Normally I am not one for resorts (or resort towns for that matter), so I had my reservations about heading off to Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) even if it meant escaping the coldness of the Canadian winter. However, having spent nearly two weeks enjoying all the city (and surrounding areas) had to offer I am happy to admit that my reservations were completely unfounded!
While this area has seen rapid development thanks in part to it being a popular tourist destination, it doesn't seem to be defined solely by this fact! Don't get me wrong you have your strip of massive resorts and tourist traps, but right along side you will find an amazing art and food scene... not to mention a great night life. There are enough sights and sounds to keep your occupied even if laying on the beach every day is not your thing.
As with any vacation where you choose to stay can impact the tone of the vacation and as luck would have it we stayed away from the major resorts in an area known as Zone Romantica. It was a beautiful apartment on the hill side with breathtaking views of the bay and city down below.
While being on the hillside meant you were not as close to the beach it did give you the benefit of being a short walk from many wonderful galleries, restaurants, bars and nightly entertainment found in Zone Romantica. An added bonus was that this trendy area just so happened to have a very popular and lively gay scene.
Walking through you could discover a number of great spots to spend away the day, be they restaurants, shops, galleries or bars. You can have brunch at Cafe San Angel, grab a Margarita and freshly made Guacamole at Margarita Grill before shopping through the many boutique shops and end the night with a yummy drink at Blondies to end off the night. Of course if it is the beach that you wanted just walk a bit further and you can lay soaking up the sun along the many beach clubs and beaches too.
Part of the charm of the city is the abundance of beautiful art. On every street you walk on you can find amazing and unique murals brightening up the sidewalks. Also, if you choose to walk along the boardwalk along the waterfront it too is littered with intricate sculptures facing out to the water. It is an easy way to spend many days walking around taking in the art and learning more about the various neighbourhoods in the city.
Between the mouth watering food (at very decent prices), the amazing shopping and art you can pick up there is certainly a lot more Puerto Vallarta than just the beach! It has just the right mix of everything to make your stay fun and interesting. So the next time you get a chance I would recommend opting to rent a place outside of the resort area and perhaps go experience all that the city has to offer!