Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - According to US News Travel, Puerto Vallarta gets more rave reviews than most other Mexican vacation spots. The blend of excellent beaches, authentic regional cuisine and a quaint setting sets 'PV' apart from Cancún, Cabo San Lucas and other package tourist centers.
On the travel.usnews.com website, they list favorite spots from across the globe - and Puerto Vallarta is rated #2 for Best Mexican Vacations, and ranked #1 for Best Mexico Beaches. The rankings represent the consensus on the best Mexican vacations based on traveler and expert reviews across the Web.
Why Puerto Vallarta?
Located on the Western Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta stands out for a variety of reasons. Along with its cobblestone streets, stunning beaches, plentiful marine life, breathtaking landscape, world-class golf courses, exceptional restaurants, eclectic nightlife and vibrant culture, Puerto Vallarta's friendly people make it a vacationer's paradise. But don't take our word for it, check out what the travel experts have to say:
Fun for All Ages
Finding a vacation destination that has something for everyone to enjoy isn't always easy, which is why so many families from all over the world choose to spend their vacations in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
"Nighttime is the right time for strolling PV's famous Malecón. Bring your camera to photograph the seawalk's whimsical statues at sunset. Sip a cool drink, buy a caramel-topped crêpe from a vendor, or eat at a restaurant across the street."
"If the pretty town beaches aren’t enough, you can venture out on cruises, horseback rides, diving trips and day tours - and be back in time for a late dinner and an even later excursion to one of the many sizzling nightspots on offer. Puerto Vallarta is the gay capital of Mexico."
- Lonely Planet
"Ecotourism activities flourish - from canopy tours to whale-watching, ocean kayaking, and diving with giant mantas in Banderas Bay. Forty-two kilometers (26 miles) of beaches, many in pristine coves accessible only by boat, extend around the bay."
Beaches and Water Sports
Unlike many other popular beach vacation resorts, Puerto Vallarta is actually several destinations in one. Situated on the Pacific Coast of Mexico just south of Baja California, the Banderas Bay area offers more than 34 miles of incomparable coastline in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit - and innumerable activities that are affordable and easily accessible.
"Off the coast lie the Marieta Islands, which provide exceptional snorkeling, scuba diving and whale-watching sites. Going south towards the city is Bucerias, a quaint beach community and fishing village with sandy coves and cobblestone streets."
- Travel Channel
"Great spots for diving and snorkeling are Los Arcos, the rocky islands south of the city center, and the Islas Marietas, which are surrounded by reefs, tunnels, walks and underwater caves. Dolphins, whales and giant manta are often sighted between December and April."
- Lonely Planet
While Puerto Vallarta is best known for white sand beaches, tropical weather and beach vacation getaways, one of its most striking assets is the wide range of golf courses found here. With 6 world-class golfing facilities in the Banderas Bay area, and 3 exclusive golf resorts just a few hours' drive south, Vallarta is quickly becoming one of Mexico's leading golf destinations.
"El Tamarindo: About two hours south of Vallarta on the Costalegre is the area's best course. At least six of the holes play along the ocean; some are cliff-side holes with fabulous views, others go right down to the beach."
Puerto Vallarta isn't full of nightclubs and bars without reason. In fact, most writers consider Puerto Vallarta one of the top nightlife destinations in Mexico, as it boasts dozens of lively clubs in the hotel zone and downtown area, and is one of the liveliest gay scenes in Mexico.
"Major hotels in Puerto Vallarta feature frequent fiestas for tourists - extravaganzas with open bars, Mexican buffet dinners, and live entertainment. Some are fairly authentic and make a good introduction for first-time travelers to Mexico; others can be a bit cheesy."
"Although there's definitely crossover, many Mexicans favor the upscale bars and clubs of the Hotel Zone and Marina Vallarta hotels, while foreigners tend to like the Mexican flavor of places downtown and the south side (the Zona Romántica), where dress is decidedly more casual."
In short, whether you prefer to relax on the beach, strenuous adventure, or something in between, Puerto Vallarta is a sun-blessed paradise that will keep you entertained, until it is (sadly) time to depart.Editor's Note: US News Travel World's Best Places to Visit list allows readers to "vote" for their favorite vacation spot so, if you love PV, please click HERE, scroll down to #20, and say "Yes" to Puerto Vallarta.