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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - General Overview

Puerto Vallarta - beautiful beaches, lush jungles and sparkling waterfalls offer many opportunities for the adventurous, while five star resorts, world-class shopping and gourmet restaurants satisfy even the most sophisticated traveler.

Miles of golden sandy beaches in Puerto Vallarta canvas Banderas Bay, one of the largest and deepest in the world.

Located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta contiues to be, as it has for many years, an abouslute ideal location for newlyweds.

Whether you want to sit carefree on a beach or be adventurous and explore a jungle, Puerto Vallarta has it all! Let the planning begin, today!

Most Popular Beaches

Puerto Vallarta has miles and miles of wide sandy playas, some boasting coves seemingly carved just for two, others quite popular with lots of palapa restaurants, amenities and services.

Majahuitas - Located on a remote, secluded cove south of Puerto Vallarta, Majahuitas beach is accessible only by boat (i.e. water taxi).

Quimixto - One of three remote beaches south of Puerto Vallarta that is accessible only by boat. Pangas or water taxis leave the mainland several times a day for this out-of-the-way shore.

Boca de Tomatlán - A small seaside village cove that sits at the edge of the jungle, three miles south of Mismaloya, where the mouth or boca of the Tomatlan River meets the bay, hence its name.

Mismaloya - Probably the most well known Puerto Vallarta beach due to the filming of "Night of the Iguana" here in l963, this 500-meter-long beach sits at the very edge of the jungle where the Mismaloya creek meets the sea.

Gemelas - "Twin" beach is two small crescent-shaped beaches at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Here the surf is gentle and good for swimming.

Garza Blanca - A small city beach located off the Barra Navidad road at Km 6 on the way to Mismaloya, this white sand beach is framed with palms and crystal clear water that laps the shoreline.

Hotel Zone - This beach is the most active of beaches in Puerto Vallarta as it stretches south from the municipal marina nearly to the downtown area.

Bucerias - The name means "Place of the Divers." Its 5-mile stretch of white sand beaches is the longest along the Bay of Banderas.

Punta de Mita - Located at the northern tip of the Bahia de Banderas, 26 miles from Puerto Vallarta on the Punta Mita Highway, this once-remote beachside fishing village is now home to the Four Seasons Punta de Mita Resort.

Sayulita – Twenty-two miles north of the airport, the idyllic Sayulita beach is located in a cove where the jungle meets the sea. Perfect for surfing or sunning and everything in between. Seaside cafes and fine dining and other services available here. {Source – Visit Puerto Vallarta}

Traveler Facts

Travel & Transportation (airports, ferries, etc) How to get there

By plane - Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport is located just to the North of Puerto Vallarta proper, and just south of Nuevo Vallarta. Most major U.S. airlines serve the airport along with Aeromexico.

By car - There are modern, well maintained toll roads all the way from the border, other roads are not as well maintained, but are still suitable for the drive to Puerto Vallarta.

By boat - There are many party boats that leave the coast from the Marina for day trips to Puerto Vallarta. Some stop at various beaches.

By bus - The main bus station is far to the north Puerto Vallarta, a little north of the airport. A local bus or taxi is required to reach the main city. To catch a local bus into town, exit the bus station and keep walking across the parking area. The city buses will stop here. Any bus you pick up here will take you downtown.

Getting around Puerto Vallarta

By taxi - Hotels may provide a price list for cabs (expect to pay about 50 pesos for short trips, and 200 for longer trips). Taxi drivers are friendly and you can negotiate trips outside of Puerto Vallarta at very reasonable cost on slow days.

By bus - Bus trips in Puerto Vallarta cost around 5 pesos, which is about 50 cents. You pay the bus driver when you get in and every ride is good for as long as you have to stay on... the whole city if you'd like. Buses stop almost every five to ten blocks and at peak hours tend to get very full. {Source – Wikitravel}

Entry Requirements; passports, visa, etc. - Traveling to Puerto Vallarta, México doesn’t require a passport only an official ID. However, effective December 31, 2006, passports are required for all U.S. citizens traveling to or from the United States regardless of destination. If you are not a citizen of the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, or most Western European countries, you will need to have a visa.

Visitors must carry a Mexican tourist permit while in Puerto Vallarta, which is issued free of charge after proof of citizenship upon arrival. This permit must be given to officials on departure.

Languages Spoken / official language – Spanish is the official language spoken in Puerto Vallarta.

Currency – The Mexican Peso is the official currency of Puerto Vallarta.

