Mexico evokes certain images when mentioned as a vacation destination, but when the topic of conversation is Puerto Vallarta, it becomes necessary to expand a little bit. This isn’t a run of the mill getaway spot where cerveza and sunbathing are the main draws; Puerto Vallarta is rich with culture, art, and adventure along with the typical relaxation aides mentioned above, meaning a trip here will contain all you could ask for in a tropical beach getaway.

Puerto Vallarta (doesn’t the name alone rev you up just a little bit?) is located on the Pacific coast of Mexico on what is know as the Mexican Riviera. Near the center of the expansive country, this destination enjoys fine weather most of the year and tends to attract a healthy wintertime crowd in search of relief from the snow and ice that less fortunate parts of the world are forced to endure. Summers can be steamy and rainy with high humidity and temperatures in the 90’s, while the winter months range from 70 to 85 degrees. The sun shines for nearly 300 days a year, so chances are you’ll be happy with the conditions during your visit.

History has seen Puerto Vallarta evolve from a simple fishing village to a fashionable spot worthy of shooting a movie starring Elizabeth Taylor, and today it is not only a solid choice for tourists looking to kick back and have some fun, but it has retained a singular identity that sets it apart from other resort towns. Wandering around this town is a feast for the mind as well as the eyes, so prepare to be replenished in more ways than one.

For example, an unmissable sight is the Malecon, an eleven block stretch of coastline that contains sculptures, shops, bars and people-watching opportunities galore. This is one of those places to “see and be seen” and it’s also quite visually interesting. Take a look at the nine foot tall bronze seahorse that tells an interesting story about the wily ways of the ocean and stands as the first statue to be built along the promenade. Also notable is the piece depicting a thirty foot ladder with two children climbing ever upwards, and just down the way is a sea god and sea nymph locked in an eternal gaze. Mostly made by Mexican artists with grand visions, this display is not to be overlooked.

After nourishing your creative side, get your adrenaline pumping by taking advantage of one of the many sport-tastic opportunities. The northern shore of Puerto Vallarta is perfect for a number of heart-pounding activities like surfboarding and windsurfing and there are several popular scuba diving and snorkeling spots, including Los Arcos and Isla Marietas. Kayaks can be rented at most area beaches, and the experience of floating above the fray for a bird’s eye view can be achieved by taking a parasailing adventure. The seaside cabanas and shops will take care of all equipment and instructional needs, so get ready to have a blast.

Cuisine-inclined folk, a.k.a. food lovers, be aware that Puerto Vallarta claims to have the best food in Mexico. Sushi is a specialty and chefs from all over the world call this home, so expect to be wowed on more than one occasion. Casual to classy, cheap to luxurious, the culinary atmosphere can best be summed by one phrase: lot’s of choices.

Golf, shopping, nightlife, festivals and art galleries will help to finish out your itinerary; don’t forget to save some time for lounging, swimming, floating and reading as well. This is your time to catch up on sleep, reconnect with your significant other, and forget about your responsibilities. Do this by whatever means necessary; in Puerto Vallarta, it won’t be a challenge.

One more aspect of the trip that will lend itself to the successful execution of your great escape will be your lodging decision. To take things to the limit, consider renting a vacation home rather than staying in a hotel. Puerto Vallarta Vacation Rentals have a way of making you feel like you’re in your own world, one where you decide what your schedule is and who to spend your time with. Pick a romantic beach house for two equipped with all that you’ll need to remain secluded for a while, or choose a spacious villa with enough bedrooms to let the whole beautiful family breathe and coexist peacefully.

Checking out all the properties online is fun way to spend a little time, and may reveal the future site of many pleasant memories. At the very least, it’ll get you in the mood to visit Puerto Vallarta (as if that’s a difficult thing to get excited about) so start exploring your options today.

Caitlin Moore