Learn What Makes Puerto Vallarta an Authentic Mexican Beach Destination

Boca de Tomates, Puerto Vallarta. (photo via Puerto Vallarta) (Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board)
by Linda Truilo
Last updated: 6:00 PM ET, Fri April 29, 2022

Discover Travel Agent Academy's Puerto Vallarta Specialist Program

Once a thriving port with connections to Mexico's silver mining operations, Puerto Vallarta was appreciated for its singular beauty by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who in the 1960s helped put the area on the tourism map. Even as Puerto Vallarta developed an infrastructure comprising top resorts and ways to explore the surrounding beaches and jungle-covered mountains, it has never lost its small-town feel or its traditions. For ideas on how to sell this Pacific Coast beach destination filled with the sights, sounds and flavors of Mexico's traditional and indigenous culture, continue reading.

Boundless Beaches

Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding area have beautiful beaches to suit every taste. Visitors wanting to soak in the historic town's fun social vibe will want to try Playas Los Muertos, not far from the central square. Or if a family-friendly Blue Flag beach is more their style, Play de Oro in the Hotel Zone will delight with its calm water and watersports. Just a little farther from town is picturesque Conchas Chinas, where towering rock formations form pristine natural pools. And adventurers wanting to bundle a day at the beach with a journey into the great outdoors can hike or take a water taxi to the hidden gem of Colomitos Beach, surrounded by the lush green mountains of the Sierra Madre, or visit Playa Yelapa, a little slice of paradise reachable only by boat, hiking or mountain biking. And these are just a few examples!

Romance on the Streets and in the Air

For travelers fond of quaint hillside towns with cobblestone streets, red-tiled roofs and fairytale-like churches graced by soaring towers, Puerto Vallarta will not disappoint. Add to this the spectacular sunsets that paint its skies throughout much of the year, and your clients will fall in love with this destination.

Festivals Sure to Fascinate

Festivals offer a fascinating window into a local culture. In Puerto Vallarta, everything from food to gay pride to saints, film and yoga is celebrated throughout the year. Visitors in early December can witness a particularly joyful festival when the town honors its patroness, Our Lady of Guadalupe, to whom its main church is dedicated. Another great event is the Annual DamaJuana Raicilla Festival, which is held in March to celebrate raicilla, a spirit that is similar to tequila and is unique to the region. Tastings and talks along with live music and equestrian events are all part of the fun.

Captivating Cuisine

Great food offers another way to the heart of a culture, and Puerto Vallarta abounds in culinary experiences. For example, your clients can dine on lobster chilaquiles in a candlelit garden fanned by a sea breeze, try birria tacos at a traditional Mexican eatery or stop by a vendor on the beach to sample pescado embarazado (aka Fish on a Stick), a favorite snack made of mahi mahi or red snapper that's been marinated in achiote paste, chilis, cumin and orange juice, cooked over an open flame and often served with a slice of lime. Culinary enthusiasts should also keep an eye out for food tours, markets and events like Restaurant Week and gourmet festivals.

An Array of Artworks

Puerto Vallarta wears its art on its sleeve - a good thing, since readily accessible art has a way of bringing people together. The town's iconic 'Boy on the Seahorse' sculpture on the Malecón (seaside promenade) is one of many public artworks on display, along with other sculptures and colorful murals. The Malecón is also home to a slew of art galleries featuring works by local Mexican and internationally known artists. A weekly Art Walk transforms the promenade and adjoining streets into an art fair displaying paintings, bronze sculptures, Mexican masks, textiles, stained glass as well as indigenous (Huichol or Wixárika) art.

An Infusion of Indigenous Culture

The Huichol people live in the surrounding foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains. A small tribe with ancestral ties to the Aztecs, they have maintained many of their pre-Columbian practices, including spiritual rituals rooted in nature. Visitors interested in learning about the Huichol can tour their villages and temples to experience their music, dances, colorful costumes and artwork. Their artwork, also known as Wixárika Art, consists of neon colors woven into psychedelic designs and takes the form of sculpture, textiles and masks, which can also be found in Puerto Vallarta's art galleries.

A Happy Sound of Tradition

No discussion of Puerto Vallarta would be complete without a mention of its Mariachi bands, which fill the streets with a lively and distinct type of music. With roots in Spanish theatrical orchestras, the bands that are popular today evolved in the State of Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is located. Visitors exploring the town are bound to encounter Mariachi bands, as they are often out and about entertaining partiers at weddings, festivals and restaurants.

Learn Much More!

This slide show has focused on helping you present Puerto Vallarta as a great beach destination with an authentically Mexican flavor, but there are so many more topics to learn about, from the spectacular variety of outdoor activities beyond the beach to the area's natural attractions to its great choice of accommodations for all sorts of travelers and its many settings for weddings and wellness. Enroll in the Puerto Vallarta Specialist program at TravelAgentAcademy.com to learn how to tailor a vacation for clients eager to connect with a fascinating destination.

Travel Agent Academy's Puerto Vallarta Specialist Program will help you sell a beach getaway with an extra kick.

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