The legendary 1963 movie Night of the Iguana was filmed in Puerto Vallarta, bringing Ava Gardner, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor to the town. Although Liz Taylor wasn’t in the film, she and Richard Burton loved the place so much they bought a house there and visited quite often during the time they were married.
The Mexican resort city sits in the Pacific Ocean’s Bahia de Banderas and its picturesque architecture and natural surroundings have made it a favourite especially with American timeshare owners because of its beaches, beauty and climate.
If you’re visiting for the first time this year, here are five don’t miss things to do and places to see in the area:
Take in the ocean along the Malecon Boardwalk.
This is “PV”’s palm-lined seaside promenade which was renovated some years ago and offers a beautiful view across the bay. At sunset you’re almost guaranteed to see an art show in the sky as the clouds and horizon turn various shades of gold, orange, pink and red. In the early evenings, Mexican couples and families – just like the Spanish – take their “paseo” along the boardwalks, which is a wonderful way to soak up the flavour of local life. At night, this is where you’ll find a lot of the clubs, bars and restaurants.
Soak up the peaceful spirit of Lady of Guadalupe.
This famous church is the symbol of the city, you’ll recognise it from films and TV documentaries about Puerto Vallarta. It’s the iconic landmark that appears in so many postcards and on souvenirs. It’s easy to spot, as it’s a tall building, located one block from the main square.
The bells toll every day from early morning onwards, and if you were there over Christmas, you’ll probably have been lucky enough to see some of the Virgin of Guadalupe Festival celebrations. Mass is also held in English and you can look inside the church during the day and spend a few minutes in quiet contemplation as it remains open for most of the day.
Soak up the romance of Viejo Vallarta.
Old Vallarta is aptly known as the Romantic Zone. It’s cosier and more charming than other parts of town – the streets are smaller and the shops, cafes and restaurants are more concentrated here. This is Puerto Vallarta at its most picturesque – cobbled streets, little markets, taco stands, older shops and architecture and smaller, rustic/boutique-style hotels are all part of the feel of the place. It’s a hive of activity during the day which continues well into the night. If you’re celebrating a special anniversary, Viejo Vallarta is the place to choose as your backdrop!