Mexico is the land of enchantment and with so many beautiful places to visit, it can be difficult to choose the perfect destination. Puerto Vallarta will seduce you with scenery, intrigue you with history and tease you with flavor. All with a relaxed "manana" vibe, Vallarta is guaranteed to take your breath away. It has a unique combination of beauty, romance, nature and nightlife. With the exquisite Sierra Madre Mountains curving around the glistening Bay of Banderas, eco-tourism is abundant. There is also a wide array of bustling clubs, cultural galleries and colorful shopping. Dining can be as simple as a late night taco stand to gourmet options offered right outside your door or even served in your room. Enjoy a private meal on your balcony overlooking golden sands or a delicious cocktail by the pool. This is one seductive getaway sure to capture your heart and soothe your soul.
Sure, there are sun-kissed breezes, azure waves and water sports galore not to mention some of the top restaurants in the country -- but this amazing city also offers Mexican colonial architecture back-dropped by jade covered hills, lush jungles and secluded nature preserves. There are numerous protected flora and fauna species, and it is known for having the best beaches in Latin America (so says Conde Nast Magazine). There's also a bit of Hollywood glamour. It is here where The Night of the Iguana was filmed and where the romance between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor made national headlines years ago. Vallarta is rich in dynamic history from the Azatlans to the Huichols to the Spaniards; it is a city rooted in culture and tradition. This is found in the color, the people and of course the food. With salsa from smoky to spicy and frosty margaritas or ice cold horchata, your taste buds will come alive. If you're ready for a sensory smorgasbord, this is the place.
Puerto Vallarta is located in the heart of Mexico's Pacific coastline and is encircled by the rugged Sierra Madre Mountains to the east (which diminish hurricane forces) and fronted by the Bay of Banderas. Airport Gustavo Diaz Ordaz is located four miles from downtown and is served by a wide variety of national and international airlines, many with nonstop flights. Flights arrive daily from Canada, the U.S and Europe as well as South America. You need a passport to enter.
Expect a tropical year-round climate. November through April temperatures range from 27C/81F in the daytime and 18C/65F in the evening, May through October are much warmer with averages from 32C/90F in the daytime and 25C/78F in the evening with higher humidity due to the rainy season. There are year round sea breezes and the rains cool things off on hot summer evenings.
High season is December to March, with cooler temperatures and heavy tourism. This is the time of year to enjoy the largest array of activities and exciting nightlife. April to November is the slower summer months providing a more personal look at the culture and biodiversity offered in Puerto Vallarta. The rainy season is June to October with the most spectacular storms in August and September. This is a time of relaxation and evening displays of lightning over the water.
The Malecon is host to the action for the city's May Day Parade on May 1st, with even more celebrations on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) and a large party on May 31st celebrating the founding of Puerto Vallarta. Artists take over the city during the Art Festival in November, and this is also the time for the International Gourmet Festival which attracts chefs and foodies from all over the globe; while December marks the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival and Christmas celebrations all month. January is ideal for New Year's parties and fireworks on the beach. July to December is the turtle release season for baby turtles to return to the sea.
Puerto Vallarta can trace its history back to the 1600s when Spanish conquistadors explored the coast. The area was later settled by farmers, fishermen and mango and banana plantation owners. In 1918, it was officially named in honor of then governor Don Ignacio L. Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta remained a sleepy fishing village until it burst into the national spotlight in 1963 for the filming of Director John Huston's movie, The Night of the Iguana. The subsequent scandal of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor's torrid romance put PV on the map as a gorgeous golden sand paradise bordered by jungle-covered mountains. With all the publicity came a lot of building and commercialization. Though the area has grown considerably and features several distinct zones, it still maintains its "Old World" personality and charm.
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