Puerto Vallarta: Fiesta on the Mexican Riviera

Real-Life Spanish Fly: A Puerto Vallarta Sunset  (courtesy, Mexico Tourism)

Puerto Vallarta is known for a lot of things: charming villa resorts, miles of pristine beachfront, and some of the best dining in Mexico. But it may be best known as the backdrop for Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's secret and torrid tryst, which catapulted the coastal town to international fame in 1963. Since then, the allures of Puerto Vallarta have become anything but secret.

What used to be a sleepy fishing village nestled between the Sierra Madre hills and brilliant Banderas Bay has now become the ultimate Mexican getaway—drawing over two million visitors each year. While sun, sand, booze, and tourists are all in abundance here, Puerto Vallarta manages to retain its unique, Old-World charm. From strolling the quaint cobblestone streets to enjoying a sunset dinner at a remote jungle hideaway, Puerto Vallarta draws modern-day lovers hoping to capture some of that legendary Hollywood magic for themselves.

At the heart of historic Puerto Vallarta is the bell tower of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church—use it as a landmark. From there, climb the stairs behind the church to the legendary Casa Kimberly (Calle Zaragoza 445), the love nest Richard Burton bought for Elizabeth Taylor on her 32nd birthday.

But enough about the past—this city is all about you. So it's on to the Malecón, the famous waterfront boardwalk that lures romantics by the droves. Stroll hand in hand under Belle Époque street lamps, recline on a bench made for two, and take in the glorious sunset or the crashing waves on a perfect moonlit night. With lively bars, restaurants, and art galleries lining the promenade, it's always a hotbed of activity day or night.

In Puerto Vallarta, the dining experiences are numerous—with over 250 restaurants from which to choose. Pipi's (Guadalupe Sanchez 807, Colonia Centro, 322.223.2767, www.pipis.com.mx) offers a Tex-Mex menu (try the famous steak fajitas) in a festive, party atmosphere, but a candlelit French dinner at Cafe des Artistes (Guadalupe Sanchez 740, Colonia Centro, 322.222.3228, www.cafedesartistes.com) should not be missed. The creative Asian-fusion cuisine at Archie's Wok (Francisca Rodriguez No. 130, 322.222.0411), meanwhile, will hit the spot after days of subsisting on guacamole and salsa.

But for the most heady dining experience in town, head on over to Le Kliff (Carr. A Barra de Navidad Km 17.5, 322.224.0975, www.lekliff.com). With four tiers from which to enjoy jaw-dropping, 180-degree ocean views, the scenery alone will make you swoon in your seat…and that's before you start feasting on the freshest lobster in town.

But of course, the evening must end with a little one-on-one. The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita (Punta Mita, Bahia de Banderas, Nayarit) is just 26 miles from Puerto Vallarta and offers white-sand beaches, private plunge pools, top-of-the-line spas, and a Jack Nicklaus golf course right by the ocean. For those who want to stay close to PV, check into the conveniently located Westin Resort & Spa (Paseo de la Marina Sur 205). With panoramic views from each balcony, sunset dining, and the comfiest beds in town, it's the perfect place to create a private hideaway of your very own.

Published: 27 Jun 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Puerto Vallarta

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