As the polar vortex barrels down and blasts parts of the U.S. with record-setting low temperatures, it’s time to escape to warmer climes. Consider heading south to Puerto Vallarta, which is basking in 80-degree days this winter.
To get some pointers on where to go and what to do, we talked to Miguel Dorado, chief concierge of Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Casa Velas Puerto Vallarta and a 35-year resident of the city in Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Find out about a “Magical Town” and the beaches that will make you want stay here all winter long.
What are the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta?
There are many things to do in Vallarta, indeed.
El Malecon is a picturesque seaside esplanade where city life and culture happen. Here you can find statues, shops, artists, galleries and restaurants, as well as vibrant nightlife and outdoor shows.
San Sebastian del Oeste, a “Pueblo Magico” or Magic Town [a government designation for places that offer a “magical” experience through their history or cultural heritage] settled in 1605, offers a glimpse into another era with whitewashed buildings, an 18th-century church and a cobblestone plaza.
Los Arcos is a rock formation emerging from the crystal-clear water, an authentic playground for colorful tropical fish and sea life, making it a spectacular scuba diving and snorkeling destination.
Las Caletas is a secluded cove on Banderas Bay with inland activities like zip lining and jungle hikes. Snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding are available, too.
El Salado estuary is located in the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s hotel zone. This nature preserve is home to a diversity of wildlife, including 100 species of birds, Mexican spiny-tailed iguanas, American crocodiles, boa constrictors and land and sea animals.
What is new in Puerto Vallarta?
Gastronomy has placed Puerto Vallarta as a foodie destination. Early 2019, Dinner in the Sky will once again delight visitors with striking scenery while hanging 150 feet above the ground, as it did so in 2017, in Casa Velas.
What are the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta?
Marietas Islands. A string of volcanic islands rich in biodiversity; ideal for scuba diving, kayak and snorkeling.
Yelapa and Majahuitas. Two charming fishing villages ideal for kayaking and snorkeling. They are accessible by boat to enjoy nature in peaceful solitude.
What are your city’s most underrated attractions?
Many beautiful beaches go unnoticed for visitors to Puerto Vallarta-Riviera Nayarit. I’d suggest including at least one of the following beaches for a complete insight of this corner of the world: Las Animas, La Lancha, Higuera Blanca, Playa del Caballo, Playa Madagascar and Isla Cocinas.
Another must-do in downtown Vallarta is the Chocolate Museum.
What are the hottest restaurants and bars right now?
Restaurants at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit are in the list of best places to eat:
Piaf. Classical French cuisine is the star at this restaurant, with an innovative spirit in an elegant ambiance.
Lucca. Italian-Mediterranean specialties. Offers flavorful Italian and Mediterranean menus, including fresh seafood and pastas.
Frida. Named after one of Mexico’s most loved artists, Frida Kahlo, it serves local artisan cuisine.
The brand-new Sen Lin brings the culinary artistry of the East with different Asian cuisines.
Some local favorites are:
Tintoque. This new restaurant showcases Banderas Bay recipes reinvented by Mexican chef Joel Ornelas.
Barracuda. A seaside restaurant-bar that serves fresh and tasty menus paired with creative cocktails.
Give us your favorite insider tip.
Fine-dining options abound in Puerto Vallarta. I would suggest visitors to this coastline paradise try local options filled with traditional flavors and authentic local spirit.