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Puerto Vallarta - What to see and do

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Posted by Christine on July 11, 2000
Travelling to Puerto Vallarta in Oct....any suggestions? Just interested if anyone has any special advice or info re: PV..i.e...good trips worth taking...etc....thanks

Posted by JR in LA on July 15, 2000

Hi, I'm still out of town, but return Sunday. Last year the rains came to a dramatic halt after the second week in Oct. So rain maybe over but it will be incredibly green and lush. 'The Insider' page has some recommendations for cheap eats and accommodation. Hasta, JR

The Insider's Guide to Vallarta

Posted by dave on July 13, 2000

If you are really adventurous you can head south 4 hours to Tenacatita beach for a great day of boogie boarding and body surfing. One of the nicest beaches on the west coast of Mexico.

Posted by alisa on July 12, 2000

What the other say I agree with, but be prepared for hot, humid, and rainy weather. The rains may come at night suddenly and strong, but if you just go ahead and get wet, they can be a blast. Otherwise, carry an umbrella! Very little clothes are needed also, it is hot!!!!

Posted by Sue on July 12, 2000

Be sure see El Centro and 'old town' south of the river (especially if you are staying at the Marina, Nuevo Vallarta, or the resorts outside of town). There is a typical zocolo -town square- and malecon -boardwalk- in front of the main cathedral. The main beach is Playa Los Muertos with palapa restaurants and bars, water sports, etc. Day trips - north of town 1-2 hrs. You'll find towns of Bucerias and Punta Minta. South of town 1/2 - 1 hr. Boca or Chico's Paradise. Lots of nice restaurants along street called Basillo Badilo perpendicular to the beach. Do you already have a hotel?

Posted by mexicodan on July 12, 2000

Try or or or or adios!

Posted by Elissa on May 11, 2000

I'm going to be traveling to PV May 24-31, 2000 with my boyfriend. I want us to see everything. Please let me know anything about booking tours in advance, what tours to do, which companies will really exist once we're in PV. Also, if we only do one boat excursion, should we see just Yelapa, or Meriatas, Quiximoto, and Los Acros? Which Island has a zoo? / monkeys? Which is the best waterfall? Can you swim under it? Anything really romantic we shouldn't miss? We are staying at the Sheraton Buganvillas. How is that Hotel? Please get back to me asap! Thanks so much!

Posted by Therese on May 14, 2000

Yes, I agree Yelapa is the place to go, but be sure you walk up to the waterfall, with or without a guide. It is an easy walk and interesting along the way. See the way the natives live and the view of the bay, just a short way up, is beautiful. Have a snack at the waterfall. Don't expect Niagara Falls. A boat trip is a nice way to go...I mean the large boats because you will see Los Arcos and a good view of PV from the Marina to Yelapa. If you have never been in PV, do go to a Fiesta. The food is just okay, drinks included, but the show is good and the fireworks display is neat. I recommend the Krystal's. Be sure to take a bus ride to Boca de Tomatlan and spend a little time on the beach. Eat dinner before sunset on one of the restaurants on the mountain side at the south of PV. Buy from a vendor on the beach. Walk around PV north and south of the bridge. You'll love it!!

Posted by JR in SF on May 12, 2000

I'm not in town at the moment, return next week. The Sheraton is pretty close to downtown - in fact you can walk it if you want. For the rest of your questions I have recommendations on my site, any questions after that please email me from the site. Hasta,

The Insider's Guide to Vallarta

Posted by Cindy on May 11, 2000

'Also, if we only do one boat excursion, should we see just Yelapa, or Meriatas, Quiximoto, and Los Acros?'

I'd pick Yelapa, by boat taxi from Boca Tomatlan. You'll see the others.

'Anything really romantic we shouldn't miss? We are staying at the Sheraton Buganvillas. How is that Hotel?'

It's a nice hotel, close to town.



Posted by TJ on Agosto 24, 2000

My wife and I are going to PV for the first time (first to Mexico) in December for 9 days. Any suggestions for clean, good bargain accommodations in the "old town" area? Also, it seems as though we will be arriving in the middle of a festival regarding Guadalupe?? Does anyone know where I can find out a schedule of activities so we can plan ahead? Thanks very much. TJ from Canada

Posted by Leroy Blankenship on Agosto 26, 2000

I like Hotel Eloisa. It's a little cheaper than Los Arcos Playa, and about 2 blocks north to the end of the street then turn right. It's across from the park and about 1/2 block off the beach. If you just "walk in" you can usually ask for and get a 20% discount for a week, or last night free. And it's within easy walking distance of the most charming part of the city. Leroy

Posted by JW on Agosto 26, 2000

TJ, take a look at It may cost you $5 but you will get that back many times over.

