facility, Puerto Vallarta has great water quality, making it a great place to swim once you get in the sea.
Puerto Vallarta is famous for its unique quality of light. Sunsets are a daily event in the lives of Vallartenses. The flaming orange ball drops into the flat horizon of the Pacific Ocean creating an effect unlike any you have ever seen.Is Puerto Vallarta English friendly? ›
At bars and restaurants most staff speak basic to excellent English as well, but often times people working in the smaller Mexican restaurants, little tiendas and markets do not speak English. Luckily, the locals of Vallarta will do almost anything to try to understand or help you and with patience and a smile.Do they speak English in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Spanish is the primary language spoken, but many people – especially those who work in the tourist zone – speak English. It may be both helpful and respectful to know some basic Spanish vocabulary, such as "hello" (hola), "goodbye" (adíos), "please" (por favor) and "thank you" (gracias).Should I bring dollars or pesos to Puerto Vallarta? ›
If you are coming to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico we highly suggest you exchange your US dollars for pesos. Although most places around town do indeed accept US dollars, the exchange rate is much less favorable at these places than at a bank.Which is safer Cabo San Lucas or Puerto Vallarta? ›
Puerto Vallarta and Cabo are considered safe to visit; both are bustling tourist destinations with a large number of tourists visiting every day. While you'll still want to exercise caution while traveling throughout Mexico, you won't have to worry about your trip being cut short due to safety concerns.Is Puerto Vallarta Mexico cheap? ›
ABSOLUTELY! Puerto Vallarta is still the cheapest destination in Mexico and it does not compare to how expensive Cancun is.Is Puerto Vallarta a walkable city? ›
Puerto Vallarta is a very walkable destination. We stayed at the Villa Premiere, which was roughly 20 minutes from the Malecon, the downtown ocean-side boardwalk that's a hive of activity both day and night. And once in the city, many of the streets are lined with shops, side-walk restaurants, bars and hotels.Are Puerto Vallarta beaches swimmable? ›
Yes! Puerto Vallarta beaches are swimmable, most of them offer crystalline freshwaters without seaweed.How much do you tip in Puerto Vallarta? ›
It's up to you how much you tip, but the recommended amount in Mexico is between 10% – 20% (15% is a good standard in tourist areas) of the bill or ticket price.Can I drink coffee in Puerto Vallarta? ›
There are numerous coffee houses and cafés in Puerto Vallarta where you can start your morning off with delicious coffee or tea. We have provided the top five best PV cafés that you should go to when you are visiting Puerto Vallarta.
Let your bank know before you go. Plan B, bring some cash and or pesos along, and plan C, send yourself a MoneyGram or two, for a back-up. Hotels and many finer restaurants and shops will take your credit cards, so there is always that option.Do taxis take US dollars in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Taxi drivers may accept U.S. Dollars, but typically at a poor exchange rate. However, walking is encouraged, as Puerto Vallarta is a great walking town with lots to see.Are mosquitos a problem in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Mosquitoes are a common culprit for bug bites in and around Puerto Vallarta, especially in the warmer, more humid months of the summer season.What is the rainiest month in Puerto Vallarta? ›
The month with the most rain in Puerto Vallarta is August, with an average rainfall of 9.9 inches. The rainless period of the year lasts for 3.0 months, from February 20 to May 18.What is hurricane season in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Hurricane season in Puerto Vallarta lasts from July to October. Most precipitation falls in September, with a monthly average of 340 mm (13.4 in) of rainfall. Heavy rains can cause problems, but the natural geography of the city protects it from the most active hurricane season weather.Is Banderas Bay the largest bay in the world? ›
Most locals indicate that Banderas Bay is not only the largest bay in Mexico, but it's also the third largest bay in the world.Is Banderas Bay Nice? ›
The horseshoe shaped bay has over 50 miles of beautiful shoreline, ranging from jagged cliffs to sandy beaches, with the city of Puerto Vallarta essentially in the center. The beaches account for approximately 60% of the shoreline thereby providing 30 miles of magnificent beaches lying on the perimeter of the bay.Are there crocodiles in the bay of Banderas? ›
Though usually found in fresh waters, American crocodiles near Puerto Vallarta swim in the saltwater of Banderas Bay during the rainy season as they head to connecting rivers and upstream habitat. Typically, the long-snouted creatures feed on fish or birds.What is the best month to go to Puerto Vallarta? ›
The best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is between April and June when the weather is pleasant and the room rates are affordable. During these months, rain is scarce and there are fewer tourists compared to the winter high season. If you're interested in whale watching, however, visit from December to March.Do celebrities go to Puerto Vallarta? ›
Celebrities, however, have made Puerto Vallarta one of their favorite destinations. Puerto Vallarta is perfect for the discerning traveler seeking an escape from the cold. The beaches are lined with lush greens of tropical forests.
Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker have purchased a $14.5 million beach house from Conan O'Brien in Santa Barbara, Calif, a real estate source tells E! News. "There are beautiful ocean views from many of the rooms," the source says, noting the place was remodeled in 2015.Which beach is better Los Cabos or Puerto Vallarta? ›
We'd have to say Puerto Vallarta has better beaches if you want to swim in the ocean. Many of the beaches in Cabo are unsafe for swimming because of strong currents and rip tides. But both have numerous beautiful beaches to walk along or to spend a lazy chillax day, feeling blessed you're on holiday in Mexico.