Downtown, Puerto Vallarta
go to the main square downtown any afternoon or evening; many families and children will be there. sometimes there is music.
the main square is the plaza between morelos and juarez, roughly four blocks north of the rio cuale. it is across from the amphitheater on the malecon.
... and when you do make certain that one of the things which you try is a gordita. A gordita is a hand-held piece of heaven, a puffy symphony to Mexican good taste. At some food stalls, cooks will simply heat a thick slab of masa (maize flour dough) on a dry griddle until puffed, then stuff it. At others, they will start the masa cake on the griddle, then transfer it to bubbling oil for a perfect finish. The cooked masa is split, then filled with your choice of ground pork, punchy chorizo, or cheese and chillies. It’s finished off with a sprinkling of shredded lettuce, chopped onion, and the usual dollop of hot sauce. Find a good one, and it’s an edible work of art.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church is one of the the most endearing of all Puerto Vallarta's landmarks, and is located in El Centro.
Construction began in 1918 and was completed in 1951. The gilded crown that tops the beautiful church is a replica of the crown worn by Carlota, empress of Mexico in the 1860s, the base of which is decorated with eight angels holding hands.
The original crown was made of concrete and was unfortunately damaged in the 1995 earthquake, but has since been replaced by one done by the famous sculpture Octavio Gonzales.
You can see from my picture that the church is a beautiful structure.
The Huichol Art Museum (Arte Magico Huichol) is one places that I am really sorry I did not manage to fit into my schedule. The museum was closed when I was in the area and unfortunately I did not have the time to go back for a visit during the open hours. The Huichol collection displayed here (bead masks, jewelry and tapestries) is the biggest in the world. Next time I go to Puerto Vallarta I will definitely put this museum on the top of my "to do" list.
We had heard from a fellow passenger on the ship that PV has some awesome places which provide massages...and relatively inexpensive. He mentioned that there were a number of places near the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe church. So after the tequila pit stop, we headed off in search of a massage.
After doing some shopping at the Río Cuale Flea Market, we started walking along the street and found a place called Yin-Yang Professional Massage. Didn't seem like much outside, but once inside, you could feel calmness take over. I didn't need a massage, but LJ did, so I went across the street to the internet cafe.
1 1/2 hours later, LJ said that she had the best massage ever, and it only cost $30 (USD)...where else are you going to get an awesome massage for that price (certainly not on the cruise ship). They specialize in aromatherapy, shiatsu, reflexology, facials, sea salt body scrubs, mud treatments, manicures & pedicures.
This is a great restaurant in the middle of downtown with an amazing view! The food is good and reasonably priced. The best part of this place is they ALWAYS have $1 margaritas and $1 beers...ALWAYS! I’m not talking about a Dixie cup of beer or a watered down marg. They have full 12oz beers and STRONG margs. Let’s just say that is the place to start every night out downtown if you want to get tossed and save money!
Located in downtown in the heart of Puerto Vallarta. This church is the focal point of an elaborate 12-day festival each December. The structure itself was built during a 12-year period beginning in 1929. The interior is filled with hand-carved columns, decorative moldings and other rich detailing. An earthquake damaged the ornate crown that originally adorned the church. It was replaced, but the repair still creates controversy. The original crown is said to have been modeled after a tiara worn by the mistress of the Emperor Maximilian.
*Please be respectful when visiting this or any other is a religios place. Mini skirts, shorts and tank tops or bare shoulders are not allowed.
English Mass: 10a Su
the downtown open market is a very exhilarating experience in itself, but you can get worn out quickly by all of the fast-paced activity, so don't stay long on your first visit there. many of the little stalls in other shopping clusters downtown are also quite reasonable. the smaller shops are usually not quite so hectic.
And although we are outsiders in their hometown, their is a church right downtown, I forget the name of this spectacular church, but knew there was only one church Guadalupe that spoke english service on Sundays at 11am.
This is a very touristy thing to do but fun. There are two Fiestas in the city, on different nights. All the food, drinks and music for one price. Be careful how you get tickets to this. There are a lot of "corner" salespeople with "deals". Usually revolving around a time share sales pitch. Prices vary from one person to another.
december 12 is our lady (the virgin mary) of guadalupe day, a very important and festive religious holiday commemorating a peasant's vision of the virgin. every evening the children have parades, dress up as religious figures and aztecs, and sing folk songs. all of this happens for two weeks before the actual day.
the singing is absolutely beautiful. it is representative of the real mexico, and people are happy to share it with others.
If you want to get a unique view of Puerto Vallarta, you can try parasailing. Parasailing
is offered at nearly every beach in the area. Just look for the jet skis and parachutes. Always make sure you bargain with the guys so you can get the best deal possible. I've never tried it myself, but several of my friends did and really enjoyed it. Not sure what the exact costs were, but I'm guessing around $50CDN or so(?).
Downtown there is a sort of flea market, new items though. A combination gift shop/mall that stretches for blocks behind the store fronts. So much fun! Be prepared to barter. Prices are flexible, depending on what you negotiate. As you go further into the market, prices get lower. Lots of pottery, sarongss, sombreros, hand crafts etc. A wonderful experience!
The older downtown of Puerto Vallarta is one of the best places to see real Mexico.
Its not a bunch of overpriced tourist hotels.
I like staying near the older part of town instead of out by Nuevo Vallarta because I like experiencing the culture a little bit.
You can get some good deals in the stores in the downtown area.
Upon arrival we take the bus to the hotel, check in, and then walk directly to hotel Los Cuatro Vientos for a sunset cocktail at their roof top bar El Nido.
The view, atmosphere, and gentle breeze...and this is all before the sun sinks into the Pacific...will create an immediate and lasting love affair with PV. By the time you leave El Nido you wil likely be planning your next trip to PV.
After El Nido walk directly to El Palomar for the seafood platter.
If you do the traditional El Nido + El Palomar first night in PV you could do nothing else for the rest of your trip and still consider it a great success and experience.