Coordinates: 20.6534° N, 105.2253° W
Distance from Baton Rouge: 1,447 miles
Flying Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes
Driving Time: 27 hours
Right under the nose of the Sierra Madre mountains is Puerto Vallarta, a city on Mexico’s Pacific coast brimming with culture, friendly locals, and stunning beaches. In fact, Puerto Vallarta is known for its gastronomy (just take a look at all the restaurants in the area!) and colorful atmosphere, which ranks the city as a must-see in the country. Whether you make it a romantic getaway or a family vacation, Puerto Vallarta is the perfect beach destination with authentic Mexican flare.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Los Arcos Suites captures authentic Mexican charm in its gorgeous suites located just outside of downtown Puerto Vallarta. The ambiance and beauty of this enchanting boutique hotel resides in the Mexican colonial-style architecture, and all the amenities will make you and your family feel at home. Your stay at Puerto Vallarta includes access to the beach club, the swimming pools, several restaurants, and more to give you the perfect experience during your vacation.
WHERE TO EAT
No Sé Nada Restaurant and Bar
You might not know what tasty dish to choose at No Sé Nada Restaurant and Bar. Start with the Tot Lot Tater Tots and house salsa before you work your way to the rest of the menu. For lunch, check out the soft shell crab tacos or the baked panela cheese. The dinner menu is even better–oaxacan-style pastor chicken, traditional Mexican “dry pasta” soup, and weekly dinner specials. Even better, the owners are from Louisiana, so there’s a shrimp po-boy and a mud pie on the menu.
Fredy’s Toucán has breakfast, lunch, sweets, and a coffee shop for when you need a boost during your tour of Puerto Vallarta. Stop in for a poblano omelet and a latte before you hit town, or you can try their sweet pancakes or savory chilaquiles. They also have some Mexican specialties, like Yelapa eggs and tampiqueña steak, along with yummy paninis, soups, and salads for the perfect lunch stop.
The Blue Shrimp Restaurant
At The Blue Shrimp Restaurant, you can select from more than 30 different shrimp dishes with a view of the most popular beach in Puerto Vallarta, Los Muertos. Try the spicy diabla shrimp, the milder coconut shrimp, or, if you can’t choose, get the shrimp boat loaded with ceviche, calamari, garlic bread, and all types of shrimp. If you’re not in the mood for shrimp, they also have steak, fish, and lobster dishes as well as a catch of the day. They have breakfast, too, so you could stop there before your day of lounging on the beach.
THINGS TO DO
The iconic Malecon Boardwalk captures the essence of Puerto Vallarta and is full of attractions for locals and tourists alike. Here, you’ll see sculptures by famous artists from all over the world as you walk along the beach. There are also shops, art galleries, and even more opportunities to taste local and international cuisine–all with a view of the blue, Pacific waters.
Did you know there’s an island near downtown Puerto Vallarta? That’s right, all you have to do is walk across a bridge to get to Cuale River Island, a shaded oasis with an outdoor market, food, and live music. Depending on what part of downtown you are coming from, you might even get to take a cool suspension bridge to this island full of color and culture. It’s also the perfect spot to buy souvenirs!
There are countless beaches to explore at Puerto Vallarta, so it’ll be hard to pick just one. If you take a boat ride to Yelapa Beach, you’ll be able to get a taste of the famous homemade pies and take a scenic hike to its waterfall. You can also get a tour of the private Las Caletas Beach, where you can snorkel, scuba dive, paddleboard, and even lounge in hammocks while the kids play in the clear, shallow water. Or, if you’re looking for someplace more remote, there’s always Colomitos Beach tucked in the Sierra Madre mountains that you can get through by hiking or by taking a water taxi. ■