Posted by Steve L. on Agosto 24, 2000

My family and I have stayed at the Hotel Hortencia, 336 Madero, Tel. 222-2484 many times. It is very clean, plenty of hot water, and very reasonably priced...I think it was $24 for two people the last time I was there. It is run by the Hernandez family...really nice folks who became personal friends of our family in a very short time. The hotel is a couple of doors toward the beach from Insurgentes, a main drag, so it gets a little noisy sometimes, especially the balcony rooms on Madero...but we quickly got used to it...even began to like it. It is within easy walking distance of most downtown destinations...including the Cathedral and The Virgin of Guadalupe festivities.

Posted by Wendy on Agosto 24, 2000

Here on the site are some excellent resources for your upcoming trip. Paula Cunningham has an excellent article on 'Budget Accommodations in P.V.,' many of them from personal experience. Look her name up under the author's index on the main page of MexConnect. If you look under my last name Devlin, you will see a piece that I wrote called 'Fiesta de Guadalupe in Puerto Vallarta,' or alternately under the 'Virgens of Mexico' in the site search engine. In my experience, events happen every night for the week of the fiesta and many are centered around the main plaza in front of the church. There are music concerts and entertainment every night and pilgrimages to the church. Muy alegria! The tourist office in the daytime is open near that same plaza, so maybe there is some written list...even so or not, something will always be happening...and not difficult to find. Buena suerte, Wendy

Posted by JR in LV on Agosto 24, 2000

I have a short list of recommendations on 'The Insider' page and also 'Classifieds' at the link below. Keep in mind that some of the very economical hotels do not take reservations. I would definitely book now. Hasta, JR

The Insider's Guide to Vallarta

Posted by dan on Agosto 24, 2000

Get a copy of the Pacific Mexico Handbook by B. Whipperman. It has all the hotels in it on the south end of PV. We like the Tropicana Hotel at Amapas #214, just south of the Los Archos hotel one block. It's right on the beach and most of the rooms have beach views.

Posted by Rick on Agosto 24, 2000

You also might want to check out the bulletin board run by the PV Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Posted by TJ on Agosto 25, 2000

Thanks everyone for all the valuable information. You guys/gals are awesome!! Looking forward more and more to this trip.

Posted by Judy on Agosto 27, 2000

I would like info on budget hotels. I plan to spend 2 weeks in October looking for a furnished apartment so I can move to Vallarta. I want to be as close to the beach as possible and a kitchenette would be nice but not necessary.

Posted by RickS on Agosto 28, 2000

Although you have some very good recommendations and there are others on the General Board, I ran across this article within the bowels of this great site tonight and think it and the others already mentioned will give you enough to contemplate for a lifetime..... see URL. Rick

Posted by Judy Gibbs on Agosto 29, 2000

Thanks, Rick. I too found the Cunningham list! That and the website offer a wealth of current info. Adios,

Posted by dan on Agosto 28, 2000

Get a copy of the Pacific Mexico Handbook by Bruce Whipperman. It has all the hotels and prices in it for your perusal. adios!

Posted by dave on Agosto 28, 2000

Check out the post on the same subject on the general information board on Mexconnect! I have stayed at the Hotel Eloisa and Tropicana!! Good Luck!

Posted by Paula C on Mayo 22, 2000

Arriving in PV late Monday night, busing to Melaque on Tuesday morning. Does anyone know of a cheap hotel near the bus station/airport?

Posted by Andy in the Ozarks on Mayo 22, 2000

Since they moved all of the bus service to the new bus station the cheap hotel option is not available any more. There are lots of buses out of PV to Melaque throughout the night if you feel comfortable with that. Otherwise you will have to cab into town from the airport to get a reasonable hotel room. That's what we did in February.

Posted by Joseph on Mayo 24, 2000

Being "frugal," I just walk out to the highway from the bus station and take one of the frequent local buses going into PV. Make sure it goes to El Centro. Some buses do not go all the way to the center of town, requiring one to change buses. Note: the new highway development since I was there at Christmas 1999, may make it a bit more challenging to cross the highway to get to the side going into town, but since you are apparently an adventurous soul, it should present nothing you cannot handle.



Posted by mike butler on Mayo 19, 2000

People in this forum came through with great advice for my wife and me for our trip last week to PV. By way of small repayment, here are some of our best restaurant finds:
China problena (spelling?) Authentic, lots of care in the food. Inexpensive. Tasty.
Nubio. Looks great (we didn't eat there) The view on two terraces over the city is spectacular. Expensive and probably worth it. Roberto's. Good Italian food. Homemade noodles. Nice balcony. Palomas. On the Malecon. Looks to be where the upper class Mexicans go for breakfast. Open, airy and down to earth. Thanks again to everybody for all the help.

