Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: beach vacation guide for Canadians
A former fishing village of “The Night of the Iguana” fame, Puerto Vallarta is nestled between the Sierra Madre mountains and stretches of beautiful Pacific Coast beach. The resort town is served by an international airport with direct flights from many Canadian gateways.
Although all-inclusive resorts may be the main draw, there is a thriving downtown area bustling with shops, restaurants and galleries, and the iconic Malecon (boardwalk) that runs along the waterfront. From 5-star suite escapes to all-inclusive vacations with flights, Puerto Vallarta is one of Travelzoo's most popular Mexico destinations.
Things to do in Puerto Vallarta
A visit to Puerto Vallarta wouldn't be complete without a trip to Old Town (also known as the Romantic Zone), featuring cobblestone streets and the main boardwalk. The Malecon runs through the heart of town and features sculptures by renowned artists and restaurants, with tables right on the sands so you can enjoy stunning sunsets over the Pacific.
Los Muertos beach is one of the most iconic spots in Puerto Vallarta; legends speak of pirates coming ashore here, and it has been said there is buried treasure and skeletons beneath the sand. Hike up to the Mirador de la Cruz for some of the best views in all of Puerto Vallarta. The Marina Vallarta is a bustling commercial area with some of the best hotels, restaurants and bars. For our golf enthusiasts, the Marina Vallarta Golf Club features an 18-hole championship golf course.
Travelzoo tip: Playa del Amor or Hidden Beach at Mierta island is a bucket-list secret island for sure. Located off the coast of Banderas Bay, the hidden beach is a secluded cavern that is visible from the sky, a circle of brilliant blue water and white sand enclosed by a canopy of trees. There is a restricted daily allowance of visitors and you need to swim through a tunnel to reach the beach, so it is only for confident swimmers.
For those looking to explore a little bit further, Yelapa is only accessible by boat and features secluded beaches, a waterfall and a reputation for homemade pies. (They're sold along the beach.) Costa Alegre is a long stretch of coast along southern Jalisco: a 240-km stretch of beaches, bays and coves.
Riviera Nayarit extends north from Puerto Vallarta and is home to some beautiful beaches and popular winter surf spots. If you’re looking for 5-star luxury, be sure to add Punta Mita to your list; it is home to the Four Seasons and St. Regis. Golf enthusiasts can head to Nuevo Vallarta, where options include a Jack Nicklaus-designed course. The crescent-shaped beach at Sayulita is beautiful and a perfect setting for surfers, while Playa Las Islita’s is a great beginner surfer’s destination with gentle waves