This trip was sponsored by the Puerto Vallarta tourism board. All opinions are my own.
Puerto Vallarta is located on the west coast of Mexico in the state of Jalisco. The mild climate (a far cry from the polar vortex of the east), and return of many spectacular migratory animals (including whales and butterflies) make this time of year the best time to visit this beautiful and welcoming city.
PV is the birthplace of many of the iconic traits of Mexican heritage including mariachi, jaripeo (bull riding), and probably the most celebrated artifact worldwide, tequila.
To experience the magic of Puerto Vallarta for yourself, visit visitpuertovallarta.com, and, to inspire your dream itinerary, here a few of my favorite winter activities in Puerto Vallarta:
Whale Watching Tours: When I traveled to PV last February I was excited to revisit Mexico and explore a new city, but I was most eager to see the humpback whales celebrating “spring break”.
The tourism board arranged for us to sail with Eco Explorer Vallarta on Banderas Bay, and after a smooth ride out to sea, we spotted an adorable whale family with a mother, father, and baby.
While we didn’t see any full breaching, it was still such a thrill to see the family splashing, playing, and an occasional whale tail pop out of the water.
Beber Las Bebidas: Whether you choose to partake in the world’s best tequila, or not, there are plenty of delicious, family friendly drinks to be enjoyed. Cafe de olla is Puerto Vallarta’s signature coffee drink. It is made in small earthen pots with little sugar pyramids called piloncillos, and has a wonderful cinnamon taste.
While exploring the remote area of Yelapa, we were treated to gondo fruit juice, a sweet drink in a stunning shade of oxblood red. I think my favorite beverage was the tuba drink, made from the juice of a coconut palm served with walnuts (pictured above).
Visit Yelapa: Yelapa (as I mentioned above) is a remote village (formerly a fishing village) only accessible by boat (there is a ferry service from mainland PV). It is breathtakingly beautiful and home to eco resorts, hiking trails that lead to gorgeous waterfalls, and beachside restaurants.
After spraining my ankle due to an inability to spot a step, I was planted at Angelina’s Gardens while the group went on a hike. The restaurant serves fresh fruit and vegetables grown on property, free Wifi, and lounge chairs by the water for relaxing pre or post meal.
Bird Watching Tour: Like the whales, many migratory birds call Puerto Vallarta their home in the winter months. By booking a birding tour, you can see a great variety of birds, including Grey-Crowned Woodpeckers, Painted Redstarts, Black-Vented Orioles, Grey-Collared Pygmy owls, Tufted Flycatcher, and many, many more.
It’s a great way to get some walking in on your vacation, and learn a lot about our feathered friends.
Canopy River Expedition: As you can see, I don’t have a photo from the canopy experience because, at the time, I was too afraid to join the group.
However, after working up the courage to try ziplining in Costa Rica, I am hooked, and a little disappointed myself for not trying it at this safe, beautiful, and family run area.
Walking Tour of Downtown PV: The best way to get to know Puerto Vallarta is by walking its safe and quaint cobble stoned streets. Downtown is lively and have some of the area’s best, and most respected restaurants.
The Malecón, which lines the beach, is a short walk from downtown, and absolute must do in PV. This area has daily street performances, open air concerts, and local food and art vendors. The most famous attractions here are the statues lining the promenade, and the nightlife.
For more tips about traveling to Puerto Vallarta, visit visitpuertovallarta.com.