Posted by TJ on Septiembre 06, 2000

I have heard that there are a lot of good, inexpensive restaurants if you stay away from the "touristy" restaurants. Can anyone recommend some inexpensive, good restaurants and their location? Any good coffee shop, bakeries as well? Thanks

Posted by JR on Septiembre 08, 2000

La Palapa is a very good restaurant but also very expensive, at least by Vallarta standards. The south side of town is the place to go. I have a few recommendations at:, with prices.

Posted by Andy in the Ozarks on Septiembre 07, 2000

Go into the old part of Puerto Vallarta by the Hotel Rosita and the McDonalds (don't eat there, just use it as a landmark) and go one block away from the ocean and start walking south. There are lots of good restaurants and shops with lower prices. There is also a really good bakery about 4 or 5 blocks south as you take the walk. The oriental restaurant just up from the McDonalds is a good start, big meals, reasonable prices and a lot of Mexicans eating there. Mexicans love Chinese food and the hot oil that they have on the table is a killer.

Posted by Peter on Septiembre 07, 2000

La Palapa for good food and great sunsets.

Posted by JB on Junio 09, 2000

PV help with any info on a Carlos and Charlies type place or anything relatively cool and the best discos. Thanks friends forever JB

Posted by BR on Junio 10, 2000

For sure the Roxy! Christines is almost empty every night, except for the people staying at the Krystal, plus the cover charge is ridiculous! It's gotten VERY LAME. The Zoo is best after you close down the Roxy... you could also go to Senior Frogs, (also known as the hamster cage because of the cedar chips on the dance floor.) Andale's can be fun, make sure the donkey is there...a bar is always more fun when there's a donkey involved...*grin* (But yes, the asses are always there...) I also like the American Legend, the band is pretty is cheap early in the night.

Posted by JR in PV on Junio 09, 2000

That would be Carlos O'Brians on the Malecon. Many other similar type places on that street including the Zoo, which is open to 4AM. Christines is most often quoted disco. Me? I prefer The Roxy on the south side - Live Music. Hasta, JR



Posted by Charles on Mayo 17, 2000

I'm interested in PV as a place to live for half the year. Which months of the year is the weather ideal? (Mostly sunny); What's the best available Internet service? (fastest, reliable); What kind of living accommodations are most suitable for a half-year absentee resident? (Condo? Gated community? House in residential community? Regulations on sub-letting?) Are there direct flights to New York? (Besides price, airlines of choice?) What travel book(s) specializes in either snowbird living in Mexico in general, or in PV in particular? Thanks.

Posted by JRK on Mayo 21, 2000

Try this link for info re living in PVR.

AccessMexico--PVR Living

Posted by Joseph on Mayo 18, 2000

'I'm interested in PV as a place to live for half the year. Which months of the year is the weather ideal? (Mostly sunny)'

Rainy season usually ends in time for Thanksgiving (U S A Holiday, third Thursday of November). This marks the beginning of the HIGH season for tourism--all prices go up 30-70%.

'What's the best available Internet service? (fastest, reliable)'

Puertonet and Zonavirtual both have their supporters.

'What kind of living accommodations are most suitable for a half-year absentee resident? (Condo? Gated community? House in residential community? Regulations on sub-letting?)'

The kind of accommodation is up to you and depends more on your budget than anything. I have friends at the marina that pay $1250/mo, year round and consider themselves very lucky. Another lives two blocks from Los Muertos and pays $425/mo, year round. The latter is a Mexican-style bungalow without A/C. Another lives in a condo on Los Muertos and pays $450/mo maintenance fees.

'Are there direct flights to New York? (Besides price, airlines of choice?)'

Whenever possible, I fly Continental or Aeromexico, because of my mid-country location. Check an online travel site such as travelocity ( for airlines that service PV. Remember that direct flights are usually the most expensive routing.

'What travel book(s) specializes in either snowbird living in Mexico in general, or in PV in particular?'

Three books are a MUST HAVE for your collection: People's Guide to Mexico (check their website @
Pacific Coast Guide
Puerto Vallarta Handbook (Both of these are published by Moon Travel Handbooks,
but for some reason I was not able to find them listed on their website at Check your public library or local book store for these before you buy, of course. Before you invest a lot of money in a part-time residence in PV or anywhere else, make several trips to the area, preferably at different times of the year. Thus, you will gain a better perspective of the area and will be more likely to make a satisfactory decision. E-me if I can be of any more help.

