Puerto Vallarta is snuggles at the base of the tropical Sierra Madres Mountains on the Bay of Banderas. Noted as a fishing village before it became “popular”, this city will certainly give you the flavor of the Mexico you have come to see. Many well-to-do Americans built vacation homes here, especially after the filming of”Night of the Iguana.” This area became know as “Gringo Gulch.:”
US dollars are accepted everywhere and taxies are available at the pier. They are unmetered, so establish the fare before you get in the taxi.
Walking the cobblestone street of downtown will offer you the opportunity to both people watch and do some excellent shopping. Visit the Church of Guadalupe. Be sure to go inside the church if you are dressed appropriately to see its beauity. If you walk the main street along the beach, be sure to watch for the beautiful statues, especially the “Boy on the Sea Horse.”
The Artesian Market is downtown Puerto Vallarta offers many hand-crafted items. Quartz and Lapis (a blue stone with gold fleks) are bargains. Street vendors offer some interesting wares and prices. The shopping village near the pier can offer some fair prices, but in Mexico, BARTER, BARTER, BARTER!!
Parasailing is available along the beach near any of the hotels and is fairly reasonably priced. If you plan to walk the beach to the ship from downtown, be prepared with some old shoes or sandals as areas of the beach are quite rocky. If sunbathing is your preference, head for one of the plush resort hotels which welcome cruise passengers to its pool area for the day. Your cruise director will tell you which ones these are.