Tipping – Since most travelers in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico come from the United States and Canada, it's considered best (and is generally the practice) to tip the same people one would tip in the United States or Canada. Ten to fifteen percent is a good tip for good service.

Even though All-inclusive tours say that tips are included, it’s always appreciated in Puerto Vallarta if you tip for good service, whether at a bar, restaurant, or other service. In an All-inclusive, where there is no value guideline for meal service tipping, a tip at each meal and for the bellboy is always appreciated. {Source – Trip Advisor}

Taxes - Puerto Vallarta has a value-added tax called IVA included in products and services, for residents or foreigners. It’s currently 15 percent on the sales value of goods and services, and an extra 2 percent is added to the price of accommodation in hotels. {Source – Inter Habit}

Electricity – 120V 60 Hz

2 parallel flat prongs - "American" type

Other (immunizations, health issues) - It’s highly recommended that you buy bottled water during your visit to Puerto Vallarta. Bottled water, depending on size, typically costs 30 - 50 pesos ($2.77-$4.62 USD). Otherwise, do not drink the water unless your hotel has a water purification system. Most of the resorts in Puerto Vallarta have purified water at all of the facilities located inside the resorts including the bars and restaurants. The upper-scale restaurants usually have purified water as well, but the water outside of these areas is not safe to drink.

If you’re in Puerto Vallarta and your travel plans will take you to more than one country during a single trip, be sure to let your health-care provider know so that you can receive the appropriate vaccinations and information for all of your destinations. 

Marriage Requirements, Licenses & Wedding Information

Listed below are the required documents needed for foreign citizens who wish to be legally married in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. All documents must be translated by an authorized translator in Puerto Vallarta. You should get these documents and send them to your Wedding coordinator at least one month before the ceremony to allow time for translation.

Once you arrive in Puerto Vallarta, the Justice of the Peace will need to meet with the bride and groom at least 2-3 days before the ceremony to process the paperwork. Legal weddings in Puerto Vallarta currently cost $595.00 USD. [Rate is subject to change.] The wedding ceremony is performed in Spanish, and an official translator is included in the price.

Documents required by Mexican Law and the Civil office in the State of Jalisco

  • You must present the originals, so make two copies of every document
• Application for Wedding License (provided by Adventure Weddings) Application must be fully completed, with witness names and all spouse and family information.
• Birth certificates with apostilles.* Official copies of your birth certificates which have been apostilized by the Mexican consulate in your home country will first need to be sent to our wedding coordinator, preferably 3 months before your wedding date. You must also bring the originals with you to Mexico.
• Photocopies and originals of the couple’s valid tourist cards (FMTs)/visas and passports. If you do not have a passport, your apostilized birth certificate and a valid driver's license [with photo] will suffice.
• Death certificate of spouse, if applicable, with apostille.* If you are widowed, one full year must elapse from date of the death of previous spouse and a certified copy of spouse's death certificate must be presented.
• Divorce papers, if applicable, with apostille.* If you are divorced, one full year must elapse from date of the divorce from the previous spouse, and the final dissolution of marriage must be verified with a certified copy of the divorce decree.
• A blood test must be taken once you arrive in Puerto Vallarta [These tests must be taken no more than 14 days before wedding date.] Tests must include STDs, blood type, and Rh factor. HIV testing is optional. If you go in early in the day, the tests will usually be ready the same afternoon. The blood tests cost about $100.00 USD per couple, but is subject to change.
• Four witnesses, age 18 or older. They can be either Mexican or foreign citizens, as long as they bring valid identification (passport or, in the case of Mexican citizen, valid voter registration card.) However, if the witnesses are foreign, they must bring the original as well as copies of their valid tourist card/visa. The parents of the couple may not serve as witnesses to the marriage. If witnesses are needed, we can provide them at no additional cost.

Fulfilling these requirements (excepting the Apostille) will take you about 2 to 4 days. You will need to apply for the Apostille in your country of origin. This can be a lengthy process, so we recommend you start the apostille procedure as early as possible.

*All of these documents must have an apostille in order for the Civil Register Office to consider them valid and legal. The apostille must be acquired from the Secretary of State's Office in the state where you were born. Canadians must have these documents certified at the Mexican Consulate's Office in Canada. The marriage cannot be celebrated without fulfilling these requirements.