Posted by Joseph on Mayo 18, 2000

Hi Charles,
I am at home now and have two of the books in front of me for more accurate information:
Pacific Mexico Handbook, by Bruce Whipperman. Chico, CA: Moon Publications, Inc., 1997.
Puerto Vallarta Handbook, by Bruce Whipperman. Chico, CA: Moon Publications, Inc., 1999.
Happy reading!

Posted by Joseph on Mayo 18, 2000

Also, regarding ISP's in PV: check Puerto.Net @ and Zona Virtual @ There are several cyber cafes throughout the city so you will have no problem being connected even if you do not have an ISP in your habitation.

Posted by TominHell on Mayo 24, 2000

I'll have about $1.350,00/month to retire on. Will I be able to afford a minimally furnished (not a "vacant" or unfurnished), quiet 2-bedroom apt. in Old Vallarta year-round and have enough left to buy food and water, and an occasional night out? Not interested in finding work for pay--just want to retire.

Posted by jennifer rose on Mayo 24, 2000

It can be done. Go to the Peoples' Guide site, and scroll down to Budget Living in Vallarta for some good scoop on how another couple copes.

The Peoples' Guide



Posted by Therese on July 31, 2000

I will be spending almost 3 months in PV next winter and wonder if any one knows if the Friendship Club accepts part-time participants. My only experience with it was their home tour and "garage sale" in 1999. I would like to do something with the club.

Posted by Steve L. on August 01, 2000

Site for Friendship Club:

Posted by Joseph on August 01, 2000

As far as I know, they do not have a website or an email listing. Below is the information given in VALLARTA TODAY (@ International Friendship Club of Puerto Vallarta is an active, non-profit, Social and Service Club. For info call Lynn Nokes 3-09-78. You might try emailing VALLARTA TODAY and ask them your question. They are always willing to help when they can and will reply to your email. Good luck,



Posted by sparks on Agosto 29, 2000

Ok .. so I will try an easy access city, on the beach and one that I have been to before. I know how to get around, where to stay (if necessary) ... but does anyone know of a Spanish school in PV. I would do an immersion type with family, board and room ... or just 3-4 hours a day for about three weeks. Thanks for ideas.

Posted by alisa on Agosto 29, 2000

I would contact the University of Guadalajara, because I know they offer classes right downtown near the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta.

Posted by sparks on Agosto 29, 2000

Any idea how I would find them. Web or email would be perfect. Gracias

Posted by alisa on Agosto 30, 2000

Go to
Click on the PV branch and you'll get everything you should need:)

Posted by Charles on Abril 07, 2000

I have found three private organizations, which offer in Puerto Vallarta programs for learning Spanish to tourists, business people, etc. Students of varying ages attend daily classes and may live with a Mexican family for two, four, six, etc. weeks. Has anyone heard of them? LANGUAGES ABROAD, SPANISH ABROAD, INC., and CSA of MEXICO. They charge from 760 to 995 US. Two are affiliated with U. Guadalajara. Thanks, Chas

Posted by mexicodan on Abril 07, 2000

Check at that message board

Posted by Bill on Abril 07, 2000

My experience has been that the language schools not located in either San Miguel de Allende or Cuernavaca leave a lot to be desired. Much depends upon your reasons for study. If you are going to be in PV on vacation, and want to kill two birds with one stone, the local school there may be fine. However, if you are intending to study Spanish for more serious reasons, i.e. work, then I'd suggest that you look at schools in the towns I mentioned. Exceptions to this are some of the programs offered by Universities located in the Federal District and North to Guadalajara. Price should be reflective of the amount of study you will undertake. The really good programs offer 6-8 hours daily of immersion type programs. Ask the programs for a list of former students from your home country, and then call a couple of the prior students to get a feel of the effectiveness of the programs. Good luck!



Posted by Dave on Abril 07, 2000

I am thinking of building a house on the West Coast south of Puerto Vallarta. My friends have used brick and mortar but I see all of these nice looking homes farther south in Ixtapa that use bamboo, wood and palapa roofs. Looks great but what about maintenance, termites and life span? Can one get treated wood or hard wood at a reasonable price? Is brick and mortar cheaper and easier to maintain? I am thinking wood because it would seem it would be quicker to put up than brick and mortar.

