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Beach sunset panorama

After my first visit to Puerto Vallarta I was in love. In love with the city, in love with the culture, in love with the views, and in love with the people. The town completely swept me off my feet. I'm not quite sure why I wasn't expecting to be blown away, but I wasn't. Boy was I wrong.  After visiting this past December, I truly fell in love with this part of Mexico! It is a beautiful, lesser known gem with so many wonderful things to offer. Puerto Vallarta and the Rivera Nayarit are located on the Pacific side of Mexico at about the same latitude as Cancun. The area lies on the beaches of beautiful Banderas Bay, and is surrounded by the lush Sierra Madras mountains. The mountains actually meet the sea here, which makes for stunning views. There are several luxury resorts in the area as well as some very nice ones that price really well.

Puerto Vallarta is such a charming town that boasts authentic, vibrant Mexican culture with lots of local shops, street vendors, restaurants, and art galleries. While visiting, take a short cab ride Downtown and visit the Malecon. This is a pedestrian only boardwalk where locals and tourists alike explore, shop, and dine in the many boutiques, open air cafes, and art galleries. There is also lots of nightlife here if you are looking to go off resort for some fun. There's American touristy places such as Senor Frog's you can stop in and have a drink, and also lots of little local bars and shops if you are looking for a true authentic Mexican experience. Check out the Our Lady of Guadalupe church. Even if you are not religious, this historic structure is a beautiful must see!

Another reason I love P.V. is for the many eco-adventure tours and excursions. These types of activities price very well here in comparison to other Mexican and Caribbean like activities elsewhere. Puerto Vallarta is located in the state of Jaliso where tequila is made. There are lots of options for visiting tequila farms here, and sampling is a must! True, Mexican tequila is so yummy and tastes nothing like what we have in the states. Why not try a tequila 101 class? Even if you think tequila is not for you, I guarantee you will find one you love after some sampling.  You can  also do things like rent atv's and ride through jungle trails, dolphin adventures, zip line on Mexico's longest and fastest course, or my personal favorite the Marietas Eco Discovery. This is the coolest tour I have ever seen! The Marietas islands, made famous by Jacques Cousteau, are only accessible by boat. Once there, you will have to kayak or snorkel into the inner beach to experience the wildlife both above and below the water. This is a very unique tour and one I highly recommend for anyone visiting P.V.  During the months of November-March many tourist come to Puerto Vallarta to whale watch. And if you're lucky (and have an oceanview room overlooking the Bay of Banderas) you may even be able to spot these beautiful creatures from your balcony while sipping on your morning coffee.

The warmth and friendliness of the people is so genuine and heart felt here. I really love the culture and true Mexican charm this city has to offer. The locals welcome tourists with open arms and are thrilled to share their beautiful city and rich history with us.

If you'd like to add this destination to your travel 'must visit' list, give me a call or send me an email. I'd be glad to share with you my favorite resorts and activities, and design your perfect vacation. 
Jessica Kruse
Travel Designer
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