{Source – Banderas News}

Tourism Office address, phone and Web site

Fideicomiso de Turismo de Puerto Vallarta (FIDETUR)
Zona Comercial, Hotel Canto del Sol
Local 18, Planta Baja
Zona Hotelera Las Glorias
Puerto Vallarta, JALISCO 48310
Phone: (322) 224-1175

Other Travel related Web sites for the country or location

Climate Information (what the seasons are like & when is the best time of year to travel)

Puerto Vallarta enjoys a typical tropical climate, with near constant temperature and humidity year round and with a pronounced wet and dry seasonal variation.

The average daily high temperature is 86 degrees Fahrenheit, average daily low temperature is 70 F and average daily humidity is 75 percent. The rainy season extends from mid June through Mid October, with most of the rain falling between July and September. {Source – Wikipedia}

High & Low Season for travel – For Puerto Vallarta, the peak holiday periods are July and August, mid-December to early January, and a week either side of Easter. During these times, resorts attract big tourist crowds, room prices go up, and everything is heavily booked, so reservations are recommended. November through April is reliably dry, warm, blissful and popular months for travel among North Americans and Europeans. {Source - Lonely Planet}

Link to a good Map

Map of Puerto Vallarta

Local Attractions & Must Do’s

Whether it is the challenge of hiking, biking, or scuba diving expeditions, Puerto Vallarta offers activities to delight even the most experienced traveler. Horse trekking, whale watching, and 4-wheeling will fill your days, while romantic dinners and dancing make evenings unforgettable. The appeal of this tropical locale attracts artists from around the world, who display their works at galleries and art walks for you to enjoy. {Source – Visit Puerto Vallarta}

Top 5 Most Popular Hotels

Discover a world of lavish beauty and luxury at Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort. Located on magnificent Banderas Bay in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, Grand Velas delivers the ultimate All-inclusive vacation with exceptional dining, world-class hospitality, and luxurious hotel accommodations in a spectacular setting on Mexico’s golden coast. Your health and wellness are at the heart of the Grand Velas philosophy - an unrivaled experience that seduces your senses and rejuvenates your spirit. It’s commitment to extraordinary service has garnered several accolades, including AAA’s 5 Diamond Award, Condé Nast’s “Most Excellent Spa Hotel” award, and TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice award for “Best Luxury Hotel in the World”.

Quite frankly there is nothing like Playa Fiesta in Puerto Vallarta. It is unique in the truest sense of the word. Located on the edge of the water with glorious nightly sunsets, this gem is Vallarta's finest boutique hotel. Its intimacy and ambience will give you the feeling of being worlds away while you're actually only five minutes from a bustling downtown and active nightlife. Alive with color and greenery, this enchanting hotel has only 21 units, totaling 30 bedrooms, giving it the homey feel of a large villa. All the Ocean View Suites and Penthouse Suites have full living rooms and large terraces overlooking the bay, with the Penthouse Suites having full kitchens and dining rooms. It's the perfect spot for wedding parties searching for the freedom and privacy of an entire property without losing the convenience of hotel service. Full restaurant, bar and spa services give you everything you need onsite, while our hotel coordinators Norberto Suarez and Lindsay Burgess will make sure all your wishes are fulfilled.

Hacienda San Angel is a Puerto Vallarta hotel providing luxury Puerto Vallarta accommodations once owned by some of Mexico's most prominent families. Here, where the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains embrace the azure waters of Banderas Bay, vacationers can revel in a beguiling blend of colonial charm, outdoor activities and superb Puerto Vallarta accommodations unparalleled on the fabled Mexican Riviera. This fabulous boutique hotel in Mexico offers Puerto Vallarta luxury villas that exemplify all that's stylish about living in Mexico.

Creating lasting memories is our main goal. The Golden Crown Paradise resort caters to the adult traveler who is looking to enjoy the most memorable honeymoon, anniversary, successful meeting or simply sit back-relax with a group of friends in Puerto Vallarta. This medium-sized resort offer spacious accommodations, a la carte dining; friendly service a vast selection of activities, sports and entertainment, as well as romantic settings for candlelit dinners. The unsurpassed pampering from the staff creates the perfect scenario for an unforgettable getaway.

There are places where beauty is based on grandiosity. There are hotels whose attractiveness is based upon its opulence and there are hotels whose enticing feature is based on a thorough respect of the individuality of each of its guests. At Villa Premiere Hotel & SPA in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, the staff is truly interested in you. If you need a hotel where tranquility is guaranteed, if just relaxing is a must, and if you are looking for an excellent location, Villa Premiere Hotel & SPA in Puerto Vallarta Mexico will exceed your expectations.