Posted by mexicodan on Abril 07, 2000

Bugs eat wood, scorpions love palapa roofs, and bamboo can be expensive. Stick with the basics (brick & stucco). Use what is available in the local area. I know, I built a place in '95 and it withstood a 6.8 earthquake in La Manzanilla. No cracks, just a few loose roof tiles. Design it open-aired but keep the sleeping areas screened and ventilated to keep it cool and the bugs out!!!!! Make sure you have lots of shade built into the design. You'll find that you will spend 2/3's of your day outside, so have a nice covered outer patio and add a palapa-shaded area on a sun patio. Build your kitchen outside under the covered patio to vent also. I did and I love it!

Posted by Wendy on Abril 07, 2000

Dear Dave,
The following information was written by a friend of mine who builds homes north of P.V.

'I am going to build a house with a solid foundation,...and not the rock partial cement they build here.....The first foot of wall will be done with water resistant brick,...I will most likely end up doing the treating myself.....The rest of the wall will be made of double thick adobe from the building site. . . The cheapest building material,...well, almost the cheapest,....available here....All wood will be from here, ...and of the bug-resistant type...There are several available.....The roof is going to be of the round palms,...because if properly done,...they will last a long time,...and the most important thing about this roof is that it breathes.....The coast of Nayarit is very hot and humid,....the adobe will stay cool in the hot weather,...and warm in the cold weather,...the roof will allow the house to to the problem of wiring,...may I point out an important factor....they chisel the walls after construction, then plaster over it,...or not....I helped my brother put up a place in Aticama.....He brought some of the underground wire from the States and all his own plugs, wall boxes, and fuse boxes,...and as the walls up,...he installed the wire right into them, went fast,...and made for a nice job....Oh yes,...bring your own wall boxes for the plugs,....and get the thick plastic kind,...and a few tubes of silicone so you can seal where the cord goes into them....Rusting is a very big problem....Another alternative is to put the wire into the plastic hose they use for the wire here,...I would not use the metal from the States, they would not last long due to the rust factor. . Think about how much power you will need,...and where you want it....You will most likely have more then you need when you get through....the floors will be of cement with tile,...very cool,...and fantastic tile is available here at great prices.....But it will be a poured slab,...without rebar....The problem with cement and rebar construction along the coast,...and even in Tepic, the fact that they use beach sand for the cement,...and it has a high salt content.. .after a bit the rebar rusts,....and in doing this it expands,...causing the cement to fail and crack and fall on yours head....I do not care for that. I had a house in Tepic for a bit that did that....Not a good feeling....Maybe one of the others can tell you how to get around it....I do not know of a way....I have a problem with the steel grates on the windows and doors that they do down here....For one thing when they are on the coast, are having to clean them all the time to fight off the rust,...even with the best of rust resistant paints.....Environmentally this coast hates steel,...or loves it too much....For another, makes me feel that I am in jail....You can get some good wood work done down here....I have approached the labor thing like this... Keep it very simple, ...look at some of their work first,....Talk to the people they have done work for, them a good wage,...something that you both feel comfortable with......Let the maestro pick his helpers,...he has worked with them befor e. Let them start to work,...and watch what they are doing,...if they do not do the work as you want it,...stop them, them for the full day,...and get someone else.....This has worked for me,...and there has not been any hard feelings. feelings....You will find a fantastic crew that will do the job right....You have a right to get what you want....Sometimes this is not understood down here. Next to consider is the bug factor, ...the bugs here love white meat better then brown.....If you are going to be against the sea... bring your own good plastic screening,...and find a carpenter that can work with close tolerances,....and have him bug-safe your sleeping area and resting area where you look at the sea and your morning coffee spot.....Your life will be a degree better in this magic land.....This has worked for me.....And I have found it to be the best construction for this coast....Other friends told me that if I left my trailer all year round at La Manzanilla, the bugs would have the wooden frame in dust in short order.'
I hope that this bit helps. Sincerely Wendy

Posted by tony ferell on Abril 07, 2000

The materials used in Mexico can very widely. After a lot of thought I have decided to have my house built using as much of the "local" materials as possible, using the local style also. My thinking is it will be cheaper and much easier to find materials and workers that know how to work with these materials. I have a story of how one well-off Mexican bought a fiberglass shower stall for more than the price of a completely tiled shower stall. His fiberglass shower did give him more status that since it came from the US! Tony

Posted by alex in TJ on Abril 07, 2000

There was a post here some time back that warned against using beach sand in the cement portions of construction. Apparently the salt eats away at the iron reinforcing members. The solution was to insist on river sand instead. Sounded reasonable to me.

Posted by Esteban on Abril 07, 2000

River sand particles are not as rounded as beach sand and therefore have a greater strength. Insist on river sand.

Published or Updated on: July 11, 2000 by Discussion Thread Forum © 2009
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