El Centro and Old Town
Downtown Puerto Vallarta is also called “el Centro” and refers to the original area that started it all. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton bought homes across the street from each other and built a bridge to connect the two. There is a large ex-pat community here with an area even called ´Gringo Gulch’!
Visitors and residents can enjoy fine dining, galleries, and shops all within walking distance. The charm of el Centro can be seen in the cobblestone streets, tile roofs and white walls of this port city.
The re-model of the Malecon (“boardwalk”) is one of the new revitalization going on in the past few year.. Pedestrians are now free to walk from the waterfront to restaurants and shops with no vehicle traffic in between. It is a beautiful walk that starts from the Rosita Hotel and passes the Rio Cuale bridge going right on into Old Town. It is a very social avenue, residents walk their dogs, pick up a coffee, say Hello to neighbors, take in a bite at a café, or simply watch for whales in season.
The Rio Cuale is a series of little islands in a river that divides el Centro and Old Town (The Romantic Zone, or Olas Altas). These islands have wonderful restaurants and lots of places to shop. Maybe if you are here at the right time of year , you can see otters and iguanas and parrots that frequent the Rio while you are having lunch.
Old Town is famous for Los Muertos beach and our new Pier. This picturesque part of town is fun to stroll through and discover it´s shops and restaurants, theaters and bars. There are many places to stay here and you won´t need a car as taxis´and buses are everywhere.
CONCHAS CHINA AND AMAPAS
Just south of Old Town are the Amapas and Conchas Chinas areas. Here you will find an abundance of Vallarta-style homes and condos perched on the hillside with some of the most spectacular views in the Banderas Bay! Hacienda type villas built in the 50´s and 60´s share the mountain jungle with modern architectural buildings making these multi-million dollar houses and villas one of the most exclusive residencial neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta. The highway leads down to Mismaloya where filming “The Night of the Iguana” by John Huston took place. Along this road is el Eden where Predator was filmed with some wonderful pools of water to get soaked in as well as a restaurant to enjoy when you get hungry. The beautiful botanical gardens are past Mismaloya and it makes a wonderful day trip -- complete with trails, a greenhouse, river and a restaurant to enjoy the day there.
This area is located on the stretch of road leading from downtown to the cruise ship port. As Puerto Vallarta grew, hotel owners could get large parcels of land to build big hotels and still leave the downtown area as charming as it ever was. This zone has a large concentration of big hotels which is perfect for family vacations as el Centro is nearby as well as the Marin and airport. Many fast-food outlets and businesses are located along this way.
With a 355-slip marina and a golf course by Joe Finger this residential and resort development provides for all you needs. Here you will find a mix of luxury beachfront hotels and condos as well as large, well-appointed villas. A shopping center provides easy access to groceries , banks and other businesses, while on the waterfront boardwalk at the marina you can find many types of restaurants and boutiques to sample selling jewellery, clothing, art, and furniture. Overlooking the yachts you will find el Faro (the Lighthouse) landmark which gives a fabulous view from the bar.
Only 10 minutes north of the airport you will find the planned community resort area called Nuevo Vallarta. This area has the most beautiful , soft, sandy beaches with miles of beachfront hotels and condos. The coconut palm lined boulevards meander through neighborhoods with million dollars homes that back out onto the many canals that lead to open sea. There are 3 major golf courses and a world-class marina. There are many new malls open with well-known restaurants and shops. Just across the highway there is a Walmart, Sam´s and Cinepolis making it easier than ever to access what you need.
Bucerías and La Cruz de Hunacaxtle
Bucerías and La Cruz are two fishing villages right next to each other on the North end of the Bay. Many Americans and Canadians have moved here making these towns one of the fastes growing areas around the Banderas Bay.
The Zona Dorada (Golden Zone) in Bucerías is a lovely residencial area with fine dining and boutique shops, bakeries and a Thursday Artwalk held all through high season aimed at bringing business and community together.
La Cruz is home to the newest marina in the Bay as well as the La Cruz Market held every Sunday in high season. This market is located next to the fresh fish market on the marina. Many fine craftsmen and food producers sell their wares here creating a wonderful Sunday morning atmosphere.
Both towns have a slower pace and relaxed way of life. There are many night spots to ‘go to for live music from blues/rock ‘n’ roll to jazz to karaoke night!
PUNTA DE MITA
This community has an archeological site that has been dated circa 800 A.D. Punta Mita is surrounded on three sides by water and is home to the Four Seasons Resort, the St Regis Resort and the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course
Las Marieta islands are only a 15 minute boat ride away
With a very laid-back atmosphere, Sayulita is a small surfing town about 15 minutes north of La Cruz. Cute boutiques, bakeries and food eateries line the streets which are sandy and dusty. Enjoy a drink on the beach and check out a great beach for beginner and advanced surfers. This is open ocean so it is a great place to learn technique. Many villas and hotels cater to an artsy, discriminating crowd. A fun day get-away!