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Puerto Vallarta Sights and Landmarks Guide, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, includes the entire 40-miles coastline area stretching from Mismaloya, known as the South Shore, to San Francisco/San Pancho, termed the North Shore. The area is generally called Banderas Bay. The topography of the area varies from dense jungle vegetation of exotic tropical plants, to rocky riverbeds that drain into the open seas, to steep mountain sides adorned by several villas and casitas, to historic sites and buildings that demonstrate the rich culture of the area.

The long stretch of Costa Vallarta is divided into 8 neighbourhoods, each having its own specialty.

Vallarta neighbourhoods

1) The 100 km long, horse-shoe shaped coastline of Banderas Bay is commonly called Vallarta, even though the coastline stretches through two states, Jalisco and Nayarit. There is a time difference of one hour between these 2 states, which could be confusing when you are travelling back and forth in the area.

2) Bucerias is a small typical Mexican pueblo with a more leisurely pace of life.

3) Conchas Chinas is the equivalent of Beverly Hills here, with upscale residences, sprawling villas, and lavish condos on the mountain leading to the old Vallarta-style houses on the highway that stretches to the beach.

4) Downtown South is known as the Romantic Zone, separated by the scenic Isla Rio Cuale. This is the main tourist attraction spot, with swinging bridges, a very popular beach, an English language theatre, gay sights, famous bars, restaurants, and specialty shops.

5) El Centro is the real centre of Puerto Vallarta, with a bohemian and eclectic atmosphere. The cultural diversity, the art scenes, the great dining arrangements, and the abundant nightlife are a real feast to the discerning visitor. A stroll on the Malecon oceanfront is enough to enjoy the thrills here.

6) Hotel Zone is the sandy coast that stretches from Marina Vallarta to El Centro, home to numerous hotels and resorts that cater to the needs of the visitors, supported by the attractive shops and tasty restaurants.

7) La Cruz de Huanacaxtle is affectionately called ‘La Cruz’. The atmosphere in this area is relaxed, laid back, and traditional with simple accommodation, tiny shops and small restaurants, and budding music scenes.

8) Marina Vallarta is different from the port of Marina Terminal, which is near this resort area. Marina Vallarta is a 544-acre planned development of resorts and residences, with an 18-hole golf course.

Other sights of Puerto Vallarta

Several other sights like Mismaloya, a small and enchanting bay, and Nuevo Vallarta/Flamingos, a fast growing resort area, offer variety to the visitors to unwind and relax. Punta de Mita is a peninsula that would take your breathe away with its sweeping views and exquisite beaches.

Riviera Nayarit stretches up to San Pancho, having craggy coves, small pueblos, and remote villages. The life in these parts is still very slow like the old times in prehistoric Mexico. San Pancho, also known as San Francisco, is a tiny pueblo that seems far away from the busy world, which had lured several expatriates to settle down here. Puerto Vallarta is full of enchanting sights that you will remember for a long time.

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